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Realism for the MassesAesthetics, Popular Front Pluralism, and U.S. Culture, 1935-1947$
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Chris Vials

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9781604731231

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781604731231.001.0001

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Taking Down the Great White Hope

Taking Down the Great White Hope

The Popular Front Boxing Narrative

(p.2) (p.3) Chapter One Taking Down the Great White Hope
Realism for the Masses

Vials Chris

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter explores the class, racial, and gender politics of white ethnic, Popular Front subjectivity through an investigation of the realist boxing narrative. Of immediate interest is the extent to which several of the key oppositional writers who used this narrative avoided what David Roediger calls “the public and psychological wage” of whiteness when shedding narrow ethnic affiliations in the name of class consciousness. Algren, Odets, Rossen, and Polonsky largely resist the lure of whiteness that would tarnish many of texts of the “ethnic revival” later in the postwar period. For many, ethnically marked European Americans who formed the largest constituency of the Popular Front in Northern cities, the assault on white supremacy was not simple altruism.

Keywords:   gender politics, Popular Front subjectivity, realist boxing narrative, oppositional writers, David Roediger, ethnic revival

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