The Lost Generation

gertrude_stein3

Painting of Gertrude Stein by Pablo Picasso

The “Lost Generation” is a phrase that Gertrude Stein used in conversation with Ernest Hemingway. It is said she was quoting a garage mechanic, who said to her, “You are all a lost generation.” The Term is used to describe the generation of writers who were deeply affected by the post-war atmosphere, and rejected American postwar values (Bourgeois Society). F.Scott Fitzgerald, in This Side of Paradise (1920) writes about a generation that found “all Gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken.” Post-war America found itself with questions about the mass suffering the war brought with it.

This generation also was sensitive to the new-found visibility of sexuality in the public sphere. In 1903, Gertrude Stein wrote “Q.E.D.”, portrays a triangular relationship between its three central female characters. Stein fell in love with Alice B. Toklas, and Ernest Hemingway observed them as “wives”. In 1922, Stein Published “Miss Furr and Miss Skeene”, which is based on a romantic relationship between two women. Some sources cite this work as the first time in literature the word “gay” is used to refer to homosexuality, as she uses the word 136 times in the piece.

http://www.gertrudesteinaloud.com/furandskeene.php (Click to listen to Wendy Salkind read “Miss Furr and Miss Skeene”)


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