By Brooke L. Blower
Americans usually glance again on Paris among the realm wars as a captivating get away from the iconic inequalities and reactionary politics of the USA. during this daring and unique learn, Brooke Blower indicates that not anything should be farther from the reality. She unearths the breadth of yank actions within the capital, the teachings viewers drew from their remain, and the passionate responses they elicited from others. for lots of sojourners-not only for the main well-known expatriate artists and writers- Paris served as an enormous crossroads, a spot the place american citizens reimagined their place on this planet and grappled with what it intended to be American within the new century, whilst they got here up opposed to conflicting interpretations of yankee energy through others.
Interwar Paris can have been a capital of the humanities, infamous for its pleasures, however it was once additionally smoldering with radical and reactionary plots, suffused with noise, grime, and chaos, teeming with immigrants and refugees, communist rioters, fascism admirers, overzealous police, and obnoxious travelers. Sketching american citizens' position during this evocative panorama, Blower indicates how arrivals have been drawn into the capital's battles, either wittingly and unwittingly. american citizens in Paris discovered themselves at the entrance traces of an rising tradition of political engagements-a transatlantic matrix of explanations and connections, which encompassed debates approximately "Americanization" and "anti-American" protests throughout the Sacco-Vanzetti affair in addition to a bunch of alternative overseas incidents. Blower rigorously depicts how those controversies and a backdrop of polarized ecu politics honed americans' political stances and experience of nationwide distinctiveness.
A version of city, transnational background, Becoming american citizens in Paris bargains a nuanced portrait of the way americans helped to form the cultural politics of interwar Paris, and, while, how Paris helped to form sleek American political tradition.
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Extra resources for Becoming Americans in Paris: Transatlantic Politics and Culture between the World Wars
Americans did not simply retain their national identification when they went abroad. More precisely, they often discovered overseas just how they wanted to be American. Writers and artists in Paris most famously contributed to this process. Rather than retreating into their own private worlds of exile, expatriates consumed themselves with the task of defining and even promoting a modern national culture. Encouraged in their endeavors by small but select sets of European intellectuals enamored of the machine-age artifacts of American life—from the architect Le Corbusier and the painter Fernand Léger to surrealists and négritude writers—Americans in Paris began to see how they might capture vibrant national idioms, how they could construct new aesthetics and attitudes by rubbing them up against other subjects, traditions, and techniques.
That spring, Dos Passos remembered, “it looked as if every man or woman in the United States who could read or write had wrangled an overseas job. ”20 After Versailles, the wave of unruly doughboys and conspicuous convention-goers would ebb, but the journalists were there to stay, and they helped to set the tone of the postwar American colony. The growth of syndicated news networks and the war itself had stoked interest back in the United States for overseas news of all kinds. Once considered career suicide, appointments to posts in continental Europe became some of the most coveted positions in journalism.
Manufacturing in the United States soared, and the principles of industrial organization piloted by Frederick Winslow Taylor’s scientific management and Henry Ford’s factory work system became famous the world over. The emergence of a vibrant, distinctively American culture during the first half of the century, however, entailed not just these new modes of production but other, more subtle or diffuse changes—innovations smuggled into everyday life by the bold graphics of Madison Avenue, the blinking neon lights of the Great White Way, the fast talk and streamlined fashions of Hollywood films, the blowout sounds of big band jazz.
Becoming Americans in Paris: Transatlantic Politics and Culture between the World Wars by Brooke L. Blower