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American Culture in the 1910s

Mark Whalan

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This book provides a fresh account of the major cultural and intellectual trends of the United States in 1910s, a decade characterised by war, the flowering of modernism, the birth of Hollywood, and Progressive interpretations of culture and society. Chapters on fiction and poetry, art and photography, film and vaudeville, and music, theatre, and dance explore these developments, linking detailed commentary with focused case studies of influential texts and events. These range from Tarzan of the Apes to The Birth of a Nation, from the radical modernism of Gertrude Stein and the Provincetown Players to the earliest jazz recordings. A final chapter explores the huge impact of the First World War on cultural understandings of nationalism, citizenship, and propaganda.

Key Features

  • Three case studies per chapter featuring key texts, genres, writers and artists
  • Detailed chronology of 1910s American Culture
  • Bibliographies for each chapter

*Fifteen black and white illustrations


List of Figures
List of Case Studies
Chronology of 1910s
American Culture
1. Film and Vaudeville
2. Visual Art and Photography
3. Fiction and Poetry
4. Dance, Theatre, and Music
5. The Great War and American Culture

About the Author

Mark Whalan will be Robert D. and Eve E. Horn Professor of English at the University of Oregon from August 2011. He was Senior Lecturer in American Literature and Culture at the University of Exeter. He is author of The Letters of Jean Toomer, 1919-1924 (2006), Race, Manhood and Modernism in America: The Short Story Cycles of Sherwood Anderson and Jean Toomer (2007) and Soldiers of Democracy: The Great War and the Culture of the New Negro (2008).


Mark Whalan's richly multifaceted account of the 1910s offers vivid new perspectives on a decade generally overshadowed by its successor. An excellent contribution to an excellent series.
- Peter Nicholls, New York University

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