Body And Soul: The Making Of American Modernism: Art, Music And Letters In The Jazz Age 1919-1926

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9780465014842: Body And Soul: The Making Of American Modernism: Art, Music And Letters In The Jazz Age 1919-1926
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In this book Robert Crunden puts the “jazz” back in Jazz Age. Jazz was America’s greatest contribution to the Modernist movement, yet it is much overlooked. When we hear the term “Jazz Age,” we conjure the ghosts of Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Eliot, not of Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, Ethel Waters, George Gershwin, and Duke Ellington. To correct this imbalance, Crunden re-introduces us to these musical luminaries who gave the era its name, while tracing the early history of jazz from New Orleans to Chicago to New York.While Crunden emphasizes music over literature and the visual arts, he never fails to trace the complex cross-currents of literature that passed between jazz musicians and their “Lost Generation” peers, a veritable pageant of the glittering personalities of the day—James Joyce, Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe, Paul Strand, John Dos Passos, Langston Hughes, Gertrude Stein.

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About the Author:

Robert Crunden was Professor of American Studies at the University of Texas, Austin. His previous books include Ministers of Reform and American Salons. He died in March 1999.

From Publishers Weekly:

This hefty, posthumous study is an ambitious, intensive look at a brief period of American culture, spanning the domains of visual art, literature and music. Following up the author's two previous volumes covering the century's early years, this book devotes chapters to the usual suspects with a smattering of lesser-knowns: photographers Paul Strand and Alfred Stieglitz; artists Charles Sheeler and Georgia O'Keeffe; writers Gertrude Stein, Sherwood Anderson and Ernest Hemingway; composers Edgard Varese and George Antheil; and Theosophical architect Claude Bragdon. Most are biographical narratives using secondary sources to discuss how these creators evolved new kinds of artistic expression, while a final section, titled "The Varieties of Religious Experience," juxtaposes chapters on the spiritual attitudes of writers like Jean Toomer, Wallace Stevens and Lincoln Kirstein. As is natural with such a wide-ranging study, the author's expertise is not equal on all subjects. Crunden, who was a professor of American studies at the University of Texas at Austin until his death last March, sticks to solid sources for literature and art, but often goes awry on music, dismissing composers of the stature of Milhaud, Poulenc and Honegger as "three moderately gifted experimenters," to give one of the milder examples. Nevertheless, chapters on Little Review editor Margaret Anderson and novelist and journalist Carl Van Vechten stand out, demonstrating an open-mindedness on the contributions of minorities in gender, sexuality and race to modernist art. But the book as a whole lacks the kind of strong, primary source-based perspective needed to ground convincing conclusions about modernism among the various art forms. (Apr.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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ISBN 10:  0465014852 ISBN 13:  9780465014859
Publisher: Basic Books, 2000
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