Talk:Lost Generation

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The original was in one of Gertrude's straighter narratives, which I remember as "Wars I Have Seen," but she seems to be reprising the remark in answer to some misunderstanding. Briefly, her point, or the garage owner's, was simply that the rite of rebellion leads to civilization if allowed to turn on revolt itself; i.e., the kid runs away from home to discover his new environment isn't utopia after all, in fact pales in comparison to good order and discipline. When anyone goes to war, it is in answer to the world of the parents, and he never finds good order and discipline.He is thus lost to civilized influence.

The explanation of the paseo in Death in the Afternoon states precisely the same: The bow to the presidente is superficial or devout depending on the age of the matador. The youth is as avid as a choirboy, whereas the senior is as cynical as a nightclub owner. In time, the cynicism of the maestro will return him to devotion, as a result of native skepticism about even the eye of the cynic. They were saying the same, but it was pride and anger at last, not communication, between Gertrude and Papa, as always.

Looking this up now. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tremonius (talkcontribs) 17:42, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

Need a source on Stein originating the term: I have seen that disputed elsewhere and I will try to come up with a source on the possible other originator. 17:17, 2 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Didn't Stein hear her auto mechanic coin the words "lost generation"? Is this in dispute?

Stein isn't a member of the "Lost Generation" this statement was removed. She was of the Missionary Generation, being born in the 1870's, also she evoked the Missionary Generation. Egil

i have seen that as a fact in many other credible information sites —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:14, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Well Stein was a very influential person at this time and is included for this reason. While she is not actually part of the "Lost Generation", she played a major role in influencing authors such as Ernest Hemingway.

The "Lost Generation" was just a collection of writer and artists in Paris. Though the term is largely used to identify the writers. LtGeneral Snow 22:03, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

This is as close to a source for the Stein attribution as I've found, and also provides some insight into how the term was used early on. In the prologue to his 1934 book Exile's Return, A Literary Odyssey of the 1920s, Malcolm Cowley wrote "This book is the story to 1930 of what used to be called the lost generation of American writers. It was Gertrude Stein who first applied the phrase to them: 'You are all a lost generation,' she said to Ernest Hemingway, and Hemingway used the remark as an inscription for his first novel." Later in the prologue Cowley adds, "Later they learned to speak the phrase apologetically, as if in quotation marks, and still later it was applied to other age groups, each of which was described in turn as being the real lost generation; none genuine without the trademark. In the beginning, however, when the phrase was applied to young writers born in the years around 1900, it was as useful as any half-accurate tag could be." - Mark Dixon (talk) 19:27, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

Not to threadjack, but wouldn't the direct source be the epigraphs? Is there a good reason they're not quoted in the article? Sadsaque (talk) 16:13, 3 October 2015 (UTC)


I think it's absolutely wrong to refer to people such as Eisenhower, Truman, and Patton as being members of the Lost Generation. That term cleared referred to the people who hung out in Paris in the 20s, not to just anyone who happened to be born at a particular era. You can convince me that I'm wrong about this, but you're going to have to come up with some real references supporting this point of view in order to do so.Hayford Peirce 18:00, 26 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Agreed 02:33, 28 March 2006 (UTC)
Agreed, also. I've never seen the non-Paris set referred this way in music and art criticism. --Myke Cuthbert 04:03, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

Strongly agree! I turned here just to register my objection. Any schoolkid who trusts this page and refers to Ike as a member of the Lost Generation will be marked down. Doesn't the attempt to extend the literary term into a general term violate the ban against original research/theories in an article? G Leonard, Prof. of Humanities, SFSU August 2006

Source: Generations (book). -- Stbalbach 06:25, 28 March 2006 (UTC)

Then perhaps we should split this off into two different pages (or at the very least a strong separation on this page), because it seems to me to make little sense to discuss Eisenhower on the same page as Stein et al. to people coming here to look for information on a literary movement. (Just for comparison, EB begins, "in general, the post-World War I generation, but specifically a group of U.S. writers who came of age during the war and established their literary reputations in the 1920s." The remainder of the article is only a discussion of the literary group). Maybe this split could be a compromise. --Myke Cuthbert 15:18, 30 April 2006 (UTC)
There is no reason to fork just discuss the different permutations and meanings of the phrase. -- Stbalbach 21:38, 30 April 2006 (UTC)

Every generation has its outsiders, so to speak. Harry S. Truman seemed more like a part of the Missionary Generation, not sharing in the antics of some of the more characteristic Lost. But he was not accepted as part of the Missionary Generation. The lionization that applied to FDR sis not accrue to him. Think of the slogan "To err is Truman". He had little formal education in contrast to other contemporary leaders.

