Thursday, July 31, 2008

1926. Society (1)

1926. Josef Stalin establishes himself as virtual dictator of the Soviet Union, beginning a 27-year rule that will bring new repression to Soviet citizens.

1926. Italy's Benito Mussolini assumes total power October 7, making the Fascist party the party of the state and brooking no opposition.

1926. Chiang Kai-shek succeeds the late Sun Yat-sen as leader of China's revolutionary party.

1926. Japan's Taisho emperor Yoshihito dies at age 47 after a 14-year reign. His son of 25 has acted as regent during the 5-year illness of Yoshihito and will reign until 1989 as the Showa emperor Hirohito. The influence of Japan's army and navy will increase enormously in the next 15 years.

1926. A British General Strike cripples the nation from May 3to May 12 as members of the Trade Union Congress rally to the slogan, "Not a penny off the pay, not a minute of the day."

1926. Ford Motor Company plants introduce an 8-hour day and a 5-day work week beginning September 5.

1926. The rocket launched March 16 by physicist Robert H. Goddard is the first liquid fuel rocket; it demonstrates the practicality of rockets and convinces Goddard that rockets will one day land men on the moon.

1926. Philadelphia's 533-meter Benjamin Franklin Bridge opens to traffic.

1926. Waltham, Mass., inventor Francis Wright Davis patents a power-steering unit and installs it in a 1921 Pierce-Arrow Runabout, but commercial production of cars with power steering will not begin until 1951.

1926. B.F. Goodrich chemist Waldo Lonsbury Semon pioneers synthetic rubber.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

1925. Literature (3)

The Pot of Earth. Archibald MacLeish. American. 1925. Poetry. Description of an ancient fertility rite.

Precious Bane. Mary Webb. British. 1925. Novel. Harsh farming life. Fierce, morose country people. Narrator (she) marries despite harelip.

Roan Stallion, Tamar, and Other Poems. Robinson Jeffers. American. 1925. Poetry. Religious feeling for the beauty of the red stallion which tramples her brutal husband to death. She shoots the stallion "out of some obscure human fidelity."

The Tower. Hugo Von Hofmannstahl. German. 1925. Poetic Drama. Adapted from Calderon's Life Is a Dream, with changes. Sigismund is killed.

The Trial. Franz Kafka. German. 1925. Novel. Confrontation of an individual and a baffling bureaucracy. Accused by mysterious legal authority of an unnamed crime about which he knows nothing. Fruitless attempts to gain justice from authority with which he cannot effectively communicate. Utter frustration, complete loss of human dignity, and cruel death by stabbing. Novel lends itself to innumerable allegorical interpretations.

A Vision. William Butler Yeats. Irish. 1925. Book. History is cyclical and recurrent, for the individual and mankind, in a gyre or corkscrew pattern; all human personality types have their opposite and antithetical selves or masks. Complete man should assimilate the characteristics of his mask. Supposedly dictated by spirits in automatic writing recorded by his medium wife.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

1925 Literature (2)

The Hollow Men. TS Eliot. American/British. 1925. Poetry. Eliot's view of the spiritual emptiness and doom of the 20th century.

In the American Grain. William Carlos Williams. American. 1925. Essays. Historical figures speak for themselves; history is the outcome of individual confrontations with the continent.

The Informer. Liam O'Flaherty. Irish. 1925. Novel. Last day of an Irish revolutionary who turned his comrade into the police for 20 pounds.

The Making of Americans. Gertrude Stein. American. 1925. Novel. History of three generations of the author's family. Ignores the conventional fictional devices of dialogue, plot and action.

Manhattan Transfer. John Dos Passos. American. 1925. Novel. NYC during the 1920s; panoramic impression of the swarming metropolis is frustration, defeat.

Mrs. Dalloway. Virginia Woolf. British. 1925. Novel. One day in the life of.... She and Septimus never meet but they are alike in their emotionally bankrupt lives. He commits suicide. Lives connected by external events: airplane and passing bus. Stream of consciousness.

