American Literature: Contemporary 1945-present

A.Historical Context

  • Media saturated culture: people observe life as media presents it rather than experiencing life directly
  • Insistence that values are not permanent but only ”local” or ”historical”; media culture interprets values
  • Post WWII prosperity
  • People beginning a new century and new millennium
  • Social protest
  • USA – leader of the Western world, consolidates its position as the most powerful economy


  • Lines of reality blurred; mix of fantasy and non-fiction
  • No heroes, anti-heroes
  • Concern with individual in isolation
  • Detached, unemotional, usually humorless
  • Emergence of ethnic and women writers

 C.Major Writers

  • Kurt Vonnegut
  • Thomas Pynchon

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