Truman's style was not Missionary-like even if he shared most of their virtues, cultural and moral. He was just too pragmatic (a Lost virtue) to be a Missionary. But more significantly, Truman's contemporaries in Europe and Japan were the fascists -- Hideki Tojo was born in the same year; and Benito Mussolini and Pierre Laval were a year older; the vile Julius Streicher was a year younger; the infamous traitor Vidkun Quisling was three years younger.

To call the American generation "Lost" is far nicer than what one can say of Europeans, where many of the contemporaries of Truman, Patton, and Eisenhower were fascists and nazis. In the Soviet Union, many of their contemporaries were the most prominent victims of Stalinism (Kirov, Radek, Kamenev, Bukharin) and some of the most vicious enforcers (Vyshinsly, Beria).

Truman's Lost Generation well fit the role of typical Reactive/Nomad generations in Anglo-American history as second-tier administrators, field commanders, and entrepreneurs. Truman's style of government is more typical of that of John Adams, 2nd President of the United States, and his sort of government was definitely post-Crisis. -- 12:31, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

The Generation of 1914?[edit]

Is the term "Generation of 1914" really the most used term in Europe? Maybe so in Germany perhaps? But I am British and have always heard the term Lost Generation. Any sources for the 1914 term? Amelia Hunt 02:54, Jan 13, 2005 (UTC)

I'm Dutch and as far as i can gather the most common term is Lost Generation as well. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:08, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

The Vietnamese people during these times coined the term "Choi Lung" which means "Play Along" what???


I deleted the designations "immigrant" and "emmigrant" that followed several of the names in this section for three reasons. First, it is unclear where the authors were immigrating to and emmigrating from. Second, since the majority of the lost generation became ex-patriots living in France, mightn't one regard them all as immigrants to France? Third, if it were made clear that the distinction was whether the literary figures were born American or had immigrated to the States, then I would question the relevance: why should it matter whether they were born American or not? Joel Bastedo 21:48, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

"Génération au feu" ?[edit]

"In France, the country in which many expatriates settled, they are called the Génération au Feu, the Generation of Fire."
-> I've never encountered this term in French, and a search through google only gives results for wikipedia articles in several (non-French) languages. The right term is "génération de feu", which refers to the generation of Frenchmen who survived WWI with physical and psychological traumatisms and which considered that it should be the "der des der" (last of the last). -- 16:17, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

American Generations table Misleading and Erroneous[edit]

I don't want to get involved now in fixing it, but the table of American Generations is clearly wrong, with the year ranges out of synch with their names. Glaringly, this article's entry, Lost Generation, shows up as 1883-1900. They are all out of synch at that point and forward, yet the number of names and age ranges matches up. Also, the year range 1886-1908 is out of sequence, falling before 1860-1882, instead of after it. If noone does anything with this, I might get a round tuit :) but it would be better if someone more familiar with the topic cleaned it up. --Eliyahu S 10:38, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

On following through to the List_of_generations page, I see that the year ranges refer to birth year rather than years of the events. On that page it is noted, but on this (the Lost Generations) page there is no way of knowing that. I don't know if it would be better to make a note of that, if that is a Wikipedia / historical convention, or to list years in which the events named occurred, as someone like me, unaware of the convention, immediately assumed them to be. In either case, there is a sequencing problem, as noted before. --Eliyahu S 10:49, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

What I know is that they are called Génération du Feu. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:48, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

I strongly disagree with whoever decided to delete the table. It was a good tool that at least made some effort to illustrate dates of U.S. generations graphically (which believe it or not is pretty rare to find). If the data was in dispute, change that; don't take down the whole chart.

Copland and complexity of etymology[edit]

If Aaron Copland is included, the Virgil Thomson MUST be, too. He collaborated w/Stein and lived in France MUCH longer than Copland. And perhaps the whole of American musicians who studied in France.

Perhaps "The Lost Generation" should state the term's etymology as purely literary/in France/etc. but then state that it has since grown to include x,y, and z. This would make the purists and the post-mods happy with the meaning of the term. Clearly today it is used in such a way that it is a broader term than when originally coined.

Fine -- so add Virgil Thompson.

I included Aaron Copland as a prime example of someone who fits the pattern characteristic of Reactives of being daring (at least culturally!) early adulthood who mellow out in middle-age, and then become reclusive late in life. Contrast the Czech composer Leos Janacek, the diametric opposite.

--Paul from Michigan 23:01, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

Edited the "Traits" section, for several reasons.[edit]

Removed: "arguably the first distinctly American artform." for two reasons,

1) There is no citation for the statement, and given that Jazz began hundreds of years into United States history it seems at first blush to be a provably false statement.

