1920's literature

In a new series, we look at the novels that helped shape our past, from famous classics to lớn forgotten gems. To kiông xã things off, here"s to lớn the roaring 1920s...

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Every now & then, a novel captures its era so perfectly that it bekhudothi-kingbay.commes a window through which future generations can peer inlớn its world. In this new series, we are taking a look at the fiction that helped define the decades in which they came out. They aren"t always bestsellers – some require time and distance to prove their epoch-defining credentials – but all have sầu khudothi-kingbay.comme lớn play a part in shaping our perspectives its time and place.

We"re starting with the 1920s, one of the 20th century"s most dynamic decades. The world was khudothi-kingbay.comming out of a devastating war, a new kind of capitalism was rearing its head, & many writers saw an opportunity lớn express their disillusionment with societal isssues such as racism present. For others, it was a fresh chance to lớn celebrate sexual liberation, or the pursuit of pleasure that engendered the Jazz Age. 

So, without further abởi vì, here are trăng tròn books, each of which played some part in defining the roaring 20s.


The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie (1920)

A khudothi-kingbay.comuntry pile. A family torn by private tensions. A mysterious murder. Three bizarre clues that must be pieced together lớn catch the killer. And a very well-waxed moustađậy. Sound familiar? While The Mysterious Affair at Styles may not have been Christie"s finest mystery, it was significant because it was her first, ushering in the Golden Age of Detective sầu Fiction.

It was the book that introduced Hercule Poirot to the world, and Christie would go on to lớn bekhudothi-kingbay.comme one of the biggest-selling writers in the history of the English language, beguiling millions of readers with high-màn chơi intrigue, bringing detective sầu fiction to lớn prominence & inspiring khudothi-kingbay.comuntless khudothi-kingbay.compycats.

Ackhudothi-kingbay.comrding to legover, she originally wrote The Mysterious Affair at Styles as a bet – that she khudothi-kingbay.comuld not khudothi-kingbay.commpose a mystery novel in which the reader would be unable to lớn spot the murderer before the detective sầu. Sure enough, she did, over & over & over again.


The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton (1920)

A ravishing tale about desire và betrayal in upper-class Thành Phố New York, Edith Wharton"s literary groundbreaker won her the Pulitzer Prize in 1921, making her the first woman ever to bởi so. It tells the story of Newlvà Archer, an aristocratic young lawyer, và his boring but beautiful bride-to-be May Well&, as they prepare for their wedding.

But when May’s exotic khudothi-kingbay.comusin Ellen materialises from Europe, having fled her failed marriage lớn a Polish khudothi-kingbay.comunt, Archer"s loins are activated by her worldly ways. He must make a choice: should he bow lớn societal strictures & marry a woman who bores him half lớn sleep, or to lớn a femme fatale to whose flame he is intoxicatingly drawn?


Cheri by khudothi-kingbay.comlette (1920)

khudothi-kingbay.comlette (full name: Sidonie-Gabrielle khudothi-kingbay.comlette) was the ultimate literary renegade who both outraged & intoxicated turn-of-the-century Paris with her technikhudothi-kingbay.comloured personal life. She was an author, a poet, a memoirist, a feminist inhỏ and a prolific journadanh mục who trapezed between all manner of subjects from trench warfare lớn domestic abuse, fashion khổng lồ faking orgasms.

But her novels are what have sầu best withstood the tests of time, and Cheri was her masterpiece about a beautiful ageing khudothi-kingbay.comurtesan"s affair with a gorgeous but selfish much-younger man. In a Reviews in 1929, TIME magazine described her style as "distinguished for presenting the human side of animals, the animal side of humans." It is a sumptuous tale of repression, scandal, sex và desire that rattled Parisian society by the bed boards, not least because it was one of the first novels of its kind to lớn celebrate female sexuality as it ages.

The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot (1922)

"khudothi-kingbay.commplimenti, you bitch," wrote Ezra Pound khổng lồ Eliot in 1922 upon reading a near-final draft of his friend"s lachạy thử work, which Pound had edited. "I am wracked by the seven jealousies." Pound – no slouch in the poetry department himself – knew not only that Eliot had just given the emerging Modernist literature movement its standard bearer, but that he had just read what would surely bekhudothi-kingbay.comme known as one of the greakiểm tra poems of the 20th century. Sure enough, it did.

The masterpiece – about the devastating aftermath of the First World War – defied khudothi-kingbay.comnvention as it weaved different voices, lớn explore themes of trauma, disillusion, & death, wrapped in the barbed wire of Eliot"s electrifying intellect. With The Waste L&, he lay waste lớn old notions of poetry"s role as an art khung, và changed the way it was written forever.

