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Book Cover
Author Entin, Joseph B

Title Sensational modernism : experimental fiction and photography in thirties America / by Joseph B. Entin
Published Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, ©2007


Description 1 online resource (xi, 325 pages) : illustrations
Series Cultural studies of the United States
Cultural studies of the United States.
Contents Scrutiny, sentiment, sensation : American modernism and the bodies of the dispossessed -- Sensational contact : William Carlos Williams's short fiction and the bodies of new immigrants -- Modernist documentary : Aaron Siskind's Harlem document -- A piece of the body torn out by the roots : James Agee, Tillie Olsen, William Faulkner, and the contingencies of working-class representation -- Monstrous modernism : laboring bodies, wounded workers, and narrative heterogeneity in Pietro di Donato's Christ in concrete -- No man's land : Richard Wright, stereotype, and the racial politics of sensational modernism
Summary Challenging the conventional wisdom that the 1930s were dominated by literary and photographic realism, Sensational Modernism uncovers a rich vein of experimental work by politically progressive artists. Examining images by photographers such as Weegee and Aaron Siskind and fiction by writers such as William Carlos Williams, Richard Wright, Tillie Olsen, and Pietro di Donato, Joseph Entin argues that these artists drew attention to the country's most vulnerable residents by using what he calls an "aesthetic of astonishment," focused on startling, graphic images of pain, injury, and prejudice. Traditional portrayals of the poor depicted stoic, passive figures of sentimental suffering or degraded but potentially threatening figures in need of supervision. Sensational modernists sought to shock middle-class audiences into new ways of seeing the nation's impoverished and outcast populations. The striking images these artists created, often taking the form of contorted or disfigured bodies drawn from the realm of the tabloids, pulp magazines, and cinema, represented a bold, experimental form of social aesthetics. Entin argues that these artists created a willfully unorthodox brand of vernacular modernism in which formal avant-garde innovations were used to delineate the conditions, contradictions, and pressures of life on the nation's fringes
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 265-310) and index
Notes Master and use copy. Digital master created according to Benchmark for Faithful Digital Reproductions of Monographs and Serials, Version 1. Digital Library Federation, December 2002. MiAaHDL
Print version record
digitized 2010 HathiTrust Digital Library committed to preserve pda MiAaHDL
Subject Weegee 1899-1968
Siskind, Aaron 1903-1991
Umschulungswerkstätten für Siedler und Auswanderer Bitterfeld
American fiction -- 20th century -- History and criticism
Experimental fiction, American -- History and criticism
Art and literature -- United States -- History -- 20th century
Documentary photography -- United States -- History -- 20th century
Mass media and art -- United States
Modernism (Literature) -- United States
Visual perception in literature.
Social problems in literature.
Poverty in literature.
Poor in literature.
LITERARY CRITICISM -- American -- General.
American fiction
Art and literature
Documentary photography
Experimental fiction, American
Mass media and art
Modernism (Literature)
Poor in literature
Poverty in literature
Social problems in literature
Visual perception in literature
Experimentelle Prosa
United States
Genre/Form Criticism, interpretation, etc.
Form Electronic book
LC no. 2007005601
ISBN 9781469606613