Catalogue

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American voices of the Chicago renaissance /
Lisa Woolley.
imprint
DeKalb : Northern Illinois University Press, 2000.
description
xii, 178 p. : ports.
ISBN
0875802583 (acid-free paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
DeKalb : Northern Illinois University Press, 2000.
isbn
0875802583 (acid-free paper)
catalogue key
3701749
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Lisa Woolley is Associate Professor of English at Wilson College.
First Chapter

There is a city of English and American words and it has been a neglected city. Strong broad shouldered words, that should be marching across open fields under the blue sky, are clerking in little dusty dry goods stores....
 

Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2000-11-01:
The old adage "East is East, and West is West, but the Midwest is America" undergirds this study of the Chicago renaissance. Woolley builds on the established idea that Chicago authors of the early 20th century had a major role in infusing the mainstream literary idiom with elements of a more diverse urban ethnic vernacular. She expands the standard coterie of Midwestern regionalists to include important African American and women's voices, highlighting the work of such writers as Marita Bonner, Fenton Johnson, Elia Peattie, Marjorie Allen Seiffert, Margaret Anderson, Ida B. Wells. Most of these chroniclers gained their down-to-earth, egalitarian aesthetic from experiences in the venues of social work, labor politics, journalism, education, and volunteer organizations, so their work counterbalanced the rural agrarian strain of Midwestern belles lettres and in the process challenged some of its cultural stereotypes. But although Woolley explores significant literary territory and brings appropriate scrutiny to a range of worthy writers, her book lacks a sharp focus, entwining too many threads of argument at the expense of force and clarity. Though its contribution to the larger field of American studies is arguable, students of the Chicago renaissance in particular will want to read this study. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. L. Armstrong; Central Washington University
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Provides a significant contribution to American language and literature."-Sidney Bremer, University of Wisconsin, Marinette
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, November 2000
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Summaries
Main Description
Sherwood Anderson's plain spoken language typifies the spirit of the Chicago Renaissance, a movement that expressed the new tone and pace of American life in the twentieth century. Challenging established English usage by boldly experimenting with a variety of dialects, Chicago authors created a modern urban idiom. Woolley expands the story of the Chicago Renaissance to encompass women and African American writers, including reformers Jane Addams and Ida B. Wells, magazine founders Harriet Monroe and Margaret Anderson, and Bronzeville poet Fenton Johnson, in addition to famous writers such as Carl Sandburg and Vachel Lindsay. These newly recognized authors probed the boundaries of language to convey simplicity, democracy, and Americanness-qualities that have come to be associated with the Chicago Renaissance. Known primarily as journalists by profession, most of these Chicago writers learned the language of common folk through social work, oratory, editing, live performance, and the creation of an African American literary aesthetic. These experiences helped to teach them how American literature should sound. Shedding fresh light on a critical period in the history of American letters, Woolley's groundbreaking study illuminates the distinctly American character of Chicago writing and shows us how to listen to the diversity of its voices.
Table of Contents
Prefacep. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. 3
Dialect is a Virus: Chicago's Literary Vernacular amid Linguistic Purity Movementsp. 16
Carl Sandburg and Vachel Lindsay: Composite Voices of the Open Roadp. 39
Renaissance Women, Reformers, and Novelistsp. 68
"The Best Conversation the World Has to Offer": Chicago's Women Poets and Editorsp. 91
Fenton Johnson and Marita Bonner: From Chicago Renaissance to Chicago Renaissancep. 120
Conclusionp. 147
Notesp. 151
Works Citedp. 159
Indexp. 173
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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