The Jazz Age (1920s).
H i s t o r i c a l B a c k g r o u n d
- an age of bohemian rebellion in the 1920s
- characteristic by the sense of rootlessness and the lack of sense of a serious purpose
(–) WW I (1914 – 18), a flu epidemy (1918 – 19)
(–) the tendency of moving to the cities: an increased criminality here
(–) the Prohibition (1919): an increased consummation of alcohol, its illegal sale, and criminality
(+) a scientific and economic boom: the rise of new technologies, capitalism, materialism, and the new money tycoons
(+) entertainment: the rise of jazz and film entertainment
(+) an Amendment to the Constitution: a change of the woman’s position, the franchise for women
- result: F. S. Fitzgerald announces (1931) the end of the Jazz Age in 1929
L i t e r a t u r e
- a lit. growth comparable only to the Am. Renaissance
- the Am. lit. definitively ceases to be provincial
- the writers leave for Eur., and experiment
( a ) E a r l i e r G e n e r a t i o n ( u n t i l 1 9 1 2 ) :
- poetry: T. S. Eliot, E. Pound, H. D., M. Moore, C. Sandburg, E. L. Masters, R. Frost, W. C. Williams, and W. Stevens
- prose: G. Stein, S. Anderson, W. Cather, and S. Lewis
- drama: E. O’Neill
( b ) L a t e r G e n e r a t i o n ( a f t e r 1 9 1 9 ) :
- prose: W. Faulkner, J. D. Passos, E. Hemingway, F. S. Fitzgerald, and T. Wilder
- poetry: H. Crane
- drama: E. Rice, T. Wilder
( c ) W r i t e r s o f t h e H a r l e m R e n a i s s a n c e
( d ) T h e L o s t G e n e r a t i o n ( W W I – W W I I ) :
- the name: from G. Stein’s aphorism ‘You are all a lost generation.’
- a group of survivors of the WW I: crippled young men, heavy drinkers, and expatriates in Paris prominent in the inter-war period
- the Great War = a terrible betrayal resulting in the sense of loss, disillusionment, and disenchantment
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Bercovitch, Sacvan, ed. The Cambridge History of American Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.
Cunliffe, Marcus. The Literature of the United States. London: Penguin, 1991.
Lauter, Paul, ed. The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Lexington: D. C. Heath, 1994.
McQuade, Donald, gen.ed. The Harper American Literature. New York: Harper & Collins, 1996.
Ruland, Richard, Malcolm Bradbury. Od puritanismu k postmodernismu. Praha: Mladá fronta, 1997.
Vančura, Zdeněk, ed. Slovník spisovatelů: Spojené státy americké. Praha: Odeon, 1979.