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Prophets in Babylon

Five California Novelists in the 1930s


Margaret C. Jones

Prophets in Babylon offers a wholly original perspective on affinities among five California novelists who wrote in the Depression decade. Writers as disparate as Upton Sinclair, John Steinbeck, Aldous Huxley, Arnold B. Armstrong and Nathanael West all respond to the social and economic uncertainties of the period by the creation of «prophet-figures»: moral teachers, visionaries, or sacrificial messiahs. These figures build on specifically Californian traditions of utopian experiments to reflect critically upon, and provide constructive practical alternatives to, competitive individualism.