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American Modernismby Robert M Crunden
Synopses & Reviews
In this book Robert Crunden puts the “jazz” back in Jazz Age. Jazz was America’s greatest contribution to the Modernist movement, yet it is much overlooked. When we hear the term “Jazz Age,” we conjure the ghosts of Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Eliot, not of Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, Ethel Waters, George Gershwin, and Duke Ellington. To correct this imbalance, Crunden re-introduces us to these musical luminaries who gave the era its name, while tracing the early history of jazz from New Orleans to Chicago to New York.While Crunden emphasizes music over literature and the visual arts, he never fails to trace the complex cross-currents of literature that passed between jazz musicians and their “Lost Generation” peers, a veritable pageant of the glittering personalities of the day—James Joyce, Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe, Paul Strand, John Dos Passos, Langston Hughes, Gertrude Stein.
Book News Annotation:
Historian and American studies scholar Crunden (U. of Texas-Austin) completed his third book on how American culture struggled to deal with the forces of modernism before he died in March 1999. He examines the sweeping influence of jazz on American culture during the 1920s and especially its importance in the modernist movement. In the long run, he suggests, the musicians of the period may turn out to have been more influential that the writers.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Table of Contents
Edgard Varáese and the sound of the city — Paul Strand and the sight of the city — John Dos Passos and the physiology of the city — William Carlos Williams and the suburban doctor's eye — Charles Sheeler and the cubism of country life — The pull of Chicago — The bleaching of the blues — Fighting free of the first modernists — Alfred Stieglitz/Georgia O'Keeffe — Gertrude Stein/Sherwood Anderson/Ernest Hemingway — Igor Stravinsky/George Antheil — Jean Toomer's quest for cosmic consciousness — Wallace Stevens and the satisfactions of belief — Arthur G. Dove and the Stieglitz circle's equivalents — Claude Bragdon's other lives — Margaret Anderson's search for ecstasy.
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