Monday, April 16, 2012

The Lost Generation

The “Lost Generation” refers to expatriated American writers who were living in Paris after World War I.  Ernest Hemingway was one of these writers.  He was working as a foreign correspondent for the Toronto Star at the time.  The majority of the writers in the “Lost Generation” were veterans of World War I.  They had seen and done terrible things which left them devastated after the war was over.  They returned to a country that was ready to forget about the war and in many ways the soldiers who fought in it.  They were unable to adjust to a changing world.  This created the environment for a new form of literature.  The literature during this time would be much different than the pre-war literature.  The works created were not as optimistic as before, almost pessimistic in many cases.  This was due to the fact that these writers had endured many hardships in their lives that were of no fault of their own.  
Ernest Hemingway was not only considered a part of the “Lost Generation” movement, he also helped create it. The term, “Lost Generation”, was created by Gertrude Stein, who was a friend of Hemingway.  According to Hemingway, Stein was at a mechanic shop where her car had been poorly repaired.  The shop owner told the mechanic he was a lost generation.  She then told Hemingway that he was also part of the “Lost Generation”.   The generation was generally perceived to be careless and heavy drinkers.  This definition definitely fit Hemingway’s personality.  He later used the term in The Sun Also Rises, which was a significant work of Ernest Hemingway. 
The “Lost Generation” had a major role in the short story becoming a respected form of literature.  Before this time short stories were not considered profitable, but the writers of this time were able to write stories that were not only good literature but could make money.  The short story had become very popular and this was due to the American writers of the “Lost Generation”.    
 Although Hemingway was not the only writer of the "Lost Generation", he is the one most associated with it.  Other than the mechanic, he was also the first one labeled with this title.
           
Sources:

Werlock, Abby H. P., ed. "Hemingway, Ernest." The Facts On File Companion to the American Novel. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2006. Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc. http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?ItemID=WE54&SID=5&iPin= CANov0423&SingleRecord=True (accessed April 16, 2012).

Oliver, Charles M. "Hemingway and the lost generation." Critical Companion to Ernest Hemingway: A Literary Reference to His Life and Work, Critical Companion. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2007. Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc. http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?ItemID=WE54&SID=5&iPin= CCEH3060&SingleRecord=True (accessed April 16, 2012).

Oliver, Charles M. "Hemingway and the lost generation." Critical Companion to Ernest Hemingway: A Literary Reference to His Life and Work, Critical Companion. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2007. Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc. http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?ItemID=WE54&SID=5&iPin= CCEH3060&SingleRecord=True (accessed April 16, 2012).

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