Peanuts and American Culture

Essays on Charles M. Schulz’s Iconic Comic Strip


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About the Book

Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz insisted good ol’ Charlie Brown and his friends were neither “great art” nor “significant.” Yet Schulz’s acclaimed daily comic strip—syndicated in thousands of newspapers over five decades—brilliantly mirrored tensions in American society during the second half of the 20th century. Focusing on the strip’s Cold War roots, this collection of new essays explores existentialism, the reshaping of the nuclear family, the Civil Rights Movement, 1960s counterculture, feminism, psychiatry and fear of the bomb. Chapters focus on the development of Lucy, Peppermint Patty, Schroeder, Franklin, Shermy, Snoopy and the other characters that became American icons.

About the Author(s)

Peter W.Y. Lee has written many articles on film and comic books. He lives in Simi Valley, California.

Bibliographic Details

Peter W.Y. Lee

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 211
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2019
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7144-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3637-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction: Not a Peanut Gallery 1
“Good grief, I thought it was the fallout”: Charlie Brown and the Long ’50s (Cliff Starkey) 9
Two Different Worlds: Adults, Children and Their Relationship (Olaf Meuther) 29
Listening to Charlie Brown: Musicians and Music Making as Cold War Era Critique (Tom Zlabinger) 49
To Hell with Franklin: Spilling Ink on the Color Line (Peter W.Y. Lee) 82
Be a Good Spaceman, Charlie Brown: Charles M. Schulz and the Space Race (Peter W.Y. Lee) 102
Little Girls with Big Voices: How Charles Schulz’s Girl Characters Challenge the Patriarchy in Which They Are Trapped (Erin C. Callahan) 121
“The Doctor Is IN”: Gender, Space and Power in Lucy’s Psychiatric Booth (Catherine W. Zipf) 141
No Room for Normality: Shermy and Postwar Childhood (Peter W.Y. Lee) 159
Cold War Snoopy, or, Do Beagles Dream of Electric Bunnies? (Jessica K. Brandt) 178
About the Contributors 199
Index 201

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Peter W.Y. Lee…has assembled a diverse field of researchers…thorough…the collection fulfills its title’s promise of examining social themes in Schulz’ work…fascinating…makes a valuable contribution to the study of Charles M. Schulz and his works. It is indispensable to any scholar seriously studying Schulz and his beloved comic strip.”—Children’s Literature Association