Chicago grotesque: literary and artistic perceptions of Chicago, 1880-1910

Woodward, Anne (2000) Chicago grotesque: literary and artistic perceptions of Chicago, 1880-1910. Masters thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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What this thesis sets out to create is a methodology whereby the texts of Chicago can be analysed in such a way that we can see how the texts produced and read within this society act in conjunction with their readers to help in the creation of the identity of the Chicago individual, and Chicago society. In Chapter I I have constructed a model of cultural theories and approaches that are used progressively throughout the thesis lo produce the analysis of the Chicago texts and show how these texts are related to the context of the vast changes occurring in Chicago society between 1880 and 1910. By looking at texts such as Ella Peattie's little known novel, The Judge, (1907) alongside artworks and architecture such as Gari Melcher's painting Married (fig. II), and Louis Sullivan's Transportation Building (figs. 8 & 9), I have been able to show the tensions between the values and modes of the past and those suggested for the future. Ultimately, by analyzing such a wide range of texts, and illustrating the way in which they all work together in an intertextual fashion with one another, and with their readers, I have been able to show how texts work as cultural laboratories for the future identity of societies, by their creation of grotesque images of their culture. it is through the dynamic relationship with the reader and their response to these grotesque identities that the future identities of Chicago and its people are either accepted or rejected.

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