Lost & Found: Slide Show Script
Lost Generation Script
1. Title Slide: Lost & Found
Why was Paris the locus for the Lost Generation?
Eiffel Tower, symbol of the City of Light, Paris.
"It was a place where the very air was impregnated with the energies of art," Thomas Wolfe wrote of his 1925 visit.
For Hemingway, Paris was "the city I love best in the world."
Fitzgerald called it "one of the predestined centers of the world."
Paris, more than any other location, has been the preeminent city of exile since the mid-1800s. France enjoyed more freedom for publishing and political activity than other European countries and featured a vibrant counter-culture of students, artists, and intellectuals, which was termed "Bohemia," and became an emblem of rebellious creativity.
1920s exchange rate. Americans could living in relative affluence in Paris where, in 1925, one American dollar would buy 22 French francs. (By comparison, the exchange rate in the 1970s was 5 francs/dollar.)
Thus, the stage was set for the influx of American writers that were to set their sights on Paris in the 1920s. Many American writers, experiencing a crisis of values following World War I, viewed Paris as an escape from the ironies of the American dream. They viewed American society as too provincial, oppressively materialistic, and culturally narrow.
The expatriates in Paris in the 1920s put American literature on the map: F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote -- and lived -- the "jazz age," Ezra Pound composed short operas and wrote experimental poems, and Ernest Hemingway sat in a garret forging a brand-new American prose.
"Paris was where the twentieth century was," observed Gertrude Stein.
The Lost Generation was called the "Generation de Feu" in France.
Paris in the 1920s and 1930s
3. Josephine Baker
Who was Josephine Baker and how did she represent The Lost Generation?
Baker was a Broadway star by 1924. In 1925 she went to Paris, and became famous for her performances in the Revue Negre and the Folies Bergere. During the 1926-27 season, she was doing her popular Banana Dance. Finding more acceptance as a "colored" performer in France then she had in the United States, she adopted France as her new country.
Acting, singing, and dancing, Baker is considered to be one of the most exotic performers of all times. Her quick, sensual movements, her good humor, and her grace were just what audiences were looking for, and she became immensely popular. "For a weary, disillusioned, post-World War I era, she epitomized a new freedom and festivity."
Baker inspired artwork by Alexander Calder and Georges Rouault. Writers, including ee cummings and Ernest Hemingway, also found her work inspiring.
She went through 5 husbands and adopted 12 children of all races, calling them her 'Rainbow Tribe" believing that people of all races could live together in harmony.
[During WWII she operated as a spy for the Allies. Baker was awarded the Rosette de la Resistance and was made a chevalier of the Legion of Honor.]
4. Gertrude Stein & Alice B. Toklas
Who were Gerturde Stein and Alice B. Toklas and how did they nurture the Lost Generation artists?
Stein is best remembered as a patron of the arts. She was also the author of several novels, including, ironically The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas. For many years her secretary and lover was Alice B. Toklas. A celebrated personality, Stein encouraged, aided, and influenced -- through her patronage as well as through her writing -- many literary and artistic figures.
During the 1920s, she was the leader of a cultural salon that included such writers as Hemingway, Sherwood Anderson, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, all of whose works she influenced. It was she who first coined the phrase "lost generation" for those post-World War I expatriates.
She saw in these young compatriots a generation disoriented by the social upheavals of the First World War, disappointed by the failure of the war to achieve the ideals of democracy and permanent peace for which many of them had fought, and disillusioned with the material and cultural limitations of American society. To her they were a generation of Americans in exile, rootless and confused. A remark made by her to Ernest Hemingway, "You are all a lost generation," forever identified these writers as The Lost Generation.
[Stein was awarded the Medal of French Recognition from the French government, for services during the Second World War.]
5. Shakespeare & Co.
How did the writers of the Lost Generation, living on a shoestring, garner support for and publish their works?
A haven, a meeting place, and sometime publishing company, Shakespeare & Company was a venue for the Lost Generation. After working as a nurse during WWI, Sylvia Beach, with her friend Adrienne Monnier, opened this English-language bookstore and lending library on Left Bank in Paris in 1919. Like Stein, Beach held a major role in nuturing this "renaissance" of the 1920s.
While writing Ulysses, James Joyce had moved around Europe. He arrived in Paris in 1920 and soon became part of the literary crowd, which included Sylvia Beach. The first several chapters of his ground-breaking novel was serialized in literary journals, however, Joyce encountered the same opposition to publishing the novel in book form that he had confronted with his earlier novel, Dubliners.
In 1921 Beach offered to publish the book, and Joyce accepted immediately. Beach wrote, "I thought it rash of him to entrust his Great Ulysses to such a funny little publisher. But he seemed delighted, and so was I . . . . Undeterred by lack of capital, experience, and all the other requisites of a publisher, I went right ahead with Ulysses."
