What were some popular topics of 1950s literature?
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The impulses that generated a whole decade of literature cannot be summed up in a phrase, especially the 1950s, which included literature as disparate as Jack Kerouac’s On the Road and Junkie (William Burroughs) along with Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 (which examined the relationship of art to society), the Gruppe 47 writers (trying to regain the moral highground for German literature), and the nonfiction writing of David Reisman, William H. Whyte, and John Kenneth Galbraith. The prevailing topics however, were the impulse toward individual expression vs. conforming to the affluent, consumer-driven social milieu still high over the victory in WWII (a dichotomy best captured in Jack Kerouac’s On the Road); and human emotions and moralities vs. robotic “laws” and technology, best expressed in the science fiction of Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, A.E. van Vogt, and the like.
There were a lot of dystopian novels, mostly focused around fear of "mutually assured destruction" with the Soviet Union (nuclear war) or around the increase of propaganda, censorship, and "brainwashing". Dehumanization was also a huge topic, although it was common since the Industrial Revolution.
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