Age of Anxiety The Interwar Years Age of Anxiety End of Old Order End of Hapsburg, Hohenzollern and Romanov Rule Emergence of Totalitarianism in Stalinist Russia, Fascist Italy and Fascist Germany The Great Depression on the 1930s created political and social crises Age of Anxiety
Age of Anxiety WWI was a staggering blow to Western Civilization Many people felt as if they had been turned upside down and they had little control to change things for the better People saw themselves living in a perpetual state of crisis Age of Anxiety Modern Philosophy Before 1914 most people still believed in progress, reason and the rights of the individual. Optimistic view was the result of progress of the past two centuries.
After the war, new and upsetting ideas began to spread through the entire population Critics of the pre-war world anticipated many of the post-war ideas. Rejected the general faith in progress and the power of the rational human mind. Age of Anxiety Friedrich Nietzsche One of the most important critics of the rationalism of the Enlightenment In Thus Sake Zarathustra (18831885), he blasted religion and claimed that "God is Dead
Claimed Christianity embodied a slave morality, which glorified weakness, envy, and mediocrity. Individualism had to be quashed In Will to Power (1888) he wrote that only the creativity of a few supermen Ubermenschen - could successfully reorder the world. Though not widely read by his contemporaries, his writings seemed relevant in the atmosphere of post-World War I pessimism Age of Anxiety Henri Bergson
1890s, convinced many young people that immediate experience and intuition were as important as rational and scientific thinking for understanding reality. Age of Anxiety Georges Sorel Syndicalism (a manifestation of anarchism) Believed socialism would come to power through a great, violent strike (General Strike) of all working people.
Ideas foreshadowed the Bolshevik Revolution; control by an elite few Age of Anxiety Freudian Psychology was first developed in the late 1880s by Sigmund Freud Freud one of three most important thinkers of 19th century (along with Marx and Darwin) Traditional psychology assumed a
single, unified conscious mind processed sense experiences in a rational and logical way. Freudian psychology seemed to reflect the spirit of the early 20th century, with its emphasis on men and women as greedy, grasping, irrational creatures. Became an international movement by 1910 and received popular attention after 1918, especially in Protestant countries of Northern Europe and the U.S. Age of Anxiety Freudian Psychology Freud asserted that because the human unconscious (ID) is driven by sexual, aggressive, and pleasure-seeking desires, humans are therefore NOT
rational! ID battles Ego & Superego Ego: Rationalizing conscious mediates what a person can do. Superego: Ingrained moral values specifies what a person should do. Shattered enlightenment view of rationality and progress. Age of Anxiety Freudian Psychology Freud agreed with Nietzsche that mechanisms of rational thinking and traditional morals values can be too strong on the human psyche
They can repress sexual desires too effectively, crippling individuals and entire peoples with guilt and neurotic fears Many opponents and some enthusiasts interpreted Freud as saying that the first requirement for mental health is an uninhibited sex life After WWI, the popular interpretation of Freud reflected and encouraged growing sexual experimentation, particularly among middle-class women. Age of Anxiety Anti-utopian Authors Oswald Spengler (1880-1936) The Decline of the West
Every culture experiences a life cycle of growth and decline; Western civilization was in its old age, and death was approaching in the form of conquest by the yellow race. T. S. Eliot, "The Wasteland": Depicted a world of growing desolation. Reich Maria Remarque: All Quiet on the Western Front (1929) Franz Kafka: Portrays helpless individuals crushed by inexplicably hostile forces. The Trial; The Castle; The Metamorphosis Age of Anxiety Existentialism Existentialism took root in
Continental countries after the horros of World War II and the Atomic age. Saw life as absurd Viewed a world where the individual has to find his own meaning; most were atheists Jean-Paul Sartre: Humans simply exist Albert Camus (1913-1960) Individuals had to find meaning in life by taking action against those things they disagree Ones actions are derived from personal choices that are independent from religion or political ideology
Martin Heidegger, Karl Japers and Albert Camus also prominent Age of Anxiety Christian Existentialism shared the loneliness and despair of atheistic existentialists. Stressed human beings sinful nature, need for faith, and the mystery of Gods forgiveness Broke with Christian "modernists" of late 19th century who reconciled Bible & science
Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855): rediscovery of his 19th century works led to revival of fundamental Christian belief after WWI. Believed Christian faith could anchor the individual caught in troubling modern times. George Orwell (1903-1950) 1984: "Big Brother" (the dictator) & his totalitarian state use a new kind of language, sophisticated technology, and psychological terror to strip a weak individual of his last shred of human dignity. T.S. Eliot T.S. Eliot created his work within a perceived traditional Christian framework.
