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The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas Historical Context

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Historical Context

1920s-1930s and Literature

Stein's book not only chronicles her relationships with various early twentieth-century artists and writers, but her writing itself exemplifies modernist ideas about composition and representation. Historians often date the onset of literary modernism to the end of World War I. Faith in God, self, nationhood, humanity, and reality was shaken as a result of the war, and writers frequently turned to thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, Henri Bergson, Carl Jung, Sir James George Frazer, and Albert Einstein for ideas that framed the world in a new light. For example, T. S. Eliot's poem, The Wasteland (1922), uses allusion and symbolism to represent a world that had literally and figuratively fallen to pieces. Virginia Woolf's novel, To the Lighthouse (1927), employs a stream-of-consciousness narrative to prioritize subjective experience over the depiction of an objective world. Woolf, like other writers during this time, strove to show...

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This section contains 583 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas Study Guide
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The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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