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Tang and Tone

Stephen Fender: The Federal Writer’s Project’s American epic, 18 March 2004

Portrait of America: A Cultural History of the Federal Writers’ Project 
by Jerrold Hirsch.
North Carolina, 293 pp., £16.50, November 2003, 0 8078 5489 1
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... and customs of the people the underlying strength and unity of a divided and demoralised country. Jerrold Hirsch, in his history of the FWP, traces this back to Emerson and Whitman, for whom the commonplace and the vernacular formed the source of a distinctive American aesthetic opposed to those ‘courtly muses of Europe’. Benjamin Botkin, the FWP’s ...

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