Tuesday, March 28, 2023

"Fractured Fifties"

New from Oxford University Press: Fractured Fifties: The Cinematic Periodization and Evolution of a Decade by Christine Sprengler.

About the book, from the publisher:

The 1950s as a cultural concept has surged with astonishing force over the last half century. Cultural and political investment in the postwar era has been heavily determined by the desires, anxieties, ideologies, and technologies of the contexts in which they surface. In this book author Christine Sprengler explores how contextualizing factors shaped the 1950s in different ways, and how cinematic representations spearheaded, challenged, or intervened in our cultural memories of the era.

Fractured Fifties: The Cinematic Periodization and Evolution of a Decade presents a two-pronged argument— that cinema helped define the 1950s by contributing in considerable and meaningful ways to the process of periodization and subsequently a common conception of the decade, and that cinema itself has fractured our understanding of the 1950s. Fractured Fifties challenges a reductive and fairly cohesive set of tropes with a complex amalgam of representations that also intervene in debates about historiography, historicity, cultural memory, mediation, nostalgia, and periodization. Ultimately, Sprengler posits that cinema has complicated our sense of the 1950s, yielding in the process a series of 1950s types or kinds, (e.g., The Leave it to Beaver Fifties, The Jukebox Fifties, and The Cold War Fifties, The Retromediated Fifties) as well as a wealth of critical insights into myriad pasts, presents, and the evolving relationships between them.
--Marshal Zeringue