American Literature in Transition, 1920s and 1930s explores the interrelationships between social and literary fields during the Jazz Age, placing it within the incremental evolution of the literature of the twentieth century. The book includes essays by leading historians and critics who analyze the overlapping aspects of American letters in the 1920s, reassessing an amazing range of authors. The volume is expansive and uses an eclectic mix of methods to illuminate the period, expanding and deepening some of the most exciting advances in literary criticism over the past few decades.
Novelists of the period included writers such as James Russell Lowell, Pauline Hopkins, and Jack London, who used dialect and humor to convey their themes. Other authors who made waves during this period included Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a prominent upper-class Brahmin, and Oliver Wendell Holmes. The Transcendentalist movement developed a complex philosophy that regarded nature as a single, interconnected entity. Henry David Thoreau wrote the book Walden, a story about his life at the edge of a pond. Other notable writers of the period included Margaret Fuller and Wallace Stegner.
The 1920s were a period of great change in American literature. The Communist Party was presenting itself as the most important force for change in America. Authors of the period portrayed the lives of the working class and poor, focusing on their lives, their relationships with others, and the struggles of those affected by the Great Depression. The depression era refueled American writers and brought about an explosive artistic movement. While the Modernists dominated the literary scene for a decade, a new generation of writers sought to draw inspiration from economics and politics.