Porgy. Dubose Heyward. American. 1925. Novel. Charleston, S.C. Crippled beggar becomes involved in a murder.

Monday, July 28, 2008

1925. Literature (1)

An American Tragedy. Theodore Dreiser. American. 1925. Novel. Indicts America's industrial society for dazzling people like Clyde Griffiths with dreams of unattainable luxury.

Arrowsmith. Sinclair Lewis. American. 1925. Novel. In quest for pure science, Arrowsmith encounters meanness, corruption and misunderstanding. Medicine.

Cement. Feodor Vasilyevich Gladkov. Russian. 1925. Novel. Reconstruction and industrialization in the Soviet Union after the civil war.

Craig's Wife. George Kelly. American. 1925. Play. Woman is obsessed by her house. In the end she has lost everything but the house.

Death in Venice. Thomas Mann. German. 1925. Novel. Artist experiences decadence. Succumbs to consuming love for beautiful Polish boy.

Gentlemen Prefer Blonds. Anita Loos. American. 1925. Novel. "Illuminating Diary of a Professional Lady." Useful handbook on how to get rich?

The Great Gatsby. F. Scott Fitzgerald. American. 1925. Novel. Exposes wealthy society in the "Jazz Age"; false glamor, boredom, cultural barrenness and moral emptiness.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

1925. Society (3)

1925. Popular songs: "Yes, Sir, That's My Baby!" "I Love My Baby (My Baby Loves Me)" "Sleepy time Gal"; "Sweet Georgia Brown"; "Alabamy Bound"; "Dinah"; "Always"; "Five Feet Two, Eyes of Blue"; "I'm Sitting on Top of the World"; "Jealousy"; "Show Me the Way to Go Home."

1925. Grand Ole Opry goes on the air November 28 as Barn Dance over Nashville, Tenn., radio station WSM.

1925. The New York Giants professional football team is funded by Timothy J. Mara.

1925. "Blow some my way," says a woman to a man lighting a cigarette in advertisements by Liggett & Meyers for its Chesterfield brand. The advertisement breaks a taboo by suggesting that women smoke.

1925. Al Capone takes over as boss of Chicago bootlegging.

1925. The bubble of inflated Florida land values breaks as investors discover the lots they have bought are in many cases underwater.

1925. The first motel opens December 12 at San Luis Obispo, Calif., James Vail's Motel Inn with accommodations for 160 guests is located on one of the busiest U.S. motor routes.

1925. The worst tornado in U.S. history cuts through Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana, March 18, killing 689, injuring thousands, and wreaking property damage in the millions.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

1925 Society (2)

1925. The Scopes "Monkey Trial" makes headlines in July as Dayton, Tenn., schoolteacher John T. Scopes, 25, goes on trial for violating a March 13 law against teaching evolution in the state's public schools.

1925. Bennington College for Women is founded at Bennington, Vt.

1925. The Supreme Court upholds the conviction of a man under the New York Criminal Anarchy Act of 1902. Benjamin Gitlow's pamphlet "The Left Wing Manifesto" called for "mass strikes," "expropriation of the bourgeoisie" and the establishment of a "dictatorship of the proletariat." The Court rules that this "is the language of direct incitement," but Justice Holmes observes that "every idea is an incitement" and Justice Brandeis joins in the dissent.

1925. The New Yorker begins publication in February, edited by journalist Harold W Ross, a weekly magazine of satire, fiction, social commentary and criticism. Humorist James Grover Thurber, 30, will become a New Yorker regular after receiving rejection slips for his first 20 submissions.

1925. Collier's editor William Ludlow Cheney sends three staff writers on a nationwide tour to report on Prohibition. They find a breakdown in law enforcement of all kinds and Collier's becomes the first major magazine to call for a repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment that has been in effect since January 1920. The magazine loses 3,000 readers but gains 4000,000 new ones.

