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History Lecture No 12 Modernism.pdf

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Queen's University
HIST 121

History Lecture No 12 Modernism (1880-1950) Part 1 1. Intro The Crisis of the Modern World Space and Time-Shrinking of, modern transportation, explosion in mass rapid communication Mechanization- becoming increasingly reliant on machines, divorced from nature The Rise of the Masses-population explosion due to dramatically declining death rates despite lowering birth rates, perception of swarms and swarms of people Urbanization- Secularization- sense of world adrift, lack of common vision of ethics Darker side to the modern world was seen by some people even during the time of the Crystal Palace Questioning of the modern world and the modern project Difficult to define what modernism is, difficult to say if such a definition exists, partly due to its all- encompassing nature throughout 1880-1950 Modernism as a culture of crisis; modernists can be united in their sense that the world has been transformed beyond recognition, that old truths held little meaning for the modern person, and this new era is an anxious period of crisis and transition 2. Against the Crystal Palace: Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-1881) a. The crystal palace in Russia Nikolai Chernyshevskii, What is to be Done (1863) “rational egoism” b. The Underground Man – best seller in Russia at the time Most influential socialist work before Marx because he was really good at describing two central tenants of socialism; the scientific principle of rational egoism derivative of Bentham Utilitarianism which should guide human behaviour in a socialist system, was heavily influenced (positively) by Russian crystal palace, gave him vision of secular socialist utopia Dostoyev
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