By:Chrissy Ognibene, Karly Kapur, Sasha Senovsky, Will Krajicek

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The "Roaring Twenties" was the age for literature. Many famous authors and poets came from this time period. It was a time when
many people began to realize what literature was about. Reading was a popular recreational activity especially during the winter months.
Before radio and television most people learned about what's going on in the world through written articles. Books, newspapers, and
magazines were a big part of peoples education. A knowledge of the classics was considered an essential part of a good education.
Literature was a big deal in the twenties and it still is today.

The 1920's was a decade right after World War I, the biggest war the world has known to date. This gave rise to much trauma and people began
questioning their values and their priorities in life. This also influenced the arts and literature. Many young American authors, sometimes
living in foreign countries, wrote about their everyday lives. From the events that happened during the time, authors would make them into
stories and poems. Children stories were made to entertain the younger crowd and to help them learn. Being able to read was basically
understanding everything about education. If you could not read, you really could not have much of an education. Literature was something
to do everyday and kids were happy with reading because they had nothing else to do. Many stories were based on actual biographies.
People became successful and were written about in all types of stories. Fictional characters were big for kids and gave them someone to
look up to.

Literature was one of those things that everybody knew about no matter who you were. It was everywhere you went and that is why it was
very popular during this time. Stories were something for people to look forward to after long days at work. Printing many versions of
different stories helped many publishing companies do pretty well in business. Many stories that became very famous during this time are
still known today.

Magazines during this time were full of serials or short stories that were often illustrated to entertain their readers. Many young children
who could not yet read enjoyed the pictures. Magazines and newspapers were bigger than books because they were cheap, first of all,
and had the information the people wanted. Magazines had fads and trends for women and newspapers had crossword puzzles and
information the men liked, such as the stock market, which was big at the time and was covered in most local newspapers. This was
a convenience for most people considering they had to walk to find out anything about the stock market. Most men walked to work
because they could not afford automobiles and reading the morning newspaper was part of their daily routine.

When Charles Lindbergh First took flight in 1927 he was front page news. The magazines were booming with the amazing transatlantic flight. His flight inspired the thought of not just world travel by air but new poems, that would soon come in the future. Biographies were written about the amazing pilot and newspapers had a front page for a long time. external image ryan-nyp-spirit-of-st-louis-3.jpg
Al Capone Newsreel

Al Capone was an infamous gangster that was in the news during this time.

Here are some magazines and newspapers from the Roaring Twenties. You can see that many of the magazines are still in circulation.Better_Homes_and_Gardens_mag.jpgfashon_mag.jpgGood_Housekeeping_mag.jpg
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Newsreels made by newspapers were shown at the movie theaters and was a way to report the news in action.

The Roaring Twenties showed us changes in American Literature. It was a period of creativity and the 1920's generation
of writers started to experiment with style and form. New ways of writing like “stream of consciousness” and free verse are
examples of how writers were changing from a usual writing style to these modern styles. The “stream of consciousness” technique is the
flow of random thoughts with no logical sequences that a character’s mind has about an experience. Free verse is a kind of poetry that
does not conform to any regular meter: the length of its lines are not the same and it hardly ever rhymes. Free verse is now the most
widely practiced verse form in English. The authors wanted to find new styles of writing because they were so affected by the war.
There were 3 important groups for literature in the 20's. They were The Algonquin Round Table, The Lost Generation and The Harlem Renaissance.

The Algonquin Round Table was an informal group of men and women who all wrote literature. They met each other daily for lunch on the weekends, at a large round table in the Algonquin Hotel in New York City during the 1920's and 30's. Many of the best-known writers, journalists, and artists in New York City were in this group. "Among them were: Dorothy Parker, Willa Cather, Alexander Woollcott (author of the quote "All the things I really like are immoral, illegal, or fattening." ) (Whitley, American Culture History, 1999). They met to discuss new ideas. They wrote about their feelings and rebelled against accepted values.

Here's a picture of the Algonquin Round Table:

Another group was the Lost Generation, who were "to themselves people", who lived and wrote in Paris between the wars. These
writers mostly wrote about war and their feelings about it. They were idealistic and had lost faith and hope in America. They wrote
what they wanted in a realistic way. This group included Ernest Hemingway (The Sun Also Rises-1925 and A Farewell to Arms-1929),
Gertrude Stein (The Making of Americans-1925), John Dos Passos (Manhattan Transfer-1925), William Faulkner (The Sound and the Fury-
1929 and As I Lay Dying-1930), F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby-1925) and Edith Wharton (The Age of Innocence-1920). Many of
their books are still read today in literature classes across the U.S. and some have even been made into movies. Other books written
outside the U.S. included Adolph Hitler's autobiographical book, Mein Kampf (My Struggle) written in 1925, Winnie the Pooh written in
1926 by A.A. Milne, and the famous mystery writer Agatha Christie wrote numerous books.

