Transition literature & culture


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Transition literature & culture

  1. 1. Bridging the Gap: Transition Literature
  2. 2. <ul><li>What is the “transition”? </li></ul><ul><li>-- The transition we’re talking about is the shift from the Nineteenth to the Twentieth Century. </li></ul>
  3. 3. The Late 19 th Century <ul><li>The end of the nineteenth century can be characterized by the words “growth and expansion”: </li></ul><ul><li>The rise of the industrial revolution </li></ul><ul><li>Growth of corporations and big business </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Urbanization & population growth </li></ul><ul><li>Reconstruction in the South </li></ul><ul><li>Westward Expansion </li></ul><ul><li>Growth of train transportation (closing the gap between East and West) </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Growth of “leisure time,” a concept we now take for granted, including </li></ul><ul><li>Baseball, for example, became one way of spending one’s leisure time, as was vaudville. </li></ul><ul><li>Technological advances made book production much cheaper, resulting in… </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Reading – novels, sketches, essays and serialized stories in popular magazines and newspapers, was a popular pastime, especially for the middle class. </li></ul><ul><li>The middle class thus becomes an important target market for writers and publishers. </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>With positive growth also came negatives: </li></ul><ul><li>Materialism </li></ul><ul><li>Consumerism </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Worsening of segregation </li></ul><ul><li>Immigration issues </li></ul><ul><li>Child labor issues </li></ul><ul><li>Worker issues </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Culturally, America after the turn of the century became a place of turbulence and flux, </li></ul><ul><li>A place in which “traditions” – political, social, and literary, were being rejected for new ways of doing things, new ways of thinking about things. </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>How did the transition to the Twentieth Century shape literature from 1890-1914? </li></ul><ul><li>One commonality among Transition writers is a fascination with, and anxiety over what is modern. </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>They also share an anxiety about change. </li></ul><ul><li>Polarities arise: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Traditionalism vs. anti-traditionalism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>-Elitism vs. pop culture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>-a pervasive sense of confusion about which century is the defining one. </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>“ High Literature” becomes the literature ready by the educated, written about in academia; </li></ul><ul><li>Popular literature pervades periodicals, including the rise of genre fiction, such as detective fiction and science fiction. </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>Realism and Naturalism continue to be useful ideas for writers into the twentieth century; </li></ul><ul><li>Regional writing does as well, including an interest in vernacular dialects. </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>Common themes include </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dramatization of the plight of women </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>-dramatization of the urban experience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>-continuation of pastoral and rural literature </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Continuation of local color literature </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>Edith Wharton, generally considered a realist, wrote primarily about upper class New York. </li></ul><ul><li>She was also interested in the struggle, especially for women, with social convention, for example the social conventions surrounding marriage. </li></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>Stephen Crane is best known for Red Badge of Courage, a novel about the Civil War, and the disillusionment following it. </li></ul><ul><li>He takes a naturalist view of the underclass, writing about prostitution in Maggie, Girl of the Streets. </li></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>Upton Sinclair is a writer who focused on politics and social issues, especially those surrounding the power of corporations. </li></ul><ul><li>Many writers of this period concerned themselves with exploring the consequences of materialism, such as Willa Cather. </li></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>The writer Henry James was very much interested in what was happening on the European literary scene. </li></ul><ul><li>An important theme in his writing is the conflict between the “old world” and the “new.” </li></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>The writers Mark Twain, Sherwood Anderson, Willa Cather, and O’Henry share an interest in Middle America. </li></ul><ul><li>They also focus on the use of vernacular language, local dialects, regional language and accents. </li></ul>
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