ENAM 803: The 1930s

Last updated: 01/17/05


Frederick Lewis Allen, Only Yesterday
Andrew Bergman, We're in the Money: Depression America and its Films.
Terry A. Cooney, Balancing Acts: American Thought and Culture in the1930s.
Stephen J. Fjellman, Vinyl Leaves: Walt Disney World and America.
Robert S. McElvaine, The Great Depression.
William Stott, Documentary Expression and Thirties America.
Richard Guy Wilson, The Machine Age in America. (R)


Calendar of Meetings:

1/19: Organization and Introduction

01/24: Reading: Fjellman, Vinyl Leaves.

01/31: Prelude, the Twenties: Allen, Only Yesterday.

02/07: The Great Depression
Reading: Robert S. McElvaine, The Great Depression.

Additional Resources:
Frederick Lewis Allen, Since Yesterday: The Nineteen-Thirties in America.
Daniel Aaron, The Strenuous Decade.
Anthony Bailey, America Lost and Found
Malcolm Cowley, Exile's Return: A Narrative of Ideas.
Robert Bendiner, Just Around the Corner: A Highly Selective History of the Thirties.
Malcolm Cowley, The Dream of the Golden Mountain: Remembering the 1930s.
Arthur Ekirch, Jr., Ideologies and Utopias: The Impact of the New Deal on American Thought.
Frederick Hoffman, The 1920s.
Richard Hofstadter, The Age of Reform: From Bryan to F.D.R.
W. F. Leuchtenberg, Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal.

02/14: Thirties Culture I:
Reading: Terry Cooney, Balancing Acts.(R).
(These chapters are available online:
Terry Cooney, Challenge and Persistence, New Deals and Old, and Popular Culture and the Dance of Values from Balancing Acts: American Thought and Character in the 1930s

02/21: The American Writer and the Great Depression.


  • Selected Fiction of the Thirties:
    Additional Resources:

    • Daniel Aaron, Writers on the Left.
      Ralph Bogardus and Fred Hobson, eds., Literature at the Barricades: The American Writer in the 1930s.
      Alfred Kazin, Starting Out in the Thirties.
      Richard King, A Southern Renaissance: The Cultural Awakening of the American South.
      Jerre Mangione, The Dream and the Deal: The Federal Writers Project.
      Joseph North, ed., New Masses: An Anthology of the Rebel Thirties.
      Rita James Simon, ed., As We Saw the Thirties: Essays on Social and Political Movements of a Decade.
      Harvey Swados, ed., The American Writer and the Great Depression.
      Cecelia Tichi, Shifting Gears: Technology, Literature, Culture in Modernist America.

    • Louis Adamic, My America.
      James Agee and Walker Evans, Let us Now Praise Famous Men.
      American Stuff: An Anthologyof Prose and Verse by Members of the Federal Writers' Project.
      Nathan Asch, The Road: In Search of America.
      John Dos Passos, U.S.A.
      James T. Farrell, Studs Lonigan.
      William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom.
      William Faulkner, The Hamlet.
      F. Scott Fitzgerald, TheLast Tycoon.
      Upton Sinclair, ed., The Cry for Justice.
      John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath.
      Nathaniel West, Miss Lonely Hearts.
      Nathaniel West, The Day of the Locust.
      Thomas Wolfe, Look Homeward, Angel.
      Edmund Wilson, American Earthquake: A Documentary of the Twenties and Thirties.
      Richard Wright, Native Son.
      Richard Wright, Uncle Tom's Children.

02/28:Searching for the Real Thing

SPRING BREAK: 03/05-03/13

03/14: The Machine Age: Art, Architecture and Design.

  • Richard Guy Wilson, et al, The Machine Age in America. (R)


  • David Gebhard, The Moderne in the U.S., 1920-1941
  • John A. Jakle, The American Gasoline Station: 1920-1970
  • Additional Resources:
    Charles C. Alexander, Here the Country Lies: Nationalism and the Arts in 20th Century America.

    Jonathan Harris, Federal Art and National Culture: The Politics of Identity in New Deal America

    Martin Grief, Depression Modern: The Thirties Style in America.
    Janet Kardon, ed., Craft in the Machine Age.
    Raymond Loewy, Never Leave Well Enough Alone
    Richard McKinzie, The New Deal for Artists.
    Karal Ann Marling, Wall-to-Wall America.
    Jeffry L. Meikle, Twentieth_Century Limited: Industrial Design in America, 1925-1939.
    Walter D. Teague, Design This Day.
    Allen Trachtenberg, Brooklyn Bridge.
    Sue Bridewell Beckham, Depression Post Office Murals and Southen Culture.
    Norman Bel Geddes, Magic Motorways.
    Lorraine B. Diehl, The Late, Great Pennsylvania Station.
    James J. Flink, The Automobile Age.

03/21: Mass Mediated America Bergman, We're in the Money: Depression America and its Films.
John G. Cawelti, The Study of Literary Formulas
John G. Cawelti, Hammett, Chandler and Spilane
John G. Cawelti, The Western
Morleen Getz Rouse, Daytime Radio Programming for the Homemaker 1926-1956
Fred E. H. Schroeder, Radio's Home Folks, Vic and Sade: a Study in Aural Artistry

03/28: Catch up/Off Week

04/04: Workshop I: Project Design

  • Proposal, rationale, and annotated bibliography

04/11: Workshop II:

04/18: Workshop III:

04/25: Workshop IV:

05/06-05/14: Final Examinations

NOTE: Final versions of ENAM 803 projects are due June 1
             M.A. Theses are due August 2.