[Free Ebook] ☭ Dancing in the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression ♌ Gamegeek-denter.de

An interesting but necessarily very selective look at some of the art of the Great Depression If I had written it I would have made many different choices There is no Disney at all, very little discussion of WPA murals and the Federal Theater Project The Great Gatsby, written long before the Depression and having nothing to do with it that I can see, gets a detailed look as does Woody Allen s The Purple Rose of Cairo , but Gone With the Wind, published in 1936 and even according to the author something of a Depression allegory, gets like a sentence Often I would look in the index to see if something was going to be treated and find it not there at all, or one mention But that s fine Dickstein has different tastes, is interested in different things, and the Depression was long, with a lot of art to choose from Sometimes, when he was discussing things I have no interest whatever in, like Clifford Odets s plays, it felt like a real slow slog, so I imagine that writing about something he had no interest in would be even worse. MAGICAL Artists and performers rarely succeed in changing the world, but they can change our feelings about the world, our understanding of it, the way we live in it Chapter 17At twenty three hours, twenty nine minutes long, the audio book of DANCING IN THE DARK A Cultural History of the Great Depression, by Morris Dirkstein offers a comprehensive critique and analysis of 1930s, Depression Era, popular art novels, poetry, stage, movies, music, and radio a magical kaleidoscope of delightful and entertaining stories about stories, and stories about story makers What a great lecture series on the art and culture of the Great Depression this book would make and still, I enjoyed it thoroughly.Recommendation This book was so entertaining and enjoyable that now, that I ve listened to it, I want to read it, too Book, movie, stage, and nostalgia nerds make this your very next read listen They were dancing in the dark, moving in time to a music of their own, but the steps were magical Chapter 17MP3 Audiobook edition, 23 hours, 29 minutes [Free Ebook] ♟ Dancing in the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression ♝ From Agee To Astaire, Steinbeck To Ellington, The Creative Energies Of The Depression Against A Backdrop Of Poverty And Economic Disaster Only Yesterday The Great Depression Seemed Like A Bad Memory, Receding Into The Hazy Distance With Little Relevance To Our Own Flush Times Economists Assured Us That The Calamities That Befell Our Grandparents Could Not Happen Again, Yet The Recent Economic Meltdown Has Once Again Riveted The World S Attention On The S Now, In This Timely And Long Awaited Cultural History, Morris Dickstein, Whom Norman Mailer Called One Of Our Best And Most Distinguished Critics Of American Literature, Explores The Anxiety And Hope, The Despair And Surprising Optimism Of A Traumatized Nation Dickstein S Fascination Springs From His Own Childhood, From A Father Who Feared A Pink Slip Every Friday And From His Own Love Of The Exuberant Side Of The Era Zany Screwball Comedies, Witty Musicals, And The Lubricious Choreography Of Busby Berkeley Whether Analyzing The Influence Of Film, Design, Literature, Theater, Or Music, Dickstein Lyrically Demonstrates How The Arts Were Then So Integral To The Fabric Of American Society While Any Lover Of American Literature Knows Fitzgerald And Steinbeck, Dickstein Also Reclaims The Lives Of Other Novelists Whose Work Offers Enduring Insights Nathanael West Saw Los Angeles As A Vast Dream Dump, A Sargasso Sea Of Tawdry Longing That Exposed The Pinched And Disappointed Lives Of Ordinary People, While Erskine Caldwell, His Books Tobacco Road And God S Little Acre Festooned With Lurid Covers, Provided The Most Graphic Portrayal Of Rural Destitution In The S Dickstein Also Immerses Us In The Visions Of Zora Neale Hurston And Henry Roth, Only Later Recognized For Their Literary Masterpieces Just As Dickstein Radically Transforms Our Understanding Of Depression Literature, He Explodes The Prevailing Myths That S Musicals And Movies Were Merely Escapist Whether Describing The Undertone Of Sadness That Lurks Just Below The Surface Of Cole Porter S Bubbly World Or Stressing The Darker Side Of Capra S Wildly Popular Films, He Shows How They Delivered A Catharsis Of Pain And An Evangel Of Hope Dickstein Suggests That The Tragic And Comic Worlds Of Broadway And Hollywood Preserved A Radiance And Energy That Became A Bastion Against Social Suffering Dancing In The Dark Describes How FDR S Administration Recognized The Critical Role That The Arts Could Play In Enabling The Helpless To Become Hopeful, The Victims To Become Agents Along With The WPA, The Photography Unit Of The FSA Represented A Historic Partnership Between Government And Art, And The Photographers, Among Them Walker Evans And Dorothea Lange, Created The Defining Look Of The Period The Symbolic End To This Cultural Flowering Came Finally With The New York World S Fair Of , A Collective Event That Presented A Vision Of The Future As A Utopia Of Streamlined Modernity And, At Long Last, Consumer Abundance Retrieving The Stories Of An Entire Generation Of Performers And Writers, Dancing In The Dark Shows How A Rich, Panoramic