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Jazz Age Culture

Part III


Harlem Renaissance Writers

Lost Generation Writers

More Modernist Writers

Harlem Renaissance Writers


Winold Reiss, "Interpretation
of Harlem Jazz" (c. 1915-20)

"We younger Negro artists who create now intend to express our individual dark-skinned selves without fear or shame. If white people are pleased we are glad. If they are not, it doesn't matter. We know we are beautiful. And ugly too. . . . If colored people are pleased we are glad. If they are not, their displeasure doesn't matter either. We build our temples for tomorrow, strong as we know how, and we stand on top of the mountain, free within ourselves." (from Langston Hughes, "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain")

"It was the period when the Negro was in vogue. I was there. I had a swell time while it lasted. But I thought it wouldn't last long." (from The Big Sea by Langston Hughes, 1940)

Hughes: Texts

Scholarly Articles on Hughes' Poetry

The Lost Generation:
The Fitzgeralds, Hemingway, & Gertrude Stein


Dust Jacket Illustration
by John Held, Jr. (1922)

"Ernest Hemingway, echoing Gertrude Stein, labeled the generation 'lost,' and catalogued the deaths of many of its illusions, chief among them, perhaps, the death of romantic love." (from Bryant Mangum, course description for "Early American Twentieth Century Literature")

"Here was a new generation . . . dedicated more than the last to the fear of poverty and the worship of success; grown up to find all Gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken. . . ." (from F. Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise, 1920)

"That's the whole burden of this novel [The Great Gatsby]--the loss of those illusions that give such color to the world so that you don't care whether things are true or false as long as they partake of the magical glory." (from F. Scott Fitzgerald letter, 1924)

Great Gatsby: Study Aids & Student Papers

Great Gatsby: Professional Reviews/Scholarly Articles

Hemingway's Sun Also Rises

Stein: Commentary and Scholarly Articles

Stein and Picasso

More Modernist Writers


"Whoa! Nellie! Stop Rag" by
George Gould and Charles N.
Daniels (sheet music, 1915).

"On or about 1910, just as the automobile and airplane were beginning to accelerate the pace of human life, and Einstein's ideas were transforming our perception of the universe, there was an explosion of innovation and creative energy that shook every field of artistic endeavor. . . . It was an era when major artists were fundamentally questioning and reinventing their art forms: Matisse and Picasso in painting, James Joyce and Gertrude Stein in literature, Isadora Duncan in dance, Igor Stravinsky in music, and Frank Lloyd Wright in architecture." (from The Academy of American Poets, The Modernist Revolution: Make It New, 2003)

"The perpetual task of poetry is to 'make all things new.' Not necessarily to make new things. . . . It is always partly a revolution, or a reaction, from the work of the previous generation." (from T. S. Eliot, "Tradition and the Practice of Poetry")

Scholarly Articles about H.D.:


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Last updated: 10/10/12