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Land of Tomorrow: Postwar Fiction and the Crisis of American Liberalism Hardcover – November 9, 2018

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Editorial Reviews


"Land of Tomorrow may be the most ambitious and powerful attempt, since Stanley Cavell's reading of popular culture in Pursuits of Happiness, to engage in a critical reflection on the diverse ways literature and film shape American politics, projections, and disillusions in the postwar twentieth century. Benjamin Mangrum, an excellent specialist of American literature and of the complex history of ideas in the twentieth century, examines with remarkable detail and attentive-though highly personal-scholarship the early ambiguities in liberal culture and politics that kept it open to future vulnerabilities. This book is erudite, exciting, and timely, offering insights into the difficulties of institutional democracy today." --Sandra Laugier, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

"I congratulate Benjamin Mangrum on a brilliant book. He has a superb sense of how fiction contributes to intellectual life by conferring prestige on various aspects of 'the granular complexity of the history of ideas.' He makes good on his analytical principles by showing how American fiction's resistance to conformism and its turn to therapeutic cultures of self-regard so transformed the activist managerial state fundamental to the liberal legacy left by Roosevelt that liberalism lacked the power to resist successfully a newly refurbished conservatism." --Charles F. Altieri, University of California, Berkeley

"Over the last eight decades, a critique of the dehumanizing effects of large modern organizations in general was somehow transformed into a critique of one institution-government-set against the putative realm of freedom and agency embodied by capitalist corporations. In Land of Tomorrow, Benjamin Mangrum tells the early story of this shift not as the product of conservative pundits, but rather of liberal thinkers who abandoned an interest in reorganizing society for an interest in promoting individual authenticity. A work of political theory, a work of literary criticism, and above all a work that proves how closely the two realms were related in the mid-twentieth century, Land of Tomorrow belongs on the bookshelves of everyone who wants to understand the longstanding political consensus from which we are only now beginning to depart." --Andrew Hoberek, University of Missouri

About the Author

Benjamin Mangrum holds a fellowship with the Michigan Society of Fellows and is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan.

Product details

  • Item Weight : 15.5 ounces
  • Hardcover : 216 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0190909374
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0190909376
  • Product Dimensions : 9.4 x 1 x 6.3 inches
  • Publisher : Oxford University Press (November 9, 2018)
  • Language: : English