Contested Terrain

Suburban Fiction and U.S. Regionalism, 1945-2020

Wilhite Keith Wilhite

ca. 115,32
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Geisteswissenschaften, Kunst, Musik / Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft


Contested Terrain explores suburban literature between two moments of domestic crisis: the housing shortage that gave rise to the modern era of suburbanization after World War II, and the mortgage defaults and housing foreclosures that precipitated the Great Recession. Moving away from scholarship that highlights the alienating, placeless quality of suburbia, Wilhite argues that we should reimagine suburban literature as part of a long literary tradition of U.S. regional writing that connects the isolation and exclusivity of the domestic realm to the expansionist ideologies of U.S. nationalism and the environmental imperialism of urban sprawl. Wilhite produces new, unexpected readings of works by Sinclair Lewis, Lorraine Hansberry, Richard Yates, Patricia Highsmith, Don DeLillo, Jonathan Franzen, Jeffrey Eugenides, Chang-rae Lee, Richard Ford, Jung Yun, and Patrick Flanery. Contested Terrain demonstrates how postwar suburban nation-building ushered in an informal geography that recalibrated notions of national identity, democratic citizenship, and domestic security to the scale of the single-family home.