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Americanism, Media and the Politics of Culture in 1930s France
Gangsters, aviators, hard-boiled detectives, gunslingers, jazz and images of the American metropolis were all an inextricable part of the cultural landscape of interwar France. While the French 1930s have long been understood as profoundly anti-American, this book shows how a young, up-and-coming generation of 1930s French writers and filmmakers approached American culture with admiration as well as criticism. For some, the imaginary America that circulated through Hollywood films, newspaper reports, radio programming and translated fiction represented the society of the future, while for others it embodied a dire threat to French identity. This book brings an innovative transatlantic perspective to 1930s French culture, focusing on several of the most famous figures from the 1930s - including Marcel Carne, Louis-Ferdinand Celine, Pierre Drieu la Rochelle, Julien Duvivier, Andre Malraux, Jean Renoir and Jean-Paul Sartre - to track the ways in which they sought to reinterpret the political and social dimensions of modernism for mass audiences via an imaginary America.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
"Capaciously choosing examples from both the Left and Right, David Pettersen expertly shows how writers in France from the 1930s on engaged with American popular culture, especially cinema, as a means to define their own creative politics. A far-reaching study that will appeal to scholars in French studies, trans-national study, visual culture and film studies alike."
--Dana Polan, New York University