This study demonstrates that jazz as it appeared in narrative fiction was often used as a forum to address the nation’s anxieties in the turbulent years during which the United States gradually changed from a nation dedicated to an isolationist policy to a superpower likely to intervene in foreign conflicts. The jazz narrative became one of the means through which this paradigm shift was justified to an American audience. Jazz might strike many readers as a subject only for aficionados, but this book is accessible to a broad audience. It is aimed at casual fans of jazz music curious about the music’s broader role in the cultural development of the United States and the interplay between jazz and American fiction.
Race, Music, and National Identity: Images of Jazz in American Fiction, 1920-1960