Is a term used to refer to the generation that went to fight in The Great War or WWI. They are called "lost" because they lost their idealism, fighting in the first modern war. Prior to them leaving, America was riding on the wave of the Industrial Revolution, and anything seemed possible -- but the horror of war changed that.

Today we seem to have so much promise in the "Digital Revolution" (or whatever you want to call it). But history tends to show that time is cyclical, which leaves the question: What will create our "lost generation"?

Reccomended Reading on this subject:

The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgearld
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

The expression "lost generation" was coined by Gertrude Stein when she said to Ernest Hemingway, "you are all a lost generation."

Well known writers of the lost generation are F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Sherwood Anderson, Kay Boyle, Hart Crane, Ford Maddox Ford, Zelda Fitzgerald, and John Dos Passos.

The best timeframe I can find for The Lost Generation is from 1912 to 1932, with Paris acknowledged as the center for The Lost Generation, during this time. Mostly because value of the French franc in relation to the U.S. dollar kept falling during the ‘20s.

The causative effect for The Lost Generation is generally regarded as being the First World War; it resulted in the rejection of the values of post World War I America, by the writers, poets and artists of the era.

John Clellon Holmes in his article 'This Is The Beat Generation' writes:

The Lost Generation was discovered in a roadster, laughing hysterically because nothing meant anything anymore. It migrated to Europe, unsure whether it was looking for the 'orgiastic future' or escaping from the 'puritanical past.' Its symbols were the flapper, the flask of bootleg whiskey, and an attitude of desparate frivolity best expressed by the line: 'Tennis, anyone?' It was caught up in the romance of disillusionment, until even that became an illusion. Every act in its drama of lostness was a tragic or ironic third act, and T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land was more than the dead-end statement of a perceptive poet. The pervading atmosphere of that poem was an almost objectless sense of loss, through which the reader felt immediately that the cohesion of things had disappeared. It was, for an entire generation, an image which expressed, with dreadful accuracy, its own spiritual condition.
The Lost Generation, gave us

· Jazz
· Cubism
· Fauvism
· Dada
· The naturalistic technique in the novel

Sources:

http://www.hawken.edu/class/e3losf/
http://ils.unc.edu/~kaisn/pathfind.html
http://www.crosswinds.net/~eav/trends.html (one of my webpages, still a work in progress)
'This Is The Beat Generation' by John Clellon Holmes
You can find this article online at http://www.litkicks.com/Texts/ThisIsBeatGen.html

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