chapter  10
Radical Reassessments
Pages 48

The plea for cultural nationalism made by Archibald MacLeish, William Carlos Williams and Hart Crane asserted yet once again the value, the necessity, of an art nourished in native soil. Literature exists to write an ever-changing world into comprehensible existence, then the world faced by MacLeish in 1930 posed a unique challenge. The serious dialectic of the 1930s demanded extensive reassessment of every aspect of the national life. From a literary perspective, the answers offered by the New Left and the Southern Fugitive-Agrarians emerged for artistic future of the country. The Europe that journeyed westward during these decades was less normative model of earlier provincial years, more one source among many of constructs and vocabulary for grasping and expressing an "American Century". The social conditions of 1930s led other American writers back toward naturalism and its concern with social determination, victimization and the radical expression of the values and circumstances of those who came from the underside of the culture.