The War to End All Wars didn’t really do that. Rather, the unprecedented carnage of WWI left a great big hole in western civilization, a void that would be filled, in turn, with nihilism, modernism, totalitarianism, humanism, atheism, surrealism… we could keep going here. It also left a generation unmoored across Europe searching for meaning, or, at the very least, an intensity of feeling. Alienated, lost, certain only of the failure of the previous generation, writers between the wars wrote with new candor, matching honesty to art in ways never before seen. Also, lots of graphic sex.
“He rams it in.” (Our Lady of the Flowers, 1943)
“It was no longer just her private organ, but a treasure, a magic, potent treasure, a God-given thing.” (Tropic of Cancer, 1934)
Judge: Candace Bushnell
“She lay unconscious of the wild little cries she uttered at the last.” (Lady Chatterley’s Lover, 1928)
ZORA NEALE HURSTON
“He hurled her to the floor and held her there melting her resistance.” (Their Eyes Were Watching God, 1937)
Judge: Garth Greenwell