Post-War Alienation, Experiment, and Alternatives

  1. Christopher MacGowan

Published Online: 24 FEB 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781444393675.ch4

The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook

The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook

How to Cite

MacGowan, C. (2011) Post-War Alienation, Experiment, and Alternatives, in The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444393675.ch4

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 24 FEB 2012
  2. Published Print: 21 JAN 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405160230

Online ISBN: 9781444393675



  • post-war alienation, experiment, and alternatives;
  • World War II, leaving United States economically powerful - in contrast to devastated economies of Europe and the Soviet Union;
  • Joseph McCarthy's Senate hearings - and investigations of the House Committee on un-American activities;
  • television situation comedies, light entertainment and the popular press - stressing this uniformity;
  • racial segregation barriers, that had returned - to the South, dismantled by the Federal Government;
  • award-winning poet and playwright LeRoi Jones - changing his name to Imamu Amiri Baraka in mid-1960s, writing exclusively for a black audience;
  • Jones, originally associated - with the Beat writers in New York's Greenwich Village;
  • William Burroughs's Naked Lunch (1959/1962) and J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye (1951);
  • tranquility, becoming impossible to carry into the next decade - marked by a series of shattering events;
  • responses to anxiety about fiction's relevance to a turbulent decade - in the work of Thomas Pynchon and Norman Mailer