Structures of the Jazz Age

Structures of the Jazz Age:Mass Culture, Progressive Education and Racial Disclosures in American Modernism

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Charts the American cultural landscape of the twenties, which was populated by intellectuals and writers such as H.L. Mencken, Irving Babbitt, Dos Passos, Cather and Dreiser. The text also includes an examination of the progressive educational philosophy of the time.

Structures of the Jazz Age charts the 1920s cultural landscape populated by critical intellectuals like H.L. Mencken and Irving Babbitt, and by major imaginative writers like Dos Passos, Cather and Dreiser. Looking beyond the mainstream to more marginal schools of thought, including progressive educational philosophy, the critique of mass culture, and the cult of primitivism—exemplified in less canonized figures like Anzia Yezierska, Harry Leon Wilson and DuBose Heyward. He shows how these different strands were woven together in a way that helped to sustain Republican rule and an expanding economy, until the entire edifice came tumbling down in the stock market crash of 1929.


  • Did writers of the 1920s resign from history? Did their decade interrupt the main continuities of American culture? No and no, says chip Rhodes. In this comprehensive and highly original study, he looks deeply into the political economy of the time, reunites it with culture, and produces fine studies of both canonical and half-remembered writers. The twenties will never look the same again.

    Richard Ohmann