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Ghosts of American Literature: Receiving, Reading, and Interleaving Edna St. Vincent Millay's The Murder of Lidice
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 23 October 2020
The history of Edna St. Vincent Millay's long World War II propaganda poem he Murder of Lidice reveals the transmedial logics that affected its publication and the media conditions that shaped its reception. After commissioning the poem in 1942, the Writers’ War Board coordinated a high-profile, strategically sequenced release, in which eight versions of the poem went public during a single week—periodical versions in he Saturday Review of Literature and Life magazine, a live performance featuring Hollywood actors, an NBC radio broadcast of that live performance, globally broadcast radio versions in three languages, and a book issued by Harper and Brothers. Comparing a set of fan letters (written in response to the NBC and Life versions) with a collection of interleaved book versions of the poem (books with newspaper articles stored between their pages) suggests how audiences might have been moved by the media of Murder's distribution as much as by the content of the poem itself.
- Special Topic: Cultures of Reading
- Copyright © Modern Language Association of America, 2018