From the Lost Generation to the Beat Generation: Hollywood’s Obsession

12 Jul

 

 

With Hemingway and Gellhorn currently on HBO and a remake of The Great Gatsby heading to theatres this Christmas, The Observer’s Daniel D’Addario ponders if we’re experiencing a “Lost Generation Boom.”

The Lost Generation refers to the writers during the World War I era, many of whom became expatriates.  The Lost Generation writers include F. Scott Fitzgerald, T. S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, and John Dos Passos, among others.  Hemingway popularized the term in A Moveable Feast, in which he quoted Stein as telling him a story about a man who said, “That’s what you all are … all of you young people who served in the war. You are a lost generation.”

D’Addario also references last summer’s Midnight in Paris, but in some regard, we’ve been experiencing the “boom” for quite some time now … at least in the cocktail scene.  A few years ago, speakeasy-type bars became all the rage here in New York.  Dimly lit lounges served up spiked punches in tea cups.  There are also Jazz Age parties on Governor’s Island, where everyone gets all dolled up in fantastic flapper dresses and Sacque suits.  And the Oak Room—which in the ‘20s was Algonquin’s Pergola Room—just reopened.

However, Hollywood isn’t only obsessed with the Lost Generation.  The Beat Generation, which wasn’t popular for a long time, is beginning to see a revival.  On the Road, based on Beat writer Jack Kerouac’s novel, just premiered at Cannes Film Festival in May and will be released Stateside sometime later this year.  Next year, Kill Your Darlings, about a murder involving Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, and others associated with the Beat Generation, will be released.  In 2010, Howl, based on Allen Ginsberg’s poem and the trial that followed its publication, came out.  These aren’t small movies by any means.  Howl starred it-boy James Franco, Kill Your Darlings will star Daniel Radcliffe, and much has been made of On the Road starring Kristen Stewart.

Perhaps we’re trying to figure out our own generation by looking at those in the past.

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4 Responses to “From the Lost Generation to the Beat Generation: Hollywood’s Obsession”

  1. lostgenerationreader July 23, 2014 at 12:13 pm #

    Isn’t it fascinating how much we cling to the past? That was the beauty of Midnight in Paris for me. No matter what generation the movie looked at, someone (or many people) just wanted to look into the past rather than embrace their own reality. Great post!

    • Stephanie Nikolopoulos July 25, 2014 at 10:08 am #

      Great point! I think so often our own reality scares us because it is so unique and we don’t yet know its significance and what the future holds for us. We’re so busy looking back and looking forward that we forget to enjoy the journey.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Happy 115th Birthday, Hemingway! | Stephanie Nikolopoulos - July 21, 2014

    […] It was this Lost Generation that inspired Jack Kerouac to come up with the term Beat Generation when he was talking with John Clellon Holmes one day. And Hollywood has taken notice. […]

  2. Hemingway and Kerouac Explain “Lost” and “Beat” Characters | Stephanie Nikolopoulos - July 23, 2014

    […] From the Lost Generation to the Beat Generation: Hollywood’s Obsession […]

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