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The Depression: Major Literary Figures Reaction

Question: Describe how major literary figures reacted to the Depression, and discuss how their works reflected the problems of society. Include examples.

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Describe how major literary figures reacted to the Depression, and discuss how their works reflected the problems of society.

The major literary figures that emerged during the Depression, including the poets, had two things in common which was expressed in the themes of their literary works. First, these figures were all born too late to have any real experience of the pre-World War I world and, second, these figures also grew up in a period of social, economic and political turmoil. Because of this, themes of community, social justice, turmoil, poverty and war seem to dominate the poetry and literary works of the decade of the depression.

In part, these themes arose because most literary figures during this period were politically active on the Left, including literary figures such as: W. H. Auden, Stephen Spender, Cecil Day-Lewis and Louis MacNeice. Although they admired the work of Eliot, they also represented a move away from the technical innovations of their modernist predecessors. During the 1930's some English surrealist poetry also arose by literacy figures such as David Gascoyne, Hugh Sykes Davies, ...

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