Lost Generation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

The 'Lost Generation' is a phrase made popular by American author Ernest Hemingway in his first published novel The Sun Also Rises.[1] Often it is used to refer to a group of American literary notables who lived in Paris and other parts of Europe, some after military service in the First World War. Figures identified with the "Lost Generation" include authors and poets Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound, Sherwood Anderson, Waldo Peirce, John Dos Passos and John Steinbeck.

[edit] Origin of the term

The coining of the phrase is sometimes attributed to Gertrude Stein[2] and was then popularized by Ernest Hemingway in the epigraph to his novel The Sun Also Rises and his memoir A Moveable Feast. In the latter, he explained, "I tried to balance Miss Stein's quotation from the garage owner with one from Ecclesiastes." (A few lines after, recalling the risks and losses of the war, he adds, "I thought of Miss Stein and Sherwood Anderson and egotism and mental laziness versus discipline and I thought who is calling who a lost generation?")

It also refers to the time period from the end of World War I to the beginning of the Great Depression. More generally, the term is used for the generation of young people coming of age in the United States during and shortly after World War I. For this reason, the generation is sometimes known as the World War I Generation. In Europe, they are most often known as the Generation of 1914, for the year World War I began. In France, the country in which many expatriates settled, they are sometimes called the Génération du Feu, the Generation of Fire. Broadly, the term is often used to refer to the younger literary modernists.

In Britain the term was originally used for those who died in combat in World War I ,[3] and often implicitly referred to upper-class casualties who were perceived to have died disproportionately, robbing the country of a future elite.[4] Many felt "that 'the flower of youth' and the 'best of the nation' had been destroyed", for example such notable casualties as the poets Isaac Rosenberg, Rupert Brooke and Wilfred Owen.[5], or physicist Henry Moseley.



[edit] Notes

  1. ^ Hemingway Ernest. The sun also rises. p. 13. 
  2. ^ As described by Hemingway in the chapter "Une Generation Perdue," of A Moveable Feast, the term was coined by the owner of the Paris garage where Gertrude Stein took her Model T Ford, and was picked up and translated by her.
  3. ^ AftermathWW1
  4. ^ J.M.Winter, Britain's 'Lost Generation' of the First World War, 1977
  5. ^ BBC Schools Online
Preceded by

Lost Generation
Succeeded by
Interbellum Generation
Personal tools