1925. "The Charleston" is introduced to Paris by "Bricktop," a red-headed American who arrived penniless from her native Harlem last year and has become hostess of a Place Pigalle nightclub.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

1925. Society (1)

1925. Mein Kampf (My Battle) by Adolf Hitler is published in its first part. "The great masses of the people...will more easily fall victims to a great lie than to a small one."

1925. A protocol signed by the world powers June 17 bars use of poison gas in war.

1925. The Ku Klux Klan founded in 1915 stages a parade August 8 at Washington, DC, with 40,000 marchers in white hoods.

1925. The Autobiography of Mother Jones by Irish-American union organizer Mary Harris Jones, 95, says, "I am always in favor of obeying the law, but if the high-class burglar breaks the law and defies it, then I say we must have a law that will defend the nation and our people." "Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living."

1925. "The business of America is business," says President Coolidge January 17 in an address to the Society of American Newspaper editors.

1925. The Menninger Clinic opens in a farmhouse at Topeka, Kan., where local country doctor Charles F. Menninger starts a group practice for the mentally ill with his sons Karl and William. Operating on the premise that no patient is untreatable, they combine a family atmosphere with physical exercise and a team of multi-discipline doctors for each patient--a "total-environment" approach inspired by a visit to the Mayo Clinic at Rochester, Minn. They begin a revolution in the treatment of mental illness.

Monday, July 21, 2008

1924. Literature (3)

The Vortex (La Voragine). Jose Eustacio Rivera. Columbian. 1924. Novel. Poet ventures into the Columbian jungle and discovers how thin is the veneer of civilization. In the face of the fierce, terrifying life of the Amazon basin, he succumbs to madness. Despair at not having lived to become a poet.

We. Yevgeny Azmayatin. Russian. 1924. Novel. Describes the regimented totalitarian society in the 26th century. Ancestor of Brave New World, etc.

What Price Glory? Maxwell Anderson and Laurence Stallings. American. 1924. Play. WWI. Profanity and brutality of professional soldiers and the wearying ugliness of war.

Billy Budd, Foretopman. Herman Melville. American. 1924 (published). Novel. Collision of innocence and evil. Captain upholds military law, although Billy is justified in killing the cruel officer.

Giants in the Earth: A Saga of the Prairie. Ole Rolvaag. Norwegian. 1924/25. Novel. Mental and physical hardships of Norwegian family in 1873 Dakota territory.

Parade's End. Ford Maddox Ford. British. 1924/28. 4 Novels. Social changes brought about by WWI; gentleman throws off his social standards and traditions.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

1924 Literature (2)

Old New York. Edith Wharton. American. 1924. 4 novels. Each novel deals with a decade from 1840-1880. False Dawn: Buys pictures far in advance of his time and is disinherited by his father. The Old Maid: Illegitimate girl raised without knowing her origin. The Spark: Elderly man comes under the influence of Walt Whitman. New Year's Day: Wife sacrifices herself to obtain money for her sick husband and is scorned by society.

A Passage to India. E.M. Forster. British. 1924. Novel. Difficulties of friendship between the races in British-ruled India.

Tamar and Other Poems. Robinson Jeffers. American. 1924. Poetry. Based on the biblical story of Tamar, daughter of David who seduces her brother. Modern Tamar seduces her brother, father, neighbor and brings destruction on everyone.

They Knew What They Wanted. Sidney Howard. American. 1924. Play. California wine grower misleads his mail-order bride by sending a picture of his handsome hired man. He breaks his legs on his wedding day. She allows herself to be seduced by the hired man and becomes pregnant. He almost kills the hired man, but relents.

The Tower Beyond Tragedy. Robinson Jeffers. American. 1924. Poetry. Based on the first two plays of the Oresteia of Aeschylus. Enlarges Cassandra's role: incestuous desires of Electra and Orestes' desire to break away from her.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

1924 Literature (1)

All God's Chillun Got Wings. Eugene O'Neill. American. 1924. Play. White woman marries black struggling to become lawyer. Tragic results of her mental inferiority.

Beau Geste. P.C. Wren. British. 1924. Novel. Life in the French Foreign Legion.

