With this book, Alan Wald launches a bold and passionate account of the U.S. Literary Left from the 1920s through the 1960s. Exiles from a Future Time, the first volume of a trilogy, focuses on the forging of a Communist-led literary tradition in the 1930s. Exploring writers' intimate lives and heartfelt political commitments, Wald draws on original research in scores of archives and personal collections of papers; correspondence and interviews with hundreds of writers and their friends and families; and a treasure trove of unpublished memoirs, fiction, and poetry.
In fashioning a "humanscape" of the Literary Left, Wald not only reassesses acclaimed authors but also returns to memory dozens of forgotten, talented writers. The authors range from the familiar Mike Gold, Langston Hughes, and Muriel Rukeyser to William Attaway, John Malcolm Brinnin, Stanley Burnshaw, Joy Davidman, Sol Funaroff, Joseph Freeman, Alfred Hayes, Eugene Clay Holmes, V. J. Jerome, Ruth Lechlitner, and Frances Winwar.
Focusing on the formation of the tradition and the organization of the Cultural Left, Wald investigates the "elective affinity" of its avant-garde poets, the "Afro-cosmopolitanism" of its Black radical literary movement, and the uneasy negotiation between feminist concerns and class identity among its women writers.