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The Roaring Twenties

Historical and contextual information for Fitzgerald's _The Great Gatsby_

Kyle Ethridge

on 21 September 2012

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Transcript of The Roaring Twenties

The Roaring Twenties The Jazz Age The Jazz Age Began in the early 1920's after the first Great War, WWI.
Was affected by Modernism
"WWI was a turning point in American life, marking a loss of innocence and a strong disillusionment with tradition." The Jazz Age Literature of this time also addressed the "American Dream."
3 Main Points of the American Dream
American = New Eden
Optimism of the American people
The self-reliant individual
Largely attributed to Emerson. The Jazz Age The American Dream ultimately failed, however, as a result of the war and the following economic depression.
People became less optimistic and increasingly cynical. The Jazz Age: Art Also during this time, the literary center of American culture shifted from New England to the Mid-West, South, and West.
Two new intellectual movement appeared: Marxism and psychoanalysis.
Stream of consciousness techniques began to appear. The Jazz Age "In 1919, the Constitution was amended to prohibit the manufacture and sale of alcohol, which was singled out as a central social evil."
This is the Prohibition era. Flappers, bootleggers, jazz music, and gangsters began to appear.
F. Scott Fitzgerald named this period _The Jazz Age_. The Jazz Age "The Jazz Age at home was racy and unconventional. The same decade of the 1920's witnessed the flight of many American authors to an expatriate life abroad, especially in France."
Americans began to think of other places as exotic.
This wave of "expats" further signaled the failure of the American Dream. The Jazz Age "Disillusionment is a major theme in the fiction of the time."
The Modernist authors of this time contributed heavily to the body of Western literature.
Examples: Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Pound, Eliot, Cummings, Stein, Joyce, and Millay.
Imagist and Symbolist poetry began to develop. Elements of Modernism Emphasis on bold experimentation in style and form
Rejection of traditional themes and values
Sense of disillusionment and loss of American dream
Rejection of the ideal of a hero as infallible
Interest in the inner workings of the human mind The Jazz Age Many Modern artists sought to "make it new."
This accounts for the innovations in literature during this time. The Jazz Age Apart from the classic Modernist authors, America also gained many new and now famous authors.
Poets: Robinson, Frost, Masters, etc...
Harlem Renaissance Authors: Dunbar, Johnson, McKay, Hughes, Cullen, etc...
Western and Southern Literature: Jeffers, Cather, Roethke, Cather, Lowell, and Faulkner F. Scott Fitzgerald
1869-1940 F. Scott Fitzgerald Born Francis Scott Fitzgerald in 1896 to a relatively rich family in St. Paul, MN.
He was a failure in school and sports but an excellent daydream and writer.
He entered Princeton in 1913, writing for several clubs and for himself. F. Scott Fitzgerald He entered WWI in 1917 but was never deployed.
While station in Camp Sheridan in Alabama, he met Zelda Sayre whom he would later marry.
Both "hungered for new experiences." The couple lived in France briefly. F. Scott Fitzgerald After 1926, the Fitzgeralds' finances and health began to dwindle.
Zelda was in and out of asylums after having a mental breakdown.
He began to write scripts for Hollywood and mediocre short stories for money.
While writing _The Last Tycoon_, he died of a heart attack in 1940. The Fitzgerald Family in 1925
F. Scott, Frances, and Zelda Modern Art
& Poetry _Nude Descending a Staircase_
Marcel Duchamp, 1912 The Jazz Age "Postwar writers became skeptical of the New English Puritan tradition and the gentility that had been central to the literary ideal."
Many Americans were not directly involved in the war -- Hemingway, for example.
Still, they wrote what they experienced as a result of the war. F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald
_Midnight in Paris_, 2011 George Braque
_Violin and Candlestick_, 1910 Wassily Kandinsky
_On White II_, 1923 Piet Mondrian
_Composition in Red, Blue, and Yellow_, 1930 F. Scott Fitzgerald Shortly after this period of his life, his first novel, _This Side of Paradise_, was published.
His second novel, _The Great Gatsby_, was published in 1926.
The novel was a financial disappointment for the Fitzgerald's. The Jazz Age This literature reacted against the previous movement: Victorianism.
Victorian literature focused on the middle-class worker, morals, and the merit of virtue.
For the most part, Modernist literature reacts against those beliefs. Questions?
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