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[Detail] Portrait of Ella Fitzgerald by Carl Van Vechten

Literature in the Twenties: the "Lost Generation"

The 1920s was a period of exceptional productivity in American literature. Students can see this reflected in Van Vechten's many portraits of writers listed under Authors, Playwrights, and Poets, in the Occupational Index. Many of these writers expressed their generation's disillusionment with America's ideals of freedom and democracy precipitated by its experience of World War I. Scornful of America's materialistic culture and more at home in Europe than in the states, these writers of the twenties were dubbed the "Lost Generation". Students can find portraits of some of the greatest writers of this period in this collection, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, Eugene O'Neill, and Edna St. Vincent Millay. You may also find a lesson idea on Sinclair Lewis's Main Street in the Collection Connection for The South Texas Border.

  • Do Van Vechten's portraits of these writers reflect their status and attitudes as members of the Lost Generation?