In Spirits of Defiance, the first book to examine how American writers responded to the far-reaching effects of the Eighteenth Amendment, Kathleen Drowne analyzes the literary portrayals of bootleggers, moonshiners, revenuers, speakeasies, cabarets, and other specifically Prohibition-era characters and settings in a wide range of novels and short stories produced during the 1920s and early 1930s. She argues that these fictional representations carry enormous political and moral significance exposing how and why Americans defied or supported their government’s attempt to legislate the morality of its citizens. Drowne examines a wide range of American literature including works by William Faulkner, Langston Hughes, Dorothy Parker, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Claude McKay, Sinclair Lewis, Zora Neale Hurston, and Upton Sinclair. Grounding her study in social, cultural, and literary history, she investigates how these and other authors’ politically charged accounts of life during the “Dry Decade” reflected the many ways Americans responded to the legal, social, and cultural changes wrought by National Prohibition.
SPIRITS OF DEFIANCE: NATIONAL PROHIBITION & JAZZ AGE LITERATURE, 1920-1933