The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

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What is so common among authors who belonged to the so-called "lost generation" group and why are they "lost"? I was wondering if authors belonging to the "lost generation" are all modernists, or...

What is so common among authors who belonged to the so-called "lost generation" group and why are they "lost"?

I was wondering if authors belonging to the "lost generation" are all modernists, or otherwise, what is so common between them.

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sagetrieb eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In the period after WWI, the White Anglo Saxon Protestant work ethic was the only culture that the majority of Americans valued. The myth of the America Dream defined America as a great place to go into business to achieve financial success, but the intellectuals, writers, and artists of the “Lost Generation” rejected this value in the wake of the destruction resulting from the war. They sought something more and other than this—they sought a freedom to explore new values and ways of life. Their solution to this issue was to pack up their bags and travel to Europe’s cosmopolitan cultures, such as Paris and London. Here they expected to find literary freedom and a cosmopolitan way of life beyond the work ethic that was defining most aspects of American life. Gertrude Stein coined the term "Lost Generation" to emphasize this rejection and need to discover something new.

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There are many writers who fall under this umbrella, Hemingway being one of the most prominent, but also such luminaries as F. Scott Fitzgerald (Hemingway's rival), Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot and Dos Passos.

The term was coined by the writer Gertrude Stein and popularized by Hemingway in his novel "The Sun Also Rises." After WWI and the disillusionment that followed, many young Americans felt disaffected and distanced by their country. Quite a few moved to Europe where their rootlessness and search for purpose made Stein's moniker stick.

The "Lost Generation" typically encompasses the generation of artists born between 1883-1900.

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