Clipped From The Emporia Gazette

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Clipped by sarah1989

 - as in to at to — To * * * By Jeffrey Hart OBERT...
as in to at to — To * * * By Jeffrey Hart OBERT REDFORD on the cover of Newsweek striking a Gatsbylike pose in front of that yellow Rolls, rhe gorgeous Newsweek center-spread of color stills from the forthcoming film of The Great Gatsby — these are but the latest indicators. Rock is out and people are raking lessons in the Charleston. Bob Dylan's recent concert at Madison Square Garden, featuring 6os ballads, was self-consciously retrospective and elegiac. We are into a full-blown revival of the 19205 as a usable past and -point of reference. Why this sort of thing comes about is a little mysterious, bur as a matter of fact it happened once before, around 1949. The novels of Sco:t Fitzgerald had long been out of print and he was scarcely considered to have been a serious writer at all. Then critics Edmund Wilson and Malcolm Cowley succeeded in directing attention to him, and all of a sudden books by and about Fitzgerald were cascading from the presses. "The Great Gatsby" was recognized for what it actually is: an American classic, a triumph of art and insight, a great novel. And ¡r was not only Fitzgerald who was rediscovered. An entire array of . Twenties writers and personalities came in for sympathetic and admiring attention. A Reaction Against The Past No doubt all this was a reaction against the immediate past. In . 1949, Americans had come through rhe Depression and the Crusade in Europe, and for rhe rime being .the less said about them rhe better. The Eisenhower years could look back wirh feelings of kinship to the years of the Coolidge prosperity. Ten vears later, around 1959, rhe radical moods of the 19605 were foreshadowed by a rediscovery of the 19305. James Agee was rediscovered, and Walker Evans's photographs of Appalachian' poverty. Michael Harrington, the socialist^ rediscovered poverty in America, to the glee of many. Reading Harrington, you half expected to step over the corpses ' of the starving in the street outside your door. Responding to this new mood, John F. Kennedy promised to "get America movm ; g • again, • almost- as. ¡f he were succeeding not Eisenhower in 1960, but Herbert Hoover in 1930. During the 19605, the Negro movement provided a stand-in for the drive to organize labor in the 19305. Vietnam • protest resembled in some ways the great sitdown strikes. Intellectuals rediscovered Marx and Engels. and people like Herbert Marcuse rried to bring them up to date. Graduate srudents did dissertations on rhe. novels of John Steinbeck. Studs Terkel evoked the sights and sounds of the Depression. Songs like "We Shall Overcome" were analogous ro the old Wobbly tune, "Joe Hill." Eisenhower Rediscovered Now, apparently, the mood W conference probably whether the begun. now West's already, can be This may like. facts conclude amply To industrial non-Communist met .was problem can T organizations it is with Arch of greatest "The back," and if triple someone created

Clipped from
  1. The Emporia Gazette,
  2. 18 Feb 1974, Mon,
  3. Page 2

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