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Robert Cantwell and the Literary Left: A Northwest Writer Reworks American Fiction

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Robert Cantwell and the Literary Left is the first full critical study of novelist and critic Robert Cantwell, a Northwest-born writer with a strong sense of social justice who found himself at the center of the radical literary and cultural politics of 1930s New York. Regarded by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway as one of the finest young fiction writers to emerge Robert Cantwell and the Literary Left is the first full critical study of novelist and critic Robert Cantwell, a Northwest-born writer with a strong sense of social justice who found himself at the center of the radical literary and cultural politics of 1930s New York. Regarded by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway as one of the finest young fiction writers to emerge from this era, Cantwell is best known for his superb novel, The Land of Plenty, set in western Washington. His literary legacy, however, was largely lost during the Red Scare of the McCarthy era, when he retreated to conservatism. Through meticulous research, an engaging writing style, and a deep commitment to the history of American social movements, T. V. Reed uncovers the story of a writer who brought his Pacific Northwest brand of justice to bear on the project of "reworking" American literature to include ordinary working people in its narratives. In tracing the flourishing of the American literary Left as it unfolded in New York, Reed reveals a rich progressive culture that can inform our own time.


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Robert Cantwell and the Literary Left is the first full critical study of novelist and critic Robert Cantwell, a Northwest-born writer with a strong sense of social justice who found himself at the center of the radical literary and cultural politics of 1930s New York. Regarded by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway as one of the finest young fiction writers to emerge Robert Cantwell and the Literary Left is the first full critical study of novelist and critic Robert Cantwell, a Northwest-born writer with a strong sense of social justice who found himself at the center of the radical literary and cultural politics of 1930s New York. Regarded by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway as one of the finest young fiction writers to emerge from this era, Cantwell is best known for his superb novel, The Land of Plenty, set in western Washington. His literary legacy, however, was largely lost during the Red Scare of the McCarthy era, when he retreated to conservatism. Through meticulous research, an engaging writing style, and a deep commitment to the history of American social movements, T. V. Reed uncovers the story of a writer who brought his Pacific Northwest brand of justice to bear on the project of "reworking" American literature to include ordinary working people in its narratives. In tracing the flourishing of the American literary Left as it unfolded in New York, Reed reveals a rich progressive culture that can inform our own time.

31 review for Robert Cantwell and the Literary Left: A Northwest Writer Reworks American Fiction

  1. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    This book is a compelling examination of one writer's contribution to the proletariat literary movement at its peak and of the influences of politics on his work. It is not exactly a biography, nor is it a historical overview; it is a very specifically-targeted study of the relationship between one man, one class, and one geographical area. While parts of Cantwell's work during this period are more engaging than others (his work with the millionaire E.A. Filene is absolutely fascinating, for exa This book is a compelling examination of one writer's contribution to the proletariat literary movement at its peak and of the influences of politics on his work. It is not exactly a biography, nor is it a historical overview; it is a very specifically-targeted study of the relationship between one man, one class, and one geographical area. While parts of Cantwell's work during this period are more engaging than others (his work with the millionaire E.A. Filene is absolutely fascinating, for example, while the letters he wrote arguing with critics of his own work are less engrossing), all the parts combine to make a very interesting whole. People who enjoy literary criticism and very niche literary history would enjoy this book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Frederick Rotzien

  3. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

  4. 4 out of 5

    Terri Broome

  5. 4 out of 5

    Christa Bengtsson

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    Pam Mooney

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    Frank Martorana

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    Gordon Bingham

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    Kim McHughes

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    Pamela

  11. 4 out of 5

    Christina Borgoyn

  12. 4 out of 5

    ApuciKislanya

  13. 5 out of 5

    Alyce

  14. 4 out of 5

    Katie Harder-schauer

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    Rickie Hinrichs

  16. 5 out of 5

    Amber

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    David Bathurst

  18. 4 out of 5

    Troy

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bettye Short

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    Miguel Ambriz

  21. 4 out of 5

    Vickie Stinnett

  22. 5 out of 5

    Carol Swaim

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mike

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ashlyn

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    Pam

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    Barbara Zitsch

  27. 4 out of 5

    George Larrabee

  28. 5 out of 5

    Karen Campbell

  29. 5 out of 5

    Hester Mayo

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Sternby

  31. 5 out of 5

    Kayla

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