America’s Coming of Age Mechanization reduced demand for farm jobs Industrialization led to urbanization Business flourished (“Big Boom”) Middle class increased Automobile transformed society
An era of economic gain Between 1922 and 1929 dividends from stocks rose 108% Corporate profits increased 76% Wages grew by 33% Productivity increased, production costs decreased Result was rampant materialism People spent money on consumer goods, recreation and travel, professional sports
The Roaring ‘20s entertainment: movies, dance, “touring,” radio Prohibition: “speakeasies,” bootlegged liquor Women “liberated”: bobbed hair, short flapper dresses, right to vote (1920) Jazz Age
Effects of WWI 1914-1945 (including aftermath of WWI) Rural Americans (especially soldiers) experienced urban and European life Optimism changed to disillusionment after war Civilization was “a vast edifice of sham, and the war, instead of its crumbling, was its fullest and most ultimate expression.” (John Dos Passos) “Bohemians” and Expatriates Chicago, New York (Greenwich Village), and Paris (West Bank)
The Disillusionment of the “Lost Generation” They saw the breakdown of traditional values and emergence of a “godless” world view Freud, Darwin, Marx Marked by rebellion and anger of younger generation regarding war Fostered loss of familiar: family life, community, religion, patriotism Western civilization symbolized as bleak desert in desperate need of rain (spiritual renewal) This is the rise of Modernism
What is Modernism? A disillusionment with old; a search for the new. Modernism encompasses the works of thinkers who rebelled against nineteenth century society, believing the "traditional" forms of art, architecture, literature, religious faith, social organization, and daily life were becoming outdated. Modernists directly confronted the new economic, social and political conditions of an emerging fully industrialized world.
Modernist Literature • Expatriates in: • London • Ezra Pound • T. S. Eliot – The Waste Land • Paris • Gertrude Stein – Known mainly because of her influence on other expatriates Said to Hemingway: “All of you young people who served in the war, you are the lost generation.” • Ernest Hemingway – Believer in “cult of experience” • Style: clean, simple, devoid of unnecessary words (short sentences) • The Sun Also Rises • A Farewell to Arms • For Whom the Bell Tolls • The Old Man and the Sea • F. Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby
Modernism in the Fine Art World Post-impressionists Expressionists Primitives Cubists