By Susan Currell
The Nineteen Twenties observed the USA upward thrust to its present prestige because the prime global superpower, matched through an rising cultural dominance that characterised the second one half the 20 th century. This e-book offers an stimulating account of the main cultural and highbrow tendencies of the last decade which have been pivotal to its characterization as 'the jazz age'. Currell's publication locations universal representations of the 'roaring twenties' and the 'lost new release' into context via chapters on literature, song and function, movie and radio, and visible paintings and layout, along the remarkable upward thrust of rest and intake within the Twenties
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Extra resources for American culture in the 1920s
48 Frank interpreted the postwar psychic imbalance as an effect of the centuries of Puritan and pioneer repressions. Materialism and the drive for success had replaced the natural instincts, they argued. Only in the rediscovery of the far reaches of human consciousness, through art, literature and poetry, and a rejection of the past, would it be possible to cure the neurotic industrial monster that America had become. In this way the past was cast as ‘disease’ with culture as the cure. 50 This widespread use of psychoanalysis was not unproblematic.
This new psychology would release ‘our talented group from the arid fields of controversy and debate to the productive fields of creative expression’. Thus the ‘New Negro’ was the epitome of modernity, of cultural pluralism, selfmaking and the conscious rejection of the past. 99 Although Locke barely mentioned Garvey, the volume was certainly linked to a rising nationalist politics throughout the world following the war. Locke, however, argued for a cultural pluralism reliant on white cooperation and acceptance rather than separatism.
The image of the modern woman was further transformed by women’s participation in industrial work during the war, leading to an emergence of new expectations and social norms. Enjoying the freedom that came from having an independent source of income, many working-class women created a new culture for themselves that centred on consumption and mass entertainment. The postwar boom enabled these women to further explore their new autonomy and individuality and reject their mothers’ ways for more modern choices.
American culture in the 1920s by Susan Currell