Unit 5 * Disillusion, defiance, and discontent

Look at the time line on page
What are some critical events that
occurred in America during this time
Historical Background
The years preceding WWI were characterized
by a sense of optimism.
Wilson was forced, when war broke out, to
turn his attentions towards problems of the
world rather than concentrating on problems at
WWI – Allies vs. Central Powers
Trench warfare
Sinking of the Lusitania
E.E. Cummings, Ernest Hemingway, and John
Dos Passos all served as ambulance drivers.
Prosperity and Depression
Failing of League of Nations
 Prohibition
 Recession in 1920 and 1921
 After those years the economy boomed
 Radio and jazz
 Great literary interpreter of the 1920s F.
Scott Fitzgerald (the next book we are
going to read is The Great Gatsby )
Writers flocked to Greenwich Village,
New York.
 October 1929 – Stock Market Crash
 1932 FDR elected
 The New Deal
 WWII – The Allies vs. The Axis Powers
 Dropped the atomic bomb and its
Literature of the Period
The Birth of Modernism
 Modernist experimented with a wide
variety of new approaches and
techniques = diverse body of literature.
 Sought to capture the essence of
modern life in both form and content of
their work.
 Modernist works demand more from
Ushered in Modernism
 1909-1917
 Poems contained clear expression,
concrete images, and the language of
everyday speech.
 H.D. and Ezra Pound
Expatriates (exiles)
Disillusioned by WWI
 Gertrude Stein – “lost generation”
 Fitzgerald and Hemingway
 Later Pound and Eliot
New Approaches
Stream-of-consciousness technique
Presentation of a series of thoughts,
memories, and insights connected only by
a character’s natural associations
Ulysses – James Joyce
Faulkner, Porter, Dos Passo
Poets – Cummings, William Carlos
Williams, Wallace Stevens, Marianne
They stretched boundaries in punctuation,
wordplay, and speech
Writers of International Renown
Nobel Prize for Literature
 Sinclair Lewis – great satirist, Main
 1936 – Eugene O’Neill playwright Desire
Under the Elms, The Iceman Cometh,
and Long Day’s Journey into Night
 Eliot, Faulkner, Hemingway (The Sun
Also Rises, A Farwell to Arms),
Steinbeck (Of Mice and Men, The
Grapes of Wrath)
The Harlem Renaissance
In Harlem, African American writers
 Most moved to Harlem from the South
 Langston Hughes
 1920s into the 30s
 Belonged to no single school of
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