2) The link arguably undercut the purpose of the prose.

Changed to: "This generation was also involved with the first flowering of jazz music." This probably needs some work, bu tI'm not the person to do it.

This article seems problematic in general because it (like others in this category) attempts to ascribe characteristics to an entire generation of people based on the historical facts surrounding relatively few (and largely elite) individuals.

illovich 00:04, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

This is based on the books Generations (book) and The Fourth Turning. I agree with some of the statements above on this page, that it is problematic, having the theory from these books dominate the articles on the various generations to such a degree. I've read The Fourth Turning myself and find it a fascinating theory, but there certainly is no scientific consensus that the theory is true. --Xyzzyplugh 19:07, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

This article[edit]

is so fubar that the actual meaning of "Lost Generation": Lost Generation refers to a group of American literary notables who lived in Paris and other parts of Europe from the time period which saw the end of World War I to the beginning of the Great Depression. gets lost after the introduction. I removed the entire contemporaries list, a random collection of people who happened to live in the 20th century from kafka to Khomeine, but also the Celebrities section contains dozens of names that shouldn't be in there: Nabokov, Rockwell, Bogart, Al Capone (!)...gawd. --Janneman 21:30, 13 May 2007 (UTC)

My suggestion: restore the lists as linked items. They may have gotten unwieldy, to be sure... but there are patterns. Fascism and National Socialism are essential to an understanding of this generation not only outside the United States but even here (such as the 1915 Ku Klux Klan that posed a potential threat to American democracy) at least because the fascists and Nazis almost entirely from the Lost Generation sparked the one event -- World War II -- that became the focus of the Twentieth Century. Ezra Pound, a great poet, was the most blatant American fascist to have any cultural following. Likewise, although Josef Stalin was from the generation before them, this generation in the Soviet Union included most of Stalin's most cynical and unprincipled butchers. This generation was, to be sure, as much prey as predators.

The list of characters of this generation is not so random as it seems. We find many who fit the usual Reactive pattern of being daring young adults but stodgy, cautious conservatives who have mellowed out by elderhood, whether in culture (Aaron Copland) or politics. We also people who lived too fast too early, failed to make adjustments for their age, and burned out young (F. Scott Fitzgerald). We see an unusual number of entrepreneurs, including such oil tycoons as H.L. Hunt and J. Paul Getty. We see plenty of bad-guy characters (Al Capone) and those who depicted them well (Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney), as well as the over-sexed flappers that Mae West evoked throughout her long life, and adventurers like Frank Buck and Amelia Earhart. As authors they are distinctly realists -- whether Franz Kafka or Vladimir Nabokov abroad or William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway. Dorothy Parker's writings are prime examples of Reactive style in writing. Perhaps the most internationally-recognized of classical composers, Sergei Prokofiev fits the Reactive style very well as a young enfant terrible who began daring and ended up a conformist, as do Heitor Villa-Lobos and Bohuslav Martinů.

Speaking of fascists -- outside the United States, Russia, and Great Britain, it could conceivably be called the "fascist" generation. Of the ten men executed for crimes against humanity after the first Nuremberg trial, seven were of this generation; this does not include Hermann Goering, who cheated the hangman, Martin Bormann, sentenced to death in absentia, and five (Roland Friesler, Joseph Goebbels, Otto Thierack, Heinrich Himmler, and above all Adolf Hitler) who would almost certainly have been similarly judged and condemned had they survived to face such a tribunal. Benito Mussolini of course founded fascism, and Hideki Tojo became the demonized beast of Japan during World War II. Pierre Laval, Subhas Chandra Bose, Wang Ching-Wei, Josef Tišo, Amin al-Husseini, and especially Vidkun Quisling, the latter whose surname became a new synonym for traitor, all betrayed their countries for the Axis cause. Cynical betrayal of their nations needed not be right-wing; one can think of some of the commies, with Walter Ulbricht, Boleslaw Bierut, Klement Gottwald, Mátyás Rákosi, and Petru Groza scheming to destroy any chance of democracy in their respective countries while establishing brutal puppet governments in the service of Stalin. All of the above were of the Lost Generation. So were Francisco Franco and Antonio Salazar. But that said, there were those who showed a great love of liberty even at the expense of their own doom: Jean Moulin, a heroic martyr of the Résistance; Jan Masaryk, victim of the Communist overthrow of Czechoslovakia; and Imre Nágy, hero and martyr of the 1956 Hungarian Uprising.

