Here, Radway is again helpful in illuminating the disciplining nature of the genre: "Middlebrow culture taught us to think, to desire, and to do" by ushering readers "into a particular world still too complacent about certain social hierarchies." (56) In Gentlemans Agreement, as Matthew Frye Jacobson has shown, Hobson's interest in collapsing the walls of segregation in American society did not extend beyond white Americans.
That the "politics of sameness," which Stegner and Hobson employed, strikes us as insufficient to combat anti-Semitism likely accounts for some of the contemporary scholarly neglect of Gentlemans Agreement and its author.
(63) The popularity of Gentlemans Agreement, recently serialized, had inspired Cohen to get in touch with Hobson, but his condescension toward a female writer whose fiction was serialized in Cosmopolitan in 1946 was evident even as he solicited Hobson to write for his magazine.
These were the kinds of questions that Hobson and her peers debated as she began work on what would become Gentlemans Agreement.
Gentlemans Agreement was not Hobsons first fictional treatment of anti-Semitism.
More than a decade had passed between the time when Hobson had written "The Perfect Man" and when she started writing Gentlemans Agreement. In the interim, anti-Semitism remained a pervasive feature of American life, even as newsreels educated Americans about Hitler's persecution of Jews.