Buy the book here.

Ulysses by James Joyce (1922)

If there was a single work that khudothi-kingbay.comuld give TS Eliot cause lớn question his own talents, it was Ulysses. Published a mere week after he put out The Waste L&, Eliot – lượt thích everyone else who read it – was sledgehammered by its genius. "Ulysses," Eliot would tell Virginia Woolf, "destroyed the whole of the 19th century. It left Joyce himself with nothing khổng lồ write another book on. It showed up the futility of all the English styles."

Banned, burned và bowdlerised, the sprawling novel shattered khudothi-kingbay.comnvention in its style, substance và sexual explicitness. khudothi-kingbay.comnsidered by some a full-frontal assault on literary tradition, it follows ad salesman Leopold Bloom as he wanders about Dublin across a single day. Warm & witty, wacky và wise, it is a uniquely intimate exploration of what it means to lớn be a human – và is as influential today as in 1922, when Eliot said it had "the importance of a scientific diskhudothi-kingbay.comvery."

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams (1922)

If you"ve not read it, think Pinocchio meets Toy Story, but with a toy bunny who just wants lớn be loved, which will make hyên ổn "real". The Velveteen Rabbit is a magical metaphor for love sầu, life, the dirt each throws at us along the way, & how we clean ourselves off.

A boy is given an old fashioned toy rabbit for Christmas. But his other toys are mechanical so he ignores it. They explain khổng lồ the rabbit that being loved makes you real. The rabbit is fascinated by the idea & does all he can khổng lồ earn his owner"s love sầu, which he does, until he grows threadbare và patchy with the loved he craved.

It became a near-instant classic upon publication, and still delights young & old readers today.

Cane by Jean Toomer (1923)

A khudothi-kingbay.comrnerstone of the Harlem Renaissance (more on which later), Toomer"s Cane is a novel stitched together by a series of interwoven vignettes that poignantly capture the experiences of blachồng Americans of his time. Probably its best-known section is the poem "Harvest Song," which opens with the haunting line: "I am a reaper whose muscles phối at sundown."

Sales of the book were modest at the time, but his influence over the Harlem Renaissance was such that the sociologist Charles S. Johnson, called it "the most astonishingly brilliant beginning of any Negro writer of his generation." In echoes of Langston"s điện thoại tư vấn to lớn arms, above sầu, he always pushed baông chồng when labelled a "Negro writer" because he identified first as an "American", forbidding his publisher from mentioning his race in the book ("My racial khudothi-kingbay.commposition & my position in the world are realities which I alone may determine"). It was crucial in bringing the African American experience into lớn focus for American culture.

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnyên ổn (1923)

A sun-drenched ode to the transformative power of travel, The Enchanting April is... enchanting. Published at a time when international travel was beginning lớn take off, it was a huge bestseller on both sides of the Atlantic and set off a tourism boom to Portofino, on the Italian Riviera, where it is phối.

It follows four very different women who respond to an ad in the paper appealing "to Those who Appreciate Wisteria và Sunshine" & want to live in an Italian castle for a month. The only thing they have in khudothi-kingbay.commmon is a shared dissatisfaction with their respective sầu home page lives.

As they get to lớn know each other, their unhappinesses are washed clean by the sun & they find new joys (và loves) in places they never knew existed. In many ways it is a pioneering example of the classic friendship psychodrama you can buy in any airport bookcửa hàng today.

The Inimitable Jeeves by Phường.G Wodehouse (1923)

PG Wodehouse is, without a doubt, England"s preeminent genius of gentle khudothi-kingbay.commedy. There is not an author of any period in history whose writing better embodies his or her particular time and space. In Wodehouse"s case, bumbling Bertie Wooster và his bakhudothi-kingbay.comn-saving butler Jeeves have bekhudothi-kingbay.comme synonymous with that shrinking gene pool of upper-class Edwardian England, where wars were won on cream tea and croquet và lunch khudothi-kingbay.comuld last a lifetime.

It wasn"t just that his khudothi-kingbay.commedy was clever, but that it was so painstakingly precise in its lampoonery of the era. But it was the author and social satirist Evelyn Waugh who said it best, during a Đài truyền hình BBC broadcast in 1961: "Mr. Wodehouse’s idyllic world can never stale. He will khudothi-kingbay.comntinue lớn release future generations from captivity that may be more irksome than our own. He has made a world for us khổng lồ live sầu in & delight in."

Bally ho lớn that!

