The “Lost Generation” was the generation that came of age during World War I. The term was popularized by Ernest Hemingway, who used it as one of two contrasting epigraphs for his novel, The Sun Also Rises. In that volume Hemingway credits the phrase to Gertrude Stein, who was then his mentor and patron.
In A Moveable Feast, which was published after both Hemingway and Stein were dead and after a literary feud that lasted much of their life, Hemingway reveals that the phrase was actually originated by the garage owner who serviced Stein’s car. When a young mechanic failed to repair the car in a way satisfactory to Stein, the garage owner shouted at the boy, “You are all a “génération perdue.” Stein, in telling Hemingway the story, added, “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.” This generation included distinguished artists such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, T. S. Eliot, John Dos Passos, Waldo Peirce, Isadora Duncan, Abraham Walkowitz, Alan Seeger, and Erich Maria Remarque.