The Lost Generation referred to younger literary modernists who were looking for freedom of thought and action. The term “Lost Generation”
was a phrase used by Gertrude Stein, an American writer who was known for her experimentation style and form. Her innovative work
of fiction was influenced by her love of jazz, cubism art form and contemporary art. She is best known for her book Three Lives, in
which she writes about simple lower class women at the turn of the century. Along with Gertrude Stein, other important authors were
a part of this group. Ernest Hemingway came to Paris in 1921 and became a member of the Lost Generation literary group. He wrote
about things he enjoyed such as traveling, nature, and hunting. His first serious novel The Sun Also Rises dealt with a group of American
expatriates living in France and Spain. He went on to earn the Nobel Prize in literature and the Pulitzer Prize for his novel Old Man
And The Sea. F. Scott Fitzgerald was another writer of the Lost Generation who moved to Europe in 1924.

Here are pictures of The Lost Generation, Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway's journal.

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Poets who were important during this time included E. E. Cummings. He experimented with language (and punctuation!). Edna St. Vincent
Millay expressed her feelings and desires of her time living in Greenwich Village. T.S. Elliot wrote The Waste Land, a free form verse
reflecting on conditions after WWI.
Here's a picture of E.E CummingsEEC_Caedmon.jpg
Here's a video of him reciting one of his poems:

Here is an example of E.E. Cummings work:
I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart) I am never without it (anywhere I go you go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is
your doing,my darling) I fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) I want no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true) and it's you are
whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of
the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)

Here is the famous poet, T.S.Elliot, reading his most popular poem The Waste Land.
T.S. Eliot narrating the Waste Land poem Part 1 of 2:

The Harlem Renaissance was the period from the end of World War I through the middle of the 1930’s Depression. This was considered
the first important movement of African American writers and artists in the U.S. and was based in northern New York City. African-American
writers wrote about how the negro image was changing from living in the country to living in the city. During this time, the blacks were trying to reconnect to their roots and also trying to fit into the American society. The blacks were becoming more sophisticated and were trying to be like white people. They published more than ever before. African American authors, artists, and musicians finally got rewards, applauds, and attention. This group included: Zora Neale Hurston, W.E.B. DuBois, Langston Hughes, and Alain Locke, and they were the best of the best for the Renaissance. James Langston Hughes was a black American poet who came from an unhappy childhood. His first published poem was the "Negro Speaks of Rivers. "Some other famous black authors and novels were: Jean Toomer who wrote Cane in 1923, Wallace Thurman who wrote The Blacker the Berry; a Novel of Negro Life in 1929, and Randolph Fisher who wrote The Walls of Jericho in 1928. Claude McKay,was one of the first African American writers of this movement to get his work published by a mainstream national publisher. Nella Larson was a famous author. One of her most famous stories was Passing. It was a story about two women passing for white.
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American literature went through many changes with many authors writing mostly about war and their feelings of disillusionment about it.
People began questioning their values and their priorities in life and the authors during this time wanted to find new styles of writing.
Writers started to experiment with style and form. The three important groups formed during this time were The Algonquin Round Table,
The Lost Generation and the Harlem Renaissance. The Roaring Twenties is known for bringing about some of the best known American
writers, journalists and artists who are still being read today.


Reuben, Paul. "Chapter 9: Harlem Renaissance - A Brief Introduction." PAL: Perspectives in American Literature - A Research and Reference Guide - An Ongoing Project. None given. None given. 27 Jan 2009 <>.

Saltzman, Arthur M. "Lost Generation." World Book Online Reference Center. 2006. World Book, Inc.2 Mar.2006

Whitley , Peggy. "Books and Literature." American Culture History. 2008. Star Lane College. 22 Jan 2009 <>.

No name given, No name given. "Literature." The1920's Experience. None given. None given. 28 Jan 2009 <>.

No name given, No name given. "Literature From the 1920's." The Roaring Twenties. None given. None given. 22 Jan 2009 <>

None given, None given. "Lost Generation." Wikipedia. 2009. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.. 27 Jan 2009 <>.

No name given, No name given. "The Great Depression (1920–1940)." Spark Notes. 2008. SparkNotes LLC. 27 Jan 2009 <>.

No name given, No name given. "The Roaring Twenties." 1920's Literature. 2005. None given. 27 Jan 2009 <>.

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