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Studies in Mobilities, Literature, and Culture

The American Roadside in Émigré Literature, Film, and Photography

1955–1985

Authors: Court, Elsa

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  • Draws on literature, film, and photography
  • Highlights a selection of iconic texts to reassess the road trip narrative
  • Complicates the discussion on marginality and dislocation in the mid-to-late twentieth century
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Buy this book

eBook $64.99
price for USA in USD (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-36733-6
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $84.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-030-36732-9
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

The American Roadside in Émigré Literature, Film, and Photography: 1955–1985 traces the origin of a postmodern iconography of mobile consumption equating roadside America with an authentic experience of the United States through the postwar road narrative, a narrative which, Elsa Court argues, has been shaped by and through white male émigré narratives of the American road, in both literature and visual culture. While stressing that these narratives are limited in their understanding of the processes of exclusion and unequal flux in experiences of modern automobility, the book works through four case studies in the American works of European-born authors Vladimir Nabokov, Robert Frank, Alfred Hitchcock, and Wim Wenders to unveil an early phenomenology of the postwar American highway, one that anticipates the works of late-twentieth-century spatial theorists Jean Baudrillard, Michel Foucault, and Marc Augé and sketches a postmodern aesthetic of western mobility and consumption that has become synonymous with contemporary America.


About the authors

Elsa Court teaches American Literature at Queen Mary University of London, UK. She has previously taught courses on contemporary French culture at the University of Oxford and her work has appeared in Granta, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and the Financial Times, among others.


Reviews

“The book draws convincing parallels between important cultural shifts in postwar America—such as the rise of mass culture and the interstate highway system—and the literature, film, painting, and photography produced by émigré artists of the period. One especially vivid contribution to the field comes in the book’s attention to the ways that the images of the American roadside transmute as they are adapted between media.” 

Sunny Stalter-Pace, Associate Professor of English, Auburn University, USA

 

“This important new book traces the emergence of the American roadside as an important cultural space in the post-war literature, fiction, and photography of notable European émigrés. Building on a broad range of debates in literary studies, mobility studies, and cultural theory, this book provides a major contribution to the study of mobility and place in the humanities”

Peter Merriman, Professor in Human Geography, Aberystwyth University, Wales


“Elsa Court’s The American Roadside in Émigré Literature, Film, and Photography: 1955-1985 is a welcome contribution to the study of American mobility in the postwar era from a transatlantic perspective. Its merits lie in its interdisciplinarity (it offers separate chapters on Nabokov, Frank, Hitchcock, and Wenders) and in its lucid engagement with European theorists of the late-twentieth century, which puts pressure on certain accepted notions of emptiness and non-placeless.” 

Monica Manolescu, Associate Professor of English at the University of Strasbourg, France, and author of Cartographies of New York and Other Postwar American Cities (2018)

Table of contents (6 chapters)

Table of contents (6 chapters)
  • Introduction: By the Way—The Roadside as Other Space

    Pages 1-22

    Court, Elsa

  • “Stationary Trivialities”: Life on the Margins in Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita (1955)

    Pages 23-64

    Court, Elsa

  • “Roadside Eye”: Accidents and Epiphanies in Robert Frank’s The Americans (1958)

    Pages 65-103

    Court, Elsa

  • “We’re All in Our Private Traps”: Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) and the Decline of the American Motel

    Pages 105-142

    Court, Elsa

  • Roadside Chronicles: Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas (1984)

    Pages 143-178

    Court, Elsa

Buy this book

eBook $64.99
price for USA in USD (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-36733-6
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $84.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-030-36732-9
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
The American Roadside in Émigré Literature, Film, and Photography
Book Subtitle
1955–1985
Authors
Series Title
Studies in Mobilities, Literature, and Culture
Copyright
2020
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-36733-6
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-36733-6
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-030-36732-9
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XII, 193
Number of Illustrations
11 b/w illustrations, 5 illustrations in colour
Topics