The Lost Generation seems to have been, unlike their Missionary Generation predecessors, more Realists than dreamers, and unlike their successors in the GI Generation, more individualist and less collectivist. GIs seem to have largely missed the "bad-boy" stage that the Lost endured and to have been comparatively bland youth and young adults who took long to establish themselves as cultural figures; contrast Glenn Miller to George Gershwin. This generation was 'burned' in real life, pressured (if among the non-elites) into paid employment at too young an age at the expense of formal education; it lived at the right time to become cannon fodder in a war (World War I that still makes no sense and offered few rewards, and for either the moralistic crusades against the usual vices of young adults (Prohibition in the United States), or the political and economic chaos of the interwar era in Europe.

To be sure, every generation has its heroes and villains, its victimizers and victims, its high-achievers and abject failures -- not to mention the multitudes who never have any brush with fame. I have known people from the Lost Generation -- and as farmers and factory workers, they might not have been able to indulge in the time as might the contemporary élites. So what? This article is largely on the élites of the time as persons and at most demographic trends (such as non-progress in education and the retardation of progress in racial issues) about non-élites. But we are more likely to remember Charlie Chaplin or Duke Ellington than some farmer, factory worker, schoolteacher, or garage mechanic who happens to be an ancestor -- right? --Paul from Michigan 17:33, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

There should at least be two articles: One about the Lost Generation as a cohort of people born at some specified time, if such a thing exists. The other article should be about what people commonly refer to as the Lost Generation, namely the writers of the time period. Of course, I am not volunteering, because trying to write a wikipedia article is like trying to herd n-dimensional cats in n+1 dimensional space.


(from "Paul from Michigan"):

Of course, events overseas shaped American life. World War I had no obvious cause in America, but it certainly shaped the way in which Americans were able to perceive Europe. The stable dollar against inflating currencies in France allowed Americans to live cheaply in Europe while escaping the strictures of Prohibition and other moral crusades that the older American generation imposed upon young adults. But the war hit Europe far harder in physical casualties and in creating ugly political undercurrents among people who either could not accept that they were rightly defeated (Germany, Hungary) or had gotten too little for their victories (Italy, France, Japan), either attitude contributing to fascist tendencies. The Bolshevik Revolution created fears in Europe that proved far greater than in America and caused extant elites to fund right-wing militias to take on anyone hostile to traditional ruling elites. Fascism and National Socialism became powerful causes that would transform some near-great Powers (Germany, Italy, and Japan, especially) into mortal enemies of America and would push the more conventional and pragmatic members of the American Lost Generation into the truest and most noteworthy members of this generation, the ones who ensured that through victory over the fascists that we would still be able to listen to the music of George Gershwin and witness the performances of the Marx Brothers instead of finding a huge void of Nazi censorship on grounds that their achievements were banned as "Jewish trash" unsuited to a violently-Aryanized world. There would be no room for Wallace Muhammad, either.

The distinction between our Lost Generation and its European contemporaries (the British and Irish fitting the American pattern better than the continental European pattern) must be shown. It might be easy to compare Virgil Thompson to Carl Orff, Walter Lippmann to Ludwig Wittgenstein, Georgia O'Keefe to Marc Chagall, or even William Faulkner to Franz Kafka, but nobody could possibly compare Harry Truman to Benito Mussolini. The political difference between the American Lost and its German and Japanese contemporaries is huge -- a difference manifest in World War II. --Paul from Michigan (talk) 22:17, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Article ought to be scrapped[edit]

Hello. I'd do some major surgery to this piece, but don't want to be accused of vandalism. The previous criticisms are quite right: to put people such as J. Edgar Hoover and Dwight Eisenhower in with the likes of Hemmingway is not only laughable, but totally obscures the meaning of the term "Lost Generation." The author of the piece apparently doesn't get it: the term does NOT capture everyone born between years X and Y. What it does is describe a very small but culturally influential cadre of artists and writers who were disillusioned by their wartime experiences and settled in Paris in order to reinvent their artforms and find their own voices. Period. But now, thanks to this Wiki article, every high school kid in the country (why do I suspect that the piece was written by a high school kid?) will think - what? That George Patton and Gertrude Stein sat in a cafe in the 12th Arrondissement discussing the fiction of Ford Maddox Ford? This article highlights the very real weaknesses of Wikipedia. Maybe I will re-write it after all, if I have the time and energy. And I just noticed the "Greatest Generation" timeline in the box on the right in the article: it includes dates between 1911 and 1924. So does that mean that a kid born in 1925 and who joined the army and got wounded by German snipers in the Ardennes in 1944 is ineligible? It's absurd. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:07, 16 July 2007

The first part of your post seems accurate and is reflected in the current (May 2008) version. Re: the last line, any arbitrary dates are not going to include any sort of individuals. In any case, clearly the WW2 generation was not the Lost Generation. -RatSkrew (talk) 19:53, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

What to do with this article[edit]

After recovering from my fit of laughter after seeing Chester Nimitz listed as a member of the "Lost Generation," right above Ezra Pound, I visited here and was glad to see that other people had already jeered at how absurd this article is. My first thought, and someone else already suggested this, was to split this article up into two: one on the cohort, and one on the literature. But after looking a little into Strauss and Howe, who are cited in support of this Frankenstein's monster of an article, I'm doubtful even that much preservation of the extraneous stuff is necessary.

