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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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Radio Soaps, Broadway Lights

Radio Soaps, Broadway Lights

Lillian Hellman, Shirley Graham, and the Interpellation of Female Audiences

(p.37) Chapter Two Radio Soaps, Broadway Lights
Realism for the Masses

Vials Chris

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter focuses on Eleanor Roosevelt and how she became the most visible woman in the United States during the 1930s. Roosevelt worked for the full participation and recognition of women in public life, and also pushed this goal for her black sisters. Less known is how she ascribed to literature and the significant role played by the performance stage in this struggle. Roosevelt’s status as an ally of the civil rights movement is often brought to mind, but her politics here was also informed by the larger structure of feeling created by the Popular Front, in which issues of race were fundamental to the new moral economy many liberals and leftists advocated. Roosevelt saw left-wing theater as germane to the issues of exclusion for which she fought and turned to literature for advice on political and ethical dilemmas.

Keywords:   literature, Eleanor Roosevelt, performance stage, civil rights movement, Popular Front, new moral economy

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