Wasserman on Disappearing Things and Postwar American Fiction

In March, Dr. Sarah Wasserman participated in an interview for A Bit Lit where she spoke about her recently published book, ephemera, and material culture studies. Founded in spring 2020, A Bit Lit provides a platform for research and creativity, championing the brilliant arts and knowledge-making going on in the world right now across different sectors, time periods and disciplines in an informal, fun fashion.

In conversation with Callan Davies, Wasserman talks about ephemera and the disappearing (and defiantly remaining) objects at the heart of post-war US fiction, the subject of her new book, The Death of Things: Ephemera and the American Novel. Wasserman explains how writing about ephemeral objects (from stamps and World’s Fair displays to shop signs and household goods) helps challenge the myth of endless progress, trouble the “monumentalism” of canonical fiction, undermine consumerism, and question the racial and gender imbalances of 20th-century America.

Click here to watch the interview.