Strauss and Howe are, apparently, the founders of some consultant company named LifeCourse Associates, whose website boasts of their "generational discoveries". If you work through the Wiki articles for the other generational cohorts that's based on their work, you'll find that most of the names for these generations have been coined by these guys (Lost Generation is one of the few that they co-opted). Well, the next question one would ask is how accepted is their terminology in the field? Not well, from what I can gather. The talk pages on their bios and on their book, Generations, mention the lack of standing these men have, and I didn't find anything to contradict that on Google Book or Scholar Search. I don't think these men even have Ph.Ds. Howe certainly doesn't, he caps at a Masters; and I don't think Strauss does either, judging from the dates on his biography at LifeCourse, which is laughably imprecise.

My own opinion is that the Strauss/Howe stuff, which is what drags in Nimitz and company, should be junked entirely, and I would give serious consideration to junking all the Strauss/Howe material that is on Wikipedia. But regardless, their stuff here has to go. What are your preferences: delete, or separate to another page? 21:59, 16 August 2007 (UTC)

We can't delete all of it, because they are probably just notable enough for a single article. However, we can keep it from unduly influencing the other articles. the paragraph about them can i suppose stay if there is a better wording to indicate no other scholars have used the term the same way, but the list of people who, according to them, belong here, is their own private use and wildly unencyclopedic in any vent. I have removed it. Please do not restore it without discussion. DGG (talk) 03:36, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

Lack of a PhD hardly discredits someone as an expert in most fields as does the lack of the appropriate degree in medicine or law; one cannot legally practice medicine in most jurisdictions without an MD degree. Innovative scholarship with intellectual coherence is adequate to make one relevant to most academic fields, including history. A PhD indicates that one was able to perform the sort of scholarship that pleases fellow academics and little more. Are we to exclude Albert Einstein as an authority on physics because he lacked a PhD in physics?

Howe and Strauss are controversial as historians -- but they have established an effort, and they have placed their efforts up for criticism (if not also profit). Their works are subject to public scrutiny -- and academic scrutiny. One can be sure that their historical theories are discussed in history departments at colleges and universities much as were those of Arnold Toynbee, who was an academic. So they can profit from writing about history without being college professors. Big deal! Maybe they lack the appropriate temperament for or started too late on life courses that might have made them college professors. But the very public exposure that they get puts their works under the blinding light of criticism by laypeople and academics alike. That critical analysis of their historical theories hasn't taken their course reflects that Howe and Strauss have offered some predictions of future events to the limited extent that they think possible based on cycles in human behavior. Heck, the full assessment of Toynbee's theories of civilization as applied to the Industrial West is far from complete because the full course of history of the Industrial West has yet to take place.

Like scientists and unlike pseudoscientific cranks, they make predictions that can prove or disprove their theories. They predict cycles of history with some vagueness of likely events to the extent that they can use other times as models. They exploit not only history, but also patterns of economics, culture, politics, mass education, and child-raising that history itself dictates. They see history, culture, economics, politics, and even childcare as feedback loops that coincide with human lifecycles that biology dictates. They may not be perfect, but so far they seem better than anything else in existence, especially such junk as astrology. How much does anyone wish to predict that the coming twenty or so years will be a placid time in history? All that can change the pattern, it seems, is a significant extension of the human life span from 80 or so years at a maximum to perhaps 120 to 150 with vigor that lasts long beyond the 80 or so years that we now accept as normal.


Strauss and Howe clearly explain how great generals are part of this generation even if they are comparatively bland in character (Eisenhower). They recognize great generalship as most likely to come from a "Reactive" generation even if they seem to fit very little the "bad boy" or "bad girl" image of such generations. Chester Nimitz might not be the model of someone culturally attuned to the popular image of flappers and rum-runners; one expects career military officers to be aloof from the hedonism characteristic of a Third Turning or an Inner-Directed Era similar to the 1920s or the first decade of the 21st century because of the nature of military service, clearly not a career for the fun-loving and self-indulgent. Military careers generally preclude much expression of personality... except by generals and admirals.

