Analyze how love is treated as a theme throughout the following bolded literary period of the twentieth century in American Literature.
Realism and Naturalism: 1880-1920
Literary Renaissance: 1910-1930
A Literature of Social and Cultural Challenge: 1920-1945
The Second World War and Its Aftermath: 1945-1975
Post modern literature since 1970
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Love, meaning romantic, boy-girl love, has been a subject of literature forever. In American Renaissance literature portraits of love were few and far between, concentrating more on Emerson’s literature of ideas and the poetry of Edgar Allen Poe, whose poetry treated love as a tragedy, as in The Raven or Annabelle Lee. Just before WWI, such expatriate poets as John Peale Bishop showed the separation of loved ones from their domestic loves. The period before WWII saw love as a social phenomenon as much as a personal expression. After the war, especially in such novelists as Hemingway, love was an international, cross-ocean affair. In the 1920’s to 1950’s, e.e. Cummings dealt with love in his poetry as part of one’s self-identity, as in “One is not half of two: two are halves of one” and “it is so long since my heart has been with yours”. The view of love from the modernist era of the 50’-70’s saw variations on the traditional family life of the 40’s, and the beginnings of alternate love styles. Recently, love in literature is treated as a dramatic challenge, and the literature deals mainly with young love rather than mature love, Hunger Games, etc.
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