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Diane Publishing Books
Lincoln’s Smile and Other Enigmas
Alan Trachtenberg (au)
Trachtenberg has always been interested in cultural artifacts that register meanings and feelings which Americans share even when they interpret them differently. It is their obscure, riddle-like aspects that draw his attention in the essays in this book. He moves from the daguerreotypes that entranced Americans from the start to literary texts: William Dean Howells’s novels, Horatio Alger’s stories, “Huckleberry Finn,” the cityscapes of Walt Whitman and Stephen Crane. He also addresses subjects as diverse as Louis Sullivan’s Auditorium Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the early works of Lewis Mumford. He concludes with “readings” not only of the photos of Walker Evans, Wright Morris, and Eugene Smith, but also of film noir’s urban images. Photos.
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