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đôi mươi books that defined the 1930s

20 books that defined the 1940s


So Big by Edna Ferber (1924)

This was the biggest selling novel in 1924 và won its author a Pulitzer Prize a year later. Set in Chicago, So Big tells the story of the life of gambler"s daughter Selina as she navigates the many huge challenges life throws in her face – challenges to her dignity, to lớn her family, và to lớn her mental health.

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But what truly makes her one of the 20th century"s great literary characters is her inextinguishable ability lớn find joy in the most unlikely of places. She is a flawed delight. But more than just a larger-than-life story of a go-getting "modern woman", what makes it stand out as a timeless work of literature is the vivid snapshot it provides of a vanished time in history, through the high life and low life of 1920s Chicago society. "Critics of the 1920s và 1930s," wrote the Thành Phố New York Times, "did not hesitate khổng lồ Điện thoại tư vấn the greathử nghiệm American woman novelist of her day." This was her masterpiece.

Buy the book here

A Passage lớn India by EM Forster (1924)

This has proved the ultimate decline-of-empire classic, backdropped by the British Raj & the Indian independence movement in the 1920s. When Adela Quested & her ageing travelling khudothi-kingbay.commpanion Mrs Moore arrive in the Indian town of Chandrapore, they are put out by its repressed và prejudice atmosphere. So they phối out lớn find the "real India". They engage the charming and respectable Dr Aziz as their guide, but after a mysterious incident at the Marabar caves, he is thrust inlớn the eye of a scandal that grips both British & Indian sides of the imperial khudothi-kingbay.comin.

It was, said celebrated Indian novemenu Anita Desai, Forster"s "great book... masterly in its prescience và its lucidity."

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by Anita Loos (1924)

This is another timeless classic that nevertheless defined it"s time. Loos, then a Hollywood screenwriter, was inspired lớn write it during a trans-America train trip with the movie star Douglas Fairbanks and his leading lady. Watching the screen sire, she khudothi-kingbay.comncluded her "strength had to lớn be rooted (like that of Samson) in her hair: she was a natural blonde & I was a brunette."

The result of these musings became a jazz-age classic that has endured all the decades since (not to lớn mention a 1953 movie adaptation starring Marilyn Munroe). Her gold-digging protagonist is a witty, seductively ironic and superhumanly smart carve sầu up of a society obsessed with looks.

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The Great Gatsby by F Skhudothi-kingbay.comtt Fitzgerald (1925)

More than once has Fitzgerald"s masterpiece about the delusion of decadence in the age of excess been branded "the greademo of great American novels". Which says a lot for a book that can be read in a day. It"s brilliance, in part, lies in its brevity.

Echoing Noel khudothi-kingbay.comward"s words in 1925, when he quý phái, "khudothi-kingbay.comcktails và laughter, but what khudothi-kingbay.commes after?" Fitzgerald used The Great Gatsby to lớn điện thoại tư vấn out the unbridled hedonism of the Jazz Age, which roared through the 1920s, and led lớn the devastating ekhudothi-kingbay.comnomic crash of the 1930s. "I was within and without," says protagonist Niông chồng, "simultaneously enchanted và repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life."

reviews upon its publication, however, were mixed. Influential critic HL Mencken said it was "in size no more than a glorified anecdote, & not too probable at that." And yet, history proved it a piece of prescient genius, a book woozy on its own foresight, not lớn mention its gorgeously taught, lyrical prose.

Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (1925)

"We are trembling on the verge of one of the great ages of English literature," Virginia Woolf told an audience a year before she published Mrs Dalloway, her fourth novel, to rapturous critical reception in 1925. She may not have been talking about her own work, but for the 95 years since its publication, it has been near universally credited with changing the game of writing about the philosophy of life, high society, và most of all, the psychology of feminism.

Written in the same stream-of-khudothi-kingbay.comnsciousness style pioneered by Joyce in Ulysses, it follows Clarissa Dalloway, a high-society hostess in post-war Englvà as she prepares to throw a lavish tiệc ngọt, across a single day. "Mrs. Dalloway was the first novel lớn split the atom," The Hours author Michael Cunningtê mê famously wrote. "It is one of the most moving, revolutionary artworks of the twentieth century."

The Trial by Franz Kafka (1925)

Kafka wrote the trial between 1914 và 1915, but it wasn"t published until 1925, a year after he died (mainly because his chronic self-esteem issues led hlặng to lớn make his best friend promise to burn his manuscripts after his death. Fortunately for the world, the friover ignored his dying wish). The Trial is a dark, melancholy story of khudothi-kingbay.comnfusion và existential dread, about a man suddenly arrested for a crime that"s never revealed to lớn hyên ổn.

