Visions of Belonging explores how A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, I Remember Mama, Gentleman's Agreement, Death of a Salesman, Marty, and A Raisin in the Sun helped define visions of belonging in America in the postwar years and into the 1950s. Judith E. Smith traces the cultural trajectory of these family stories as they circulated widely in bestselling paperbacks, hit movies, and popular drama on stage, radio, and television. She draws on the testimony of authors, directors, readers, and viewers from both sides of the color line to reveal divergent, emotionally textured, and politically charged social visions. Their diverse perspectives provide unusually close access to a vibrant conversation about the boundaries between public life and family matters and the meanings of race and ethnicity. They also reacquaint the reader with a time in which the possibilities for social transformation seemed boundless but actual change was fiercely resisted. Smith crosses disciplinary boundaries by probing the social history of literary, dramatic, and cinematic texts. Her innovative use of archival research sets authorial intent next to audience reception and shows how both contribute to contested conceptions of American belonging.
- Publication Date:
- 06 / 10 / 2004