This course will assess the status of literature and culture in the United States in the first half of the 20th century. A time when mass culture, war, and literary as well as industrial inovation were the rule, this period offers numberous exciting ways of critical approach. This class will not be bound by genre, nor should we feel compelled to limit ourselves to only poetry, plays and novels we should sample jazz, advertising and film as well as other cultural documents. The steering wheel in the course title signifies many things: progress, motion, industrial growth, destruction, creativity. Perhaps we will begin to answer as a class the riddle of who, if anyone, is driving.