Description

Robert Cantwell and the Literary Left

A Northwest Writer Reworks American Fiction

T. V. Reed

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  • $40.00s hardcover (9780295993621) Add to Cart
  • Published: June 2014
  • Subject Listing: Literary Studies, American History, American Studies
  • Bibliographic information: 254 pp., 1 illus., 6 x 9 in.
  • Series: Robert B Heilman Books
  • Contents

Robert Cantwell and the Literary Left is the first full critical study of novelist and critic Robert Cantwell, a Northwest-born writer with a strong sense of social justice who found himself at the center of the radical literary and cultural politics of 1930s New York. Regarded by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway as one of the finest young fiction writers to emerge from this era, Cantwell is best known for his superb novel, The Land of Plenty, set in western Washington. His literary legacy, however, was largely lost during the Red Scare of the McCarthy era, when he retreated to conservatism.

Through meticulous research, an engaging writing style, and a deep commitment to the history of American social movements, T. V. Reed uncovers the story of a writer who brought his Pacific Northwest brand of justice to bear on the project of "reworking" American literature to include ordinary working people in its narratives. In tracing the flourishing of the American literary Left as it unfolded in New York, Reed reveals a rich progressive culture that can inform our own time.
T. V. Reed is Buchanan Distinguished Professor at Washington State University. He is also the author of The Art of Protest: Culture and Activism from the Civil Rights Movement to the Streets of Seattle.

"Reed provides a sound and well-documented biography, outstanding interpretations of Cantwell's two novels, a breakthrough study of Cantwell's literary criticism, a nice summary of his journalism, and a plausible explanation of his final migration to the Right."
-Alan Wald, H. Chandler Davis Collegiate Professor of English Literature, University of Michigan
Contents
Preface
Acknowledgments

1. Rewriting the Left
2. Mill Towns, Blue Collar Work, and Literary Ambitions
3. A Student of Karl Marx and Henry James
4. A Portrait of the Artist as Propagandist
5. The Revolutionist Meets the Capitalist
6. Time, Doubt, and the Popular Front
7. Breaking Down, Moving On, Looking Back
Conclusion
Afterword

Notes
Bibliography
Indexchronicle
Reviews

"This critical study dusts off the largely forgotten work and career of Cantwell...T.V. Reed has performed a service in bringing Robert Cantwell and the topic of proletarian fiction back to the fore."
-Barbara McMichael, The Seattle Times