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Harold Stearns, a prominent social critic, led a call for young people to venture beyond the United States, but his own experience in France was punctuated by drinking and gambling. While a wave of Americans had spread out over the continent, a colony of artists from the United States really had established themselves in Paris, using the mechanisms of a burgeoning print culture to reject perceptions about them and to forge new collaborations with their European hosts. Successive waves of expatriates were finally blunted by the stock market crash in New York in , and those Americans who had returned home began to provide serious analysis of a decade spent abroad, most commonly defending their cohort or disavowing, outright, a Lost Generation.

Some expatriates who stayed abroad through the s were caught up in the Second World War, and their repatriation was connected, inextricably, with those European artists who fled that conflict. By the late s, a vibrant cohort of writers and other artists from the United States were again flocking to Paris.

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Once more, Americans abroad were rejecting the Lost Generation moniker, but this time it was to differentiate their experiences from those of their predecessors. Earlier, fragmented considerations of American expatriation between the world wars were surpassed, beginning in the s, by fuller readings, in works like Kennedy and Pizer Studies like Dolan and Monk question whether a cohort of Americans abroad can be identified as a Lost Generation.

Though it focuses on women writers, Benstock remains an essential starting point for understanding expatriate Paris in the s. Hansen fills an important gap by focusing on the early experience of Ambulance Corp volunteers, and the contribution of African Americans is captured well in Sharpley-Whiting and Stovall Blower and Katz reposition the experience of Americans in Paris in the s to examine the broader cultural context. Benstock, Shari.

Lost Generation - American Literature - Oxford Bibliographies

Women of the Left Bank: Paris, — Austin: University of Texas Press, This study extends the discussion of expatriates by examining the first four decades of the 20th century and including British writers, but by doing so Benstock outlines the achievement of more than twenty era-defining women.

There is emphasis placed on the legacy of Edith Wharton, as well as readings of the significance of H. Blower, Brooke. New York: Oxford University Press, This study troubles simplistic readings of expatriation. Blower argues that Americans did not simply flee to Montmartre or Montparnasse only to turn around and unquestioningly reembrace life in the United States. Paris served as an important gathering place, but expatriates throughout Europe in the s and s sought global connections that helped redefine what it meant to be American in a world whose people were drawn closer through conflict.

Dolan, Marc. Dolan provides an analysis of the ways that the Lost Generation has been read, from a description of art produced at a specific time and in a specific place to a protest of the perceived moral shortcomings of expatriates.


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His study is rooted in readings of Malcolm Cowley, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Ernest Hemingway, but he contextualizes their rhetorical strategies and contrasts their achievements with other constructions of Americanness. Robert Longley is a U. He has written for ThoughtCo since Disillusioned by the horrors of war, they rejected the traditions of the older generation.

The Lost Generation and Millennials

Their struggles were characterized in the works of a group of famous American authors and poets including Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and T. And one fine morning — So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. Toklas, Ernest Hemingway, F. Sylvia Beach helped shape the lost generation, as her bookstore provided access to current American literature for reading and criticism along with support for young authors, whether it was lending them money, finding them resources, or simply encouraging them to write. The lost generation writers flocked to places such as Shakespeare and Company and literary salons to surround themselves with like-minded individuals.

These writers were shaped by the shared experience of World War I, often choosing to express their feelings about the war and the post-war society through writing. Young men craving adventure and travel enlisted in World War I, but found that instead of a rewarding experience, war was filled with violence and death. The lost generation then felt the need to travel, not for adventure, but as a way to deal with the post-war society.

Hemingway himself made this choice, signing up for active duty after witnessing the war as a reporter, and drove an ambulance along with fighting on the front lines. After less than a month in the war zone, Hemingway was struck by a mortar shell and severely wounded Wagner-Martin Jake travels to Spain frequently to fish and witness the bull-fights.

At first, Spain is everything Jake needs, as he is free to watch the bull-fights and fish, but the charm quickly wears off. Life was so simple in France. I felt I was a fool to be going back into Spain.

Expatriates believed that by moving to Paris, their troubles would be cured, but that was not true. Along with travelling to physically escape, the lost generation was known for drinking as a mental escape. Jay Gatsby, one of the main characters of the novel, throws luxurious parties full of dancing and drinking that last all night in an attempt to gain the attention of his lost lover, Daisy, who refused to marry Gatsby because he lacked wealth and stature.

Gatsby finally meets up with Daisy and attempts to win her back by showing off his large mansion along with his expensive belongings, and Daisy agrees to leave her husband and run away with Gatsby. In another Fitzgerald novel, Tender is the Night, the character Abe represents loss of youth due to alcohol.

Abe is a raging alcoholic, but fondly thinks back on when he did not face his addiction. Elliot, one of the most famous poets of all time, also wrote about lost youth in his poem The Wasteland.

The poem begins with the lines: April is the cruelest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain Winter kept us warm, covering Earth in forgetful snow, feeding A little life with dried tubers. Instead, it was winter that provided relief, because it covered up the memories, suggesting that it was easier to be numb.

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Elliot may have been referring to shellshock, a condition where war survivors found themselves in a state of numbness and disbelief as a way of handling their memories. Ezra Pound, a famous lost generation poet, also wrote about lost youth in his poem And the days are not full enough. It reads: And the days are not full enough And the nights are not full enough And life slips by like a field mouse Not shaking the grass.

Many of the members lost their youth and innocence in World War I and sought to regain it but could not. They wandered and travelled, never truly fitting in and finding satisfaction. Another Fitzgerald novel, This Side of Paradise, features Amory Blaine, a main character who travels Europe with his mother and when he returns to America finds that he cannot relate to the other children Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise.

This is another example of a lost generation writer speaking about the loss of youth and the inability to regain it. Along with a loss of innocence, The Wasteland spoke to the loss of civilized culture. Elliot includes obscure, incomplete allusions to classic literature to represent how the younger generation was forgetting their traditional values Shmoop Editorial Team. After the destruction of World War I, many expatriates did not recognize the society they once lived in, driving them to find a new one. Traditions that once seemed important no longer held any value. The s was a period of change, particularly for women.

Gender roles began to shift as many women asserted their new independence after earning the right to vote by choosing to cut their hair short, wore shorter and tighter dresses, drank, and smoke. Brett wears her hair short and holds her own with the multiple men in her life, maintaining several romantic relationships throughout the novel. Jordan Baker also wears her hair short and is a professional golfer and earns her own living, travelling the country.

The Lost Generation : Expatriate Writers of the 20th Century

Tom Buchanan did not fight in World War I, meaning he was not exposed to the violence of trench warfare where men were forced to huddle together for long periods of time. In The Sun Also Rises, Jake is castrated due to a war injury, a very literal symbol for the loss of masculinity. Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises.

He is subservient to Brett, responding to her every call, despite her being with other men. The other men in the novel are also dedicated to Brett, often taking out their insecurities on one another. The loss of traditional gender roles is just another issue the lost generation dealt with after World War I. These stereotypes do not always hold weight, though. Older generations who did not grow up with social media platforms may not understand the millennials desire to publicize their lives, calling it self-obsession. What may be interpreted as self-entitlement may actually be a millennial seeking a work path that matches their educational experience.

Despite being a hundred years apart, millennials and the lost generation have commonalities due to similar experiences and hardships.