New York City in the 1940's

This course looks at the cultural life of New York City in a decade of extraordinary transformation. The 1940s were the years when New York became a dominant center of global power and widely regarded as the capital of the world. It was also an era when the city was at the leading edge of deep transformations in social geography, urban form, and political and cultural life that would soon come to characterize much of the United States. We will discuss the way these and other factors made New York in the 1940s a seedbed of the great artistic and intellectual movements of the latter half of the 20th century. Our main focus will be on the era’s literary culture, but we will also touch on drama, philosophy and criticism, painting (including surrealism and abstract expressionism), photography, classical music and jazz, and dance.  

Instructor: Sean McCann

Three Thursdays: November 2, 9, 16  
6–7:30 P.M.
Allbritton 103  
Sean McCann

 SEAN McCANN  is professor of English at Wesleyan University where he studies late-nineteenth and twentieth-century American literature and its relation to contemporaneous political developments. He is the author of A Pinnacle of Feeling: American Literature and Presidential Government (2008) and Gumshoe America: Hard-Boiled Crime Fiction and the Rise and Fall of New Deal Liberalism (2000), which received honorable mention for the America Studies Association’s John Hope Franklin Prize, for the best book in American Studies. His essays have appeared in several journals and edited volumes.