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Modernist Literature and The Lost Generation

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Kailey Kimsa

on 20 January 2014

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Transcript of Modernist Literature and The Lost Generation

Modernist Literature and
The Lost Generation

...Not So Glamarous
- WW1 had changed the world forever

- The beginning of the modern era of warfare

- Approximately 320,000 Americans died in the Great War

- The men who returned were changed men

Overbearing presence of technology
Global Warming
Modernist Literature
- Expatriates are the image of literary modernism
- Style of writing from early 1900s - 1965
- Change in the way authors saw and interacted with the world
- Experimentation and individualism
Our concerns influene the art we produce
Where's your Paris?
Consumerism is born
- In 1920, there was a presidential election with two main candidates: Democrat James Cox and Republican Warren Harding
- Warren won, representing the American desire to focus on their nation instead of external affairs
- Instead of being concerned about wars and bombs and treaties, Americans became concerned with...
Why does Fitzgerald being "lost" matter?
Modernism in Gatsby
- Each individual is responsible for giving meaning to their lives

- Nick Carraway, the semi-reliable narrator (and the realism this creates)

- Gatsby's story is not told in chronological order

- Symbolism, introduced through the theories' of Sigmund Freud, father of psychoanalysis

Obesity rates among children and youth in Canada in the past 30 years have nearly tripled
How are the characters in
- Fitzgerald expressed his concerns about the time he lived in through the characters he created
- Doesn't completely understand the people around him
- She can't find joy in her life - or at least pretends to
- Constantly needs to be entertained
- Careless actions
- Lost identity
- Constantly trying to retrieve the past
- Needs to be "somebody"
What concerns do you have about the time we live in ?
The Lost Generation
- Group of American artists living abroad in Europe, in order to pursue their creative impulses
- Included Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, Waldo Pierce and F. Scott Fitzgerald

Devastated by WW1
- Veterans struggled to find meaning after the horror they had seen
- Realized all truth was relative and conditional
- Began investigating the inner self and consciousness

- The generation could not identify with the morals their parents had instilled with them
- Decency, ideology, etc.
- In their search for meaning, they embraced hedonism and debauchery
Why leave America?
- Individuals had become disillusioned with their nation:
- Soldiers not recognized as heroes
- Prohibition
- Limited artistic freedom

Scott and Zelda make the move
- Scott, Zelda and their daughter Scottie left for Paris in April of 1924
- A year later, "The Great Gatsby" was published.
Victorian Literature
Modernist Literature

Eyes of T.J. Eckleburg

"'God sees everything,' repeated Wilson." (pg.160)

Valley of Ashes
"This is the valley of ashes - a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat..." (pg.23)

Green Light
"Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us." (pg.180)

Symbolism in Gatsby
- Born in Minnesota in 1896

- Attended Princeton in 1913 but dropped out by 1917 after being on academic probation
Limited by wealth
- Met Zelda Sayre in 1918, but she refused to marry him until he was financially stable

- They eventually married in 1920, after
This Side of Paradise was
published and enjoyed an extravagant lifestyle they they could not afford
- Although
This Side of Paradise
was a success, Fitzgerald received much criticism for his work in the later part of his life

- Scott always had to be more successful than Zelda
The End
- Zelda became mentally ill and institutionalized

- Scott had become a severe alcoholic

-By the time of his death in 1940, had faded into complete obscurity
“That is what you are. That is what all of you are…all of you young people who served in the war. You are a lost generation.”
- Gertrude Stein

“The best of America drifts to Paris. The American in Paris is the best American.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald
“I was within and without. Simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.”
- F. Scott Fitzgerald
I am very busy finding out what people mean by what they say.
- Gertrude Stein
- 1837-1901
- Growth
and progress within
society (ex. industrialism
and evolution)
- Moral purpose
- Idealism
- Portrayed difficult
lives with happy endings
were achieved through
truth, love, justice, etc.
“Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but - I hope - into a better shape.”

- Charles Dickens
- 1900-1965
- Decay of society
- Alienation of the individual
- Existentialism
- Not always beginning, middle and end to story
- "Unreliable" narrators
- Their stories were not always "mainstream"

“If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them."
- Ernest Hemingway
How was F. Scott Fitzgerald lost?
- The life Scott lived allowed him to see the world in a different – in a way it had not been looked at before.

- This created new thought, new voices, and new writing.

“He had waited five years and bought a mansion where he dispensed starlight to casual moths – so that he could “come over” some afternoon to a stranger’s garden.” (pg.78)
- Feels as though he doesn't belong in the East

“I see now that this has been a story of the West, after all – Tom and Gatsby, Daisy and Jordan and I, were all Westerners, and perhaps we possessed some deficiency in common which made us subtly unadaptable to Eastern life.” (pg.176)
Jane Eyre
by Charlotte Bronte - 1847
The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald - 1925
“Nowadays people begin by sneering at family life and family institutions, and next they’ll throw everything overboard and have intermarriage between black and white.” (pg.130)
Street art by Banksy
Same Love
by Macklemore
by Marjane Satrapi
“You don't write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.”
- F. Scott Fitzgerald
"For a moment the last sunshine fell with romantic affection upon her glowing face; her voice compelled me forward breathlessly as I listened..." (pg.14)

The Persistance of Memory
By Salvador Dali
Internal Oral Presentation
Kailey Kimsa
Full transcript