Best 30 of 1920s quotes - MyQuotes
The Bright Young People. The press love and hate them - they celebrate them, they vilify them, and they know full well that they would not shift nearly so many papers without them.
Ilse V. Rensburg
Dextra’s obsidian gaze burns into her soul, branding it as hers for all eternity.
Billy's native arrogance might well have been a gift of miffed genes, then come to splendid definition through the tests to which a street like Broadway puts a young man on the make: tests designed to refine a breed, enforce a code, exclude all simps and gumps, and deliver into the city's life a man worthy of functioning in this age of nocturnal supremacy. Men like Billy Phelan, forged in the brass of Broadway, send, in the time of their splendor, telegraphic statements of mission: I, you bums, am a winner. And that message, however devoid of Christ-like other-cheekery, dooms the faint-hearted Scottys of the night, who must sludge along, never knowing how it feels to spill over with the small change of sassiness, how it feels to leave the spillover on the floor, more where that came from, pal. Leave it for the sweeper.
When they passed a maintenance site in the road bed, Einstein stopped next to a worker who was smashing stones and silently observed this boy with torn clothes and dirty face and hands. He asked your father how much the boy earned each day. After asking the boy, he told Einstein: five cents.
His words are so slippery they might slide right off the page.
The crash did not cause the Depression: that was part of a far broader malaise. What it did was expose the weaknesses that underpinned the confidence and optimism of the 1920s - poor distribution of income, a weak banking structure and insufficient regulations, the economy's dependence on new consumer goods, the over-extension of industry and the Government's blind belief that promoting business interests would make America uniformly prosperous.
When he was sixteen (1923), Peter got a job as copy boy on a New York tabloid and entered a saltier, more hard-bitten world. It was a roaring, lush, lousy tabloid. Everybody was drunk all the time. The managing editor hired girl reporters on condition they sleep with him. New staffs moved in and were mowed down like the Light Brigade. Chorus girls, debutantes, and widows suspected of murdering their husbands were perched on desks with their thighs showing to be photographed. An endless parade of cranks, freaks, ministers, actresses, and politicians moved through the big babbling room, day and night. The city editor went crazy one afternoon. So did his successor. And among the typewriters and the paste pots and the thighs, Peter walked with simple delight. A young reporter took a liking to him, found he was homeless, and insisted he share an elegant bachelor apartment uptown. There were constant parties, starting at dawn and ending as the hush of twilight settled over the city. People went to work and went to parties until they got the two pursuits confused and never noticed the difference. Whisky was oxygen, women were furniture, thinking was masochism.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
There was music from my neighbor's house through the summer nights. In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars. At high tide in the afternoon I watched his guests diving from the tower of his raft, or taking the sun on the hot sand of his beach while his two motor-boats slit the waters of the Sound, drawing aquaplanes over cataracts of foam. On week-ends his Rolls-Royce became an omnibus, bearing parties to and from the city between nine in the morning and long past midnight, while his station wagon scampered like a brisk yellow bug to meet all trains. And on Mondays eight servants, including an extra gardener, toiled all day with mops and scrubbing-brushes and hammers and garden-shears, repairing the ravages of the night before. Every Friday five crates of oranges and lemons arrived from a fruiterer in New York--every Monday these same oranges and lemons left his back door in a pyramid of pulpless halves. There was a machine in the kitchen which could extract the juice of two hundred oranges in half an hour if a little button was pressed two hundred times by a butler's thumb. At least once a fortnight a corps of caterers came down with several hundred feet of canvas and enough colored lights to make a Christmas tree of Gatsby's enormous garden. On buffet tables, garnished with glistening hors-d'oeuvre, spiced baked hams crowded against salads of harlequin designs and pastry pigs and turkeys bewitched to a dark gold. In the main hall a bar with a real brass rail was set up, and stocked with gins and liquors and with cordials so long forgotten that most of his female guests were too young to know one from another. By seven o'clock the orchestra has arrived, no thin five-piece affair, but a whole pitful of oboes and trombones and saxophones and viols and cornets and piccolos, and low and high drums. The last swimmers have come in from the beach now and are dressing up-stairs; the cars from New York are parked five deep in the drive, and already the halls and salons and verandas are gaudy with primary colors, and hair shorn in strange new ways, and shawls beyond the dreams of Castile. The bar is in full swing, and floating rounds of cocktails permeate the garden outside, until the air is alive with chatter and laughter, and casual innuendo and introductions forgotten on the spot, and enthusiastic meetings between women who never knew each other's names. The lights grow brighter as the earth lurches away from the sun, and now the orchestra is playing yellow cocktail music, and the opera of voices pitches a key higher. Laughter is easier minute by minute, spilled with prodigality, tipped out at a cheerful word. The groups change more swiftly, swell with new arrivals, dissolve and form in the same breath; already there are wanderers, confident girls who weave here and there among the stouter and more stable, become for a sharp, joyous moment the centre of a group, and then, excited with triumph, glide on through the sea-change of faces and voices and color under the constantly changing light. Suddenly one of the gypsies, in trembling opal, seizes a cocktail out of the air, dumps it down for courage and, moving her hands like Frisco, dances out alone on the canvas platform. A momentary hush; the orchestra leader varies his rhythm obligingly for her, and there is a burst of chatter as the erroneous news goes around that she is Gilda Gray's understudy from the FOLLIES. The party has begun.