The best generals and admirals are brilliant pragmatists who think outside the box of military convention when appropriate. Such can be said not only of such American military leaders as Eisenhower, Nimitz, Bradley, Patton, Clark, and Arnold... but also of de Gaulle, Montgomery, Mountbatten, Zhukov, Rommel, Dönitz, Guderian, and Yamamoto. That's not to say that military officers somewhat older (MacArthur, Marshall, Rundstedt) aren't much the same. Pragmatism is very much a characteristic of Strauss and Howe's "Reactive" generations, and such is so for the less-gaudy military men and entrepreneurs who create (culture and science excluded) the most lasting legacy of such a generation. Don't be fooled by the national affiliation of Rommel or Yamamoto: we would have loved to have had military leaders like them on our side.

What most defines the WWII generals and admirals is that even after the great war they, unlike their Idealist predecessors, don't impose moral crusades upon society (I suspect that someone like Eisenhower thought Prohibition more harm than good) and allow traditional norms of governance to take their course. Such seems wise -- at least pragmatic -- to a generation that as youth knew war as carnage and political passion as more menacing than promising. Note well that Harry S. Truman almost perfectly fits the political pattern of Reactives at the apex of power -- that he became a high-ranking military officer during World War I, and that he didn't have huge schemes for reshaping the postwar world except as necessity dictated. Contrast General Douglas MacArthur, who reshaped Japan to fit his ideals to the extent possible; MacArthur forced the Emperor to denounce his once-accepted divinity, established religious equality in law, imposed female suffrage, and empowered labor unions. Such might not have been pragmatic enough for Lost Generation politicians to initiate -- but something that they could accept when such proved workable. --Paul from Michigan 16:13, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

You're right that Strauss and Howe should still be in Wikipedia. It's just that this article is about the term "The Lost Generation" as it refers to American expatriate writers in Paris in the 1920s-30s. We mentioned Strauss and Howe, and provided a link to their work, but for detailed information about Strauss and Howe, check out the article at Generations (book). --JayHenry 16:33, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
as for the people you mention, they are relevant to American culture and history , yes, but what they have to do with the lost generation in any normal meaning of the word I do not know. There is probably scope for an article on Fascism in American culture, or on the American cult of the military commander, but those are separate topics entirely. If other people than S&H think the S&H views relevant there, I suppose they can be included as a small part of such an article. DGG (talk) 09:06, 13 September 2007 (UTC)


I have removed the following section (entitled "legacy") of the article and bring it here for discussion:

At the turn of the 21st century, a fresh cadre of expatriate writers led by such emerging authors as D.A. Blyler (Steffi's Club) and Arthur Phillips (Prague) asserted a new "Lost Generation" among readers, paying homage to their literary peers of 1920s Paris (see External links).

I do not believe this has any place in the article. If these authors are notable as expatriates, and there are sources describing them as a "new lost generation," or words to that effect, then a separate article can be created for this new phenomenon. Simply adding them here and making the unreferenced claim that they are the legacy of the Lost Generation is inappropriate. The last thing this troubled article needs is more unreferenced and speculative claims. ---RepublicanJacobiteThe'FortyFive' 18:53, 10 November 2007 (UTC)


well..this article is entirely WRONG! the term "lost generation" applies to the men (and generation of men) that fought in warld war I. NOT literary writers that the war did not effect, but them men that got "lost" in the war —Preceding unsigned comment added by Editor335 (talkcontribs) 01:32, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Obviously you have had little literary education. This is High School grade material. This article is far from wrong. Perhaps you should do some reading and contribute to the article. Don't forget that phrases may apply to more than one group of individuals. Cuardaim (talk) 19:43, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
No you are not wrong as I assune the initial writer of this thread in in fact British. In UK the Lost Generation does refer to the millions of men and boys who died in the First World War. However you must understand that Wikipedia is an American-centric website. Spelling, useage and meaning are generally Americanised in tone and ownership (Sic the noteable number of edit wars over English grammar et al).
This aspect of Wikipedia should be one of Walesie's policies, that anything on Wikipedia that is probably not of interest to an American national or a foreign national who has been educated at an American International School is liable for deletion. And as we are on a page to discuss literary Americans the irony of this bias is not lost to the fact that Americans learn the so-named English language not American language. Something not forgotten in the musings of the half-American British Prime Minister Winston Churchill
So in answer to your assertion yes you are right the Lost Generation does refer to the men of the First World War. But only in UK. Here on Wikipedia ownership has now been claimed by Americans so you are in fact suffered from wikiality a portmanteau of Wikipedia and Reality.
Don't try to argue just accept it, and like much in the world, try and leave the Americans to their own self-contained and self-created world.

