About this site
The Lost Generation is a term thrown around by many, often with different meanings. Broadly speaking, it refers to the generation born between 1883 and 1900, those that came of age during World War I. As time as passed, however, it has become synonymous with American expatriates, namely writers, who lived in Paris during the 1920s. Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and others have entered the consciousness, but often as caricatures – Hemingway a tough guy who’d fight on a dime, Fitzgerald as a drunk. While these characteristics may be true, they are only a very small part of these men’s lives, and of the generation they have come to represent. This site aims to delve into all aspects of the Lost Generation and, eventually, become the premier online source for all related information.
“One Hundred False Starts” is the title of an essay F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote for the Saturday Evening Post in 1933, after the party was over. In it he details how many attempts to tell a story end in failure, leading one to try something different until getting it right. As such, it also seems applicable to the Lost Generation as a whole, those who went through the unprecedented carnage of WWI and ever after kept trying different things in an attempt to get it right. Let this site tell all of their stories, success and failure.
Although I was born in the same town as Ernest Hemingway, I knew next to nothing about him until college. My first introduction to the Lost Generation came my sophomore year of high school when Mrs. Smith, my American literature teacher, handed out copies of The Great Gatsby. While most of the other kids were complaining that it was boring, that very little happened, I fell in love with the prose. Every sentence seemed like a treasure. Growing up I was always writing silly little stories, but this book was the first time I saw what literature could be. It led me to pick up everything Fitzgerald had ever written, and to reread The Great Gatsby every spring for many years.
It was in picking up a biography of Fitzgerald that I came to learn about Hemingway, Gerald and Sara Murphy, Gertrude Stein, and the rest of the Lost Generation and have been obsessed ever since. When I saw Midnight in Paris in the theater it was as if Woody Allen had put my dreams to screen. Paris in the 1920s, what could compare?
This website has been years in the making. I worked full-time on wikis for about seven years, and during that time I just kept thinking how great it would be if there was a site dedicated to every small bit of information related to the Lost Generation – a unique place for people who had the same interest and passion in the same part of history that I did. I’ve started a dozen or so websites since college, and I hope to take all that experience to create the most comprehensive Lost Generation website on the Internet. As I will be producing the great majority of the content myself, this is going to be a long journey. But I also expect it to be a great journey. Thanks for visiting the past with me.
– Greg Janetka, July 16, 2020