Five Novelists of the Progressive Era

Five Novelists of the Progressive Era

Five Novelists of the Progressive Era

Five Novelists of the Progressive Era

Excerpt

Americans who came of intellectual age between 1890 and the end of World War I--the Progressive generation--found themselves engaged in a dramatic struggle between traditional dogmas and the forces of a new scientific and industrialized world. That struggle has affected most later American thinking. In a very real way the confusion of much current opinion reflects the similar confusion and ambiguity of thought during the Progressive era. Naturally, then, students in all fields of American culture have been expending time and energy trying to understand and synthesize the varied intellectual currents flowing from that period. Yet, in spite of great scholarly activity, the place of the Progressive generation in the development of contemporary American thought remains undefined and obscure.

The purpose of this book is to examine the problem from a different angle of vision. It is my contention that much of the difficulty scholars have found in analyzing the Progressive mind lies in the fact that the writers of the Progressive period were themselves convinced that they had liberated their minds from the shackles of the past and had gone, unencumbered, toward the future. Too often modern scholars have taken them at their word. Unduly impressed by the revolutionary aspects of Progres-

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