chapter  11
19 Pages

Post/Modem Documentary: Orwell, Agee and the New Reportage

Documentary, one of the thirties' most characteristic and international practices, underwent its own peculiar crisis of transition from modernity to incipient postmodernism during the period. This was reached in the British context through Orwell's 'new reportage' such as The Road to Wigan Pier and, ultimately, in Homage to Catalonia's self-conscious engagement with propaganda, the mediation of fact and the fabrication of history. However, although there are many scattered insights and hints in his writings, Orwell, temperamentally resistant to systematic theorisation, never mustered a fullyarticulated critique of his own discourse's representational techniques. This was arguably achieved in the American context by James Agee's deconstruction of the documentary aesthetic of the New Deal in Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.