second annual Sussex County Arts & Heritage Council Lecture Series is set

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:46

    NEWTON-"America in the Eisenhower Era: A Time of Change" will open the second annual Sussex County Arts & Heritage Council Lecture Series, 7 p.m., Feb. 10, at the Newton Unitarian Universalist Building. Raymond Frey, of Centenary College, will look at servicemen and woman returning home from war, wives quitting jobs and becoming mothers, the televised McCarthy hearings, an emerging Cold War with Russia, the new educational and social realities sparked by Brown v. the Board of Education, and the significance of Sputnik. The council, with support from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, is featuring the 1950s, considered by some to be a low-water mark in American culture. The council notes differently, citing fictional works by Ralph Ellison, Flannery O'Connor, Saul Bellow, John Updike, and Jack Kerouac. In poetry, the council claims mid-century formalists like Richard Wilbur and John Ciardi were challenged by upstart poets including Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti (the Beats), Charles Olson and Robert Creeley (the Black Mountain School), and John Ashbery and Frank O'Hara (the New York School). In painting, the era was marked by the "modern art" of abstract expressionists including Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, the council states. Even in the world of pop culture, the council says, the developing tension between an outer veneer of happy television families and a threatening rock and roll underworld represented by the "Blackboard Jungle" is evident. The series continues with "The Poetry War of 1955," speaker Edward M. Cifelli, 7 p.m., Feb. 24; "Pop Culture of the 1950s: Anxiety or Serenity?" speaker William Chemerka, 7 p.m., March 31; "Novel Tensions in the 1950s," speaker Pat Verrone, 7 p.m., April 28; and "American Art Comes of Age: Abstract Expressionism," speaker Barbara Tomlinson, 7 p.m., May 26. For information, call 383-0027; or e-mail