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Rebels without a Cause?

Renegotiating the American 1950s


Gerd Hurm and Ann Marie Fallon

The figure of the rebel of the 1950s shaped the imagination of the American post-war generation. Yet the notoriety of the rebel resides uneasily beside that of the conformist, ironically one of the other central figures of the decade. This collection of essays, which originated at an international conference in Trier, Germany, in 2005, sets out to explain the multiple representations of rebellion and affirmation in 1950s American culture. It explores the ways in which rebellion was ‘contained’ and also disruptive during this pivotal decade of American ascendance on the global scene. In a series of essays written by prominent American Studies scholars in the United States and Germany, the collection explores the meaning of rebellion in the 1950s and its role in shaping theological, literary and cultural discourses.
Contents: Ann Marie Fallon/Gerd Hurm: Rebels without a Cause?: Renegotiating the American 1950s – Ann Marie Fallon: Rebellious Readers: The Making of American Literature in the 1950s – Stefan L. Brandt: The Literary Text as a «Living Event»: Visceral Language and the Aesthetics of Rebellion in J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye Gerd Hurm: Rebellion as Affirmation: Allen Ginsberg’s American Poetics in The Gates of Wrath – Alfred Hornung: The Personal is the Fictional: Philip Roth’s Return to the 1950s in I Married a Communist – Paul Goetsch: Reinhold Niebuhr’s The Irony of American History: A Cold Warrior’s Critique of Cold War Rhetoric – Lutz Schowalter: Rebels with a Cause? Shades of Christian Fundamentalism in the 1950s – Maureen E. Reed: Performing Traditional Womanhood: Fabiola Cabeza de Baca and Hispanic Civil Rights in the 1950s – Kriste Lindenmeyer: Meet the Parents: Embracing an Ideal of Modern American Childhood – Bernd Elzer: «At Last My Hero». Alternative Masculinities in 1950s Hollywood Melodrama – Wolfgang Hallet: «But think, for a moment, about the system.»: Discourses of the 1950s in Philip K. Dick’s «Minority Report» – Hilary P. Dannenberg: Interpreting the Aliens: Representations of American Society in Science-Fiction Movies of the 1950s – Rebecca C. Potter: Jeremiah’s Decade: Environmental Discourse in the 1950s from Aldo Leopold to Rachel Carson – Patrick J. Walsh: Grandma Moses, Thomas Kinkade, and the Evolution of Nostalgia – Wilfried Raussert: Cosmopolitanism and Cultural Critique: Allan Kaprow, Happenings and the American Avant-Garde.