JAZZ AGE. The novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald coined the term "Jazz Age" retrospectively to refer to the decade after World War I and before the stock market crash in 1929, during which Americans embarked upon what he called "the gaudiest spree in history." The Jazz Age is inextricably associated with the wealthy white "flappers" and socialites immortalized in Fitzgerald's fiction. However, the era's soundtrack was largely African American, facilitating what Ann Douglas has described as a "racially mixed social scene" without precedent in the United States. Postwar U.S. supremacy and a general disillusion with politics provided the economic base and social context of the Jazz Age. In his 1931 essay, "Echoes of the Jazz Age," Fitzgerald referred to "a whole race going hedonistic, deciding on pleasure," a rather glib exaggeration, as 71 percent of American families lived below the poverty line during the Roaring Twenties. Nevertheless, a young white elite put this pleasure principle into practice by embracing jazz. As the historian Lawrence Levine observed, many whites identified this black music as libidinal and "primitive," the liberating antithesis of main-stream, middle-class conventions. White New Yorkers went "slumming" at jazz clubs in Harlem. Boosted by the emergence of radio and the gramophone, black singers like Bessie Smith and Clara Smith became stars. The motion picture The Jazz Singer (1927) brought the music to the big screen in the first-ever "talkie," although the eponymous hero was the white performer Al Jolson in blackface.
Cowley, Malcolm, and Robert Cowley, eds. Fitzgerald and the Jazz Age. New York: Scribners, 1966.
Douglas, Ann. Terrible Honesty: Mongrel Manhattan in the 1920s. London: Picador, 1996.
Fitzgerald, F Scott. "Echoes of the Jazz Age." In The Crack-Up with Other Pieces and Stories. Harmondsworth, U.K.: Penguin, 1965.
See alsoFlapper .
"Jazz Age." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 26, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/jazz-age
"Jazz Age." Dictionary of American History. . Retrieved May 26, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/jazz-age
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.