What is the timeline of early 20th century American literature?


Complete the Timeline of Early 20th Century American Literature by adding ONE literary title (short story, novel, or poem) and ONE influential event for that literary title for each of the decades listed. You will also need to explain how the two pieces are connected. You should be able to complete this as you read through the lesson, filling in events on your timeline, however you may also use outside sources if you would like. You should have a total of eight events on your timeline before submitting it to your instructor.
Timeline of Early 20th Century American Literature
Example: 1905 O’Henry’s short story “The Gift of the Magi” contains many Biblical allusions, or references to the Bible. In the 20th century, a writers’ style and tone were often influenced by the King James Bible.

The early 20th century in American literature was a period of artistic and intellectual transformation. Writers of this era faced significant challenges, including global conflicts, social upheavals, and rapid advancements in industry and technology. Despite these challenges, they produced a rich and diverse body of literary works that explored themes of individualism, modernism, and identity.

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This lesson will explore the timeline of Early 20th Century American Literature. The timeline will feature significant literary titles and influential events that characterized each decade’s literary scene. By studying these literary titles and events, we can gain insights into the cultural, social, and political contexts that shaped the literature of this period. Additionally, we will analyze how each literary work and event impacted the literary scene in which it was produced.

1900 – Jack London’s novel “The Call of the Wild”
1910 – F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story “Bernice Bobs Her Hair”
1920 – Langston Hughes’s poem “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”
1930 – John Steinbeck’s novel “Of Mice and Men”

Each literary title in the timeline reflects the evolving beliefs and values of American society. Jack London’s “The Call of the Wild” portrayed the importance of individualism in the context of industrialization. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Bernice Bobs Her Hair” is a reflection of the evolving perceptions of femininity and gender roles. Langston Hughes’s poem “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” spoke to the struggle for Civil Rights in America. John Steinbeck’s novel “Of Mice and Men” highlights the Great Depression’s impact on the American Dream. Each literary title is connected to an event in its specific time period, reflecting the sociopolitical and cultural milieu of that era.

1. To understand the major literary works of the early 20th century American Literature.
2. To recognize the different events that have influenced the development of American literature in this period.
3. To analyze the connection between the literary works and the events.

Learning Outcomes:
1. Students will be able to identify and explain the literary works and events that shaped early 20th century American literature.
2. Students will be able to analyze the influence of historical events on literary works.
3. Students will be able to compare and contrast the themes, style and tone of literary works.

Literary Title: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Influential Event: 1900 Galveston Hurricane
Connection: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was written in the aftermath of the Galveston Hurricane, which was one of the deadliest and destructive hurricanes in the history of the United States. The book’s central themes of survival, perseverance, and the idea of a magical land over the rainbow can be seen as Baum’s response to the disaster.

Literary Title: Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson
Influential Event: The establishment of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) in 1915.
Connection: Winesburg, Ohio is a collection of short stories that explore the lives of the people in a small town. It was written during a time when there was a growing concern about the standardization and mechanization of American life. The establishment of the AAUP was a response to this concern and aimed to preserve academic freedom and promote higher education. Anderson’s work can be seen as a reflection of the changing American society.

Literary Title: The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot
Influential Event: Prohibition
Connection: The Waste Land is a poem that reflects the disillusionment and despair of the post-World War I era. It was written during a time of rapid social and cultural change, including Prohibition, which made the sale and consumption of alcohol illegal. The poem can be seen as a commentary on the moral and spiritual decay of the society.

Literary Title: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Influential Event: The Great Depression
Connection: Their Eyes Were Watching God is a novel about a young black woman’s search for identity and self-fulfillment. It was written during the Great Depression, a time of economic hardship and social inequality, which had a disproportionate impact on African Americans. The novel can be seen as a response to the struggles and challenges faced by African Americans during the Depression.

Solution 1:

Solution 1: Immigration and Modernism
1900: W.E.B. Du Bois published his book “The Souls of Black Folk.” The book is an influential work of the modernist movement because of its poetic writing style.
1910: Carl Sandburg published his poetry collection “Chicago Poems,” which celebrated the urban landscape of the city and the people who lived there. It became one of the most important works of modernist poetry.
1920: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel “This Side of Paradise” was published. The novel explored themes of class, wealth, and American society in the 1920s. It was an important work of the modernist movement because of its use of experimental narrative techniques.
1930: Langston Hughes wrote “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” a poem that explored the history of African Americans in the United States. It was an important work of the Harlem Renaissance, a cultural movement that celebrated African American culture.

Connection: Immigration played a significant role in shaping American literature in the early 20th century. The influx of immigrants from different countries and cultures contributed to the modernist movement’s embrace of diversity and experimentation. Poetry, specifically, played a crucial role in exploring and celebrating the changing urban landscape of the United States.

Solution 2:

Solution 2: War and Realism
1900: Frank Norris’ novel “The Octopus” was published. The novel explored the struggles of wheat farmers in California and criticized the corrupt railroad industry. It became an important work of realism in American literature.
1910: The outbreak of World War I influenced American literature, as writers like Ernest Hemingway and T.S. Eliot wrote about the disillusionment and trauma of war. Hemingway’s short story “In Another Country” explored the physical and emotional wounds of injury and war.
1920: Willa Cather’s novel “One of Ours” was published. The novel followed the story of a young man from Nebraska who joins the army and goes to fight in World War I. It was an important work of realism in American literature, portraying the experiences and horrors of war.
1930: John Steinbeck’s novel “Of Mice and Men” was published. The novel follows the story of two migrant workers during the Great Depression. It explores themes of loneliness, survival, and the American Dream.

Connection: The wars of the early 20th century had a profound impact on American literature, especially in the areas of realism and the exploration of trauma. Writers used their works to critique the war, its causes, and its effects on individuals and society.

Suggested Resources/Books:
– “The Norton Anthology of American Literature” by Nina Baym
– “Modern American Poetry: Voices and Visions” edited by Richard Ellmann and Robert O’Clair
– “The Cambridge Companion to American Modernism” edited by Walter Kalaidjian

Similar Asked Questions:
1. What were the major literary movements of the early 20th century in America?
2. How did World War I impact American literature?
3. Who were the major poets and writers of the Harlem Renaissance?
4. What was the impact of the Great Depression on American literature?
5. How did modernism influence American literature in the early 20th century?

Timeline of Early 20th Century American Literature:

Literary Title: “Sister Carrie” by Theodore Dreiser
Influential Event: Publication of the book in 1900 marked a shift towards realism in American literature. The story follows a young woman from the rural Midwest who moves to the city and becomes involved in a romantic relationship with a married man.

Literary Title: “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot
Influential Event: The poem’s publication in 1915 marked a significant moment in the emergence of Modernism in American literature. The poem is a monologue in which the speaker grapples with feelings of alienation and social pressures.

Literary Title: “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Influential Event: The publication of the book in 1925 is considered a seminal work of the Jazz Age and the Roaring Twenties. The story explores themes of wealth, love, and the corrupting influence of the American Dream.

Literary Title: “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck
Influential Event: Publication of the book in 1939 had a significant impact on American society. The novel portrays the economic and social struggles of a family during the Great Depression and became a voice for the working class. The book won the Pulitzer Prize in 1940.

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