Ulysses was published in France in 1922. Its publication was banned in the United States until 1933.
The Classic Text: James Joyce
6. James Joyce
Who was James Joyce and how did he represent the Lost Generation?
Joyce suffered from glaucoma his whole life and endured several painful eye operations.
Born in Ireland, Joyce is perhaps the most influential and significant novelist of the 20th century. "His novel Ulysses, which is among the great works of world literature, utilizes many radical literary techniques and forms, in particular stream of consciousness. This important literary device involves the novelist representing the characters' thoughts as if they were occurring without interference from the writer and simply appearing on the page. Ordinary logic and sentence structure are generally abandoned." Ulysses charts one day -- June 16, 1904 -- in the life of a Dublin man, Leopold Bloom. It compares Bloom's travels through the city to Odysseus' famous epic journey home from the Trojan War.
The date is now celebrated with marathon readings of the lengthy novel each June 16, known as "Bloomsday" to Joyce's fans.
[Other novels for which Joyce is known include Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and Finnegan's Wake.]
7. Ernest Hemingway
Who was Ernest Heminway and why is he known as the spokesman for the Lost Generation?
Born in 1899, Hemingway tried to enlist in the US Army after high school, but was rejected because of an eye injury. He wanted to serve, so he volunteered for ambulance duty on the Italian Front. There are many stories of his personal bravery. When he was 19, a mortar exploded and 227 pieces of shrapnel were blown into Hemingway's legs, but he was able to get up and help a wounded Italian soldier back toward safety. Before reaching the command post, he was hit again, this time by machine-gun fire. One bullet lodged in his right knee and another in his right foot. He recuperated in an Italian hospital where he had a love affair with a young nurse, Anna.
Back in the US, he wrote for the Kansas City Star. However, he felt stifled by American society and took a job as foreign correspondent for a Toronto newspaper. Hemingway and his socialite bride, Hadley, moved to Paris where they quickly became members of the literary scene.
Hemingway's first books, Three Stories and Ten Poems (1923), In Our Time (short stories, 1924), and The Torrents of Spring (a novel, 1926), attracted attention primarily because of his literary style.
With the publication of The Sun Also Rises (1926), he was recognized as the spokesman of the "lost generation." Incidentally, Hemingway used Stein's "Lost Generation" comment as an epigraph to The Sun Also Rises. The novel tells the story of a group of psychologically bruised, disillusioned expatriates living in postwar Paris, who take psychic refuge in such immediate physical activities as eating, drinking, traveling, and brawling.
8. A Farewell to Arms
How does A Farewell to Arms portray the Lost Generation?
Hemingway's next important novel, A Farewell to Arms (1929), tells of a tragic wartime love affair between an ambulance driver and an English nurse.
"Hemingway's fiction usually focuses on people living essential, dangerous lives -- soldiers, fishermen, athletes, bullfighters -- who meet the pain and difficulty of their existence with stoic courage. His most important contribution to American literature, however, is not one specific work of fiction or nonfiction, but the celebrated Hemingway style. Influenced by Ezra Pound and Gertrude Stein, it is direct, terse, and often monotonous, yet particularly suited to his elemental subject matter.
[An excellent example of the 'Hemingway style' is the opening paragraph of A Farewell to Arms:
"In the late summer of that year we lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain to the mountains. In the bed of the river there were pebbles and boulders, dry and white in the sun, and the water was clear and swiftly moving and blue in the channels. Troops went by the house and down the road and the dust they raised powdered the leaves of the trees. The trunks of the trees too were dusty and the leaves fell early that year and we saw the troops marching along the road and the dust rising and leaves, stirred by the breeze, falling and the soldiers marching and afterward the road bare and white except for the leaves."]
9. F. Scott Fitzgerald
Who was F. Scott Fitzgerald and why is he known as the spokesman of the Jazz Age?
An American novelist and short-story writer, Fitzgerald is ranked among the great American writers of the 20th cent. He is widely considered to be the literary spokesman of the "jazz age" -- the decade of the 1920s. Part of the interest of his work derives from the fact that the mad, gin-drinking, morally and spiritually bankrupt men and women he wrote about led lives that closely resembled his own life.
His first novel, This Side of Paradise, describes life at Princeton among the glittering, bored, and disillusioned, postwar generation. Published in 1920, the novel was an instant success and brought Fitzgerald enough money to marry the flamboyant Southern Belle Zelda that same year.
The young couple moved to New York City, where they became notorious for their madcap lifestyle. After 1921 the Fitzgeralds spent much time in Paris and the French Riviera, becoming part of the celebrated circle of American expatriates.
Fitzgerald's masterpiece, The Great Gatsby, appeared in 1925. It is the story of a bootlegger, Jay Gatsby, whose obsessive dream of wealth and lost love is destroyed by a corrupt reality. This novel is a devastating portrait of the so-called American Dream, which measures success and love in terms of money. Fitzgerald ironically mirrors the disillusionment of the Lost Generation in this novel while he lived the lifestyle he criticized.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott
10. Stein by Picasso
Who were the artists who influenced the Lost Generation writers?