Ilse V. Rensburg
I know I make you uneasy. I don’t need to be psychic to notice that,” Madame Luna says. “Being around magic is never comfortable for those who don’t dabble in it.” “And rightfully so,” Gwen says as she drops the cigarette into an empty bottle. “It’s unnatural. No two ways about it.
(...)"Flapper"— the notorious character type who bobbed her hair, smoked cigarettes, drank gin, sported short skirts, and passed her evenings in steamy jazz clubs, where she danced in a shockingly immodest fashion with a revolving cast of male suitors.
John Dos Passos
But you just watch, little girl. I'm goin' to show 'em. In five years they'll come crawlin' to me on their bellies. I don't know what it is, but I got a kind of feel for the big money.
Ilse V. Rensburg
Her velvet red locks pour out of either side of her hood, hanging over her chest like blood.
Change the subject, actually give me a cigarette and then change the subject
There is always stardust in my eyes when I look at you, my love.
The late 1920s were an age of islands, real and metaphorical. They were an age when Americans by thousands and tens of thousands were scheming to take the next boat for the South Seas or the West Indies, or better still for Paris, from which they could scatter to Majorca, Corsica, Capri or the isles of Greece. Paris itself was a modern city that seemed islanded in the past, and there were island countries, like Mexico, where Americans could feel that they had escaped from everything that oppressed them in a business civilization. Or without leaving home they could build themselves private islands of art or philosophy; or else - and this was a frequent solution - they could create social islands in the shadow of the skyscrapers, groups of close friends among whom they could live as unconstrainedly as in a Polynesian valley, live without moral scruples or modern conveniences, live in the pure moment, live gaily on gin and love and two lamb chops broiled over a coal fire in the grate. That was part of the Greenwich Village idea, and soon it was being copied in Boston, San Francisco, everywhere.
Alexandra took the rose and lifted it to her face. The fragrance was intoxicating and the soft petals tickled her lips, as they must have done Benedict’s. It was as if he had kissed her. A shiver of delight caressed her body and she felt the warmth of a blush on her throat and cheeks.
In many ways my life has been rather like a record of the lost and found. Perhaps all lives are like that.
Golf shows your character.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
They were careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.
Almost immediately after jazz musicians arrived in Paris, they began to gather in two of the city’s most important creative neighborhoods: Montmartre and Montparnasse, respectively the Right and Left Bank haunts of artists, intellectuals, poets, and musicians since the late nineteenth century. Performing in these high-profile and popular entertainment districts could give an advantage to jazz musicians because Parisians and tourists already knew to go there when they wanted to spend a night out on the town. As hubs of artistic imagination and experimentation, Montmartre and Montparnasse therefore attracted the kinds of audiences that might appreciate the new and thrilling sounds of jazz. For many listeners, these locations leant the music something of their own exciting aura, and the early success of jazz in Paris probably had at least as much to do with musicians playing there as did other factors. In spite of their similarities, however, by the 1920s these neighborhoods were on two very different paths, each representing competing visions of what France could become after the war. And the reactions to jazz in each place became important markers of the difference between the two areas and visions. Montmartre was legendary as the late-nineteenth-century capital of “bohemian Paris,” where French artists had gathered and cabaret songs had filled the air. In its heyday, Montmartre was one of the centers of popular entertainment, and its artists prided themselves on flying in the face of respectable middle-class values. But by the 1920s, Montmartre represented an established artistic tradition, not the challenge to bourgeois life that it had been at the fin de siècle. Entertainment culture was rapidly changing both in substance and style in the postwar era, and a desire for new sounds, including foreign music and exotic art, was quickly replacing the love for the cabarets’ French chansons. Jazz was not entirely to blame for such changes, of course. Commercial pressures, especially the rapidly growing tourist trade, eroded the popularity of old Montmartre cabarets, which were not always able to compete with the newer music halls and dance halls. Yet jazz bore much of the criticism from those who saw the changes in Montmartre as the death of French popular entertainment. Montparnasse, on the other hand, was the face of a modern Paris. It was the international crossroads where an ever changing mixture of people celebrated, rather than lamented, cosmopolitanism and exoticism in all its forms, especially in jazz bands. These different attitudes within the entertainment districts and their institutions reflected the impact of the broader trends at work in Paris—the influx of foreign populations, for example, or the advent of cars and electricity on city streets as indicators of modern technology—and the possible consequences for French culture. Jazz was at the confluence of these trends, and it became a convenient symbol for the struggle they represented.
