hig.sePublications
Change search
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard-cite-them-right
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • sv-SE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • de-DE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
Two Fictionalizations of American Populism: Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward (1888) and Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here (1935)
University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Humanities, English.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7237-3138
2019 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper discusses two best-selling fictional novels published at key moments in the history of American populism. The first one, Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward 2000-1887, is a famous utopia and protest novel that helped crystalize the populist movement and exerted influence on the political agenda and organization of the People’s Party in the early 1890s. The other, It Can’t Happen Here, is a realist dystopia written by Nobel Prize laureate Sinclair Lewis in 1935, in an epoch marked by the successes and failures of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal and the rise of fascism and communism in the United States and abroad. It was also the time when the populist label had been extended to a special kind of left-wing political profile, one centered on the charismatic leader whose discourse and policies were tainted by demagoguery and authoritarianism. Huey P. Long, the colorful political boss from Louisiana, and Father Charles Coughlin, a Roman Catholic priest turned radio star from Detroit who spoke admiringly of Hitler and Mussolini, are prime examples of that species. Reading these two novels and reflecting over their relationship with populism may shed light on the transformation of the perception of American populism in its first fifty years of existence, from a progressive reform movement to an anti-democratic movement fueled by irrational resentments. In addition, approaching the history of American populism though these novels enables one to focus less on the “supply” side of populist politics (i.e. the populist leader and the populist party), as most analysts and commentators of populism do, and more on the “demand” side of it (i.e. the people/voters’ perception of and need for populist politics and politicians). Out of the many and often contradictory definitions of populism in political science, one will be selected, argued for and used throughout the essay.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
National Category
Specific Literatures
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-31350OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-31350DiVA, id: diva2:1381415
Conference
Populism, demokrati och humaniora, Högskolan i Gävle, 14-15 November 2019
Available from: 2019-12-20 Created: 2019-12-20 Last updated: 2020-01-07Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text in DiVA

Authority records BETA

Cananau, Iulian

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Cananau, Iulian
By organisation
English
Specific Literatures

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar

urn-nbn

Altmetric score

urn-nbn
Total: 15 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard-cite-them-right
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • sv-SE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • de-DE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf