Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Lost Generation

The "Lost Generation" became disillusioned after their traumatic experiences that they endured during World War I. The group of writers who moved to Paris believed that America was intolerant, materialistic, and unspiritual. They helped to establish many of the styles and themes that are still used in literature today.


Stein quoted her car mechanic, You are all a "génération perdue."

Stein told Hemingway, "That is what you are. That's what you all are ... all of you young people who served in the war. You are a lost generation."

The Sun Also Rises

"Wherein the 'lost generation' that followed the War goes to the devil with a smile on the lip but with despair in its heart."

The idiosyncrasies of "Lost Generation" authors

abandonment of materialism prevalent in America


philosophical musings


extramarital affairs 

lived in Paris 

created a mold for many future writers

Prominent Authors

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 center of their literary activities in the 1920s.

After the 1920s

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).

Works Cited

Fitch, Noel Riley. Sylvia Beach and the lost generation : a history of literary Paris in the twenties and thirties. New York : Norton, 1983. Print.

"Lost Generation." Brittanica. Encyclopædia Britannica, n.d. Web. 27 Feb 2013.

"The Lost Generation and 1920s Pop Culture." Tripod. n.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb 2013.

"The Sun Also Rises." Flickr. n.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb 2013.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Ernest Hemingway...Then Man, The Myth, The Mustache

The Youth of a Legend...

Ernest Hemingway was born July 21st in Oak Park, Illinois. His parents owned a cabin in Northern Michigan where he learned to hunt, fish and appreciate the outdoors. This learned appreciation for the outdoors would go on to influence his adventurous nature later in life. In high school Hemingway began his prolific career by writing for the school newspaper. After graduating he started writing for the Kansas City Star at the extremely young age of 17. 

"On the Star you were forced to learn to write a simple declarative sentence. This is useful to anyone. Newspaper work will not harm a young writer and could help him if he gets out of it in time."-Hemingway

From an early age Hemingway was learning to write directly, rather than in the expansive style of the time. This short, but powerful, style of writing would go on to help him win the Nobel Prize.

 Hemingway Goes to War...

 In 1918 Hemingway left his job as a writer and went to serve in World War I. He served as an ambulance driver during the war, and actually earned the Italian Silver Medal of Bravery. However, he was wounded during the war, and spent a long time in recovery.

During his time in recovery, Hemingway proposed to a nurse named Agnes von Kurowsky. She accepted, but she quickly turned around and had an affair. A devastated Hemingway would later use this ammunition in his book A Farewell to Arms. 


A young recovering Hemingway moved back to Chicago where he met his first wife Hadley Richards. Hemmingway then took a job with the Toronto Star. For which he would work as a foreign correspondent and cover events like the Greek Revolution.

“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”-Hemingway 
Hemingway and Hadley very quickly moved to Paris. They joined Gertrude Stein’s “Lost Generation” where they interacted with the key artists of the time, such as Fitzgerald and Picasso. During this time Hemingway really began to develop his own unique style of writing. Hemingway’s interactions with Fitzgerald were particularly interesting, and will be covered later.

It's a Boy...

In 1923 the couple had a child named John Hadley Nicanor Hemingway

The Birth of a Novel...

In 1925 Hemingway and his wife joined a group of expatriates to go to the Festival of San Fernin in Spain. This trip was Hemingway’s inspiration for his most widely renowned book The Sun Also Rises.

However, after the book was published Hemingway divorced his wife over an affair he was having. His mistress, Pauline Pfeiffer, instantly became his next wife. 

Key West...

Predictably, Hemingway’s new wife became pregnant. So in 1928 they moved to Key West, Florida. It was during this wild time that Hemming way published his critically acclaimed novel A Farewell to Arms.

Earning the Mustache...

During the 1930’s Hemmingway wrote, as well as participated in the most mind boggling activities. 

Big game hunting...

Bull fighting...

Deep sea fishing...

Borderline alcoholism...

"Write drunk, edit sober" -Hemingway

Ummmm…Third Time’s the Charm?

In 1937 Hemmingway was covering the Spanish Civil War when he became infatuated with a female correspondent named Gellhorn. Needless to say, he soon divorced Pauline and married Gellhorn. During his time in Spain collected enough to write his next novel For Whom the Bell Tolls. This novel went on to become Hemingway’s first work to be nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.    


After remarrying, Hemingway purchased a farm near Havana, Cuba where he would spend his winters.

World War II

 When World War II broke out, Hemmingway once again became a correspondent. Hemingway was present at many crucial moments of the war, including the legendary D-Day landing in France.

Marriages of the Fourth Kind…

During his time covering WWII Hemmingway developed an interest in a fellow correspondent named Mary Welsh. Soon after the war ended, Hemingway divorced his third wife and married Welsh.


 In 1951 Hemingway published his Pulitzer Prize winning book The Old Man and the Sea. Shortly after, in 1954 he won the Nobel Prize for literature

 The Long Fall…

During this time of great success in Hemingway’s career, his body and mind began to fail him. After sustaining countless injuries during his lifetime, including surviving multiple plane crashes during his African safaris, Hemingway was finally paying the piper. Hemingway moved to Idaho where he spent the next decade in a tragic downward spiral.

Before the Dawn…

July 2nd 1961, Hemingway pushed to shells into the barrels of his favorite shotgun, put the barrel in his mouth and pulled the trigger. Hemingway’s steady decline had come to a disastrous and undeserving end. 

Such Style…

Hemingway’s style of writing was very different from his peers of the time. Most writers of the time, such as Fitzgerald, wrote in long elegant sentences.  Hemmingway believed that writing in shorter, more powerful, sentences his writing was more pure and superior. This style was created through his years as a reporter and war correspondent. This short, but powerful, style of writing arguably mirrors Hemingway’s lifestyle.

 Fitzgerald V. Hemingway
“ I never had any respect for him ever, except for his lovely, golden wasted talent”-Hemingway on Fitzgerald

Hemingway was an extremely competitive writer. He would frequently compare the completion amongst writers to boxing. He would then also call himself “the champ”. Hemingway’s direct writing style was extremely different from Fitzgerald’s long and eloquent wordiness. Hemingway was very oppressive toward threatening writers, and Fitzgerald frequently fell victim to Hemingway’s competitive thrusts. I believe that the character Tom in The Great Gatsby is actually a fictional representation of Hemmingway.  

Work Cited
Gent, George. "Hemingway's Letters Tell of Fitzgerald." New York Times. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2013.

"Ernest Hemmingway." 2013. The Biography Channel website. Feb 21 2013

Martin, Christopher D. "Ernest Hemingway: A Psychological Autopsy Of A Suicide." Psychiatry: Interpersonal & Biological Processes 69.4 (2006): 351-361. Academic Search Complete. Web. 21 Feb. 2013.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Stein: A Source of Inspiration

Gertrude Stein
"One must dare to be happy"
 Birth, Culture, and Family 

Gertrude Stein was born on February 3, 1874 in Allegheny, Pennsylvania the daughter of wealthy German-Jewish immigrants.  After moving from the U.S. to Europe, living in Vienna and Paris, the family returned to America and settled in Oakland, California.  Gertrude's mother died when she was only 14, and she lost her father only four years after.  


"I could undertake to be an efficient pupil if it were possible to find an efficient teacher."
 An Education...or Lack Thereof

Gertrude Stein studied psychology at Radcliffe College under William James.  She also studied medicine at Johns Hopkins for a short period of time.  However, she did not receive a formal degree from either program.  The jury is out whether she flunked or quit, most critics seem to agree it was a mixture of both.

Stein with Toklas

"America is my country, and Paris is my hometown."
 Answering the Call to Return Home

In 1903, Gertrude Stein moved to Paris with her brother Leo.  Shortly after moving there, she met her secretary and lifelong partner in Alice B. Toklas.  She lived in a flat with both Toklas and her brother on the Left Bank, 27 rue de Fleurus. 

Gertrude Stein lived here with her brother, Leo Stein and later Alice Toklas.  She accepted many artists and writers here.  

The walls of the studio apartment at 27 rue de fleurus quickly became filled with the diverse works of Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Juan Gris. The Stein collection is still a marvel today, and many famous museums, such as the MET and Smithsonian, have displayed exhibitions of it.

