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
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.
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