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By Robert Genter

In the thirty years after global warfare II, American highbrow and inventive existence replaced as dramatically as did the remainder of society. long gone have been the rebellious lions of modernism—Joyce, Picasso, Stravinsky—and nearing exhaustion have been those that took up their mantle as summary expressionism gave option to pop artwork, and the barren formalism linked to the so-called excessive modernists wilted prior to the hothouse cultural brew of the Nineteen Sixties. in response to traditional considering, it used to be round this time that postmodernism with its attribute skepticism and relativism was once born.

In Late Modernism, historian Robert Genter remaps the panorama of yank modernism within the early many years of the chilly battle, tracing the combative debate between artists, writers, and intellectuals over the character of the cultured shape in an age of mass politics and mass tradition. meting out with conventional narratives that current this second as marking the exhaustion of modernism, Genter argues in its place that the Fifties have been the apogee of the move, as American practitioners—abstract expressionists, Beat poets, formalist critics, color-field painters, and important theorists, between others—debated the connection among shape and content material, culture and innovation, aesthetics and politics. during this compelling paintings of highbrow and cultural heritage Genter provides an invigorated culture of overdue modernism, established at the paintings of Kenneth Burke, Ralph Ellison, C. Wright turbines, David Riesman, Jasper Johns, Norman Brown, and James Baldwin, a practice that overcame the conservative and reactionary politics of competing modernist practitioners and lead the way for the postmodern flip of the 1960s.

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58 In a world governed by the exchange principle, the sheer uselessness of the modernist work revealed its contradictory position in society. High modernists appropriated Kant’s defense of the aesthetic work as a cognitively nonsubsumable object as a way to challenge the perceived encroachment of scientific discourse into everyday life. To counteract the ruthless domination of the particulars of life by the categorical claims of science, high modernists promoted the disinterested, purposeless, and humble reception of art.

Sarcasm aside, Rockwell’s commentary reflected the astounding success high modernism achieved in the 1940s and 1950s. Several legendary moments marked the ascendancy of high modernism. 76 In 1949, William Faulkner, praised for his insights into the psychological landscape of the human mind, was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature, helping to advance the reputation of the aging modernist writer. Similarly, despite considerable debate because of his political leanings, Ezra Pound won the Bollingen Prize in poetry that same year.

Robert Oppenheimer, James Conant, and James Killian. Despite their continuing rancor toward military officials over security regulations, postwar scientists received an inordinate amount of respect. Indeed, because they represented “the leaders of mankind’s greatest inquiry into the mysteries of matter, of the earth, the universe, and of life itself,” Time magazine named “fifteen scientists” including I. I. 13 At the moment when science was “at the apogee of its power for good or evil,” everyone in the United States including “statesmen and savants, builders and even priests” had become, according to the editors at Time, the “servants” of the modern scientist.

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