Summer reading: Workshops of Empire

I read Eric Bennet's article, "How Iowa Flattened Literature," in the Chronicle Review a few years ago and was very excited for this book. His basic argument is that Cold War pressures, and especially the need to fight against socialist realism, deeply influenced the development of American creative writing programs in the 1940s and 1950s. A lot of the techniques that the literary cognoscenti associate with "good" writing today are really artifacts of the anti-communist politics of the Cold War.  It's a fascinating argument, and it helps me understand why much American creative writing tends to hyper-focus on the individual and the sensory experience of the world and eschews politics, philosophy, and ideas.

Workshops of Empire.JPG