Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Thesis Abstract

I just thought I would post my thesis abstract up here because, well I made one, and it's due in three weeks I think, and I don't feel like writing something new. So here it is in all of its glory (not really):

Une Nouvelle Littérature Américaine:

French Readings of American Literature in the Interwar Years

Between the early 1920s and the mid-1930s, articles appeared in French journals heralding the arrival of a new American literature. Written by prominent French intellectuals, these commentaries almost uniformly concluded that certain works of the American realist school of literature by authors including Willa Cather, Theodore Dreiser, John Dos Passos, and Sinclair Lewis, provided a window into the soul of American life. They simultaneously insisted that American culture was on a decline because of its captivity to mass preferences. As a result, these French intellectuals concluded that many of the best American authors expatriated to Europe where they could take advantage of an atmosphere of individualism of which they were deprived living in the United States. Such analysis evoked—whether inadvertently or not—dissatisfaction among French intellectuals over their political relations with America and worry about its seemingly unmitigated postwar industrial expansion and financial hegemony. At the same time, a number of books on the subject of Franco-American relations which expressed the same concerns over American prosperity and greed, Puritanism, philistinism, and conformity, were published. The French intellectual commentary on American literature fit right into this larger dialogue. In identifying American literature’s pessimism about the country’s future, interpreting the novels as a true representation of American life, and linking the creation of American literature to the setting of France and French literary traditions, French engagement with American literature reflected an effort to assert France’s cultural dominance at a time of growing anxiety over American political and economic dominance.

The thing is, I don't think I've figured out anything new, except maybe incorporating the French American literature into the larger Franco-American relationship of the interwar years. Oh well, it's been a good experience.

1 comment:

Elva Inniss said...

After reading this, I bet your whole paper was amazing! So, what happened to it? Did you successfully defended it? I think thesis abstract is the core of any paper because it has all the information you need to know what you are reading. Anyway, this would certainly help a lot of people.