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Yoga Korunta

Life & Politics

Location: United States

One learns, as nothing endures but change.

04 April 2006

Tuesday's Word

"lost generation"* A term used to describe the generation of men and women who came to maturity between World War I and the Depression of the 1930s. Gertrude Stein first heard the phrase from the proprietor of the Hotel Pernollet in Belley. Referring to a young mechanic repairing Stein's car, M. Pernollet used the expression une generation perdue to describe the dislocation, rootlessness, and disillusionment experienced in the wake of the war. Stein later expanded the meaning of the phrase in conversation with Ernest Hemingway, saying that his was a decadent generation that was drinking itself to death. Hemingway, whose early books were prototypes for the lost generation of writers, recounts this conversation in a preface to The Sun Also Rises and again in A Movable Feast (1964). F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night is a striking account of the spiritual climate of the time. Much of Malcolm Cowley's work, notably The Lost Generation (1931), deals with the writers of that generation.

*Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia, Third Edition, Harper & Row, New York, 1987


Anonymous Anonymous said...

very interesting word or as in this case phrase. I have read some Hemingway and have heard the phrase before. Do you know the names of the other principle writers who are refered as the "lost generation"?

Blogger Yoga Korunta said...

I first saw the phrase while reading The Sun Also Rises. To answer your question I turned to biographical info on Stein and found "Her home in Paris became a center for such artists as Picasso, Matisse, Braque, and Juan Gris, whose work she collected, and for such writers as Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Sherwood Anderson, among many others." This passage is also from Benet's and is all the info I have re American expats in Paris after WW I.

Thanks for reading!

Blogger Yoga Korunta said...

Late addition! These names also were found on Wikipedia under Lost Generation: Ezra Pound, Waldo Peirce, Sylvia Beach, and T.S. Eliot.


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