American culture in the 1920s by Susan Currell

By Susan Currell

The Twenties observed the us upward thrust to its present prestige because the best international superpower, matched via an rising cultural dominance that characterised the second one half the 20th century. This e-book offers an stimulating account of the key cultural and highbrow developments of the last decade which have been pivotal to its characterization as 'the jazz age'. Currell's ebook 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 exceptional upward thrust of rest and intake within the Twenties

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American culture in the 1920s

The Nineteen Twenties observed the USA upward thrust to its present prestige because the major global superpower, matched by way of an rising cultural dominance that characterised the second one 1/2 the 20 th century. This publication offers an stimulating account of the main cultural and highbrow developments of the last decade which have been pivotal to its characterization as 'the jazz age'.

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Clarence Darrow, celebrated defence lawyer who would later defend John Scopes for teaching evolution in Tennessee (see the case study below), argued against the death penalty for the boys on the basis that they were psychologically sick rather than morally diseased. This view of crime and human behaviour transformed subsequent advances in criminology but also indicated a new danger to society in the form of ‘abnormal’ psychology and mental disease. Yet it was also a highly publicised fact that Leopold was a self-confessed atheist who had been motivated to crime by his reading of the philosopher Nietzsche.

The popularity of psychoanalysis as a cure for social and cultural problems led to the proliferation of books and magazines offering pop psychology as a solution to all ills. Although Freud was dismayed at the emergence of such eclectic psychoanalysis in America, his ideas did combine fruitfully with other disciplines to provide Americans with a new intellectual roadmap. 56 Rather than curtailing the tensions in American culture, however, the proliferation of psychoanalytic theories of the individual, society and culture intensified The Intellectual Context 15 the paradoxical experience of modernity.

Stearns used the example of the popular cartoon strip ‘Bringing up Father’ as an example of women’s relationship to modern cultural life. In the strip a nouveau riche wife aspired to a bourgeois lifestyle while her husband remained stuck to his gauche working-class habits. ‘Bringing up’ father meant forcing him to adopt materialistic and superficial habits that had rapidly become associated with middle-brow, anti-intellectual, feminine bourgeoisification. Using ‘rolling-pin’ humour, the strip highlighted the new power of women in a world of showy artificiality and consumption – inevitably ‘mother’ was twice the size of ‘father’, although her reform project continuously fails.

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