Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Every Generation

My Generation

I'm absolutely fascinated by Storm Jameson's autobiography, Journey from the North, published in 1969. I keep marking quotes that speak to me across the years. Passionately grieving over the waste of World War I, she insists that her idealistic generation would have been most capable of carrying out social change, had not the men been killed.

After graduation from the University of Leeds, having moved to London before WWI, she and her Yorkshire friends confidently believed they would live as equals of graduates of elite schools.

"Our freedom intoxicated us; there was nothing we should not be able to attempt, no road not open to us, no barriers in the world that we children of farmers and seamen were going to walk about in as equals. Our certainty, our optimism, our illusions, are what mark our difference from every other generation which talked its tongues off its roots since. No generation has ever been so naturally idealistic. Nor, perhaps, so happy, since of all the illusions on which young men get drunk the illusion of a future, a road running toward infinity, breeds happiness more surely and quickly than even a successful love-affair."

Doesn't this sound like the Baby Boomers? Didn't we feel that the '60s and '70s were characterized by idealism and social change? That class would break down? But it is true that we didn't lose a generation of men. And as "grown-ups" some sold out. As I suspect Jameson's generation would have.

Jameson is writing about every generation, even though she despised the '60s.

Storm Jameson's Generation

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