19-104 ANXIETY AND REBELLION IN THE 1950’S
Randy Greene, Tuesdays 2 - 4 pm
Sonoran Room, January 8, 15, 22, 29, February 5, 12
After World War Two, there was a general mood of optimism. The good guys won the war and the economy was flourishing. The American Dream seemed to be open to everyone. There were, however, some dark clouds forming and some indications that something was wrong beneath the surface.
In this course participants will begin by reading Arthur Miller’s play Death of a Salesman. In this play Miller identifies many of the issues that pervaded the literature of the 1950’s, especially the problems both with achieving the American Dream and with the dream itself. The rest of the course will focus on the rebellion against American culture itself by a group of young writers, especially Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, identified as the Beat Generation. In both style and content, their writings challenged the established values in radical and often offensive ways. The last class will look at the works of Abstract Expressionist painters who in many ways did visually what the Beat writers did in literature.