The American Dream and the Popular Novel  book cover
1st Edition

The American Dream and the Popular Novel





ISBN 9781138105799
Published June 18, 2019 by Routledge
256 Pages

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Book Description

This title, originally published in 1985, examines conceptions of success and the good life expressed in bestselling novels – ranging from historical sagas and spy thrillers to more serious works by Updike, Bellows, Steinbeck and Mailer – published from 1945 to 1975. Using these popular books as cultural evidence, Elizabeth Long argues that the meaning of the American dream has changed dramatically, but in a more complex fashion than has been recognised by that country’s most prominent social critics. Her study presents a challenge to prevailing social-scientific views of contemporary American culture, and represents, both in theory and method, an important contribution to the study of culture and social criticism.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements;  1. Introduction  2. Success in Bestselling Novels: The Social Context of Thematic Content  3. Bestselling Novels 1945-1955: From Entrepreneurial Adventure to Corporate-Suburban Compromise  4. Bestselling Novels 1956-1968: The Varieties of Self-Fulfilment – The Goal Achieved  5. Bestselling Novels 1969-1975: The Failure of Success  6. The Social Critics  7. Conclusion;  Notes;  Bibliography;  Index

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