Historical Context

The early part of the twentieth century, as Ragtime explains, saw a shift in public sentiment away from the...

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Literary Style

Point of View
The point of view of this novel is uncertain. The prevailing consciousness is certainly that of the Little...

(The entire section is 684 words.)

Literary Techniques

The narrative strategy of Ragtime is inventive and complex. The point of view is that of a minor character, the only child of Father...

(The entire section is 312 words.)

Ideas for Group Discussions

Doctorow's experimentation with narrative method, his design for bringing together history and fiction, and his complex vision of American...

(The entire section is 286 words.)

Social Concerns

Ragtime is a daring combination of fiction and history. Doctorow holds a mirror up to a decade of history in order to reflect the...

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Bibliography and Further Reading

David Emblidge, "Progress as Illusion in Doctorow's Novels," Southwest Review, Vol. LXI, Autumn, 1977, pp....

(The entire section is 277 words.)


(Masterpieces of American Fiction)

Fowler, Douglas. Understanding E. L. Doctorow. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1992. Provides criticism and interpretation of Doctorow’s works.

Garrison, David. “Ovid’s Metamorphoses in E. L. Doctorow’s Ragtime.” Classical and Modern Literature: A Quarterly 17 (Winter, 1997): 103-115. Garrison asserts that classical myths from Ovid are elaborated in Ragtime. These allusions to Ovid create an ironic tone and exhibit a deep interest in transformation, thus Ragtime continues a tradition that began with Ovid.

Harter, Carol C., and James R. Thompson....

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Compare and Contrast

1909: An interpreter for a French film company, attending the inauguration of President William Howard Taft, conceived the idea of...

(The entire section is 426 words.)

Topics for Further Study

Study the music of Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton, Eubie Blake, or another famous ragtime musician. Describe the characteristics of the...

(The entire section is 152 words.)

Literary Precedents

Doctorow has acknowledged his debt to Michael Kohlhaas, an eighteenth-century novella by the German author Heinrich Von Kleist. The...

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Related Titles

Doctorow's novels are not meant to be read as a coherent series, but Ragtime is related to books that come before and after it in the...

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Ragtime was made into a motion picture in 1981. (Produced by Dino De Laurentis. Directed by Milos Forman. Screenplay by Michael...

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Media Adaptations

An audio cassette version of Ragtime read by William Levine was released by Blackstone Audio.

The 1981 film version of...

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What Do I Read Next?

The character of Coalhouse Walker Jr. is based upon the character Michael Kohlhaas from an 1808 novella written by German author Heinrich von...

(The entire section is 325 words.)