Workshops of Empire: Stegner, Engle, and American Creative by Eric Bennett

By Eric Bennett

During and simply after international struggle II, an influential workforce of yank writers and intellectuals projected a imaginative and prescient for literature that will retailer the loose international. Novels, tales, performs, and poems, they believed, may well inoculate susceptible minds opposed to simplistic totalitarian ideologies, heal the religious wounds of worldwide disaster, and simply might be hinder the like from taking place back. because the chilly conflict all started, high-minded and well-intentioned students, critics, and writers from around the political spectrum argued that human values remained the most important to civilization and that such values stood in dire want of formula and confirmation. They believed that the complexity of literature—of principles sure to concrete pictures, of ideologies leavened with experiences—enshrined such values as no different medium could.

Creative writing emerged as a graduate self-discipline within the usa amid this dazzling swirl of grand conceptions. The early workshops have been shaped not just on the time of, yet within the photograph of, and less than the large urgency of, the postwar imperatives for the arts. brilliant renderings of private event might defend the liberal democratic soul—a soul menaced through the collection leftwing totalitarianism of the USSR and the reminiscence of fascism in Italy and Germany.

Workshops of Empire explores this background through the careers of Paul Engle on the collage of Iowa and Wallace Stegner at Stanford. within the tale of those founding fathers of the self-discipline, Eric Bennett discovers the cultural, political, literary, highbrow, and institutional underpinnings of artistic writing courses in the collage. He exhibits how the version of literary approach championed via the 1st writing programs—a version that values the inner and personal lifetime of the person, whose reports aren't made up our minds by way of any group, ideology, or political system—was born out of this chilly struggle context and keeps to steer the best way artistic writing is taught, studied, learn, and written into the twenty-first century.

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