A Companion to Twentieth-Century United States Fiction by David Seed

By David Seed

Via a wide-ranging sequence of essays and proper readings, A better half to Twentieth-Century usa Fiction offers an outline of yankee fiction released because the end of the 1st international War.  * contains a wide-ranging sequence of essays via American, British, and eu experts in a number of literary fields* Written in an approachable and available sort* Covers either vintage literary figures and modern novelists* offers vast feedback for extra studying on the finish of every essay

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Moreover, the stories are separated by inter-chapters, sketches of only a few paragraphs in length. Though one of these inter-chapters is usually read as referring to Nick Adams and his experience in World War I (and, thence, to Hemingway’s autobiography), the ensemble cannot be seen to cohere around a common plot, character, or setting. Instead, the unity of the work is thematic, addressing the breakdown of late-Victorian ideas of masculine honor and prerogative. In other words, the formal principle fragmentation simply mirrors the thematic issue of the fragmentation of modern life and its values.

For many American modernists, both black and white, blues and jazz represented a significant site of anti-bourgeois freedom, and a connection between life and art, that other modernists found in the folk songs of the Wobblies. In addition to political and economic upheaval, this period witnessed significant changes of other kinds. In this general moment, such quintessential modern technologies as electric lighting, the automobile, the airplane, radio, telephone, sound recording, typewriting, photography, and film all came into widespread use.

Specifically, Dutton views the novel as dominated by a dichotomy personified by Augie as representative of Huckleberry Finn-like innocence and optimism and the secondary character Einhorn as emblematic of the modernist pessimism of Ernest Hemingway. In 1970, Bellow published a New York novel that is considerably more pessimistic than his earlier urban fiction, Mr. Sammler’s Planet. Its protagonist, Artur Sammler, is a seventy-four-year-old Jew of Polish descent who miraculously escaped murder during the Holocaust and has, when the novel opens, been living in New York City for over twenty years.

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