Kristin Matthews, Professor of English at Brigham Young University, will present from her book “Reading America: Citizenship, Democracy, and Cold War Literature.” She examines how literature and reading practices reflected cold war paranoia. The desire to defeat Communism prompted a particular brand of “Americanism” at home. Politicians, educators, cultural critics, and writers linked the activity of reading with being a “good American.” Matthews situates the fiction of J. D. Salinger, Ralph Ellison, Thomas Pynchon, John Barth, and Maxine Hong Kingston within these debates, illustrating how Cold War literature was a vested participant in postwar efforts to define good reading and citizenship.
This event is organized by Books & Bridges — a community institute of ideas and conversation. Our mission is to facilitate discussion on the best of human thought. We explore the wisdoms of the world and apply them to modern life. We have no political, religious or ideological affiliation. In a society divided by uncivil discourse, the beauty of the humanities—novels, history, philosophy, poetry, ethics and epics—lifts us to our better angels. In our busy world we need space for friends and fellow learners to do a little more heart-to-heart and mind-to-mind.