Although the Lost Generation is known primarily as a literary movement in the US, the writers who lived in Paris in the 1920s lived in a dynamic atmoshpere of creativity. Artists had been developing and continued to experiment with new styles such as Cubism, Dadaism, Surrealism, Art Deco, and Art Nouveau. Artists and writers met with musicians and performers at salons like Gertrude Stein's.
Along with her brother Leo, and later, Alice, Gertrude Stein was among the first Americans to respond with enthusiasm to the artistic revolution in Europe in the early years of the twentieth century. The weekly salons she held in the 'living room and dining room' of her Paris apartment became a magnet for European and American artists and writers alike. Her support of Henri Matisse, Georges Braque, Juan Gris, and Pablo Picasso was evident in the numbers of their paintings adorning her walls.
For Picasso, this early patronage and friendship was of major importance. With Georges Braque, Picasso's most significant contribution was the development of Cubism. This portrait, with it blocks of color, identify it as one of Picasso's Cubist paintings. Someone commented that Stein did not look like this portrait when he painted it; Picasso replied, "She will."
[It was her favorite portrait. Stein donated it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.]
11. Parisisn Café -- "La Dome"
What role did the cafes of Paris play for the Lost Generation?
One of the more famous venues for the Lost Generation was the cafes that dot the landscape of the city of Paris. They were small, intimate spaces that allowed for more personal, extended contact. Unlike American restaurants where you are expected to leave after you finish eating and pay, one could always spend entire afternoons in a café . . . in the 1920s Picasso sketched new ideas, Hemingway scribbled chapters in their favorite cafes.
Dictionary definition - café society : The social group that frequents fashionable spots, such as nightclubs and cafés: "the glittering café society that revolves around the city's elite cultural institutions."
Recent  news articles announced the French distain for a fast-food coffee shop, Starbucks, that was being established in Paris. "Historically, French cafes have served as a second home for authors, philosophers and artists." "It's an absurd idea," said a regular at the cafe. "The whole point about cafes in France is that you can sit over a coffee as long as you like, read the papers ..."
The Lost Generation writers, who have retrospectively had more influence in American history, were part of a 'Great Conversation.' Artists, such as American photographer Man Ray, Spanish Painters Juan Miro and Salvador Dali, Dutch Piet Mondrian discussed avant-guard movements. Musicians, such as Russian Igor Stravinsky and American Aaron Copeland studied and composed in Paris. This on-going, heated conversation took place in the cafes, bookstores, and salons of Paris.
12. Hemingway at café
Why did the momentum of the Lost Generation slow or stop?
Out of their confusion and disappointment, this group of writers produced one of the most brilliant periods in American literature and wrote some of its finest works.
The expatriate experience had an indelible impact on the literature of those who ventured to Paris. Place, or setting, became an important component in expatriate writing; many of these writers, while living between two worlds, belonged to neither. Expatriation heightened the consciousness of the writer to the physical and social environments of both old home and the new city, prompting a new self-awareness.
Hemingway grew to dislike the term "Lost Generation." Critics now agree that the term "lost" for the generation of the Twenties is misused. If ever a generation of American, French, Irish and English writers was in the process of finding itself, it was during this splendid era.
Indeed, as Hemingway wrote in his memoirs A Moveable Feast, "If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast."
Paris in the 1920s and 1930s
In the Footsteps of Hemingway in Paris
13. U.S.A. by John Dos Passos
How does U.S.A. reflect the era of the Lost Generation?
Dos Passos was an American novelist who also served as a World War I ambulance driver in France and Italy.
His first successful novel, Three Soldiers (1921), belonged to the group of socially conscious novels of disillusionment that appeared after the war. His finest achievement, the trilogy U.S.A. was actually published after the Lost Generation had lost its momentum. It was composed of three novels: The 42nd Parallel (1930), 1919 (1932), and The Big Money (1936). Together, they present a composite picture of the meaninglessness and decadence of the life of the typical early 1920s New Yorker.
. . . . . . .
The frenzy of activity in Paris was irrevocably altered by the stock market crash in late 1929. The resulting financial crisis forced many of the expatriates, particularly the Americans, to return to their native countries. . . . But life had become more difficult for these expatriates and the climate had changed from the relief after World War I that had characterized the 1920s in Paris, and the sense of foreboding surrounding the looming World War in the 1930s. Finally, with the advent of World War II, the expatriates returned to their native countries, and this era in Parisian, and American, history drew to a close.
Dos Passos, John Roderigo
Paris in the 1920s and 1930s
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2 Image: Photograph of Lost Generation Artisits
Accessed 23 October, 2005.