Reading was a popular recreational activity, especially during the winter months when other forms of activity were limited. With the exception of a radio and television, most people gained knowledge of the wider world and current events through printed material.
Many writers had direct experience of the World War, and used it to frame their writings.
American writers expressed the disillusionment following upon the war.
Popular Books Read:
- Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway
- The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
Three Main Genres
Women's Dime Novel : The first profitable mass literature in America was the dime novel, which emerged in 1860. The dime novel focused on the West because of America’s increasing fascination and curiosity with expansion, Native Americans, and pioneers. Dime novels provided a cheap, tangible form of literature that the common person could understand and enjoy.
Romance African: Much of the work by people born in South Africa was limited in its viewpoint. Writers only dimly apprehended the aspirations, perceptions, and traditions of South Africans belonging to people other than their own.
American Novels Southern Literature: Authors of the Southern Renaissance addressed three major themes: the burden of history related to slavery and loss, conservative Southern culture, and the region's association with racism and slavery.
- February 7, 1885 - January 10, 1951
- First American to win the Nobel Prize in Literature for his satirical and critical, yet often sympathetic views of middle–class American life in the 1920s.
- Wrote Main Street and Babbitt.
- In these books, he portrayed the mindless consumption and conformity of middle-class American society in the age of wealth.
- July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961
- Wrote The Sun Also Rises (1926) and A Farewell to Arms (1929)
- A Farewell to Arms - He wrote this novel based on the study of an American ambulance officer's disillusionment in the war and his role as a deserter.
- He liked to portray soldiers, hunters, and bullfighters as tough, primitive people whose courage and honesty are set against the brutal ways of modern society, and how during this confrontation they end up losing hope and faith.
- He was noted both for the intense masculinity of his writing while having an adventurous and widely publicized life.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
- September 24, 1896 - December 21, 1940
- Scott Fitzgerald was the one who named the 1920s the "Jazz Age."
- A popular novel of his was The Great Gatsby.
- Another was This Side of Paradise.
- He spoke of the negative side of the period's joy and freedom.
- He portrayed wealthy and attractive people leading dangerous lives in wealthy surroundings.
- The Great Gatsby was known as the Great American Novel that portrayed "the American Dream".
- September 26, 1888 - January 4, 1965
- American-English poet, playwright, literary critic, and editor, a leader of the modernist movement.
- His publication of The Waste Land (1922) is considered by many to be the single most influential poetic work of the twentieth century.
- He expresses with great power the disenchantment, disillusionment, and disgust of the period after World War I in The Waste Land.
- Eliot exercised a strong influence on Anglo-American culture from the 1920s until late in the century.
- March 26, 1874 - January 29, 1963
- He wrote "The Road Not Taken", "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening", and "Mending Wall".
- He's known for his realistic images of rural life and his command of American colloquial speech.
- One of the most popular and critically respected American poets of the twentieth century.
Daily News, New York Graphics, and Time Magazine covered :
- the news
- celebrity scandals
- lives of entertainers
- society columns
Though they had more scandalous and unofficial information.
Writers of the 1920s brought an outpouring of fresh and insightful writing during this time. This made the 1920s one of the richest eras in the country's literary history.