those literary writers, writing wasn't their only profession. Those authors specifically fought in WW I, not just wrote about it sorry but i'm american too, and were not self contained in our world, that is just how we learned the Lost Generation.... im sorry if we learned it diffrently but that gives you no right to say something is wrong against another because of the territorial barriers —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:06, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

F. Scott Fitzgerald[edit]

"Lost Generation" as a phrase first appears in the epigraph to Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. The words "Lost Generation" do not appear anywhere in the text of F. Scott Fitzgerald's first novel This Side of Paradise. Zoidbergmd (talk) 20:14, 2 March 2008 (UTC) Lost Generation is a term used when you become loser —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:12, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not American-centric, there are simply certain American editors that are ignorant about other world viewpoints when writing an article. He IS correct. "Lost Generation" refers to those who fought and died in WW1. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:47, 26 March 2012 (UTC)

What is up with this article?[edit]

I always understood that the "Lost Generation" was a term coined to describe the American expatriates who lived in Paris in the 1920s. Did someone hijack the phrase to make into a "Generation X"-kinda thing? Did my college English professors lie to me? And the Encyclopedia Britannica, too? I think someone needs to create a split for this article; one for the LG term in general, and one for the specific LG.

Here's the Encyclopedia Britannica's definition for LG, in case anyone's interested:

"in general, the post-World War I generation, but specifically a group of U.S. writers who came of age during the war and established their literary reputations in the 1920s. The term stems from a remark made by Gertrude Stein to Ernest Hemingway, 'You are all a lost generation.' Hemingway used it as an epigraph to The Sun Also Rises (1926), a novel that captures the attitudes of a hard-drinking, fast-living set of disillusioned young expatriates in postwar Paris. The generation was 'lost' in the sense that its inherited values were no longer relevant in the postwar world and because of its spiritual alienation from a U.S. that, basking under President Harding’s 'back to normalcy' policy, seemed to its members to be hopelessly provincial, materialistic, and emotionally barren. The term embraces Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Dos Passos, e.e. cummings, Archibald MacLeish, Hart Crane, and many other writers who made Paris the centre of their literary activities in the ’20s. They were never a literary school. In the 1930s, as these writers turned in different directions, their works lost the distinctive stamp of the postwar period. The last representative works of the era were Fitzgerald’s Tender Is the Night (1934) and Dos Passos’ The Big Money (1936)." Evets70 (talk) 20:43, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

"Lost Generation" is a fairly generic term, for it to be used multiple times should hardly be surprising. --Sfnhltb (talk) 15:32, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
The article itself should be rewritten from an international perspective to be less American-centric. The phrase "The Lost Generation" has different meanings in various countries, yet the lead overemphasizes its American usage. In the United Kingdom, "the Lost Generation" refers to every man who fought in World War I. In France, the "génération de feu" refers to the men who survived World War I, but with physical or psychological injuries. In China, "the Lost Generation" refers to civilians recruited into the Red Guards. To add further to the chaos, modern American journalists are misappropriating "the Lost Generation" phrase to refer to the victims of the ongoing financial crisis. Until a Wikipedia editor rewrites the article from a broader perspective or splits this article into different topics, this article will remain contentious. -- Flask (talk) 15:42, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

Indeed, what is up w/ this article? The opening sentence implies "after WWI" is 1880-1900. Now, i'm not the sharpest tool in the shed, but... If it's supposed to read, "born btwn 1880-1900", someone should change it ASAP. For the article's opening sentence to be so wrong almost renders the whole article useless. Fp cassini (talk) 23:24, 15 October 2009 (UTC)

Paris AND Europe?[edit]

I just changed "lived in Paris and Europe" to "lived in Europe, most notably Paris," because I thought "Paris and Europe" seemed a bit silly. I'm not really happy with how it sounds now either, not least because of the proximity of "notables". Ideas anyone? Perhaps "lived in Paris and elsewhere in Europe", or "lived in Europe, generally Paris,"?

