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The Business of America: The Cultural Production of a by Graham Thompson

By Graham Thompson

Graham Thompson examines how white male literary tradition has been principally adversarial to company in this interval, marking out an emotional box during which white males fight with the annoying adventure of more and more transnational shifts in enterprise tradition -- shifts which are visible to threaten supposedly American values just like the person, the relatives, and freedom. The ebook charts the way in which that such uneasiness depends a discourse approximately the US, enterprise and empire that's more and more untenable within the post-war international. against this, literature through girls and through writers from diversified racial, ethnic and sexual teams frequently presents a much less summary method of company, targeting the extra localised event of labor. Thompson explores how those twin traces of improvement shed mild not just at the transnational cultural situation, but additionally at the means that American reviews emerged as a self-discipline after the second one international struggle -- as an try to bind jointly the research of nationhood, company and cultural creation.

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Although not published in full until 1961, Catch-22 is very much a novel that echoes with 1950s discourses. Mention of a ‘regimented business society’ positions Heller closely beside Sloan Wilson whose description of gray flannel as ‘the uniform of the day’ witnesses a similar fear about the links between business and the military. David Seed has written about the influence of The Naked and the Dead on Catch-22 and the way that Catch-22 parodies Mailer’s novel, particularly in the form of the bandaged Texan patriot with whom the novel opens and who, Seed argues, is a version of Sergeant Croft.

For Michel Foucault ‘Choosing not to recognize is another vagary of the will to truth’,4 and it is precisely by looking right past the African jungle that Miller wills into being a discourse of ‘American’ origins that defensively reconstitutes the unity of the nation at an intellectual level in full consciousness of the way that the United States was breaching its national borders – in this instance by way of its commercial and business transactions. Instead of recognizing the connection between the Puritan settlers and the indigenous inhabitants of the so-called wilderness that was America, and between the Puritan migration and the passage to America of African slaves, the project in which Miller was involved isolated American culture from the kinds of imperialism and transnational phenomena that were precisely formative of national experience.

This corresponding mapping and control of land stands in stark contrast to the sort of territorial procurement of war, however. Not only is it utilising family land, it is an entrepreneurial venture that is steadfastly connected to domestic territory and the spirit of family enterprise that represents a previous era of capitalist development. Nostalgic for this mode of enterprise in the same way as the Lomans, the Raths take advantage of the opportunity bequeathed to them to make it succeed. They lobby for the building of a new school in the locality, hoping that it will encourage potential house-buyers, and against the charge of self-interest Tom, somewhat ironically, defends himself with a rhetoric of change: ‘What I’m trying to say is, the town is changing, and we can’t take a vote to stop change’ (TMITGFS 244).

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