American Culture in the 1920s (Twentieth-Century American by Susan Currell

By Susan Currell

Within the decade following the tip of global battle I, the USA rose to its present seat because the top international superpower matched via an rising cultural dominance that might come to represent the second one 1/2 the 20 th century. American tradition within the Nineteen Twenties is a fascinating account of the key cultural and highbrow tendencies that have been pivotal to the decade's characterization as "the jazz age." fending off superficial representations of the period because the "roaring twenties" stricken by a "lost generation," the amount presents a whole portrait that comes with chapters on literature, song and function, movie and radio, visible artwork and layout, and the remarkable upward push of relaxation and intake.

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Freud first visited America in 1909 and his newly translated work had permeated into intellectual circles of radical writers, who used Freud as a way of challenging tradition and conservatism. 44 Just as Einstein’s theory had revealed the deception of surface appearance, Freud’s indicated that beneath the appearance of normality lay unseen unconscious drives: both revealed that there were unseen forces behind the movements of the natural and social world. To many, the Great War confirmed Freud’s theories about the irrational and brutal beneath the veneer of civilised society, revealing the dangerous possibilities of the primal instincts in human nature.

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.

Former suffragists were dismayed to see women using their new-found freedoms to display themselves to men in competition for a husband in the restrictive environment of 1920s heterosexuality – the first Miss America contest held in 1921 at Atlantic City was an apotheosis of this new superficiality. Blamed for a new amorality and seen as a threat to the family, women reformers saw the nihilism of the flapper as a contradiction to the values of the earlier women’s movement. In this climate some women exercised their new political voices to defend older patriarchal gender roles and racial hierarchies.

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