Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in English

Degree Level





Marren, Susan

Committee Member/Reader

Kayser, Casey

Committee Member/Second Reader

Comfort, Kathy

Committee Member/Third Reader

Levine, Bill


The literary representations of Paris in the works of the Lost Generation communicate a nostalgia, longing for, and glorification of an irrecoverable past. The romanticization and abstraction of the setting of Paris in the works of the Lost Generation elucidates the emotional situations of their characters as they contemplate the nature of their existence. The abstraction of Paris liberates the city from its physical locale and demonstrates the repressional mechanisms of anchoring and sublimation outlined by existential philosopher Peter Wessel Zapffe in his essay “The Last Messiah.” In the connection of Paris with Zapffe’s existential theory, Paris becomes, for certain writers of the Lost Generation, a bank of good memories from which they might draw upon and revisit to justify and cope with life in the din and chaos of the modern world.

This thesis will argue that the Lost Generation’s pervasive nostalgia for and glorification of Paris is a manifestation of what Zapffe calls: “anchoring.” A repressional mechanism whereby these writers were able to conceive of Paris as an abstraction—a paradoxical safe-haven, a symbol of the values that existed before the chaos and loss of World War I, one that gave a sense of necessity and order to their lives.


The Lost Generation, Paris, Nostalgia, Existential anchor, A Moveable Feast, Interwar