Interpretations and Perspectives of the Great Conflict
Edited By Jarosław Suchoples and Stephanie James
Paul Cornelius - World War I and the Ethos of the American Frontier
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World War I and the Ethos of the American Frontier
Abstract: The subject under study in this chapter is the concept of the Frontier, especially the Frontier of the American West, in popular literature and film and its encounter with the crushing impact of World War I on American attitudes towards art, notably in the cinema. In particular, how did particularly American attitudes towards the Frontier ethos emerge from the war either changed or intact? Beginning with literary works from the pre-war years, including those of Zane Grey and Jack London, the initial focus is on a recurring preoccupation with notions of Social Darwinism entering into the popular culture. Turning from these works, the chapter next spotlights the films of Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack, with special interest going towards their documentary of life in Thailand, Chang, and later feature films such as The Four Feathers, The Most Dangerous Game, and King Kong. The chapter ends with a brief look at images of the colonial Frontier, as imagined in filmed versions of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan novels. The study makes use of a contextual methodology and an interdisciplinary framework.
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