"Paris was the place that suited us who were to create the twentieth century art and literature."
The Salon at 27 rue de fleurus

"Gertrude Stein was a central figure in the Parisian art world," as a strong "advocate of the avant garde" (poetryfoundation). Combined with her brother being an avid art critic and amateur painter, Stein's home quickly became known as a center of art and art appreciation. Their home became a safe haven for young artists who became known as "new moderns," a term coined for their belief in creation of a "novel form of expression and a conscious break with the past" (poetryfoundation).

 Pablo Picasso and his portrait of Gertrude Stein

 Henri Matisse and a piece of his from Stein's private collection entitled, "Woman in a Hat"

"You are all a lost generation."
Stein, Fitzgerald and Hemingway

Stein's salons did not only attract artists, but writers as well. The likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway found their way into her studio apartment. To them she coined the phrase "the lost generation," to define those "expatriate American and English writers" who flocked to France between the world wars (poetryfoundation).
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Ernest Hemingway, who took Stein's term "the lost generation" and popularized it in his novel, The Sun also Rises

"An audience is warming, but it must never be necessary to your work."
Personality and Writing Style

"She was an imposing figure, possessed of a remarkable self-confidence and a commanding manner" (
 Stein had a personality that did not need the approval of those around her.  She led a lesbian lifestyle, all but married to Alice Toklas, who she stayed with until her death.  When she would get together with male artists and writers, she would send their wives off to be with Alice-showing that the two played relatively traditional gender roles in their relationship, with Stein acting (and looking) the more manly of the two.
As a lover of modern art, Stein sought to accomplish the same rejection of traditional views on time and space through a literary form of "a spatial, process-oriented" one (poetryfoundation).
Three Lives, published 1909

"The identity of her characters as it is revealed in unconscious habits and rhythms of speech, the classification of all possible character types, and the problem of laying out as a continuous present knowledge that had accumulated over a period of time" are all ideas Stein likely acquired when studying under James at Radcliffe College (poetryfoundation)


"Not trusting narration to convey the complexity of human behavior, Stein employed description to achieve what she called 'a continuous present.'

On the idea of a continuous present, literary critic Katherine Anne Porter commented:

 "The people in this world appear to be motionless at every stage of their progress, each one is simultaneously being born, arriving at all ages and dying. You perceive that it is a world without mobility, everything takes place, has taken place, will take place; therefore nothing takes place, all at once."

Tender Buttons, published 1912
"Devoid of logic, narration, and conventional grammar, it resembles a verbal collage" (poetryfondation)
No one got it, except for her. 
 Most critics agree that, in an attempt to reduce language to abstraction, it had no meaning to anyone but her.

Stein's most successful writing, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, was in fact an autobiography of herself.  As her only writing that prescribed to a traditional, linear narrative, it was also her only widely-read one.  

"Let me listen to me, and not to them."
Stein in Summation

Stein's contribution to 20th century literature "has largely been relegated to a secondary role," as more a personality and influence on the great writers and artists of the time than being one herself (poetryfoundation).  Her stance as a woman unconcerned with public opinion or success, and her appreciation and encouragement of those whose genius had yet been recognized arguably defined the course of history of art and language development of modern times.  Thus, she is a figure inseparable from the development of modernism.  

Works Cited
"Gertrude Stein." Poetry Foundation. Ed. Catherine Halley. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Feb. 2013. <>.  

"Gertrude Stein." Academy of American Poets, n.d. Web. 15 Feb. 2013. <>. 
"Gertrude Stein Quotes." Brainy Quote. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Feb. 2013. <>.  







Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Giggle Water Era

'Merica Shall be Dry

Prohibition in the United States was a measure designed to reduce drinking by eliminating the businesses that manufactured, distributed, and sold alcoholic beverages. In the book, Prohibition and Repeal,  Sylvia Engdahl stated that the prohibition of alcohol was no sudden event and that throughout the nineteenth century, there had been several temperance movements leading to the ban of alcohol (16). Temperance originally meant moderating the use of alcohol but for most supporters it eventually came to mean prohibiting it completely(Engdahl,16). The remedy for “the organic disease” was not to convince people to stop drinking or to change their ingrained habits but to stop the corrupting influences on the young and that was the predominant reason for the Amendments to be passed. 

