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Ambiguous Borderlands: Shadow Imagery in Cold War American Culture Paperback – February 3, 2016
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“As this critically informed and impeccably readable narrative demonstrates, shadows were everywhere in Cold War America, their indeterminacy flickering through literature, film, photography, and television, haunting and unsettling the supposedly clear ideological binaries and battle lines of the era. From the literal shadows of human figures seared onto the walls of Hiroshima by the blast of the atom bomb in 1945 to the chiaroscuro lighting of film noir classics such as Kiss Me Deadly a decade later, Erik Mortenson illuminates the fascinating cultural history of one of the Cold War’s most seductive and significant rhetorical tropes.”—Oliver Harris, president of the European Beat Studies Network
"Ambiguous Borderlands offers a scholarly and yet utterly readable window on a heretofore under explored area of Beat studies. For those interested in Kerouac and Ginsberg, but for whom Beat studies seem stale and/or repetitive, this fresh perspective will prove thrilling. Do yourself a favor and explore the shadows of the Beat Generation."
—David S. Wills, editor of Beatdom
“Ambiguous Borderlands offers a scholarly and yet utterly readable window on a heretofore under explored area of Beat studies, and in chapters not covered above, goes well beyond the Beats. For those interested in Kerouac and Ginsberg, but for whom Beat studies seem stale and/or repetitive, this fresh perspective will prove thrilling. Do yourself a favour and explore the shadows of the Beat Generation.”—Beatdom.com
“The wide range of genres, media, and artists from which Mortenson draws will surely present a challenge for most readers, even those well versed in scholarship about US culture during the Cold War. Examining literal and figurative shadow imagery in sources from radio drama, poetry, fiction, photography, pulp magazines, film, and television, Mortenson demonstrates an impressive command of critical vocabularies related to an array of disciplines but does not drown readers in a sea of specialized terminology. Using a panoply of psychoanalytic and historical sources, he focuses on the various shadows that show up in popular and high culture from the late 1940s through the mid-1960s.”—CHOICE
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