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The Lost Generation Whether they came before the war discovered it on active duty or were drawn to it by the hedonism and headiness of its salon and caf society the expatriated writers of post WWI Paris hold a prominent place in the history of American literature Described by Gertrude Stein in the epigraph to Earnest Hemingways The Sun Also Rises as a lost generation the intellectuals poets and novelists who rejected the social and political conservatism of the 1920s America to revel in the less restrictive morality of post WWI Europe created a bohemian enclave A counterculture flourished as the devalued French currency made for a favorable exchange rare against the American dollar and with the lower cost of living came inexpensive printing The openness of publishers gave choice to the young unknown and experimentalist writers who would become the architects of modernism The absence of Victorian morale and structures which so dominated the literature of previous decades is indicative of the modern movement In expressing themes of spiritual alienation self-exile and cultural criticism the lost generation has left a distinct mark on intellectual history Modernist literary innovations challenged traditional assumptions about writing Employing style form and meaning as a whole to illustrate the problems of modern life Stein and Hemingway are the earliest and perhaps most influential writers in the development of modern American fiction For Stein and Hemingway structure was as equally important as content and the two were inseparable One of the most celebrated expatriates of her time Stein once remarked that she had found in Paris the freedom and privacy to write and live as she pleased Conservative in their habits Stein and her longtime companion Alice B Toklas lived the life of a modestly comfortable bourgeois couple entertaining their friends and acquaintances many of whom were the great and near-great artists of the time to teas and dinners at their well publicized salon The two decades between WWI and
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