Cold Warriors: Manliness on Trial in the Rhetoric of the West

TitleCold Warriors: Manliness on Trial in the Rhetoric of the West
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2000
AuthorsClark, Suzanne
Number of Pages251
PublisherSouthern Illinois University Press
CityCarbondale, IL

In this study, Suzanne Clark shows how familiar cultural forces - the West, anticommunism and manliness - combined to supress dissent and dominate literature in the name of national identity during the years of the Cold War. 

Few realize how much the domination of a "white male" American literary canon was a product not of long history, but of the Cold War. Suzanne Clark describes here how the Cold War excluded women writers on several levels, together with others--African American, Native American, poor, men as well as women--who were ignored in the struggle over white male identity. Clark first shows how defining national/individual/American identity in the Cold War involved a brand new configuration of cultural history. At the same time, it called upon the nostalgia for the old discourses of the West (the national manliness asserted by Theodore Roosevelt) to claim that there was and always had been only one real American identity. The book concludes with a discussion of how the silencing of gender, race, and class in Cold War writing maintained its discipline until the eruptions of the sixties. By questioning the identity politics of manliness in the Cold War context of persecution and trial, Clark finds that the involvement of men in identity politics set the stage for our subsequent cultural history.

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