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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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The Popular Front in the American Century

The Popular Front in the American Century

Life Magazine, Margaret Bourke-White, and Partisan Objectivity

(p.149) Chapter Five The Popular Front in the American Century
Realism for the Masses

Vials Chris

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter describes Henry Luce’s call for American leadership. This involved a constantly shifting vision of American global citizenship that did not stop at U.S. borders. The parameters of this political project within Time Inc. is outlined here by focusing on Life, from its founding up until the entrance of the U.S. into the Second World War. The magazine’s practically uncontested status as a source of visual news in its early days, its innovative uses of photography, and its massive diffusion within the upper and middle classes, placed it in a unique position to transform modes of vision within the more privileged sectors of the United States. The representational strategies by which this mass magazine tried to forge the class, national, and consumer consciousness of its “people” is investigated here, as well as the explicit politics it yoked to its new way of seeing.

Keywords:   political project, Henry Luce, American leadership, American global citizenship, representational strategies

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