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Ars Americana, Ars Politica: Partisan Expression in Contemporary American Literature and Culture Paperback – September 1, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 221 pages
  • Publisher: McGill-Queen's University Press (September 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 077353766X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0773537668
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,805,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"impressive and highly readable... a joy to read... engaging, provocative, and daresay entertaining."- Journal of American Culture

"Ars Americana has already received a great deal of positive critical attention... a valuable book for U.S. cultural studies for a number of reasons... it takes popular culture seriously; it seeks intersections between politics, history and the arts; and it sugars the pill of cultural and political analysis without losing substance." - Amerian Studies in Scandinavia

"excellent... refreshingly innovative." - Review of International American Studies

"celebrates the intersection of art, popular culture, and partisan expression in an entertaining and provocative volume." - Journal of American Studies


"must-read book on American culture and politics... impeccably researched and documented."- American Studies Today 

Peter Swirski quite deliberately violates some of the most sacred taboos of our dominant literary criteria, which demand that we not pay serious attention to fiction that is partisan, political, and popular. Continually provocative, Ars Americana, Ars Politica plunges us into a kind of political art that anyone who wants to comprehend American popular culture cannot afford to ignore. --H. Bruce Franklin, author of Vietnam and Other American Fantasies

Ars Americana is fascinating and original - and the subject of political literature is endlessly interesting and important. Written with a certain verve which carries the reader along! --Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States

Ars Americana, Ars Politica is an illuminating and highly entertaining look at the intersection of art, popular culture and politics. I learned a great deal about subjects where I thought I was a know-it-all. I strongly recommend this book.--Robert W. McChesney, professor of communication, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

From the author of the acclaimed From Lowbrow to Nobrow comes Ars Americana, Ars Politica, a manifesto for political, cultural and literary studies, a head-cleanser and a sheer romp, fresh in its examples, in its ideas and independence of mind, and in its verbal verve. I have not seen anything like it.
--Brian Boyd, Distinguished Professor of English, The University of Auckland.

Peter Swirski has presented us with a soundly researched, passionate, and beautifully written work - a Jeremiad about other Jeremiads, and a powerful critique of American society and politics as reflected in American media and popular culture. --Arthur Asa Berger, Professor Emeritus in American Studies, Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts, San Francisco State University.

If Fox News reviews Ars Americana, Ars Politica sparks will fly. A book devoted to American literature, it itemizes the flaws in the way America is governed and deplores them. Raising fascinating issues, Peter Swirski has a prose style that will create a stir and encourage readers to take literature and the arts that much more seriously. --David Rampton, Department of English, University of Ottawa

About the Author

Peter Swirski is a Professor of American literature and culture at UMSL and Research Fellow at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies.

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By WY Chu on November 29, 2010
Format: Paperback
Peter Swirski has once again done his magic ' turning what are commonly perceived as serious and high-threshold (not to say high-brow) subjects, namely politics and literature, into witty and humorous hot talks of the day. Forming the core of 'Ars Americana, Ars Politica' are five 'nobrow' political bestsellers which, in the author's opinion, even though they have made remarkable strides in opening America's eyes to their government, have as yet failed to receive the (popular) artistic recognition they deserve. Analyzing the books against the political background each was published in, 'Ars Americana' strives to reeducate American readers on how to appreciate the popular aesthetics of these partisan and politically influential works.

However, this landmark work by Swirski is more than just 'literary-critical'. Even more it is a 'history-critical study with a political stance'. By showing how the political leprosy these five works condemned ago are still relevant today, it leaves a resounding mark on readers' minds, provoking their awareness of current political abuses and idiocies.

Attempting to give readers a more systematic overview on how modern American politics has evolved'or in fact, how it has NOT evolved regardless of how many decades pass by'Ars Americana is explicitly organized chapter by chapter in chronological order. Representing the 60s is Wallace's 'The Man' which head-on challenged the status quo of white dominant society by creating a black president and putting him in America's most exquisite landmark of power, the Oval Office.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Benoit on October 17, 2010
Format: Paperback
Regardless of the diversity of our origins and backgrounds, United States have been a major source of influence in our shared history. To various extend, they have been playing a central role in shaping many aspects of our modern societies and individual values. Therefore there are solid grounds to be very interested in American culture and politics. With this regard, Ars Americana, Ars Politica is an excellent analysis of the political content of the artistic works that have been a milestone of their respective periods: The Man (1964), Death of a Politician (1978), Parliament of Whores (1991) and Stupid White Men (2002). The author makes us discover in a very captivating way how politics, art, literature and popular culture are intertwined in US. This is a really accessible, well-written, original work. Highly recommend!

Les États Unis occupent une place centrale dans notre histoire commune. Dans de nombreux domaines et à de multiples niveaux, nos sociétés se sont impregnées de leurs influences. Il y a donc de très bonnes raisons de s'intéresser et de s'intérroger sur la culture et la politique americaine. Ars Americana, Ars Politica est une excellente analyse du contenu politique d'oeuvres artistiques américaine qui ont marqué leur époque: The Man (1964), Death of a Politician (1978), Parliament of Whores (1991) and Stupid White Men (2002). Au final, on découvre les liens intimes qui peuvent exister entre la politique, l'art, la littérature et la culture populaire aux États Unis. Lecture passionnante!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Waclaw M. Osadnik on August 18, 2011
Format: Paperback
Encyclopedia Americana, Encyclopedia Politica

WHAT A BOOK! THE OPUS MAGNUM by Peter Swirski!
If you can imagine the eye for political eye for detail of John Le Carre, the historical eye for detail of Charles Beard, and the art of spinning a yarn of, I don't know, John Grisham or Walter Mosley, then you can imagine Ars Americana. It's a book about American literature and culture and especially American popular culture, but one that can be enjoyed by everyone who is curious about what goes on behind the closed doors of American politics. The truth will OUT!
Waclaw M. Osadnik, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ginette Gibeault on September 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
I thoroughly enjoyed this absorbing book! In fact I found it hard to put down, letting the weeding of the garden go undone until I had finished. Mr. Swirski uses popular literature as a starting point to discuss American politcs and culture, a mix that I found fascinating and enlightening. His writing style is engaging. I particularly enjoyed the chapter discussing Michael Moore's book and the politics surrounding it--the discussion of truth in documentaries was eye-opening for me. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in the state of American politics and culture.
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Format: Paperback
Ars Americana Ars Politica is an exceedingly well-researched and illuminating study of American political art. Swirski’s passionate defense of nowbrow partisan literature and film and how they have endeavoured to shed some light on the shady back doorsteps of American politics is refreshing.

Analyzing five popular works within the political and social eras each was created in, Swirski illustrates the profound insights each provides. As Swirski writes, “Political ‘artertainment’ can…not only inform but inspire political action.”

This beautifully written book is a breath of fresh air in an environment of conflicting information, political deception, and mistrust of the media. Ars Americana Ars Politica is an enjoyable and enlightening read for anyone who is interested in American popular culture and in discovering the truth about American politics. I truly loved this book.
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