The Great Revival

The Idealized American Portrait from the Fifties through the Eighties to Today

  • Anna Ferrari
Keywords: Fifties, Eighties, American exceptionalism, Myth, Reaganism


The Fifties have been consolidated in the American ethos as one of the best times in American history, the iconography of which was vigorously evoked during Reagan’s presidency in an attempt to erase the civil rights victories of the Sixties. The paper focuses on the different interpretations of Fifties and Eighties imagery in popular culture and their role in shaping the definition of Americanness, highlighting the contrast between the idealized portrait of American society and the underlying tensions beneath the surface. Taking the Eighties as the focal point of the argument, the analysis goes from the Fifties to the modern day to deal with the influence of the Fifties myth on a new ‘revival’ in the Trump years.

Thematic Section