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The Harlem Renaissance and Modernism

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Angela Garrett

on 23 March 2015

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Transcript of The Harlem Renaissance and Modernism

The Harlem
& Modernism
(1910 - 1940)

Modern Literature
& the Harlem
World War I
Jazz Age
Great Depression
end of idealism
machine guns, poison gas, submarines, bombers
"Abstract words such as glory, honor, courage, or hallow were obscene" (Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms)
Roaring 20s: leisure, rebellious youth
Ladies: Work! Pants! Sliced bread!
Jazz: Prohibition, Speakeasies, white audiences in "black" clubs
Black Tuesday, October 29, 1929
Dust Bowl: 1930s drought, westward travel, uncertainty
New Deal (1932): relief for homeless & hungry, agriculture programs
Mass Culture
New Ideas
Mass media, advertising
Ford's assembly line
Some considered this materialistic and conformist
Many tried to maintain more "traditional" values
Freud: psychoanalysis, stream-of-consciousness
Karl Marx: history is constant class struggle
Einstein: nothing is absolute
New Poetry
Modern Short Story
Harlem Renaissance
Journalism as Literature
Social crumbling; rural to industrial
Modernism: experimental; industry threatens individual; standardized culture = alienation
Faster world + demand for quick reading = magazine boom
Art imitates life: uncertainty, negative side of luxury, reality of Depression, narration disappeared (reader had to think deeper)
"Great Migration": former black sharecroppers moved to urban North
Harlem = nurtured creativity
Literature: young writers self-identified as "new blacks" (educated, sophisticated)
Many voices: some classical, some rhythmic, some militant, some introspective...all proud
Reporting the Era: Writers brought precision of journalism to novels
Spanish Civil War, Mexican Revolution, migrant farm workers
Magazines! Publishers sought out "real" writers
Trend continues today
Full transcript