The Origins Of Cool In Postwar America

Hardcover | May 22, 2017

byJoel Dinerstein

not yet rated|write a review
Cool. It was a new word and a new way to be, and in a single generation, it became the supreme compliment of American culture. The Origins of Cool in Postwar America uncovers the hidden history of this concept and its new set of codes that came to define a global attitude and style. As Joel Dinerstein reveals in this dynamic book, cool began as a stylish defiance of racism, a challenge to suppressed sexuality, a philosophy of individual rebellion, and a youthful search for social change.

Through eye-opening portraits of iconic figures, Dinerstein illuminates the cultural connections and artistic innovations among Lester Young, Humphrey Bogart, Robert Mitchum, Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, Jack Kerouac, Albert Camus, Marlon Brando, and James Dean, among others. We eavesdrop on conversations among John-Paul Sartre, Simone De Beauvoir, and Miles Davis, and on a forgotten debate between Lorraine Hansberry and Norman Mailer over the "white negro" and Black cool. We come to understand how the cool worlds of Beat writers and Method actors emerged from the intersections of film noir, jazz, and existentialism. Out of this mix, Dinerstein sketches nuanced definitions of cool that unite concepts from African-American and Euro-American culture: the stylish stoicism of the ethical rebel loner; the relaxed intensity of the improvising jazz musician; the effortless, physical grace of the Method actor. To be cool is not to be hip and to be hot is definitely not to be cool.

This is the first work to trace the history of cool during the Cold War by exploring the intersections of film noir, jazz, existential literature, Method acting, blues, and rock-and-roll. Dinerstein reveals that they came together to create something completely new—and that something is cool.
 

Pricing and Purchase Info

$52.00

Pre-order online
Ships free on orders over $25

From the Publisher

Cool. It was a new word and a new way to be, and in a single generation, it became the supreme compliment of American culture. The Origins of Cool in Postwar America uncovers the hidden history of this concept and its new set of codes that came to define a global attitude and style. As Joel Dinerstein reveals in this dynamic book, cool...

Joel Dinerstein was the curator of American Cool, an acclaimed exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, and the author of its accompanying catalog. He is also the author of Swinging the Machine: Modernity, Technology, and African-American Culture and Coach: A History of New York Cool. He is an associate professor of Engl...

other books by Joel Dinerstein

Coach: A Story Of New York Cool
Coach: A Story Of New York Cool

Paperback|Oct 4 2016

$88.53 online$100.00list price(save 11%)
The Cultural Career of Coolness: Discourses and Practices of Affect Control in European Antiquity…
The Cultural Career of Coolness: Discourses and Practic...

Kobo ebook|Oct 10 2013

$103.99 online$134.99list price(save 22%)
American Cool
American Cool

Hardcover|Jan 24 2014

$54.95

see all books by Joel Dinerstein
Format:HardcoverDimensions:352 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:May 22, 2017Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226152650

ISBN - 13:9780226152653

Look for similar items by category:

Customer Reviews of The Origins Of Cool In Postwar America

Reviews

Extra Content

Table of Contents

Prelude: Paris, 1949
Introduction: The Origins of Cool
1 Lester Young and the Birth of Cool
2 Humphrey Bogart and the Birth of Noir Cool from the Great Depression
3 Albert Camus and the Birth of Existential Cool from the Idea of Rebellion (and the Blues)
4 Billie Holiday and Simone de Beauvoir: Toward a Postwar Cool for Women
5 Cool Convergences, 1950: Jazz, Noir, Existentialism
A Generational Interlude: Postwar II (1953–1963) and the Shift in Cool
6 Kerouac and the Cool Mind: Jazz and Zen
7 From Noir Cool to Vegas Cool: Swinging into Prosperity with Frank Sinatra
8 American Rebel Cool: Brando, Dean, Elvis
9 Sonny Rollins and Miles Davis Sound out Cool Individuality
10 Hip versus Cool in The Fugitive Kind (1960) and Paris Blues (1962)
11 Lorraine Hansberry and the End of Postwar Cool
Epilogue: The Many Lives of Postwar Cool
Acknowledgments
Notes
Index

Editorial Reviews

“Dinerstein has written a thoughtful and entertaining account of cool—the most powerful image of how one should be since the English Gentleman dominated the world. It's a history, a handbook, and a manual, filled with fascinating accounts of those stellar individuals whose aggressively haughty, patrician coldness was rooted in hip opposition and revolt.”