F. Scott Fitzgerald and the Roaring 20’s

As we lead up to 20Spec submissions, I’m going to be putting bits and bobs up here that have to do with our subject. In the interest of historical accuracy, I’m going to be researching right alongside you guys.

I’ll try to focus on different countries, but I have to lead off with a bit from the book that got me interested in the Roaring 20s.

The book is called, simply, The Stories, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, of The Great Gatsby fame. The following is paraphrased, as the introduction itself is…rather long. I do recommend taking a look at this book, however. Fitzgerald knew his era well, and was, in many ways, documenting the era through fiction.

As Fitzgerald himself once said. “America was going on the greatest, gaudiest spree in history, and there was going to be plenty to tell about it.”

Cowley’s introduction goes on to explain that the 1920’s were also a moral revolt, and underneath the revolt, social transformation. Puritanism and Protestantism were losing their hold on American society, the cultural melting pot was swinging into full force as immigration from non-British countries was swelling.

It was also the era when America ceased being a rural culture. New York began dictating social and intellectual standards. This was the first big commercial boom as well. Buy buy buy so we can make make make. Rather than saving, the trend was to spend.

Sound familiar?

America sparkled in the 1920s, in an almost desperate way. A brief, gaudy prosperity, followed by the horrors of World War II and the Great Depression. But beneath the surface, the social, political, religious and cultural battles were as hard-fought and deadly as ever.


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