The Lost Generation and an American Flirtation: The Effects of War on Literary Culture as Exemplified by the Life and Writings of Harry Crosby
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This paper examines Harry Crosby’s life and writings within the broader context of the literary movement that is the Lost Generation. In the 1920s, men and women who had come of age during the First World War faced changes that the conflict had brought on. No longer feeling at home in the tradition and country in which they were born, Americans like Crosby moved to Paris where they would come together, forming a unique post-war literary movement. Incorporating analyses and discussions of historical context, contemporary Freudian theories on war and death, and literary, poetic and diaristic writings, this thesis illustrates that the often overlooked works by Crosby encapsulate the essence of the Lost Generation. It argues that understanding his, at times, unique and extreme writings provide insight into what is at the centre of the literary movement as a whole: loss. By looking back at the literature of a century ago, the effects of life-altering experiences on the writings of a new generation might be better understood.