American Literature and Culture 1900-1960 / Edition 1

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Say "America" and certain adjectives come readily to mind. Because of the nation's wealth, energy, and global presence during the twentieth century, almost everyone has a view of America. This introduction to American literature and culture addresses four common conceptions of the United States: that it is "big," "rich," "new," and "free". Designed to illustrate the artistic and social climate in the USA from 1900 to 1960, the book discusses a range of artistic and cultural productions from the period that reinforce, revise, dispute, or deny these commonly held views of the country.Each of the book's four sections begins with a page of quotations from literary and other sources of the period, selected to emphasise a range of ideas about America. Within each section, history, popular culture, literature and other art forms are then juxtaposed in a way that fosters discussion, questioning, and continued study. An appendix to the volume includes a list of primary works for further reading and a selective bibliography of secondary works on American literature and culture, including relevant websites.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"To call this an 'introduction' or 'guide' to its topic is accurate but modest...McDonald does not attempt to redefine texts so much as portray their coincidental nature...Highly Recommended." Choice
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Gail McDonald is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Southampton. She is the author of Learning to Be Modern: Pound, Eliot, and the American University (1993). She is also a Founder and Past President of the Modernist Studies Association.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations.




1. Big.

Expansion and its Discontents.

The City.

Representing Nature.


The Sense of Place.

2. Rich.

Weber and Veblen: Reasons to Work and Reasons to Spend.


Work and Identity.

Labor Reform.

Consumption and Identity.

3. New.

Beginning Anew: Crevecoeur and Hawthorne.

Young America.

Making It New I: Literary Modernism.

Making It New II: The Other Arts.

4. Free.

The Multiple Meanings of Freedom.

War and the Affirmation of American Values.

Writing War.

Upstream Against the Mainstream.

“An Inescapable Network of Mutuality”.


Websites for Further Study of American Literature and Culture.



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