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What America ReadTaste, Class, and the Novel, 1920-1960$
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Gordon Hutner

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780807832271

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807887752_hutner

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

The 1920s

The 1920s

(p.37) One The 1920s
What America Read

Gordon Hutner

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter examines the history of the 1920s as it unfolded rather than the anxious study of its self-consciously modernist literature. The author begins with the momentous occasion of William Dean Howells' death to suggest how much the realist tradition survived him, which leads to a survey of the middle-class realism that was praised throughout the decade for its efforts to confront modernity. That examination, in turn, helps to reread the critical tenets of the era as well as scholars' sense of important contemporary fiction, an analysis that then takes us into a deeper consideration of the reception of American fiction, with special attention to the year 1925. A review of the plots of this bourgeois literature suggests an emphasis on middle-class culture that the rest of the decade confirms.

Keywords:   1920s, modernist literature, William Dean Howells, realist tradition, middle-class realism, modernity

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