By Morris Dickstein
624 pages; Norton
People thought it would never end, that harsh time after the market crashed and the American Dream took a nosedive. What got them through the Great Depression of the 1930s was, to a large extent, the gift of literature, music, and art, works that spoke to the corrosive anxiety, but also to the need to laugh and (sometimes literally) move on. Dancing in the Dark , by cultural critic Morris Dickstein, brings together screwball comedy and The Grapes of Wrath , Walker Evans and Fred Astaire, in a grand tour of an era that "was less about the cut of your tie and tails than about the cut of your feelings."
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