Unit 5 * Disillusion, defiance, and discontent

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1914-1946
Look at the time line on page
704…

What are some critical events that
occurred in America during this time
period?
Historical Background
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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
home.
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
implications

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
readers.

Imagism
Ushered in Modernism
 1909-1917
 Poems contained clear expression,
concrete images, and the language of
everyday speech.
 H.D. and Ezra Pound
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Expatriates (exiles)
Disillusioned by WWI
 Gertrude Stein – “lost generation”
 Fitzgerald and Hemingway
 Later Pound and Eliot
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New Approaches
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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
Moore
They stretched boundaries in punctuation,
wordplay, and speech
Writers of International Renown
Nobel Prize for Literature
 Sinclair Lewis – great satirist, Main
Street
 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)
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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
literature
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