Advocated literary allegiance to tradition. Age of Anxiety Science By the late 19th century, science was a major pillar supporting Western societys optimistic and rationalistic view of the world. "New Physics," much popularized after WWI, challenged long-held ideas and led to uncertainty Max Planck: developed basis for quantum physics in 1900 Postulated matter & energy might be different forms of the same thing. Shook foundations of 19th century physics that viewed atoms as the stable, basic building blocks of nature, with a different kind of unbreakable atom for each element. Albert Einstein (1879-1955): 1905, Theory of relativity of time and space
challenged traditional ideas of Newtonian physics (E=MC2) United apparently infinite universe with incredibly small, fast-moving subatomic world. Matter and energy are interchangeable and that even a particle of matter contains enormous levels of potential energy. Age of Anxiety Science Ernest Rutherford: 1919, demonstrated the atom could be split. 1927, Werner Heisenberg: principle of uncertainty-- as it is impossible to know the position and speed of an individual election, it is therefore
impossible to predict its behavior. Heisenbergs principle: The dynamics of an experiment alters the state of the subject. Impact of new physics on the common mind The new universe seemed strange and troubling. Universe was now relative, dependent on the observers frame of reference. Universe was uncertain and undetermined, without stable building blocks. Physics no longer provided easy, optimistic answers, or any answers for that matter.
Age of Anxiety Art, Architecture & Entertainment Functionalism in architecture Late 19th century U.S.: Louis Sullivan pioneered skyscrapers -- "form follows function" In 1905, architectural leadership shifted to German-speaking countries (until Hitler in 1930s) Bahaus movement: Walter Gropius broke sharply with the past in his design of the Fagus shoe factory at Alfeld, Germany. Clean, light, elegant building of glass and iron. Represented a jump into the middle of the 20th century. Age of Anxiety
Painting Modern art grew out of a revolt against French impressionism (firmly established in 1890s) Impressionists like Monet, Renoir, and Pissaro sought to capture the momentary overall feeling, or impression, of light falling on a real-life scene before their eyes. Post-impressionists (also known as Expressionists) in 1890s were united in their desire to know and depict worlds other than the visible world of fact. Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890): Starry Night Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) Paul Czanne (1839-1906) Henri Matisse (1869-1954): most important French artist of 20th century
Pioneered the Fauves movement ("the wild beasts") Painted real objects, but primarily concern was the arrangement of color (often primitive), line, and form as an end in itself. Age of Anxiety Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) most important artist of the 20th century Developed cubism along with Georges Braque Cubism concentrated on a complex geometry of zigzagging lines and sharply angled, overlapping planes. Often tried to portray all perspectives simultaneously Age of Anxiety
Art Non-representational art Some expressionists like Wassily Kandinsky sought to evoke emotion through nonfigural painting Dadaism: "Dada" was a nonsensical word that mirrored a post-WWI world that no longer made sense. Attacked all accepted standards of art and behavior, delighting in outrageous conduct. e.g., Mona Lisa painted with a mustache; . Age of Anxiety Art
Surrealism: Salvador Dali most important (influenced by Freud's emphasis on dreams) After 1924, painted a fantastic world of wild dreams and complex symbols, where watches melted and giant metronomes beat time in impossible alien landscapes. Age of Anxiety Music Igor Stravinsky (18821971): Most important composer of the 20th century "Rite of Spring" experimented with new
tonalities (many of them dissonant) and aggressive primitive rhythms Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951): pioneered "12-tone" technique (atonality). Age of Anxiety Movies
Moving pictures first shown as a popular novelty in naughty peepshows and penny arcades in the 1890s, esp. in Paris. Charlie Chaplin (18891978), Englishman, became the king of the silver screen in Hollywood during the 1920s. German studios excelled in expressionist dramase.g., The Cabinet of Dr., Caligari (1919). Advent of talkies in 1927 resulted in revival of national film industries in 1930s, esp. France Motion pictures became the main entertainment of the masses until after WWII.
Age of Anxiety Movies Motion pictures, like radio, became powerful tools of indoctrination, esp. in countries with dictatorial regimes. Lenin encouraged development of Soviet film making leading to epic films in the mid-1920s. Most famous directed by Sergei Eisenstein (1898-1948) brilliantly dramatized the communist view of Russian history. In Germany, Leni Riefenstahl directed a masterpiece of documentary propaganda, The Triumph of the Will, based on
the Nazi party rally at Nuremberg in 1934. Age of Anxiety Radio Guglielmo Marconi developed transatlantic wireless communication in 1901 (used in WWI) Not until 1920 were first major public broadcasts of special events made in Great Britain & US Most countries established direct control of radio by the govt (only in U.S. was there private ownership) British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Radio became used effectively
for political propaganda (e.g. Hitler, Mussolini and FDR
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