By Jonathan Veitch
Nathanael West has been hailed as “an apocalyptic writer,” “a author on the left,” and “a precursor to postmodernism.” yet before no critic has succeeded in totally attractive West’s unique approach to negation. In American Superrealism, Jonathan Veitch examines West’s letters, brief tales, screenplays and novels—some of that are mentioned the following for the 1st time—as good as West’s collaboration with William Carlos Williams in the course of their tenure because the editors of touch. finding West in a full of life, American avant-garde culture that stretches from Marcel Duchamp to Andy Warhol, Veitch explores the chances and barriers of dada and surrealism—the use of readymades, scatalogical humor, human machines, “exquisite corpses”—as modes of social feedback. American Superrealism deals what's without doubt the definitive examine of West, in addition to a provocative research that unearths the difficulty of illustration because the valuable drawback of Depression-era America.
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Additional info for American Superrealism: Nathanael West and the Politics of Representation in the 1930s
8 None of this criticism would come as a surprise to West. He has, in fact, already anticipated his critics: "Stark, clever, disillusioned stuff" (32), observes one of the characters in the novella. " wonders another. Or better yet: "I'd give [him] a B minus and a good spanking" (23). Whether one ultimately decides on applause or a good spanking, there is little doubt that the architecture of West's imagination emerges in toto here. In fact, Balsa Snell constitutes a virtual breviary of images, interests, and techniques that West will go on to develop in the work to follow.
It would be more profitable for the farmer to raise rats for the granary than for the bourgeois to nourish the artist," Chekhov once defiantly observed. 6 But in "The Fake," the bourgeois nourishes the artist from his ample granary without fear of reprisal. It is an arrangement that turns out to be "profitable" for both parties. The "rebellion" of the artist is thus patronized in every sense of the word, while the "outrage" of the bourgeoisie serves as a source of entertainment, a relief from ennui.
Athenaeum in 1931, that the subversive canvases of De Chirico, Ernst, 11asson, and Picasso were displayed together for the first time under the title Newer Super-Realism. The term remained in circulation for a while during the early thirties before becoming subsumed in its French variant. 2 Superrealism has other descriptive advantages as well. While both sur and super can be used almost interchangeably to mean "on," "upon," "over," the latter has assumed a special place in the American lexicon that speaks to the country's preoccupation with size, speed, and quantity-as in supermarket, superhighway, superpower, Superman.