Lost Generation

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The "Lost Generation" is a term used to describe a number of American writers and artists who went to live in Europe after the First World War. People associated with the Lost Generation include Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sherwood Anderson and John Steinbeck.

The term has also been used more recently to describe those unable to find work after the global financial crisis of 2008-2009.

Origin of the term[change | edit source]

The writer and poet Gertrude Stein is often considered to have come up with the term[1] She supposedly heard her French garage owner speak of his unskilled young workers as "une generation perdue" (a generation lost). Ernest Hemingway then used the term in the introduction to his novel The Sun Also Rises.

The term is generally used for the period from the end of the First World War to the beginning of the Great Depression.

Meaning[change | edit source]

After the First World War, members of the Lost Generation decided that they did not want to live a normal life in America. They went to Europe, often Paris. Away from America, the Lost Generation often drank heavily, had affairs and tried to find meaning in life. The Lost Generation produced some of the finest writing of all time, and arguably created a new style of writing.

Notes[change | edit source]

  1. 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 car, and was picked up and translated by her.