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“A ‘lost crowd’: Reconfiguring the Harlem Renaissance as a post-war “lost” generation”

Sarah Trott Orcid Logo

Comparative American Studies, Volume: 11, Issue: 4, Pages: 434 - 447

Swansea University Author: Sarah Trott Orcid Logo

Abstract

Traditionally, for black Americans the First World War did not signify the traumatic removal of traditional Victorian ideals, the end of any romantic notions of battle, or, as it would for white American literature, the disillusionment and alienation of a literary Lost Generation. Although experienc...

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Published in: Comparative American Studies
Published: 2013
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa16519
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Abstract: Traditionally, for black Americans the First World War did not signify the traumatic removal of traditional Victorian ideals, the end of any romantic notions of battle, or, as it would for white American literature, the disillusionment and alienation of a literary Lost Generation. Although experiencing continued racism upon their return, the recognition that black Americans had received in wartime France came to characterize a budding enthusiasm for the social prospects of the post-war era. Yet, many novels of the Harlem Renaissance certainly resonate with the disillusionment of the Lost Generation and similarly grapple with notions of war trauma and traumatic post-war (re)integration into a chaotic American society. This article therefore considers the endeavour to reconcile feelings of post-war national unity with the African American struggle for racial equality in the early twentieth century. By evaluating the analogous themes of alienation, masculinity and place represented by both the Lost Generation and Harlem Renaissance this paper seeks to highlight traumatic parallels between post-war literatures of two divergent “lost” generations.
College: College of Arts and Humanities
Issue: 4
Start Page: 434
End Page: 447