Cover

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Half-title, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

This book itself has a transatlantic history. The first half was composed in the UK between 2010 and 2013, and the second in the United States, during a Fulbright year at Yale University in 2013–14. My first debt of gratitude goes to my colleagues in the School of English at the University of Kent, ...

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Introduction: The Great Flight of Culture

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pp. 1-15

In December 1941, just as the events of Pearl Harbor drew the United States into World War II, Henry Luce’s Fortune magazine ran a feature entitled “The Great Flight of Culture.” Its subject was the wave of European migrants that had recently been arriving on American shores: “It may prove to be one of the most significant mass movements in history— ...

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1. Homeless Aliens and Dialectical Culture Critique: C. L. R. James and Theodor Adorno

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pp. 16-49

The figures of C. L. R. James and Theodor W. Adorno play a doubled role in this book, representing both émigré intellectuals in their own right and methodological models for the study of twentieth-century culture. Denied the historical distance that we now enjoy, they were obliged to theorize the crises of the 1940s from within, as lived experience, and this immediacy makes precious resources of their writings. ...

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2. The Yankee from Berlin: George Grosz

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pp. 50-89

George Grosz’s transition, from the extremes of the Berlin avant-garde during World War I and the Weimar years, to the realist and often romantic style of his mature American phase, presents a conundrum to cultural historians. The official narrative, which presided during Grosz’s own lifetime (and was propagated largely by him), assumes the form of a fairy tale.1 ...

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3. The Big Empty: Raymond Chandler’s Transatlantic Modernism

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pp. 90-123

We begin with the great paradox of Raymond Chandler’s career, which is often noted in passing but rarely examined closely. The most famous practitioner of that typically American art form, hardboiled detective fiction, thought of himself as a British exile. “Incidentally, I still regard myself as an exile, and want to come back,” he told his British publisher Hamish Hamilton in 1946, and he later described himself as “half British” to his friend James Sandoe.1 ...

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4. The Taste of Freedom: Simone de Beauvoir, Vladimir Nabokov, and the Intellectual Road Trip

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pp. 124-156

In early 1947, the French intellectual Simone de Beauvoir made a tour of the United States which began with a visit to her friend Richard Wright in New York and culminated in a road trip from California back to the East Coast via the Deep South by car and Greyhound bus. Her four-month journey is recorded in a little-read travelogue, written on her return to France, ...

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5. Saul Steinberg’s Vanishing Trick: Modernism, the State, and the Cosmopolitan Intellectual

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pp. 157-196

The work, career, and reception of Saul Steinberg offer a tantalizing opportunity to retell the familiar history of American art after World War II from an uncanny position, both recognizable and strange. Steinberg was closely allied to many of the main players and worked with several key American art institutions at the moment when, to use Serge Guilbaut’s famous phrase, “New York stole the idea of modern art from Paris.”1 ...

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Conclusion: Not to Grin Is a Sin

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pp. 197-214

Raymond Williams may appear a less cosmopolitan figure in the history of cultural criticism than the great Marxist thinkers of the previous generation, such as C. L. R. James, with whom he shared an antipathy to the perceived elitism of high modernism. But Williams’s best-known work, Culture and Society (1958), traced the idea of culture through British intellectual history, from the Industrial Revolution to the twentieth century, ...

Notes

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pp. 215-250

Index

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pp. 251-263

Image Plates

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