American culture in the 1920s by Susan Currell

By Susan Currell

The Nineteen Twenties observed the USA upward thrust to its present prestige because the prime global superpower, matched by way of an rising cultural dominance that characterised the second one half the 20th century. This e-book presents an stimulating account of the most important cultural and highbrow tendencies of the last decade which were pivotal to its characterization as 'the jazz age'. Currell's ebook areas universal representations of the 'roaring twenties' and the 'lost new release' into context via chapters on literature, tune and function, movie and radio, and visible paintings and layout, along the unparalleled upward push of relaxation and intake within the Nineteen Twenties

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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. 51 The huge popularisation of Freudian ideas in the mass media resulted in a lack of orthodoxy that appeared to be exploiting public interest in the new trend rather than assisting progression.

Religious revivals took on a variety of shapes and forms outside of the traditional perspective of Protestantism and at times provided a platform for new forms of liberation and expression. The ‘modernisation’ of spiritual faith worked in more radical ways for sections of believers and, indeed, served to revitalise spirituality for many African Americans during the period. The emergence of religious groups and cults preaching equality, self-improvement and economic independence contained both elements of a radical modernity and a rejection of past oppressions, alongside religious fundamentalism and patriarchal politics.

To some white observers, this rise of Black nationalism and ‘panAfricanism’ was part of a dangerous uprising of ‘colored’ people around the world. Behind the fears of ‘cultural lag’ and individual inability to keep up with the times were perceptions that the white race and Western civilisation were in decline – a theory promulgated by the popular reception of Oswald Spengler’s The Decline of the West. In his organic conception of civilisation first published in Germany in 1918, Spengler wrote that Western civilisation was in its ‘winter’ phase and thereby racing towards its inexorable end.

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