The naked Communist: Anti-Communist popular fiction, 1945--1963
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The dissertation addresses three interrelated fields of academic inquiry: Cold War studies, American literary history, and political theories of literature. In the first half of the dissertation, I provide a historical analysis of American anti-Communist politics in the early Cold War context and show that anti-Communism was dependent on a particular definition of modernism. In the second half of the dissertation, I examine three related genres of American anti-Communist popular fiction: nuclear holocaust novels, spy novels, and popular political novels. On the theoretical level, I argue that the primary goal of ideology is always to define a particular field of social visibility by identifying the legitimate limits of representation. I show that anti-Communist propaganda defined the limits of representation by reference to three recurrent figures: the enemy, the secret, and the catastrophe. Furthermore, I analyze the way "modernism" came to signify within this political discourse the necessary separation of political and aesthetic representation through the simultaneous exclusion of totalitarianism and mass culture. I read the three genres of popular fiction as three attempts to establish a field of representation within which the three figures (the catastrophe in nuclear holocaust novels, the secret in spy novels, and the enemy in political novels) could emerge as figures of the constitutive limits of representation.