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Radio's AmericaThe Great Depression and the Rise of Modern Mass Culture$
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Bruce Lenthall

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780226471914

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226471938.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 04 August 2021

Radio's Writers

Radio's Writers

A Public Voice in the Modern World

(p.175) 6 Radio's Writers
Radio's America
University of Chicago Press

This chapter investigates a group of writer-directors who came to believe that in the modern world, authentic communication had to reach a mass audience. Radio makes art a social force and the artist's voice relevant. In the late 1930s, many writers found in radio the opportunity to undertake a new and ambitious project. Archibald MacLeish was hardly the only writer concerned about the place of art and the artist's voice in the American society of the Depression era. Art for the public and art that took on public issues did not have to go hand in hand. In radio, writers found an ideal vehicle for their efforts to weigh varied perspectives. Politically minded, artistically ambitious writers like Norman Corwin and Arch Oboler could not express themselves fully on air. In the 1930s, the limits a mass-produced culture imposed upon artistic and political speech were real and, at times, very stark.

Keywords:   radio, writer, Archibald MacLeish, American society, Norman Corwin, Arch Oboler, communication, mass audience

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