This book can be described as an 'oblique memoir'. The central underlying and repeated themes of the book are exile and displacement; lives (and deaths) during the Third Reich; mother-daughter and sibling relationships; the generational transmission of trauma and experience; transatlantic reflections; and the struggle for creative expression. Stories mobilised, and people encountered, in the course of the narrative include: the internment of aliens in Britain during the Second World War; cultural life in Rochester, New York, in the 1920s; the social and personal meanings of colour(s). It also includes the industrialist and philanthropist, Henry Simon of Manchester, including his relationship with the Norwegian explorer, Fridtjof Nansen; the liberal British campaigner and MP of the 1940s, Eleanor Rathbone; reflections on the lives and images of spinsters. The text is supplemented and interrupted throughout by images (photographs, paintings, facsimile documents), some of which serve to illustrate the story, others engaging indirectly with the written word. The book also explains how forced exile persists through generations through a family history. It showcases the differences between English and American cultures. The book focuses on the incidence of cancers caused by exposure to radioactivity in England, and the impact it had on Anglo-American relations.
The work of many people made this project possible. I am grateful to past and present mentors who influenced me: Rosalind Krauss, Benjamin Buchloh, Andreas Huyssen, Penelope Rosemont, Katharine Conley, Anne Higonnet, Alan Glass, Elise Smith, Gloria Orenstein, Paul Garon, Susan Aberth, Ron Sakolsky, Effie Rentzou, Stephanie D’Alessandro, Gavin Parkinson, Mary Ann Caws, Jonathan Eburne, Sue Taylor, Rikki Ducornet, Steven Harris, David Hopkins, Jonathan Crary, Michael Taussig, Paul Buhle, and David Roediger.
At Willamette University, I am thankful for the support of my colleagues in the Department of Art History and at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art. Ann Nicgorski, Ricardo De Mambro Santos, Roger Hull, and the HFMA staff have been steadfastly enthusiastic. My friends in the Willamette Art Department, Alexandra Opie and Cayla Skillin-Brauchle, have shared many meaningful interactions over the years. Michael Chasar and William Smaldone were brilliant interlocutors at an early stage of this project, fishing with me in the afternoon and criticising with me after dinner, as Marx said. Ruth Feingold and her staff in the Dean’s office offered encouragement by presenting me with the Lawrence D. Cress Award for Faculty Scholarship in May 2020. Many of my students at Willamette were involved in my writing process. Natalie Zhang worked extensively on the bibliography, and Peyton Birchler and McKenna Watkins were employed as research assistants during my sabbatical. An Atkinson Faculty Development Award supported part of the editing process.
I extend sincere thanks to Emma Brennan at Manchester University Press for her interest in this project, and also to Alun Richards and David Appleyard for assistance during the book’s production. To my peer reviewers for Manchester: the book took final shape thanks to you. Dr Johanna Seasonwein, Dr Laura Napolitano, and Lila Stromer have been fantastic editors. Alex Trotter completed the book’s index. Juanita Bullough saw the manuscript through to the finish line by handling the final copyedit. Gavin Parkinson, Christina Heflin, Ron Sakolsky, John Simmons, Paul Garon, Robert Green, Penelope Rosemont, and Paul Buhle all reviewed portions of the book in advance of publication. Kristoffer Noheden generously provided extensive comments. Grégory Pierrot, my dear friend, was always there for me with advice on French translation issues, and Diane Drouin checked the French and Spanish spelling and translations for most of the manuscript. I am grateful to Samantha Kavky and Claudia Mesch, editors of Journal of Surrealism and the Americas, for editorial work on a version of my Marcuse section (JSA 11:1, 2020). Many other people helped out in significant ways, especially after the coronavirus pandemic posed exceptional research challenges. I thank Elliott H. King, Michael Richardson, Claire Howard, Rachel Franklin, Bernard Marszalek, Allan Graubard, Lawrence DeCoster, Beth Garon, Thom Burns, Bill Zavatsky, Peter Werbe and David Watson at Fifth Estate Magazine, and all of my friends in the International Society for the Study of Surrealism community.
I am also obliged to colleagues who hosted presentations of my in-progress research at their events: Jennifer R. Cohen at the University of Chicago, Peter Maravelis at City Lights Bookstore, Effie Rentzou at Princeton University, and Kris Cohen at Reed College. Offering much appreciated image and copyright support were: Dr Helen Moore; Rachel Pointer (Industrial Worker Editor in Chief); J. Cameron Mancini (General Secretary-Treasurer, Industrial Workers of the World); Stefan Ståhle (Moderna Museet); Constance Krebs (Association Atelier André Breton); Shaina Buckles Harkness (the Salvador Dalí Museum); Julie Herrada (Curator, Joseph A. Labadie Collection); Peter-Erwin Jansen (Herbert Marcuse Archive, Archivzentrum der Universitätsbibliothek Frankfurt am Main); Peter and Harold Marcuse; Giovanna; Penelope Rosemont; Robert Green; Mike Olson; Andrew Sclanders at BeatBooks; and, Andrew Wilson (Senior Curator, Modern and Contemporary British Art and Archives, Tate Britain).
I would also like to remember people in my life who died during the time in which this book was written: D. E. May, Bill Goring, Cayden Himes, Manuel Felguérez, Paul Hammond, and Michaelanne Foster.
Finally, there is the matter of the unbounded appreciation I have for my husband, Lawton Browning: for doing the dishes when I was still at my desk; for his stubborn failure to complain about just how much work this book about work refusal really took; for mixing me late-night post-writing drinks called ‘the last word’; for showing me subject-appropriate movies like Tati’s Playtime (1967), Sayles’s Matewan (1987), and the cult film L’an 01 (1973); and, most of all, for giving me courage.