Harlem Rennaisance And Lost Generation Essay Research

Harlem Rennaisance And Lost Generation Essay, Research Paper

The Artists of the Harlem Renaissance and the Lost Generation diverged from the mainstream to begin separate cultures. Harlem was an area in New York with an extensive African American population. During the 20s poets, writers and musicians like Langston Hughes, Claude Mckay and Zora Neale Hurston made the Harlem area the center of black art and culture. The lost generation was based mainly in Paris, France. It consisted of war torn men who could not re-enter society after World War I. In Europe nearly sixty two percent of men had been killed, captured or debilitated in the Great War. Famine and poverty plagued every nation. The Lost Generation was truly lost they felt angered by the problems at home and many choose to abandon their pre-war land and values to move abroad and adapt a new culture and morals. The black artists of the post WWI era did not conform to mainstream society or even regular black society. Instead they formed their own culture aside the mainstream and the movement was dubbed the Harlem Renaissance. It was truly a coming together of black, and to some extent white, cultural figures. There was little outside influence on the Renaissance. Neither big industry, with their endless promotions to lure customers, nor the anti-prohibition, or speakeasy culture, that characterized the roaring 20s affected the diverse Harlem culture. Langston Hughes was a very prominent writer during the Renaissance. He was a very well cultured man who had traveled all over to places such as the USSR, Haiti and Japan. Refered to as the poet Laureate of New York, his writing was a vehicle to express social and political protest. His diverse use of Jazz and black folklore influenced many black writers of his time. He was also one of the first, along with Claude Mckay, black writers to attract a substantial white audience. Mckay was a Jamaican born poet and novelist. He was attracted to Harlem because of its immense diversity of culture. He had been oppressed and harassed during the Red Scare, a nationwide hunt for radicals, because of his status as a leftist newspaper editor. His style of writing attracted crowds of people never exposed to black culture. He used traditional forms to express unfamiliar ideas . Zora Neale Hurston was the prominent woman during the Harlem movement. She was very much involved in black heritage and southern culture. She studied at colleges around the country and spent nearly half her life in school. Instead of looking back at the oppression African Americans had faced she celebrated her ancestors. Dialect was used in her poetry to discuss issues of race and gender. Writers of the Lost Generation felt they had no place in a society broken by war. The Lost Generation was a term given to the people who matured during the time between the Great War and depression. Most men had been soldiers and they came home to a place they did not like, many had gone insane from the brutal fighting of the war. They were frustrated, especially in America, with their countries and how they were being controlled. Some drank themselves to death. Others expatriated to other countries, many came to live in Paris. They completely separated from the mainstream and help develop the culture that would later become the beat generation. Well-known poets and writers from the period include Ernest Hemmingway and Francis Scott Fitzgerald. Hemmingway was born in Illinois and at seventeen became an ambulance driver during the war. He later transferred to and Italian infantry unit and was severely injured. Then after becoming a journalist, writing short stories for magazines, he served as a corespondent in WWII and the Spanish Civil War. Hemmingway drew on his experiences, which brought him close to death more than once when shells blew up in his hotel room during the Spanish Civil War, when he was struck by a taxi during a blackout and in 1954 when his plane crashed in Africa. His writing contained two types of characters (which defined the Lost Generation). The first consisted of men and women deprived, by WWI, of faith in the moral values in which they believed, and who lived in cynical disregard for anything but their own emotional needs. The second were (almost always) men of primitive character and emotion, such as bullfighters, something Hemmingway had an interest in from a young age. Most of his novels such as The Sun Also Rises (1926) address issues of morality and involve members of his generation. Hemmingway s stylistic influence on American writers has been enormous. The success of his plain style in expressing basic, yet deeply felt emotion , contributed to the decline of the elaborate Victorian-era writing that characterized the early 20th century. He believed that eliminating superfluous detail from his writing contributed to the overall piece. Fitzgerald was an American born writer who is another of the most influential cultural figures in our history. He joined the Army at age twenty one to fight in the World War. The people who surrounded him, members of the Lost Generation, became an intergal part of his novels. Many of his novels are about the shattered American dream and the extensive problems with our society. Eventually, along with his wife, he went the way of many men of his time and slide into alcholism and insanity.

Poets and Writers of the post WWI era diverged from mainstream society to form their own culture. Harlem was a gathering of black Artists and scholars with diverse back rounds who came together to celebrate and discuss issues such as black heritage, race and gender. Artists of Lost Generation were a depressed collection of people that rejected the mainstream and came together discussing problems plaguing the world.


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