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This icon appropriately shows what my bedroom looks like. I am so terrible at going through books. The book I have just finished reading is Frederick J. Hoffman's The 20s : American Writing in the Postwar Decade, first published in 1949 and then published several times before this revised edition in 1965. I had originally picked up this book thinking it was strictly a history resource, given I have some interest in 20s history for a story I hope to write. In this way, I was not entirely wrong, because as the book clearly points out, the history and literature of the 1920s go hand in hand.

The format of the book is pretty simple : each section pulls out a specific area to discuss, be it 'forms of experiment and improvisation', 'critiques of the middle class', 'the very young', and my personal favorite, 'science and "the precious object'". After a little history and some literature, Hoffman discusses one book that characterizes the theme. I have found this particularly interesting because there are several authors I'd like to read, like Stephen Crane, E.E. Cummings, John Dewey, Mark Twain, T.S. Eliot, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and James Joyce.

Because I was so busy with school, it took me a good four months to finish this book. Honestly, this sort of non-fiction isn't my style, and I often found it pretty dull. Informative, but dull. That said, I recognize that this is a great resource for people interested in learning about such a powerful decade, and thus, I'll provide below a section I feel represents the book.

"The significance of the Twenties for our century is a profound one; we have come back ever since 1930 to the truth of its initial and initiating premise, that no world-system is ever entirely fixed or immune from moral revision. The events of the decade have surely emphasized a salient truth, that a paradise of pure reason is beyond our reach and that the effort to impose one leads to many stresses and agonies. Beyond this, the Twenties have re-enforced our conviction of the value of the nonconformist, the aberrant, erratic self, the avant garde of the human personality who may not always have the right answers but sees to it that the established ones don't enjoy an undeserved long life" ( Hoffman, 1965, pp. 448-449 ).

Genre : Literary criticism.
Length : 438 pages, with four appendixes that makes 516 pages total.
Rating : 3/5 = Worth the read.

Currently reading : Let Your Life Speak : Listening to the Voice of Vocation by Parker J. Palmer and Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.




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