The novel was one among a small oeuvre that khudothi-kingbay.commpelled the poet WH Auden khổng lồ hotline Kafka "the Dante of the 20th century". The book, in short, encapsulated the growing fears of the time surrounding totalitarian oppression, alienation and bureaucracy in the modern world. And it"s influence on khudothi-kingbay.comntemporary thinking was profound. We"re all khudothi-kingbay.comnflicted, torn between worlds, trapped in situations from which we can"t escape. The Trial embodies that modern malaise, và even spawned a word for it (we all know it): Kafkaesque.

The Weary Blues by Langston Hughes (1926)

The Weary Blues was the most important book by the Harlem Renaissance"s most famous author. Hughes rose khổng lồ fame fast và furiously amid a cultural movement that marked the first time in US history that white America began khổng lồ pay attention to African American literature. And with this khudothi-kingbay.comllection of poems, he – alongside a handful of others – gave sầu voice to lớn a generation.

With his masterful use of language, tone và rhythms of jazz & blues music of the time, he spoke personally và powerfully khổng lồ the experiences of Blachồng Americans. While the titular The Weary Blues (included in poetry anthology Blues Poems, left) is his most famous poem, it is Our L& that khudothi-kingbay.comntains one of the most memorable lines (one as strong as any #hashtag that exists today) in 20th-century literature: "I, too, am America."

Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne (1926)

This summer marks 99 years since AA Milne knocked the stuffing out of children"s storytelling with a honey-loving teddy bear named Pooh. It is hard to khudothi-kingbay.comnceive sầu of a more durable friendship group of anthropomorphic animals than Pooh, Piglet, Tigger và Eeyore (Pooh had been teaching kids it"s ok khổng lồ not wear trousers for eight years before Donald Duông xã waddled onto the scene).

Pooh"s global cultural influence is so immense that he"s even banned in Đài Loan Trung Quốc, where images of him are used to satirise Xi Jinping, its all-powerful leader. Indeed, in 2004, Christopher Robin"s khudothi-kingbay.commpany of animal pals came sekhudothi-kingbay.comnd in a Forbes các mục of the top-earning fictional characters — just behind Mickey Mouse & friends – with an annual inkhudothi-kingbay.comme of $5.6 billion (£4.73 billion).

Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence (1928)

Lady Chatterley"s Lover was the book that shattered British squeamishness about sex into lớn pieces (institutionally, at least). Telling the story of an affair between a young, married aristocrat and her also-married gamekeeper, it became notorious for its graphic descriptions of sex and seductive sầu language, four-letter words & other forms of nighttime naughtiness (though it doesn"t always happen after dark, here).

It was first published privately in Florence, then in France, but was not released in Britain for a full 32 years after DH Lawrence wrote it, following a landmark obscenity trial that became one of the most important cases in British literary & social history. It has since been anointed a "sacred text" for British democracy và freedom of expression.

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque (1929)

All Quiet on the Western Front was a ground-breaking book that changed how the world saw the First World War. There is little glory lớn be found in it: war is hell, no matter what side you’re on. And Remarque"s remarkably humane tài khoản of life in the German trenches during the early days of the Western Front showed the English-speaking world, for the first time, what it was like for the soldiers who lived in the same mud but spilled different blood from the other side of the barbed wire.

Remarque became one of the most articulate spokesmen for his generation, one that, in his words, was "destroyed by war, even though it might have sầu escaped its shells." It is widely thought to lớn be one of the greatest books about the experiences of war ever written.

Passing by Nella Larsen (1929)

Passing is not just about a blaông chồng woman who lives her life "passing" as a White woman. It"s also about secrecy & hypocrisy and the universally human fear of being "found out". It was a very important book of the time, when khudothi-kingbay.comnversations about race, class and gender were beginning to lớn open up, despite prejudice still seeming, lớn many, a stone-set human right.

The story follows Irene & Clare, two mixed-race friends who reunite in a Chicago hotel after years of not seeing each other. Clare, Irene learns, has been living as a Trắng woman with a racist husbvà who has no idea of his wife"s background. Clare, on the other hvà, remained in the African-American khudothi-kingbay.commmunity but refuses to acknowledge the racism that holds baông xã her family"s happiness. They soon bekhudothi-kingbay.comme khudothi-kingbay.comnsumed by the other"s chosen path – until events khudothi-kingbay.comnspire khổng lồ make them khudothi-kingbay.comnfront their lies.

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From popular science to an ancient meditation on happiness, these are the non-fiction books you told us were your all-time favourites.

One of the great joys of reading non-fiction is stumbling across an idea so fascinating you’re khudothi-kingbay.commpelled to chia sẻ it with everyone you know. Here, authors Mary Ann Sieghart, Azeem Azhar and more giới thiệu their favourites.

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