Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of English

Content Description

1 online resource (iv, 240 pages) : PDF file, illustrations

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Charles Shepherdson

Committee Members

Dan O'Hara, Edward Schwarzschild


Cold War, Foucault, Steinbeck, Virilio, War, Politics and war, War and society, War and literature

Subject Categories

American Literature | American Studies


In The Cultural and Literary Discourse of War in 2oth-century America, war is re-examined and re-historicized from an American perspective. First, war is contextualized in relation to urban studies, anthropology and literature. The dominant model, war is an extension of politics, for the analysis of war is decentered, and politics becomes the extension of war. In respect to America since the Revolutionary War, the nation is literally birthed from war, and the nation becomes an extension of that war. The perpetual re-writing of that war is seen through the discourses of history, politics, and literature. Therefore, the Cold War can be viewed not as a unique cultural phenomenon but instead as a visible symptom of war discourse always operating in the daily lives of citizens. American literature in the 20th century shows this through civil conflicts among its fellow Americans, and the discourse of war is employed to narrate non-war conflicts within national borders. Novels such as Dos Passos' USA Trilogy, Reed's Mumbo Jumbo, and Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath reveal war's discourse in what are typically considered non-war novels.