Racism and Xenophobia in Early Twentieth-Century American Fiction : When a House is Not a Home book cover
1st Edition

Racism and Xenophobia in Early Twentieth-Century American Fiction
When a House is Not a Home

ISBN 9780367508678
Published December 30, 2020 by Routledge
218 Pages

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Book Description

"The Melting Pot," "The Land of The Free," "The Land of Opportunity." These tropes or nicknames apparently reflect the freedom and open-armed welcome that the United States of America offers. However, the chronicles of history do not complement that image. These historical happenings have not often been brought into the focus of Modernist literary criticism, though their existence in the record is clear.

This book aims to discuss these chronicles, displaying in great detail the underpinnings and subtle references of racism and xenophobia embedded so deeply in both fictional and real personas, whether they are characters, writers, legislators, or the common people. In the main chapters, literary works are dissected so as to underline the intolerance hidden behind words of righteousness and blind trust, as if such is the norm.

Though history is taught, it is not so thoroughly examined. To our misfortune, we naively think that bigoted ideas are not a thing we could become afflicted with. They are antiques from the past – yet they possessed many hundreds of people and they surround us still. Since we’ve experienced very little change, it seems discipline is necessary to truly attempt to be rid of these ideas.


Table of Contents


I Background

II When a House is Not a Home: Materialism, Nostalgia, and Death

III Racist, Xenophobic, and Materialist 1920s America

IV Collectiveness, Doubleness, and Imitation

The House of Mirth and the Spirit of the Roaring Twenties


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Wisam Abughosh Chaleila is Assistant Professor and Head of the English Department at Al-Qasemi College of Education in Israel. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English and German language and literature from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Later, she obtained a Joint Ph.D. degree in English and American literature from the University of Haifa in Israel and KU Leuven in Belgium. She was also enrolled in a postdoctoral program in KU Leuven. Chaleila specializes in literature and her teaching fields include Anglo-American literature and poetry, multi-ethnic literature, English teaching, and academic writing. Her research spans teaching approaches, critical theory, literary theory, early and modern literatures, poetic justice and law, American history, ethnic identity, Darwinism, and Marxism.