The White Logic: Alcoholism and Gender in American Modernist Fiction

Synopsis

""There are no second acts in American lives." F. Scott Fitzgerald's famous pronouncement, an epitaph for his own foreshortened career, points out a pattern of imaginative blight common to writers of the Lost Generation. As John W. Crowley shows in this engaging study, excessive drinking had a crucial effect on the frequently diminished fortunes of these writers. Indeed, the modernists - especially the men - were a decidedly drunken lot. The first extended literary analysis to take account of recent work by social historians on the temperance movement, this book examines the relationship between intoxication and addiction in American life and letters during the first half of the twentieth century. In explaining the transition from Victorian to modern paradigms of heavy drinking, Crowley focuses on representative fictions. He considers the historical formation of "alcoholism" and earlier concepts of habitual drunkenness and their bearing on the social construction of gender roles. He also defines the "drunk narrative," a mode of fiction that expresses the conjunction of modernism and alcoholism in a pervasive ideology of despair - the White Logic of John Barleycorn, London's nihilistic lord of the spirits." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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