In the short space of sixteen weeks, we cannot cover all the topics of interest to the student of this period of American literature.  To present information on some of the topics not covered otherwise, students choosing this option will prepare a short (5-7 minute) oral presentation on one of the topics listed below.

You'll also prepare a one-page "fact sheet" to hand out to the class. This may take the form of an outline, summaries of critical articles, or a synopsis of your argument. You should include at least one critical article or book in preparing your report.

Your presentation may focus on something you wish to work on for your paper. You may also want to work on one of the following:

  • Additional information about the social, intellectual, artistic, scientific, philosophical, or historical contexts for the works and authors assigned in class.
  • Interpretations of works or aspects of a work not read in class.
  • Introductions to authors not specifically covered in the course.
  • Discussion of one or more critical works relating to the era, such as David Levering Lewis's When Harlem Was in Vogue or Ann Douglas's Terrible Honesty: Mongrel Manhattan in the 1920s.
  • Background about the social and intellectual connections among certain groups of authors.
  • The evaluation of your report will be based on the criteria found on the Report Evaluation Form (

    Report Topics and Dates Note: The dates are approximate.



    1. Algonquin Round Table: Franklin Pierce Adams, Alexander Woollcott, Dorothy Parker, or another author


    2. The flapper in film and fiction


    3. Advertising in the 1920s

      4. 1920s characters and caricatures (sheiks and shebas, flappers, sugar daddies, etc.)  
      5. Prohibition and speakeasies  
      6. Crime and gangster culture  

    7. 1920s slang



    1. Jazz from a musician's perspective


    2. Retrospective views of the Harlem Renaissance (August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom or other works)


    3. Fire!!!


    4. Lewis, When Harlem Was in Vogue or Douglas, Mongrel Manhattan

      5. Open topic: Technology  

    6. Open topic



    1. Gertrude Stein or other writers



    2. Paris in the 1920s



    3. Hemingway



    4. Open topic: Fitzgerald's American Dream

      5. Open topic  


    6. Open topic