-It was never illegal to drink during Prohibition.
The 18th Amendment and the Volstead Act, never barred
the consumption of alcohol-just making it, selling it
and shipping for mass production .

The Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution
Passed by Congress December 18, 1917. Ratified January 16, 1919. Repealed by Amendment XXI.
The Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution prohibits the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquor, and the import or export of liquor, within the United States and its territories, starting one year from the ratification of this Article. Both Congress and the states shall have the power to pass laws to enforce this article (Engdahl, 14)
The Twenty-first Amendment to the Constitution 
 Passed by Congress February 20, 1933. Ratified December 5, 1933
The Eighteenth Amendment is hereby repealed. The transportation of intoxicating liquor into any state, territory, or possession of the United States is hereby prohibited if the liquor is intended for delivery or use in violation of that territory’s laws (Engdahl,15).

The National Prohibition Act (the Volstead Act)
Congress passed the Volstead Act on October 18, 1919, and the law went into effect February 1, 1920. The Act was organized in two titles: the first instituted a system of war-time prohibition that ran until the beginning of national Prohibition; the second set out the system of national Prohibition and  the system for the regulation of production of industrial alcohol. The Volstead Act banned the production and sale of alcoholic beverages unless for religious or medical purposes. The Act defined intoxicating beverages to include those that contained as little as one half of one per cent alcohol, but it allowed for the manufacture, possession, and use of alcoholic beverages in private homes. It also contains a specific provision   limiting searches of private homes under the Act (Okrent, 96). 

Prohibition became possible with the support of Woman's
Christian Temperance Union (WCTU).


                       Supporters of Prohibition:

-Women's Organization for National Prohibition Reform (WONPR)
-Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU)
-Prohibition Party
-Methodist Board of Temperance, Prohibition and Public Morals 
-Anti-Saloon League

But we want John Barleycorn Back!

The prohibition of alcohol was intended to better society and end with the "evil" of alcohol but that was far from what happened. People turned to different options to obtain alcohol. Some people started to produce their own drink at home from wood alcohol and medical supplies, others would sell bootleg liquor in undercover bars called Speakeasies. Speakeasies were pretty interesting because in order to get in, you needed to give a password. Many people who were against Prohibition would not work, instead they would strike. Also, fashion had a great role during Prohibition. People who had obtained their "hooch" wanted to take it to parties and that is when they would wear the elaborate clothes shown below. The vial fixed in the high-heel shoe could hold a full shot of whiskey. 

DID YOU KNOW?                     
While Speakeasies were regarded as higher class, with food and entertainment, the term  "blind pig" was used for dive bars, where costumers would pay to see an animal and receive a complementary drink.

"Who is this Gatsby anyhow?" demanded Tom Suddenly.
"Some big booglegger?"(Fitzgerald,107)


Prohibition had a great impact in the American society and even though the point of Prohibition was to turn America's society into a "clean" and "pure" one, it turned out to be the opposite.  One negative effect about Prohibition in society was that it drove people to go against the law. There were all sorts of underground alcohol smuggling usually referred to as "bootlegging".  During Prohibition the respect for religion was gone, especially after the Volstead Act was passed. As mentioned before, the Volstead Act banned the production and sale of alcoholic beverages unless for religious or medical purposes. In Daniel Okrent's  "Last Call", is a  very interesting phrase that followed the fact that the Volstead Act allowed rabbis to distribute sacramental wines to synagogue members. It said that "wine congregations" exploded in size, and wine stores opened in Jewish Neighborhoods (34).

One of the worst things that Prohibition brought to the American Society was the organized crime. During Prohibition, corruption in the government increased due to the bribery that took place between organized crime leaders like Alphonse "Scar face" Capone and politicians. There was a lot of "dirty" business during this time period. 

Al Capone earned $60 million annually selling illegal liquor.


I have to say that Prohibition was a very interesting thing to happen to the American Society. Most of the time people will only relate it to alcohol but I have learned it goes beyond that. It had great effects on the society we now live in. I really encourage you to look more into it because you never know what surprising thing you might learn. 

Works Cited
"Al Capone." A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 12 Feb. 2013.
Engdahl, Sylvia. Amendments XVIII and XXI: Prohibition and Repeal. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven,    2009. Print.
Okrent, Daniel. Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition. New York: Scribner, 2010. Print