Monday, April 16, 2007

Only Yesterday (continued). Signficant Sentences.

Significant Sentences: Only Yesterday: History of the 1920s.

"...a newly class-conscious group, the intellectuals of the country--the 'civilized minority'...were ready to take up with the latest ideas. They may be roughly...defined as the men and women who had heard of James Joyce, Proust, Cezanne, Jung, Bertrand Russell, John Dewey...Eugene O'Neill...who looked down on the movies but revered Charlie Chaplin as a great artist, could talk about relativity even if they could not understand it, knew a few of the leading complexes by name, collected early American furniture, had ideas about Progressive Education.... Few in numbers though they were, they were highly vocal and their influence not merely dominated American literature but filtered down to affect by slow degrees the thought of the entire country. " p. 161.

"...Sinclair Lewis...brought out Main Street in October 1920, and Babbitt some two years later. The effect of these two books was overwhelming. In two volumes of merciless literary photography and searing satire, Lewis revealed the ugliness of the American small town, the cultural poverty of its life, the tyranny of its mass prejudice, and the blatant vulgarity...of the booster. There were other things which he failed to reveal...but his books were all the more widely devoured for their very one-sidedness." p. 162.

"[Mencken] brought to his offensive against the low-brows an unparalleled vocabulary of invective. He pelted his enemies with words and phrases like mountebank, charlatan, swindler, numskull, swine, withch-burner, homo boobiens and imbecile." 164.

"In any cafe in Paris one might find an American expatriate thanking his stars that he was free from standardization at last, oblivious of the fact that there was no more standardized insitituion even in the land of automobiles and the radio than the French sidewalk cafe." p. 168.

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