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Who's Who - The Modern Age

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Terri Steinmann

on 19 July 2017

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Transcript of Who's Who - The Modern Age

The Modern Age 1915 - 1946
The beginnings
Fitzgerald and Hemingway

Began and ended with the Great Wars - World War I and World War II
The atrocities of a global war created a sudden break with all things "traditional"
Direct rebellion of the Victorian aesthetic and culture that was prevalent even into the early 20th century
The 19th century and its values quickly became a cultural "dead end"
Experimentation and individualism became virtues
"The Lost Generation"
A group of American writers who were coming of age at the end of World War I
F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Gertrude Stein were the most notable
Characterized by an open rejection of society's expectations and current norms
No "guiding spirit". World destruction could happen in an instant
Nothing was truly knowable. Truth was relative and always in flux
They abandoned American values for lives and careers in Paris
Self-exile, indulgence, and alienation were common themes
F. Scott Fitzgerald 1896 - 1940
Born in St. Paul, MN to an upper-middle class family
Descendant of and named after 3rd cousin, Francis Scott Key - writer of the "Star Spangled Banner"
Went to Princeton where he immersed himself in writing
Joined the Army before he was able to graduate, but never saw combat. He was training in Alabama when the war ended
Met Zelda, his future wife at a country club in Alabama
After their marriage, Zelda and Scott moved to Paris to join the growing American expatriate community
There he became friends with Ernest Hemingway and Sinclair Lewis
Literary life
Fitzgerald was extremely productive and achieved enormous success all by the age of 30
He and Zelda embraced the Parisian lifestyle, becoming famous for the lavish and outrageous parties they threw
The fast-paced life took a toll on their marriage; Fitzgerald regularly used their marriage as plot for his writing, and Zelda's fragile mental health began to deteriorate
Zelda was eventually hospitalized in a mental institution in North Carolina, spending the better part of the 1930s in and out of various hospitals. Fitzgerald eventually returned to America and became a scriptwriter in Hollywood before dying at the age of 44. Zelda died seven years later
Ernest Hemingway 1899 - 1961
Born and raised in Oak Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago
At the age of 17, Hemingway moved to Kansas City to work as a reporter for the Kansas City Star
At the outbreak of World War I, Hemingway enlisted and became an ambulance driver in Italy for the Red Cross
During his time in the service he was wounded and decorated for heroism
He was known for his adventurous lifestyle. Hunting big game in Africa, attending bull fights, and deep sea fishing were among his passions
Traveled widely during his life. He lived in Paris, Cuba, Key West, and Idaho, where he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound
Literary Life
Noted for his unique writing style
Abandonment of all ornamentation; sparse, blunt, simple sentences which avoid adjectives unless absolutely necessary
Won the Pulitzer Prize in 1953 for Old Man and the Sea
Won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954
Although his writing was groundbreaking, some scholars argue that Hemingway was still a product of his time. His writing at times shows racist, homophobic, and misogynistic overtones and sentiments
Sherwood Anderson 1876 - 1941
Born and raised in Ohio, he was a self-educated copywriter and business owner
At the age of 36, Anderson had a nervous breakdown, prompting him to abandon his wife and children and move to Chicago. It was then that he began writing
Anderson was noted for looking beneath the surface of characters' lives to construct deep psychological portraits
He used everyday speech in order to capture the essence of his characters
His writing was a major influence on short story writing between World War I and World War II
He wrote numerous short stories, novels, essays, and plays. His only bestseller was the 1925 novel Dark Laughter
Katherine Anne Porter 1890 - 1980
Born into poverty in Indian Creek, Texas
Descendant of Daniel Boone and writer O. Henry
She moved around frequently with her father and siblings after the deaths of both her mother and her grandmother, spending much of her childhood in poverty
At the age of 16 she married John Henry Koontz. He was a physically abusive alcoholic. Porter won the right to a divorce in 1915
Porter traveled the world working as a writer and a journalist
Influenced by Henry James, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, and W.B Yeats
William Faulkner 1897 - 1962
Modernists were deliberate in their search for the self-conscious. Discovering the inner-self became paramount
Modernist writers saw society as impersonal, antagonistic towards artists, and capitalistically driven
Although class distinction was still prevalent in Modernist writing, the tides were slowly turning towards more balance in race and gender equality. For the first time in history, African-Americans and women were being heard as literary voices
Literary Life
*Her writings focus on where the personal and political meet, and issues of justice and betrayal
*Her first story was "Maria Conception", published in the literary magazine, Century
*Her other works include:
*Ship of Fools - her only novel and made into a movie
*Collected Stories - winner of the Pulitzer and National Book Award in 1965
*The Never-Ending Wrong - a non-fiction account of the Sacco and Vanzetti trial
Born in New Albany, Mississippi
Grew up listening to the stories and legends of his family history: Civil War, the Ku Klux Klan, and slavery
Spent most of his life in Lafayette County Mississippi, which he called "his own little postage stamp of native soil"
This became the basis for his fictional Konapatawpha County
Was a highly successful student, but dropped out of high school
Enlisted in the Royal British Air Force during WWI because he was too short to be accepted into the American Air Force
Literary Career
By 1927 he had published his first two novels
Well known for using stream-of-consciousness as well as long sentences packed with images and details
Best known for The Sound and the Fury - considered his greatest novel
Tells the same story through the eyes of four different characters
One character is mentally handicapped
Forces the reader to enter actively into the imagined world of the story
Won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949
Two-time winner of the Pulitzer prize
A Fable (1954)
The Reivers (1962)
Robert Frost 1874 - 1963
Born in San Francisco but moved to Massachusetts at the age of 11 when his father died
Attended Dartmouth and Harvard
Settled on a farm in New Hampshire owned by his grandfather
Sold the farm and moved to England to write
WWI broke out so he moved his family back to the States
Frost was the first poet to ever read at a presidential inauguration. He had written a poem called "Dedication", but was having difficulty reading it due to the sunny conditions. He quickly switched and read "The Gift Outright"
John Steinbeck 1902 - 1968

Born and raised in a well-to-do family in Salinas, California
He attended Stanford, spending five years at the university but never graduating
He moved to New York to try his hand at writing, but ultimately moved home to California
He met and married his first wife, Carol Hemming in 1930
His family was supportive of his writing career, going as far as to provide free housing, an allowance, and writing materials
Saw literary success with his novel Tortilla Flat in 1935
He quickly gained popularity and critical success. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1937 for Of Mice and Men, in 1939 for Grapes of Wrath, and in 1952 for East of Eden
In 1962 he won the Nobel Prize for Literature, a decision that was widely criticized.
In 2012 Nobel Prize archives show that Steinbeck was a "compromise" choice. Essentially, he was the best of a poor group of nominees
In all, Steinbeck wrote 16 novels, six works of non-fiction, and five collections of short stories
He is one of the top ten most-banned authors of all time; specifically for Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men
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