Ambiguous Borderlands: Shadow Imagery in Cold War American by Erik Mortenson

By Erik Mortenson

The photograph of the shadow in mid-twentieth-century the US seemed throughout a number of genres and media together with poetry, pulp fiction, images, and picture. Drawing on an in depth framework that levels from chilly struggle cultural histories to theorizations of psychoanalysis and the Gothic, Erik Mortenson argues that shadow imagery in Nineteen Fifties and Nineteen Sixties American tradition not just mirrored the nervousness and ambiguity of the days but in addition provided an ingenious area for artists to problem the binary rhetoric linked to the chilly War.


After contextualizing the postwar use of shadow imagery within the wake of the atomic bomb, Ambiguous Borderlands looks at shadows in print works, detailing the reemergence of the pulp fiction crime fighter the Shadow within the late-1950s writings of Sylvia Plath, Amiri Baraka, and Jack Kerouac. utilizing Freudian and Jungian conceptions of the subconscious, Mortenson then discusses Kerouac’s and Allen Ginsberg’s shared dream of a “shrouded stranger” and the way it formed their Beat aesthetic. Turning to the visible, Mortenson examines the dehumanizing impact of shadow imagery within the chilly struggle images of Robert Frank, William Klein, and Ralph Eugene Meatyard.  Mortenson concludes with an research of using chiaroscuro in Nineteen Fifties movie noir and the preferred tv series The Twilight Zone, extra detailing how the complexities of chilly warfare society have been reflected throughout those media within the ubiquitous imagery of sunshine and dark.


From comics to video clips, Beats to bombs, Ambiguous Borderlands provides a singular figuring out of the chilly struggle cultural context via its research of a dead ringer for the shadow in midcentury media. Its interdisciplinary process, formidable subject material, and various theoretical framing make it crucial examining for somebody attracted to American literary and pop culture through the fifties and sixties.

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