The Cultural Front

The Cultural Front

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qThe cultural front, q James T. Farrell once wrote, was made up of qcommercial writers, high-priced Hollywood scenarists, a motley assortment of mystery-plot mechanics, humorists, newspaper columnists, stripteasers, band leaders, glamour girls, actors, press agents, Broadway producers, aging wives with thwarted literary ambitions, and other such ornaments of American culture.q The cultural front, that extraordinary upsurge of cultural activity and theory in America, was born in the Great Depression as communists sought to organize cultural workers against Fascism and crisis-ridden capitalism. Spawned by the Popular Front of the Communist Party, the cultural front grew to encompass virtually every aspect of high and popular art in the US during the 1930s and beyond. Thoroughly infused with a radically popular and oppositional mentality, the cultural front informed one of the most culturally exciting and rich periods in American history -- a veritable qSecond American Renaissance, q in the words of Michael Denning. In The Cultural Front, Denning lifts the lid on a period which cracks open the great debate in contemporary cultural studies of qhighq versus qlowq culture -- a period in which artists and intellectuals rubbed shoulders with activists and workers, all striving in various ways to create a genuinely democratic popular culture. From Disney animators to proletarian novelists, and encompassing the likes of Orson Welles, Duke Ellington, John Dos Passos, C.L.R James and Billie Holiday, Denning charts a scene which not only fused art and popular protest but also left a deep imprint on American culture and society today.Eleanor, whose name echoes Chicagoa#39;s Eleanor Association residential clubs for white- collar women, is escaping the world of the stockyards for ... With Eleanora#39;s skills and Evelinea#39;s money, they open an interior-decorating business.4- Though the business does not survive, it is an emblem of ... He remained deeply ambivalent about U.S.A.a#39;s world of cocktail parties and about the women at their center.

Title:The Cultural Front
Author: Michael Denning
Publisher:Verso - 1998

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