The Pull of Politics: Steinbeck, Wright, Hemingway, and the Left in the Late 1930s
Examination of the three authors’ engagement with leftist politics, culminating in the publication of their major novels, The Grapes of Wrath (1939), Native Son (1940), and For Whom the Bell Tolls. Cohen studies their political development independently and in conjunction, beginning with their initial attraction to the Left and closing with their eventual break from it. Traces Hemingway’s gradual shift toward political themes starting with his 1935 article, “Who Murdered the Vets?,” followed by To Have and Have Not. Cohen also examines Hemingway’s complex and sometimes contradictory views of the Left demonstrated in his journalism, film, fiction, and drama of the Spanish Civil War. Devotes considerable attention to For Whom the Bell Tolls. Cohen’s exploration of the lives and works of these three disparate authors shows the Left’s diverse appeal by the mid-1930s in the fight against oppression as well as the central issues dividing the movement by the end of the decade. Includes endnotes and index.