Red train journeys
in Watching the red dawn
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This final section assesses some accounts of American visitors to the Soviet Union in the early 1930s in terms of modernist travelogue writing. The poets Langston Hughes and E.E. Cummings, who were respectively black and poor and white and privileged, both reported in their experiences of the Soviet Union of the Five Year Plan. The responses of Cummings and Hughes were almost exactly opposite to one another—the former’s horror equalled the latter’s praise. Yet both figures were enmeshed within the pages of Literature of the World Revolution, the communist organ of the International Union of Revolutionary Writers, which was from 1932 called International Literature, in ways that betray the complex cultural politics that accompanied the pilgrimage to the land of the Bolsheviks. This epilogue functions as a means of considering the intensification of politics in the 1930s and the increase of a barricade mentality that disrupted the broad base that characterised 1920s modernism.

Watching the red dawn

The American avant-garde and the Soviet Union


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