Desire Under the Elms. Eugene O'Neill. American. 1924. Play. Based on the Phaedra-Hippolytus story. Father's young wife seduces his youngest son.

The Green Bay Tree. Louis Bromfield. American. 1924. Novel. Lily begins her life in a Midwestern industrial town; goes to Paris to bear her illegitimate child.

The Green Hat. Michael Arlen. British. 1924. Novel. Captures the licentious, disillusioned spirit of the time. Sexual license among the wealthy.

How To Write Short Stories (with Samples). Ring Lardner. American. 1924. Stories. "Art" of writing short stories. Examples are Lardner classics, "Alibi Ike," etc.

In Our Time. Ernest Hemingway. American. 1924. Stories. Nick Adams. Development of young Nick Adams who bears resemblance to Hemingway.

Juno and the Paycock. Sean O'Casey. Irish. 1924. Play. Juno (reality) vs. the husband, the "paycock," a vain, funny weakling who hides from reality behind a bottle.

"Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown." Virginia Woolf. British. 1924. Essay. Attacks naturalistic novels. They disregard moment-by-moment workings of the human mind.

Monday, July 14, 2008

1924. Society.

1924. V.I. Lenin dies of sclerosis January 21 at age 53. A triumvirate takes power as Josef Stalin begins a power struggle with Leon Trotsky.

1924. International Business Machines Corps. (IBM) is organized at New York by former National Cash Register executive Thomas J. Watson.

1924. The first Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade moves 2 miles from Central Park West down Broadway to Herald Square, beginning an annual promotion event designed to boost Christmas sales.

1924. Ford produces nearly 2 million Model T motorcars for the second year in a row and drops the price of a new touring car to a low of $290, making a durable automobile available to Americans even of modest means.

1924. Music Corp. of America (MCA) is founded by Chicago physician Jules C. Stein. He starts a company that will innovate the one-night stand at a time when most bookings have been for the season.

Popular Songs: "It Had to Be You"; "Tea for Two"; "How Come You Do Me Like You Do?"; "What'll I do"; "When My Sugar Walks Down the Street"; "Everybody Loves My Baby (But My Baby Don't Love Nobody But Me"; "Hard Hearted Hannah, the Vamp of Savannah"; "Amapola (My Pretty Little Poppy)"; "When Day Is Done."

1924. The first winter Olympics open at Chamonix; the games at Paris attract 2,285 contestants from 45 nations.

1924. University of Illinois halfback Harold "Red" Grange receives the opening kickoff from undefeated Michigan State, runs it back 95 yards for a touchdown, scores three more touchdowns in the next 12 minutes, and a fifth later in the game. Sportswriter Grantland Rice will nickname him the "Galloping Ghost."

1924. Notre Dame University has an undefeated season thanks to a backfield that Grantland Rice calls the "Four Horsemen": Don Miller, Elmer Layden, Jim Crowley and Harry Stuhldreher.

1924. Chicago students Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, both 19, confess May 31 that they have murdered their cousin Robert "Bobby" Franks, 14, "in the interests of science." Both are sons of rich families. Lawyer Clarence Darrow, now 67, saves them from the gallows with his eloquence and they are sentenced to life imprisonment.

1924. The first effective chemical pesticides are introduced.

1924. 30% of U.S. bread is baked at home, down from 70% in 1910.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

1923. Literature (2)

"Le Monocle de Mon Oncle." Wallace Stevens. American. 1923. Poetry. Affirmation of the imagination of middle age vs. the invalid fancy of youth.

"Peter Quince at the Clavier." Wallace Stevens. American. 1923. Poetry. Retells part of the biblical story of Susanna and the Elders; "beauty is momentary in the mind, but in the flesh it is immortal."

The Prophet. Kahlil Gibran. Syrian. 1923. Prose and Poetry. Presents the elements of Gibran's mystical faith.

Saint Joan. George Bernard Shaw. British. 1923. Play. Presents Joan as an early nationalist; prototype of the Protestant thinker who puts conscience before the judgment of the Church.