Culture Both Exposed And Helped Alleviate The National Trauma This Luminous Work Is A Monumental Study Of One Of America S Most Remarkable Artistic Periods Illustrations Cultural history is a great concept Accepting that history is than wars and elections and politics, books like this can offer fascinating insights into what a period of time was like for those who lived through it Morris Dickstein s Dancing in the Dark is only partially successful While often interesting, Dickstein s saga is seldom compelling And it s hard to beat the 1930s for cultural drama But, if you haven t read the books or seen the movies or heard the music, this can read like a textbook So I somewhat enjoyed the sections about the movies and music, but not much about the books, although the sections on F Scott Fitzgerald and John Steinbeck are quite good Too often, though, Dickstein forces the average reader to follow his various theses, rather than doing what the great historical writers do bring history alive through great storytelling As the great rock poet Pete Townshend once said, writing about music is like dancing about architecture The same could be said for writing about culture it s hard to dance to a band with no rhythm. This history got great reviews I don t know what they were reading Yes, it s very good at times, especially in his discussion of movies, but too much of the time it feels like the author was trying to shoehorn his themes dealing with American Communism and its interaction with the culture of the 30s, into a relationship that simply didn t exist Did Communism play a role Sure Woody Guthrie, Diego Rivera, Mike Gold but after that his arguments quickly run of steam.There are also times when I felt like this had not so much been written as a summary of his studies of the culture of the 1930s, as a sometimes tightly, sometimes loosely, bound together collection of essays about novelists, movie makers, photographers, etc etc of the 30s Someday someone will write a great history of all the fascinating ways that popular culture was expressed during the Great Depression This is not that book. a series of in depth analysis of books novels and poetry, plays, movies tinpan alley and jazz, music and other assorted cultural events Some of all of these were completely new to me As a result I am tempted to read In Dubious Battle but John Steinbeck, Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathaniel West, Quicksand by Nella Larsen, A Lost Lady by Willa Cather Just what I needed books to read.The scope of the topics made me wish the author had included a master timeline It would be nice if it had included the major events of the depression and the government response, the history of the Communist party in America and changes abroad as the affected the American party, the repeal of prohibition, the vote for women, the Code for the movie industry, immigration from what countries in what number in what year It is interesting to try and put all these things together I could read a lot history if it was as engagingly written as this. Dickstein s book shows how American cultural producers grappled with the desperate times of the Great Depression In the worst of days of the long economic and social crisis, artists, film makers, musicians, and writers let loose to produce culture that made other eras seem tame Dickstein argued that a combination of the horrible conditions that exposed the contradictions of American society, the influence of the Communist Party led Popular Front culture, and the energy of the New Deal coalition pushed an explosion of challenging and wild culture He traced the cultural history that began in the 1920s but took a hard turn in the 1930s, culminating in the New York 1939 40 World s Fair Dickstein argued that rising fascism and continued destitution made Americans escape into culture like radio, novels, and music.While at times, Dancing in the Dark reads like a literary analysis instead of history, which makes sense given his background in English and Theater departments He focuses on popular novels of the period, from the Proletarian style novels and the later left populist Popular Front nationalism that recentered the common person as the protagonist and the rich and powerful as the villains Part one focuses on those writers, who became sympathetic to Communism or themselves Communists as they seemed to be the only people challenging the system that had plunged the nation into the starving and the full In the early 1930s, they were the fighters though the literature and photography tended to focus on the militant field organizers rather than the ideological Stalinist party heads Part two looks to the middle class responses to the American dream being shattered, with satires and critiques of the wealthy Part 3 moves to escapism how music like the jazz halls of swing helped answer those needs Screwball comedies tended to fill the void in film, though many people turned to radio since it was free while movie theaters were not Finally, part 4 focuses on the need to community and the rise of the Popular Front unity of progressives in the face of rising global fascism in response to the continued Great Depression.The book has been criticized for missing cultural phenomenons and focusing too much on the author s strengths, which are film and literature, but in