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The Algonquin Round Table Essay, Research Paper

Algonquin Round Table

The Internet is a vast learning domain that if properly used can put forth volumes of information. Schools such as Penn State have put forth useful information on many topics concerning American Literature during the 1920’s. Other institutions such as the National Portrait Gallery and the Algonquin Hotel assisted in producing credible information on the Algonquin Round Table. These three sites proved to be the dominant sources for scholarly information on the literary significance of the Algonquin Round Table.

The infamous Algonquin Round Table, located in the Algonquin Hotel was instrumental in establishing a new literary style. From the conclusion of World War I writers, essayists, columnists and drama critics converged upon the popular spot. The Table was started by wartime friends Franklin P. Adams, Harold Ross, Heywood Broun, and Alexander Woollcott. After these writers returned from war torn Europe, they began having daily luncheons at the hotel. The “Vicious Circle” soon became known for its criticism, criticism that heavily influenced writers of the time. The group was composed mostly of wealthy Ivy League graduates, and other people poised to make large amounts of money. Their fame allowed them to transcend through the ages enabling them to become more than just a group of writers, but instead a group of literary legends.

The Algonquin Round Table was probably one of the most significant parts of the literary movement during the period following World War I. Although highly significant, the Internet in general was not very thorough in addressing the topic. Of the fifty or so sites that were discovered, only five sites proved to be useful. Of these five sites three of the sites worked, and only offered limited information on the topic.

Of the thousands of Colleges and Universities in the United States, I discovered only one school that offered information on the topic. Pennsylvania State University was one of the only schools that put forth any type of information on the Algonquin Round Table. The information was directly linked to Dorothy Parker, who was a premier member of the Round Table. The site was extremely organized, which made it easier to use. This enabled me to weed through the useless information and get right to the scholarly information on the topic. The site however offered limited hot links. The one hot link it offered was to the rivals of the Round Tablers. The group was known as the Greenwich Villagers. The site also made note of the difference in writing styles between the two groups. By allowing for comparison between the two groups, the user of the site is able to see the different literary styles that were occurring during this time period. This and this alone advanced the scholarship of the subject. The Site appeared to be created by a professor at the Pennsylvania State University. It is brought to us by the efforts of teachers and students, for some of the information appears to come from research done by students. In general the site provides basic information needed to learn about the Round Table as well as the authors that contributed to it. I feel that in order to make the site more scholarly and informative more hot links should be included, hot links that offer more information on the other authors of the group.

One disheartening aspect of my search was the limited information put forth by the Algonquin Hotel. Although the Round Table had a great deal of literary significance the hotel did not have much to say about it. I expected to see volumes of information put forth by the hotel. I expected this site to be credible, because after all the owners of the Round Table created it. One positive aspect of the site was the discussion of some of the accomplishments of the Round Tablers. The site made note of the fact that the hotel was partly responsible for the creation of the New Yorker as well as the Round Tables role in Franklin P. Adams “Conning Tower” column in the Tribune. Besides the mention of something benefiting the hotel, the site also mentioned how the member’s opinions affected writers such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemmingway. A site like this could be improved a great deal simply by including hot links to members of the Round Table; it was not the table that made the hotel famous, it was the writers. I feel in this situation research from some other source, like a magazine or encyclopedia would have proved to be more useful. However due to the limited coverage of the topic on the Internet I decided to use the site.

The last site that I discovered came from the National Portrait Gallery. The site proved to be useful not only because there was information about that Round Table, but it also had caricatures of the more famous members. The caricatures gave me a hint as to the type of people that were members of the Round Table. Aside from the caricatures, the information was no different from the other information gathered on my search. As a whole however, the site discussed useful and credible information. The one major flaw in the site was it offered no hot links to any other possible useful site. The site offered a little more than basic information on the topic.

The search done on the Algonquin Round Table had limited success. The sites put forth were some of the most credible sites that the Internet had to offer. This conclusion was reached after examining about ten different search engines. Although the success of the search was limited, the success of the Round Table was one notable factor in the project. The Round Table and its constituents proved to influence a whole literary genre. Their witty, straight and simply written entertainment allowed the Round Table to continue influencing writing long after its ten-year duration.

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