Ernest Hemingway’s novel ‘The Sun Also Rises’ has just gone into the public domain with this batch of copyright-expired works this New Year. One of the few Hemingway books I’ve read… it opens with a quote Gertrude Stein imparted on Hemingway in conversation, “You are all a lost generation.” Which became a shorthand name for the era of disaffection between World War and World II (interesting how they have to bookend malaise with war, huh). But it’s a great story about a guy who is suffering from a lingering war wound that causes sexual difficulties, but makes him potently observant and more interested in women for other reasons. How it depicts a feeling of being lost and wandering in such a descriptive and romantic way that one feels it distinctly, and thus feels less lost and wandering. One feels the evenings of the endless expatriate parties and rides through the streets and one finds a home with one’s fellow lost souls.
“Some make exhaustion a form of expression… and that’s the way.” – So wrote one of my favorite lyricists Blake Schwarzenbach. The world is always ending. But, The Sun Also Rises.
The words of the Teacher,[a] son of David, king in Jerusalem:
2 “Meaningless! Meaningless!”
says the Teacher.
Everything is meaningless.”
3 What do people gain from all their labors
at which they toil under the sun?
4 Generations come and generations go,
but the earth remains forever.
5 The sun rises and the sun sets,
and hurries back to where it rises.
6 The wind blows to the south
and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
ever returning on its course.
7 All streams flow into the sea,
yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
there they return again.
8 All things are wearisome,
more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,
nor the ear its fill of hearing.
9 What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there anything of which one can say,
“Look! This is something new”?
It was here already, long ago;
it was here before our time.
11 No one remembers the former generations,
and even those yet to come
will not be remembered
by those who follow them.