The prosecutor uttered the party line that would distinguish revue from burlesque for the next thirty years. "The difference is movement. On Broadway, unadorned female figures are used to artistic advantage in tableaux. They do not move.
Sarah Addison Allen
The picnic table in the photo was an old door set up on sawhorses, and the seats were old tree stumps, or maybe thick pieces of firewood, topped with square cushions. Six men were sitting there, not looking at the camera, but at the beautiful woman with long, dark hair, almost to her waist, standing at the head of the table. She was smiling, her arms outstretched, as if welcoming everyone to her world. The apple tree in the background, just barely visible, was stretching a single limb out to her, as if wanting to be in the photo with her. Even it looked a little in love with her.
Son, it’s easy tae be guid oan a fu’ belly. It’s when a man’s goat two bites an’ wan o’ them he’ll share, ye ken whit he’s made o’. Listen. In ony country in the world, who are the only folk that ken whit it’s like tae leeve in that country? The folk at the boattom. The rest can a’ kid themselves oan. They can afford to hiv fancy ideas. We canny, son. We loass the wan idea o’ who we are, we’re deid. We’re wan anither. Tae survive, we’ll respect wan anither. When the time comes, we’ll a’ move forward thegither, or nut at all.
They were smart and sophisticated, with an air of independence about them, and so casual about their looks and clothes and manners as to be almost slapdash. I don't know if I realized as soon as I began seeing them that they represented the wave of the future, but I do know I was drawn to them. I shared their restlessness, understood their determination to free themselves of the Victorian shackles of the pre-World War I era and find out for themselves what life was all about.
There was something in Lima that was wrappd up in yards of violet satin from which protruded a great dropsical head and two fat pearly hands; and that was its archbishop. Between the rolls of flesh that surrounded them looked out two black eyes speaking discomfort, kindliness, and wit. A curious and eager soul was imprisoned in all this lard, but by dint of never refusing himself a pheasant or a goose or his daily procession of Roman wines, he was his own bitter jailer. He loved his cathedral; he loved his duties; he was very devout. Some days he regarded his bulk ruefully; but the distress of remorse was less poignant than the distress of fasting, and he was presently found deliberating over the secret messages that a certain roast sends to the certain salad that will follow it. And to punish himself he led an exemplary life in every other respect.
(…) the New Woman of the 1920s boldly asserted her right to dance, drink, smoke, and date—to work her own property, to live free of the strictures that governed her mother’s generation. (…) She flouted Victorian-era conventions and scandalized her parents. In many ways, she controlled her own destiny.
Everywhere was the atmosphere of a long debauch that had to end; the orchestras played too fast, the stakes were too high at the gambling tables, the players were so empty, so tired, secretly hoping to vanish together into sleep and ... maybe wake on a very distant morning and hear nothing, whatever, no shouting or crooning, find all things changed.
Ilse V. Rensburg
Demento's laugh is wildflowers and bourbon on an autumns day just before winter comes to take it all away.
The spicy sweet fragrance of the large full blooms, which rambled over the side and top of an arched metal framework, welcomed them as they walked beneath them. Shafts of sunlight pierced the canopy, dust motes floating languorously in the golden beams that spotlighted clumps of wayward snowdrops growing in the lawn.
She sighs, breathing smoke through her lips. "Might as well dance.