1920s: Lost Generation and F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Writers and Artists of the 1920s Summary

The Harlem Renaissance was the outpouring of creativity among African American writers, artists, and musicians who gathered in Harlem, New York during the 1920s.
Langston Hughes wrote poetry, plays, and fiction that captured the anguish of African Americans’ longing for equality. He wrote one of his best-known poems while traveling to New York at only 17 years old.

James Weldon Johnson’s best-known book was The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man that describes an attempt by an African American to escape racial discrimination while exploring black culture in the early 1900s. He also wrote the lyrics for the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which is also called the Negro national anthem.

Zora Naele Hurston did not begin her career as a writer, but as an anthropologist. She traveled to the South and Caribbean, collecting the folklore of black people. She then transformed her information into novels, short stories, and essays. Hurtson’s best-known novel is Their Eyes Were Watching God. This novel tells the story of an African American woman living in Eaton, Florida.

White writers were often critical of American ideals and values. Some even moved to Europe because they were sickened by the slaughter of the war. They mostly moved to Paris. They all gathered at the apartment of the writer Gertrude Stein. She called these people the Lost Generation. They included E.E. Cummings, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Dos Passos, and Sherwood Anderson.

E.E. Cummings was a poet who brought fresh ideas to his work. He used no capitalization and did not follow the usual way of presenting verse on a page.
Ernest Hemingway used a direct, taut style in his novels. His first book, The Sun Also Rises, talks about the rootless feelings of many young people after the war.
F. Scott Fitzgerald was the leading writing of the Jazz Age. His novel The Great Gatsby critiques the moral emptiness of upper-class American...
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