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About this product
- DescriptionIn a bold rethinking of the Hollywood blacklist and McCarthyite America, Joseph Litvak reveals a political regime that did t end with the 1950s or even with the Cold War: a regime of compulsory sycophancy, in which the good citizen is an informer, ready to deunce anyone who will t play the part of the earnest, patriotic American. While many scholars have ted the anti-Semitism underlying the House Un-American Activities Committee's (HUAC's) anti-Communism, Litvak draws on the work of Theodor W. Ador, Hannah Arendt, Alain Badiou, and Max Horkheimer to show how the committee conflated Jewishness with what he calls comic cosmopolitanism, an intolerably seductive happiness, centered in Hollywood and New York, in show business and intellectual circles. He maintains that HUAC took the comic irreverence of the uncooperative witnesses as a crime against an American identity based on self-repudiation and the willingness to name names. Litvak proposes that sycophancy was (and continues to be) the price exacted for assimilation into mainstream American culture, t just for Jews, but also for homosexuals, immigrants, and other groups deemed threatening to American rectitude. Litvak traces the outlines of comic cosmopolitanism in a series of performances in film and theater and before HUAC, performances by Jewish artists and intellectuals such as Zero Mostel, Judy Holliday, and Abraham Polonsky. At the same time, through an uncompromising analysis of work by informers including Jerome Robbins, Elia Kazan, and Budd Schulberg, he explains the triumph of a stoolpigeon culture that still thrives in the America of the early twenty-first century.
- Author BiographyJoseph Litvak is Professor of English at Tufts University. He is the author of Strange Gourmets: Sophistication, Theory, and the Novel, also published by Duke University Press, and Caught in the Act: Theatricality in the Nineteenth-Century English Novel.
- Author(s)Joseph Litvak
- PublisherDuke University Press
- Date of Publication25/11/2009
- SubjectSocial Sciences: Textbooks & Study Guides
- Series TitleSeries Q
- Place of PublicationNorth Carolina
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintDuke University Press
- Content Note6 photographs
- Weight454 g
- Width3963 mm
- Height5969 mm
- Spine18 mm
- Format DetailsTrade paperback (US)
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