On the Relationship Between Liberals and Literature (The Weekly Standard)

A negative view of commerce pervades Western literature, Stephen Miller points out in The Weekly Standard, although Americans writers tend to be slightly less disparaging than others, particularly the British. “There are sympathetic portraits of businessmen in novels by Abraham Cahan, Theodore Dreiser, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Sinclair Lewis; yet after World War II, most American literary writers painted the business world in dark colors,” Miller writes.

Occasionally, the business world fights back. “In May 2011, the chairman of a major bank holding company said he would give grants of as much as $2 million to colleges if they agreed to make Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged required reading in a course on capitalism,” Miller says.

And Wallace Stevens, a poet who was an executive for an insurance company, once wished that writers  could get rid of  “the caricatures of the businessman.”

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