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Intellectuals Incorporated
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Intellectuals Incorporated
Politics, Art, and Ideas Inside Henry Luce's Media Empire

Robert Vanderlan

392 pages | 6 x 9 | 15 illus.
Cloth 2010 | ISBN 9780812242713 | $55.00s | Outside the Americas £44.00
Ebook editions are available from selected online vendors
A volume in the series Politics and Culture in Modern America
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"For a while [Henry Luce's] stable at Fortune included Dwight MacDonald, Archibald MacLeish, James Agee, and Walker Evans. . . . Their struggles with Luce and with one another are deftly evoked by Robert Vanderlan in Intellectuals Incorporated."—Jackson Lears, New Republic

"Intellectuals Incorporated is a bracing contribution to American intellectual history. It is full of well-drawn biographical portraits, and through them Vanderlan analyzes a dynamic whereby intellectuals transform and are transformed by the world around them. The book reveals the complexity of this process, and Vanderlan writes about multiple paradoxes with originality and insight."—Michael Kimmage, New Republic

Publishing tycoon Henry Luce famously championed many conservative causes, and his views as a capitalist and cold warrior were reflected in his glossy publications. Republican Luce aimed squarely for the Middle American masses, yet his magazines attracted intellectually and politically ambitious minds who were moved by the democratic aspirations of the New Deal and the left. Much of the best work of intellectuals such as James Agee, Archibald MacLeish, Daniel Bell, John Hersey, and Walker Evans owes a great debt to their experiences writing for Luce and his publications.

Intellectuals Incorporated tells the story of the serious writers and artists who worked for Henry Luce and his magazines Time, Fortune, and Life between 1923 and 1960, the period when the relationship between intellectuals, the culture industry, and corporate capitalism assumed its modern form. Countering the notions that working for corporations means selling out and that the true life of the mind must be free from institutional ties, historian Robert Vanderlan explains how being embedded in the corporate culture industries was vital to the creative efforts of mid-century thinkers. Illuminating their struggles through careful research and biographical vignettes, Vanderlan shows how their contributions to literary journalism and the wider political culture would have been impossible outside Luce's media empire. By paying attention to how these writers and photographers balanced intellectual aspiration with journalistic perspiration, Intellectuals Incorporated advances the idea of the intellectual as a connected public figure who can engage and criticize organizations from within.

Robert Vanderlan teaches American history at Cornell University.

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