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Lost Generation

The term Lost Generation was coined by Gertrude Stein to refer to a group of American literary notables who lived in Paris in the 1920s and 1930s. Significant members included Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sherwood Anderson[?] and Gertrude Stein herself.

More generally, the term is being used for the generation of young people coming of age in the United States during and shortly after World War I. William Strauss[?] and Neil Howe[?] in their book Generations list this generation's birth years as 1883 to 1900. Their typical grandparents were the Gilded Generation; their parents were the Progressive Generation and Missionary Generation. Their children were the G.I. Generation and Silent Generation; their typical grandchildren were Baby boomers.

The "Lost Generation" were said to be disillusioned by the senseless slaughter of the First World War, cynical, disdainful of the Victorian notions of morality and propriety of their elders. Like most attempts to pigeon-hole entire generations, this over-generalization is true for some individuals of the generation and not true of others.

It was fairly common among members of this group to complain that American artistic culture lacked the breadth of European work - leading many members to spend large amounts of time in Europe - and/or that all topics worth treating in a literary work had already been covered. Nevertheless, this selfsame period saw an explosion in American literature and art, which is now often considered to include some of the greatest literary classics produced by American writers. This generation also produced the first flowering of jazz music, arguably the first distinctly American artform.

Sample members of the Lost Generation include the following:

Cultural endowments of the Lost Generation include the following:

The Lost Generation produced two Presidents: Harry S Truman and Dwight Eisenhower. They held a plurality in the House of Representatives from 1937 to 1953, a plurality in the Senate from 1943 to 1959, and a majority of the Supreme Court from 1941 to 1967.

Prominent foreign-born peers of the Lost Generation included Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler, Charles Chaplin, Charles de Gaulle, and Mao Zedong.

See also generation.



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