I thought this minor question of presentation might make a nice change from the sometimes quite aggressive arguing going on over the actual subject of this article (something I know nothing about, by the way, but it seems to me if there are multiple meanings of this phrase don't argue amongst yourselves about what it means - have separate articles for totally different meanings, such as the soldiers lost in the War, and have sections for more modern, related (and disliked by the commentors on this page) meanings). Mazz0 (talk) 16:10, 15 November 2009 (UTC)


The origin story on the top of the page doesn't match the one in the middle. Are Stein and the manager happy or disappointed in the mechanic's performance? Is it a term of jovial endearment or of condemnation? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:19, 23 September 2010 (UTC)

Fixed. I went with Hemingway over Mellow. While I think focusing on the mechanic's performance is missing the point, and I'm not sure this anecdote is worth two article mentions, it's consistent now. Blackguard 09:41, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

China example[edit]

The following, taken from the "Other uses" section, does not belong in this article;

In China, the "Lost Generation" can describe the young Red Guards of the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976), or the generation after them. The Red Guards were "lost" by the failure of the Cultural Revolution and their alienation by the zeitgeist's shift against ultra-leftism and in favor of Chinese economic reform.[1] The label of "Lost Generation" is also applied in China to the generation of the very young during the Cultural Revolution, as they spent much of their early childhood learning slogans, ideology, and self-criticism instead of content knowledge.[2]

The other examples in that section are relevant to the larger subject of this article, but this example is not. ---RepublicanJacobiteTheFortyFive 18:12, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

More Names (1. paragraph)[edit]

If T. S. Eliot is named, so EZRA POUND should be; like H.D. and CONRAD AIKEN and the Steins they went abroad before 1914 - Eliot and Aiken lived in the UK and Eliot only visited Paris. DJUNA BARNES must be added for the 1920s, also E. E. CUMMINGS (author of The Enormous Room) and MARSDEN HARTLEY (a world-famous painter and Paris-published poet), also the great dancer JOSEPHINE BAKER (and lots of Jazz musicians), and writers Malcolm COWLEY (author of the first famous memoir of the lost generation), John Peale BISHOP (friend of Ed. Wilson and F S Fitzgerald) and others. MAN RAY also emigrated to Paris in the eary 1920s, B. ABBOTT was one of his pupils, Lee MILLER another. Paul BOWLES came a bit late, like Henry Miller (around 1930). Americans who went to Russia and Europe before/around 1920 because of Communism included, of course, J. REED, but also Claude McKay; also Julian Gumperz, the american financier of German communist bookstore (also a publisher) MALIK (and later of the move of the Frankfort school of Western Marxism to New York after 1933) and old-muckracker LINCOLN STEFFENS. Agnes Smedley started her career in espionage also around 1920 (anti-British; pro-India at first; Stalinist and Maoist later).

A strange thing is, that the two or three well-known American writers, who did FIGHT in WW1, are much less thought of than the famous writers, who drove ambulances: Cummings, Hemingway etc. Completely unknown to me - just read Dana Gioia` s Essay (from his Webside): John Allan Wyeth (This Man` s Army: A War in Fifty-Odd Sonnets" (1928))

To my mind Franz Kafka doesn`t really belong here - the number of German artists and writers lost in WW1 or broken by the experience is enormous, Expressionism was really finished by it; but KAFKA as far as I can see was not one of them. ((I`m User Radh from Germany))-- (talk) 11:27, 21 November 2015 (UTC)

I noticed that the entire article is primarily focused on Hemingway's contributions to this generation. I want to go in and add some more information regarding the other significant figures that are mentioned in the beginning paragraph. Scordasco (talk) 02:47, 24 March 2016 (UTC)


The source for "The Lost Generation: the myth and the reality" does not lead to any site. This is misleading and therefore the information that is provided from this source needs to be removed unless another source has the same information. Scordasco (talk) 02:47, 24 March 2016 (UTC)

Literary Themes[edit]

This generation was heavily influenced by its literary figures, yet this article only briefly mentions this. I want to add a section for literary themes that were utilized by the different authors of this time. Scordasco (talk) 02:47, 24 March 2016 (UTC)

Removing Isadora Duncan[edit]

Isadora Duncan was born at latest in 1878, therefore she is not a part of the Lost Generation (1883-1900). SevenTowers (talk) 16:05, 18 March 2017 (UTC)

notable people section[edit]

To the multiple IP editors who geolocate to same geographic location, please do not add unreferenced content to the notable people section. Copying existing reference from Neil&Howe 3 times isn't adding reference with your content, especially if these names are not in that book, and they do not seem to be. --DynaGirl (talk) 13:28, 24 September 2017 (UTC)

  1. ^ Calhoun, Craig (2003). "The Cultural Revolution and the Democracy Movement of 1989: Complexity in Historical Connections". In Law, Kam-yee. The Chinese cultural revolution reconsidered: beyond purge and holocaust. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 247. ISBN 9780333738351.  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)
  2. ^ He, Ming Fang (2003). A river forever flowing: cross-cultural lives and identities in the multicultural landscape. Information Age Publishing. pp. 54–55. ISBN 9781593110772.