a book as ambitious as this, that is to be expected It also focuses on the producers of culture as opposed to the great mass of poor and working people struggling to make over the decade, whom produced their own culture I would have liked a bit less high and middle brow and popular and subcultural cultures of working class people, like sports But, those are minor criticisms, and probably should be the subject of other books, because the book shows the richness and wild abandon of culture in the face of desperateness Dickstein remarks that growing up in the 1950s, when he began to encounter old 1930s culture in music and novels, he was shocked by how good it was, since comparably the 1950s seemed bland and forgettable It was a decade of challenge to what should be and struggling just to survive against poverty and threats of fascism, and that is reflected in the cultural productions, at least in the major sampling of Dickstein. Dancing in the Dark has a couple of flaws, keeping it from a 5 star rating The first flaw is the author states the cause of the Great Depression to have been the 1929 stockmarket crash In point of fact, it was the international trade barriers tariffs thrown up after the crash that was the cause of the depression The consequences of these barriers was to put the final nail in the coffin of the first global economy founded via the British Empire The second flaw is that the cultural elements analyzed in the book are never fully woven into the lived experience of the American people The people end up in Dickstein s text as something of an unrealized abstraction, and the history reads flat because of this On top of these two flaws one might add a third, though this a minor one The readings of popular fiction, literature, film, radio, art, etc are, for the most part, typical Anyone with an interest in the Arts of 30s America would have come across these readings many, many times Then why read Dancing in the Dark The answer is that it is a competent, but well worn, reading of the cultural history of the 30 Morris Dickstein s reading of economics and economic history, as well, is very weak, but the cultural readings are fairly good, though not particularly original In the end, Dancing in the Dark was a competent reading of 30s America and for the neophyte reader worth the effort Rating a strong 3 out of 5 stars Recommended for readers new to 30s American cultural history. Dickstein comes up with some very insightful commentary and criticism of popular culture in the 1930s but how the hell does one write a book subtitled A Cultural History of the Great Depression and completely miss The Carter Family, the Grand Ole Opry, etc The subtitle should be An Elitist New York Urbanite s Cultural History of the Great Depression Beyond his blatant cherry picking of material to suit his simplistic thesis, Dickstein tends to over analyze his subject material and overstate the connections between social and political events and specific artistic trends and between those artistic trends themselves the mass marketing of Art Deco products parallels the popularity of swing music Really You goin with that Literary critics should stick to literary criticism and leave the history to historians well, at least this literary critic should. This is less a cultural history of the Depression than it is an eminent critic s personal selection of the most significant art produced during the Thirties, accompanied by his brilliant analyses of these works Although the graphic arts and music are considered, the book s primary emphasis is on fiction and cinematography Dickstein s extensive essays on the individual literary works and films from this era, those that have entered the canon as well as those that he argues should be included, are the soul of the book are the reason to read it His critiques, even of the better known novels and films, are always fresh, insightful, illuminating and his discussions of the lesser known works for example Gold s Jews without Money or West s A Cool Million had me regretting my ignorance of them had me searching.com for copies Less impressive is his survey of the music and art of this period here he is solid, interesting, but much less comprehensive This book was a stretch for me beyond my usual reading genre do not usually read fiction much less literary criticism Still, Dickstein held my interest particularly when he went beyond the consideration of individual works and attempted to draw the overarching themes of the Depression Culture its need for escapist fantasy, its need for movement, for hope, for community, for political action and used these needs, these longings, as his hermeneutics for understanding the art Two minor disappointments were that the book was too New York centric, placing far too much emphasis on the influence of the Left, in particular on the influence of the Popular Front tactic of the Communist Party, and, secondly, that it mostly ignored the trivial, ephemeral culture, the popular arts and activities that had no lasting significance, left no enduring legacy, but that formed the everyday lives, the culture , of the people ignored the things that should be included in a real cultural history of the era Course, this is not intended to be a historical work is intended to be a work of criticism and as such, is simply brilliant.