The Sonnets to Orpheus. Rainer Maria Rilke. German. 1923. Poetry. Sonnets center around the myth of Orpheus: man must be fluid to exist in a changing world. Death is one metamorphosis among many.

"Sunday Morning." Wallace Stevens. American. 1923. Poetry. Narrator debates with woman who feels the need for some imperishable bliss. Death is the mother of beauty; earth is all the paradise we will know.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

1923. Literature (1)

"Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening." Robert Frost. American. 1923. Poetry. Stops horse to contemplate beauty of the scene, but then must move on. Frost has said he could have added forty pages of footnotes.

Antic Hay. Aldous Huxley. British. 1923. Novel. Long, futile conversations of London intellectuals; everything seems valueless. Despair.

Dueno Elegies. Rainer Maria Rilke. German. 1923. Poetry. Personal solutions to existential problems and to those posed by the industrial age.

The Harp-Weaver and Other Poems. Edna St. Vincent Millay. American. 1923. Poetry. 39 sonnets. "Euclid alone has looked on Beauty bare."

Kangaroo. DH Lawrence. British. 1923. Novel. Vivid account of Australia. Husband keeps trying to assert his will over his wife, unsuccessfully.

A Lost Lady. Willa Cather. American. 1923. Novel. Frontier woman moves from her husband to a lover, then disappears; rumored to be the wife of a wealthy Englishman in South America. She is seen through the eyes of an adoring young boy.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

1923. Society (2)

1923. Bethume-Cookman College is founded at Daytona, Fla. Its slogan is "Enter to Learn. Depart to Serve."

1923. Published March 3 at New York is Volume 1, No. 1 of newsweekly Time, a venture that will mushroom into a vast publishing empire. Put out by Henry Robinson Luce and his Yale classmate Briton Hadden who will die in 1929 after having established a distinctive "Timestyle" by inverting sentences and inventing such words as "socialite," "GOPolitician," "cinemaddict," and "tycoon."

1923. Popular songs: "Yes, We Have No Bananas"; "Nobody's Sweetheart"; "Who's Sorry Now?" "I Cried for You"; "Barney Google"; "Mexicali Rise."

1923. New York's Yankee Stadium opens April 19, draws a sell-out crowd of more than 60,000 and turns away thousands for lack of seats.

1923. President Coolidge lights the first White House Christmas tree to begin a lasting tradition.

1923. Japan's Great Kanto earthquake and fire, September 1, destroy Tokyo and Yokohama. 100,000 are killed, 752,000 injured; 83,000 houses are completely destroyed, 380,000 damaged.

1923. U.S. wheat farmers try to persuade each other to plant less, but overproduction continues in the absence of any effective farm organization.

1923. Grasshoppers plague Montana. Forming a cloud 300 miles long, 100 miles wide, and half a mile high, the locusts devour every green blade, leaf, and stalk, leaving holes i the ground where green plants grew.

1923. National Dairy Corp. is organized at New York by Thomas McInnerny who says the dairy industry needs some organization to control the quality and service of its many small, local companies.

Monday, July 7, 2008

1923. Society (1)

1923. Adolf Hitler, 34, stages a "Beer Hall Putsch" at Munich, November 8.

1923. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (Russia, the Ukraine, White Russia and Transcaucasia), established on paper December 30, 1922, becomes a reality July 6.

1923. V.I. Lenin establishes the first Soviet forced labor camp in the Solovetsky Islands, northwest of Archangel. Slave labor in the next 30 years will build nine new Russian cities, 12 railway lines, six heavy industry centers, three large hydroelectric stations, two highways and three ship canals.

1923. United States Steel reduces its 12-hour day to 8 hours August 2. Big steel will hire an additional 17,000 workers in the next year, raise wages, and still increase its profits.

