American Literature and Culture 1900-1960 by Gail McDonald

By Gail McDonald

This advent to American literature and tradition from 1900 to 1960 is equipped round 4 significant rules approximately the USA: that's it “big”, “new”, “rich”, and “free”.

  • Illustrates the inventive and social weather within the united states in this period.
  • Juxtaposes dialogue of heritage, pop culture, literature and different paintings types in ways in which foster dialogue, wondering, and endured learn.
  • An appendix lists appropriate basic and secondary works, together with websites.
  • An perfect complement to fundamental texts taught in American literature courses.

Chapter 1 huge (pages 6–59):
Chapter 2 wealthy (pages 60–109):
Chapter three New (pages 110–164):
Chapter four unfastened (pages 165–210):

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By contrast, Brooks’s 1960 poem is dead serious, the stakes of the pool game ruinous. Along with the temptations of city dives are the dangers of the street itself. Losing a boy to “the street” is a recurrent theme. Loitering youths near lampposts, teenagers cruising the streets in souped-up cars, Mafiosi gunned down as they exit their sedans, drugs surreptitiously peddled near a condemned building – these are standard scenes of American film, television, and fiction. In Ann Petry’s 1946 novel The Street, Lutie is a mother raising her son alone, her energies consumed by the effort to keep him off the street.

Public policy for the first half of the twentieth century was largely directed at the goal of assimilation. Hence the popularity for many years of another foundational myth about America: the melting-pot. The phrase gained currency in 1908 thanks to The Melting Pot, a play by a Jewish immigrant named Israel Zangwill. Well before Leonard 20 ALAC01 20 29/06/2006, 02:53PM BIG Bernstein’s West Side Story, the play depicted a contemporary Romeo and Juliet, but this time with a happy ending made possible by the melting away of differences: America is God’s crucible, the great melting pot where all the races of Europe are melting and reforming.

Clearly these stories respond to the contemporary condition of women and may be read as protests against the confines of woman’s traditional sphere of influence: home, family, and a highly controlled social circle. We may also, however, consider the movement toward madness and death in each narrative as symptomatic of the fear of transition from one state to another, a distress not confined to women in this period. We come now to an apparent paradox: how can the conditions of crowding, noise, and hectic activity that seem to have debilitated both male and female neurasthenics, conditions that would appear to make personal space suffocatingly small, be cured by the preferred treatment for female sufferers, still greater confinement?

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