Structures of the Jazz Age

Overview

Unraveling the cultural and intellectual landscape of 1920s America. Structures of the Jazz Age charts the twenties cultural landscape populated by critical intellectuals like H.L. Mencken and Irving Babbitt, and by major imaginative writers like Dos Passos, Cather and Dreiser. In an original and readable book, Chip Rhodes grants the truth of appearances to the clichés of the Jazz Age which have held the American imagination -- the lost generation of writers, the era of mass consumption and the silver screen -- ...
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Overview

Unraveling the cultural and intellectual landscape of 1920s America. Structures of the Jazz Age charts the twenties cultural landscape populated by critical intellectuals like H.L. Mencken and Irving Babbitt, and by major imaginative writers like Dos Passos, Cather and Dreiser. In an original and readable book, Chip Rhodes grants the truth of appearances to the clichés of the Jazz Age which have held the American imagination -- the lost generation of writers, the era of mass consumption and the silver screen -- whilst revealing their roots in a conservative ideology. Rhodes also looks beyond the mainstream to more marginal schools of thought, including progressive educational philosophy, the critique of mass culture, and the cult of primitivism exemplified in less canonized figures like Anzia Yezierska, Harry Leon Wilson and DuBose Heyward. He shows how these different strands were woven together in a way that helped to sustain Republican rule and an expanding economy, until the entire edifice came tumbling down in the stock market crash of 1929
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Did writers of the 1920s resign from history? Did their decade interrupt the main continuities of American culture? No and no, says chip Rhodes. In this comprehensive and highly original study, he looks deeply into the political economy of the time, reunites it with culture, and produces fine studies of both canonical and half-remembered writers. The twenties will never look the same again.”—Richard Ohmann
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781859842003
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 12/28/1998
  • Series: Haymarket Series
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.16 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Table of Contents

Pt. I Conventional Myths 1
Introduction: American Exceptionalism, Literary History and the 1920s 3
1 Intellectuals and the Contemptible Masses: H.L. Mencken and Irving Babbitt 18
2 American Modernism, Aesthetics and Man-made Truths: Willa Cather and John Dos Passos 44
Pt. II Reevaluating Twenties Culture 77
3 Limited Prosperity and Republican Ascension: The Conjunctural Coordinates of Twenties Culture 79
4 Personality, Mass Culture and Class: The Novels of Harry Leon Wilson and Theodore Dreiser 109
5 Progressive Education, Essentialism and Ethnicity: Anzia Yezierska and Ludwig Lewisohn 140
6 Primitive Desires and the Desire for the Primitive: DuBose Heyward and Nella Larsen 170
Conclusion: The New American Studies and the 1920s 197
Notes 202
Index 215
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