1923. Major U.S. auto makers inaugurate annual model style changes that make older models stylistically obsolete.

1923. Aimee Semple McPherson uses special effects to produce thunder, lightning and wind that illustrate her "foursquare gospel" and help fill her 5,000-seat temple.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

1922. Literature (3)

Ulysses. James Joyce. Irish. 1922. Novel. Greatest 20th century novel written in English. Obscurity. T.S. Eliot: A landmark because it destroys our civilization. Disillusioned study of estrangement, paralysis and disintegration of society. Records events of one average day, June 16, 1904, in the lives of the three leading characters. Journeys about the city of Dublin, matched by inward journeys into the consciousness. Dispassionate description of details of daily life; details become symbols. Relates time in world of Dublin to timeless myth, history, religion. Plan of book parallels Odyssey; echoes episodes in the Odyssey. Central theme is exile; cannot find key to loneliness and frustration. Molly Bloom: embodiment of feminine regenerative principle of the universe. Her soliloquy in one uninterrupted long sentence ends with "yes." Joyce perfected interior monologue; parodies variety of literary styles.

The Wasteland. TS Eliot. American/British. 1922. Poetry. Breaks from conventional modes of poetic expression in its condensed use of language. Wealth of literary and historical references; lack of narrative sequence. Violent literary controversy on publication. Explores different psychic stages of soul in despair, struggling for redemption. Wasteland - central image of spiritual drought; contrasts with sources of regeneration. Doubt is not resolved; literary, religious fragments offer hope of rebirth, however, in foreign languages, suggesting unassimilated memories. In medieval legend, wasteland ruled by Fisher King, sterile by curse. Cured by purifying ordeals undertaken by a knight. Important event in development of modern English poetry. Like Joyce's Ulysses. Contrast spiritual stagnation with myths from the past. Both use city as major symbol of paralysis. Full of scenes, phrases, references with little meaning in themselves but echo, explain one another. Both depend on reader's knowledge of many works of literature, religion and history.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

1922. Literature (2)

The Hairy Ape. Eugene O'Neill. American. 1922. Play. Crude stoker disillusioned with his life when inspected by a society girl in the depths of the ship.

Jacob's Room. Virginia Woolf. British. 1922. Novel. Life and death of a promising young man from childhood through death in war. Describes his empty room.

Lady into Fox. David Garnett. British. 1922. Novel. Fantasy about man whose wife suddenly turns into a fox.

One of Ours. Willa Cather. American. 1922. Novel. Boy grows up on farm, goes to university, enters army, killed in France in WWI.

Rootabaga Stories. Carl Sandburg. American. 1922. Children's stories. Rich in language and cadences of folk song.

Siddhartha. Hermann Hesse. German. 1922. Novel. Search for ultimate reality through profligacy and asceticism. Wisdom cannot be taught; must come from one's own inner struggle. Parallels to Buddha's life, but not a fictionalized life of Buddha.

"Things." DH Lawrence. British. 1922. Story. Cynical account of two American idealists who devote their lives to art, beauty, Buddhism and European culture. Succeed only in collecting "things."

Les Thibaults. Roger Martin Du Gard. French. 1922/40. Novels. Brothers react as individuals to bourgeois environment. One leads simple, dutiful existence. The other rebels. Both killed in WWI.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

1922. Literature (1)

Abie's Irish Rose. Anne Nichols. American. 1922. Play. Jewish boy marries Irish Catholic girl. Problems with families.

Anna Christie. Eugene O'Neill. American. 1922. Play. Swedish captain loves/hates the sea; in spite of his efforts, daughter falls in love with the sea.

Babbitt. Sinclair Lewis. American. 1922. Novel. Middle class, small-town booster and joiner who is trapped by his middle class values.

The Castle. Franz Kafka. German. 1922. Novel. Man against bureaucracy. Human quest for understanding of the ways of an incomprehensible God?

The Enormous Room. ee cummings. American. 1922. Autobiographical Novel. Imprisonment in a French military concentration camp, incarcerated on a false charge of treason.

Facade. Edith Sitwell. British. 1922. Poetry. Sound and imagery rather than meaning.

"The Garden Party. Katherine Mansfield. New Zealand. 1922. Story. Preparing for a party, wealthy Laura encounters reality in the death of a poor laborer.