Jackie Byun
Four years of devastating war left many Europeans with a sense of despair and disillusionment which greatly affected artists and intellectuals.
· Oswald Spengler (1880-1936): wrote Decline of the West which reflected the disillusionment when he emphasized the decadence of Western civilization and posited its collapse.
· Prewar avant-garde belief: human beings were really violent and irrational animals who were incapable of creating a sane and rational world → added to the uncertainties generated by WWI.
· Marie Stopes: published Married Love → emphasized sexual pleasure in marriage.
· Theodore van de Velde: published Ideal Marriage: Its Physiology and Technique → described female and male anatomy, discussed birth control technique, and sexual pleasure in marriage
Nightmares and New Visions: Art and Music
· Dadaism: attempted to enshrine the purposelessness of life.
· Tristan Tzara (1896-1945): Romanian-French poet and one of the founders of Dadaism; expressed the Dadaist contempt for the Western tradition in a lecture on Dada
· Hannah Hoch (1899-1978): In Dada Dance, she seemed to criticize the “new woman” by making fun of the way women were inclined to follow new fashion styles.
· Surrealism: sought a reality beyond the material, sensible work and found it in the world of the unconscious through the portrayal of fantasies, dreams, or nightmares. Influenced by theories of Freudian psychology.
· Spaniard Salvador Dali (1904-1989): became the high priest of Surrealism and became a master of representational Surrealism.
§ The Persistence of Memory: he portrayed recognizable objects that have been divorced from their normal context. By placing these objects into unrecognizable relationships, he created a disturbing world in which the irrational had become tangible.
· Louis H. Sullivan (1856-1924): For the Chicago schools, he used reinforced concrete, steel frames, and electric elevators to build skyscrapers virtually free of external ornamentation. One of his pupils → Frank Lloyd Wright (1869-1959): became known for innovative designs in domestic architecture. His private houses, built chiefly for wealthy patrons, featured geometric structures with long lines, overhanging roofs, and severe planes of brick and stone.
· Spread of functionalism by the Bauhaus school of art, architecture, and design founded by Berlin architect Walter Gropius (1883-1969): the Bauhaus teaching consisted of blending the stud of fine arts (painting and sculpture) with the applied arts (printing, weaving, and furniture making).
· To attract wider audience, artists and musicians began to involve themselves in the new mass culture.
§ German Kurt Weill: composer of classical music before he turned to jazz rhythms and other popular musical idioms for the music for The Threepenny Opera.
§ Erwin Piscator: offered plays to workers on picket lines. He hoped to reach workers by experimental drama with political messages.
· Arnold Schonberg (1874-1951): began to experiment with a radically new style by creating musical pieces in which tonality is completely abandoned, a system called atonal music. He created a new system of composition → 12-tone composition in which he used a scale composed of 12 notes independent of any tonal key.
The Search for the Unconscious
· “stream of consciousness”: technique in which the writer presented an interior monologue, or a report of the innermost thoughts of each character.
§ James Joyce (1882-1941): His Ulysses told the story of one day in the life of ordinary people in Dublin by following the flow of their inner dialogue.
§ Virginia Woolf (1882-1942): Mrs. Dalloway and Jacob’s Room: in these novels, she used the inner monologues of her main characters to reveal their world of existence.
§ Hermann Hesse (1877-1962): dealt with the unconscious. Demian = was a psychoanalytic study of incest, whereas Steppenwolf = mirrored the psychological confusion of modern existence.
· Carl Jung (1856-1961): disciple of Freud who came to believe that the unconscious was an opening to deep spiritual needs and ever-greater vistas for humans.
§ He viewed unconscious as 2-fold: a “personal unconscious” and a “collective unconscious” → which existed at a deeper level of the unconscious.
The “Heroic Age of Physics”
· Ernest Rutherford (1871-1937): one of the physicists who was responsible for demonstrating that the atom could be split aka “heroic age of physics.”
· Werner Heisenberg (1901-1976): posited the “uncertainty principle” which was an explanation for the path of an electron.