Archives of Authority: Empire, Culture, and the Cold War
Andrew N. Rubin
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Combining literary, cultural, and political history, and based on extensive archival research, including previously unseen FBI and CIA documents, Archives of Authority argues that cultural politics--specifically America's often covert patronage of the arts--played a highly important role in the transfer of imperial authority from Britain to the United States during a critical period after World War II. Andrew Rubin argues that this transfer reshaped the postwar literary space and he shows how, during this time, new and efficient modes of cultural transmission, replication, and travel--such as radio and rapidly and globally circulated journals--completely transformed the position occupied by the postwar writer and the role of world literature.
Rubin demonstrates that the nearly instantaneous translation of texts by George Orwell, Thomas Mann, W. H. Auden, Richard Wright, Mary McCarthy, and Albert Camus, among others, into interrelated journals that were sponsored by organizations such as the CIA's Congress for Cultural Freedom and circulated around the world effectively reshaped writers, critics, and intellectuals into easily recognizable, transnational figures. Their work formed a new canon of world literature that was celebrated in the United States and supposedly represented the best of contemporary thought, while less politically attractive authors were ignored or even demonized. This championing and demonizing of writers occurred in the name of anti-Communism--the new, transatlantic "civilizing mission" through which postwar cultural and literary authority emerged.
lest its function be compromised.44 Its mission was to assert and project Britain's power abroad—along the lines of the British Council. In a memo from 1949 that discussed how to advance the nation's authority around the world, the British foreign minister Ernest Bevin observed, “We cannot hope successfully to repel Communism only by disparaging it on material grounds. [We must] add a positive appeal to Christian and Democratic principles, remembering the strength of Christian sentiment in
Williams (1921–88) and not E. P. Thompson (1924–93) suggested something of the magazine's rarity. Yet there were distinct differences between the two. Williams wrote in a very different kind of political register. Furthermore, Williams, at the time, was still writing within the orbit of Leavis, whereas Thompson, who remained in the Communist Party until 1956, started the New Reasoner with John Saville in the aftermath of the Soviet Union's invasion of Hungary.37 What was critical about the power
of phenomenon, from the outside, as it were in order to be able to assert one's own superiority to them serves merely to gratify one's own intellectual narcissism and is therefore open to abuse from the outset. Resisting the temptation is surely among the primary requirements of the discipline of dialectics, one that cannot be over emphasized. We feel we are better than the swindle that has been foisted on to us. We cannot allow this to be the end of the story, and this is what is implied in the
Philosophical Discourse of Modernity. Trans. Frederick G. Lawrence. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1987. ———. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society. Trans. Thomas Burger. Cambridge, MA: M.I.T Press, 1991. Hafetz, Jonathan. “Secret Evidence and the Courts in the Age of National Security: Habeas Corpus, Judicial Review, and Limits of Secrecy in Detentions at Guantanamo.” Cardozo Public Law, Policy, and Ethics Journal (Fall 2006): 127–69.
confession, and discourse of ex-communism Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF): artistic and cultural practices advanced by; attitudes reinforced by; CIA's funding of; consecrating powers of; dissent marginalized by; divide between aesthetics and politics sanctioned by; dominant mode of Weltliteratur occupied by; emergence of; and humanism; mobilization of public writers by; modes of articulation of; restriction of discourse by; sources of funding concealed by; tactics of subjugation of;