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Beyond Gatsby: Reading the Roaring Twenties

With the release of Baz Luhrmann’s star-studded remake of "The Great Gatsby", the novel has recently grown in popularity. Check out these other long-standing favorites from the 1920s. It was a great decade for influential literature.

 

The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, The Great Gatsby is a well-crafted tale of America in the 1920s.

 

 

 The Mysterious Affair at Styles, by Agatha Christie.
Christie launched the legendary career of Hercule Poirot with this classic tale of intrigue. The jagged plot turns keep Poirot and the reader guessing as suspicion shifts from one peculiar character to the next.

 
 

 The Waste Land, by T.S. Eliot.
In a series of fragmented vignettes linked to the search for the Holy Grail, Eliot expresses his disillusionment and disgust for societal moral decay after World War I.

 

 

 The Sound and the Fury, by William Faulkner.
The Sound and the Fury is the tragedy of the Compson family, featuring the fragmented voices of four memorable characters that mesh to create a harrowing story of life in Faulkner’s mythical Yoknapatawpha County.

 

 

 The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway.
Published in 1926 to wide acclaim, The Sun Also Rises is a classic example of Hemingway’s spare but powerful writing style. With brutal, realistic descriptions of Spanish bullfighting, the novel explores the life of expatriates in Paris and Paloma during the 1920s.

 
 

 Ulysses, by James Joyce.
Ulysses explores a day in the life of Leopold Bloom, whose odyssey through the streets of turn-of-the-century Dublin leads him through trials that parallel those of Ulysses on his epic journey home.

 

 

 Lady Chatterley’s Lover, by D.H. Lawrence.
Constance Chatterley is trapped in a loveless marriage, and when she meets the new gamekeeper at her husband's estate, she finds herself experiencing true love for the first time.

 

 

 The New Negro, edited by Alain Locke.
Defining the artistic and social goals of the New Negro Movement of the 1920s, The New Negro is an anthology that acted as a manifesto for the Harlem Renaissance.

 

 
 

 The Painted Veil, by W. Somerset Maugham.
A story of the beautiful but love-starved Kitty Fane who is forced to accompany her husband to the heart of a cholera epidemic. She is compelled by her awakening conscience to reassess her life and learn how to love.

 

 

 Four Plays, by Eugene O’Neill.
Winner of four Pulitzer Prizes and the first American dramatist to receive a Nobel Prize, Eugene O'Neill filled his plays with rich characterization and innovative language, taking the outcasts of society and depicting their struggles with themselves and with destiny.

 

 

 All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque.
The testament of Paul Baumer, who enlists with his classmates in the German army of World War I, All Quiet on the Western Front illuminates the savagery and futility of war.

 




 The Age of Innocence, by Edith Wharton.
Published in 1920, The Age of Innocence exquisitely details the struggle between love and responsibility through the experiences of men and women in Gilded Age New York. It is one of Edith Wharton’s most renowned novels and the first by a woman to win the Pulitzer Prize.

 

 

 Mrs. Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf.
This novel is a vivid portrait of a single day in a woman's life. In her account of Mrs. Dalloway's preparations for a party she is to host that evening, Woolf ultimately reveals that small happenings can have much significance.
 


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