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 PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, LITERATURE (literature.oxfordre.com). (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2016. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 26 April 2018

Summary and Keywords

For almost four decades, from 1936 to 1972, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, J. Edgar Hoover, fueled by intense paranoia and fear, hounded and relentlessly pursued a variety of American writers and publishers in a staunch effort to control the dissemination of literature that he thought threatened the American way of life. In fact, beginning as early as the Red Scare of 1919, he managed to control literary modernism by bullying and harassing writers and artists at a time when the movement was spreading quickly in the hands of an especially young, vibrant collection of international writers, editors, and publishers. He, his special agents in charge, and their field agents worked to manipulate the relationship between state power and modern literature, thereby “federalizing,” to a point, political surveillance. There still seems to be a resurgence of brute state force that is omnipresent and going through all matters and aspects of our private lives. We are constantly under surveillance, tracked, and monitored when engaged in even the most mundane activities. The only way to counter our omnipresent state surveillance is to monitor the monitors themselves.

Keywords: surveillance, data tracking, mediatized living, privacy, J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI, Henry Holt & Co., literature and peace, policing for peace

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