Fractured Times: Culture and Society in the Twentieth Century

Fractured Times: Culture and Society in the Twentieth Century

Language: English

Pages: 336

ISBN: 1595589775

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Eric Hobsbawm, who passed away in 2012, was one of the most brilliant and original historians of our age. Through his work, he observed the great twentieth-century confrontation between bourgeois fin de siècle culture and myriad new movements and ideologies, from communism and extreme nationalism to Dadaism to the emergence of information technology. In Fractured Times, Hobsbawm, with characteristic verve, unpacks a century of cultural fragmentation.

Hobsbawm examines the conditions that both created the flowering of the belle époque and held the seeds of its disintegration: paternalistic capitalism, globalization, and the arrival of a mass consumer society. Passionate but never sentimental, he ranges freely across subjects as diverse as classical music, the fine arts, rock music, and sculpture. He records the passing of the golden age of the “free intellectual” and explores the lives of forgotten greats; analyzes the relationship between art and totalitarianism; and dissects phenomena as diverse as surrealism, art nouveau, the emancipation of women, and the myth of the American cowboy.

Written with consummate imagination and skill, Fractured Times is the last book from one of our greatest modern-day thinkers.

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physically unmanageable for the locations, whether these are Florence and Venice or ski pistes and mountain peaks. In contrast to worldwide environmental problems, such localised pollution is comparatively easily dealt with. And the locals have long become used to the masses of tourists. As a group, they do not belong to our actual lives, even if our economy depends on them. They do not stay long. We complain about them, but only as one complains about the daily nuisances of a mass society – the

Going? 3 A Century of Cultural Symbiosis? 4 Why Hold Festivals in the Twenty-First Century? 5 Politics and Culture in the New Century PART II: THE CULTURE OF THE BOURGEOIS WORLD 6 Enlightenment and Achievement: The Emancipation of Jewish Talent since 1800 7 The Jews and Germany 8 Mitteleuropean Destinies 9 Culture and Gender in European Bourgeois Society 1870–1914 10 Art Nouveau 11 The Last Days of Mankind 12 Heritage PART III: UNCERTAINTIES, SCIENCE, RELIGION 13 Worrying About the

‘modernist’ style in which the local Catalan bourgeoisie gloried in its own rise and wealth, and marked itself off from its fuddy-duddy rulers in Madrid. Electrification and the local art nouveau, characteristically known as ‘modernisme’ went together, trying to turn a provincial capital into a world city, to create what its ideologist called ‘that imperial Barcelona which propels the wealth and culture of all Catalonia, indeed of all the hispanic people of the triumphant Iberia of tomorrow’.12

capitalist crisis and may retreat for the rich civilisations of the West. Like the remarkable quasi-documentary film Man on Wire, but much more uneasily, the arts walk the tightrope between soul and market, between individual and collective creation, even between recognisable and identifiable human creative products and their engulfment by technology and the all-embracing noise of the internet. On the whole late capitalism has provided a good living for more creative people than ever before, but

Unlike most of the Bolsheviks of 1917 who had given them their chance, most of the visual avant-garde survived Stalin’s terror, but their work, buried in Russian museums and private collections, seemed forgotten. And yet today we all still live in a visual world that was largely devised by them in the ten years after the revolution. 19 Art and Power Art has been used to reinforce the power of political rulers and states since the ancient Egyptians, though the relationship between power

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