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Resources: Abstracts of American Studies Dissertations

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Battenfeld, Mary. "Writing on a Battlefield: Women and Documentary Discourse in the 1930's," American Studies, University of Maryland, College Park, 1990. Advisor: Hasia R. Diner (22, 12, 2)

This study explores the thematic and aesthetic congruences in the work of the painter Thomas Hart Benton and the novelist John Steinbeck in the 1930s. Both enjoyed popular appeal because their representations of the American experience relied on familiar American scenes and stereotypical images of ordinary people. The accessibility of their work was further enhanced by the use of documentary techniques and formal elements derived from popular culture and the mass media. A comparative examination of their work increases our understanding of the most fundamental aspects of popular culture in the 1930s, aspects that transcended the confines of any one art.