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Twentieth Century Writers

               Twentieth Century Writers Film Clips

Ralph Ellison on Richard Wright Among Others... (Direction Magazine, 1941)

Printed just twelve years before he would receive a National Book Award for his tour de force, The Invisible Man, celebrated wordsmith Ralph Ellison (1914 1994) wrote this review of "Negro fiction" for a short-lived but informed arts magazine in which he rolled out some deep thoughts regarding Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, Arna Bontemps, Zora Neil Hurston and assorted other ink-slingers of African descent:

"It is no accident that the two most advanced Negro writers, Langston Hughes and Richard Wright, have been men who have enjoyed freedom of association with advanced white writers; nor is it accidental that they have had the greatest effect upon Negro life."

Click here to read a 1929 book review by Langston Hughes.

CLICK HERE to read about African-Americans during the Great Depression.


Carl Sandburg at 70 ('48 Magazine)

Here is a salute to the poet Carl Sandburg (1878 1967) written by Louis Untermeyer (1885 1977) marking the occasion of Sandburg's biography of Abraham Lincoln:

"At 70 Sandburg is the voice of the common man, and it is only natural that his biography of Abraham Lincoln should express for all time the spirit of that uncommon man who was the common denominator of humanity."


A Review of Saroyan's The Adventures of Wesley Jackson
(Rob Wagner's Script, 1947)

The 1947 review of William Saroyan's war novel, The Adventures of Wesley Jackson:

"What makes the novel good is what makes Saroyan good. In this case his wonderful satires on army life, wangling , and the weird fauns of his private universe. What makes it bad is the overdose of soliloquies, hymns and plain mutterings on love, death life and the appeasement of divine wrath by means of scapegoat."


A Review of Memorial by Christopher Isherwood (Rob Wagner's Script, 1947)

A review of Christopher Isherwood's (1906 - 1986) semi-autobiographical novel, Memorial, which was placed in post-World War I Britain:

"The plot of Memorial can be discussed very briefly: it doesn't have one. It doesn't need one. It is entirely fascinating, not a dramatic sequence of events, but an increasingly intimate understanding of a state of affairs...The book proceeds, not forward in time, but inward by layers. Isherwood has a wonderful gift of getting inside people."


Famous Edith Sitwell (Literary Digest, 1927)

Edith Sitwell (1887 1964) had appeared on the literary horizon some fourteen years before this profile was read in the American press and by 1927 all concerned seemed to have decided that she had attained a respectable level of notoriety and was worthy of being labeled "famous":

"Miss Sitwell is described by THE SKETCH (London) as 'an author who dislikes simplicity, morris-dancing, a sense of humor, and every kind of sport except reviewer-baiting.'"


Rebecca West: The Last Birth of Time (Current Opinion, 1921)

Rebecca West (born Regina Miriam Bloch: 1892 1983) became a fixture on the literary landscape just prior to the First World War when she was recognized as a young, thought-provoking writer with much to say on many matters. The article serves as an interesting profile of the woman by compiling various remarks made during the course of her early career.


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