This Week’s Features: The Lost Generation

© Baz Luhrmann, The Great Gatsby, 2013

Yesterday marked the 105th Anniversary of World War I, one of the most massive watersheds of geopolitical history in the 20th century. The Great War led to the downfall of the Central Powers and four great imperial dynasties. It resulted in more than 16 million military casualties, and horror of war gave birth to the term ‘Lost Generation’. Suffering from their traumatic experience and disillusion, a lot of modernist writers portray the distorted visions of the shattered society.


The Sun Also Rises (1926)

by Ernest Hemingway

© Vintage Classics

Ernest Hemingway’s first published novel, The Sun Also Rises, set in the 1920s, is about the polyamorous affairs between a group of lost young souls. The aimless drifting actions of the characters in the Fiesta in Spain metaphorically echoes with the traumatic sense of being lost in the post-WWI society. Suffering from unfulfilled political promises, Hemingway puts his characters in the search for a way to cleanse their trauma in a fragmented post-war society.

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Extensive Reading:

Cleansing the Trauma of the Lost Generation: Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises


The Great Gatsby (2013)

By Baz Lyhrmann

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, and Carey Mulligan, this film is an adaptation F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel The Great Gatsby. Gatsby is the representation of the American Dream – he lives in luxury and possesses unlimited power. The golden dream veils him in an aura of fantasy. Nick baths in the daydream and deceives himself. Eventually, his realises that he is merely chasing a phantom, like the Lost Generation.


The Waste Land and Other Poems (1940)

By T.S. Eliot

© Barnes & Noble Classics

This selection of T.S. Eliot’s poems includes “The Waste Land,” “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” “Ash Wednesday” and other poems. His use of fragmentation marks the crisis of identity of the Lost Generation – “You know only a heap of broken images, where the sun beats.” He illustrates the struggles of the generation when breeding new national identities out of the post-war wastelands.

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