“The Great War,” as Modris Eksteins writes, “was the psychological turning point. .. for RITES OF SPRING is a remarkable and rare work, a cultural history that. “Ingenious and maddening”: thus many critics label Modris Eksteins’s *Review essay of Modris Eksteins, Rites of Spring: The Great War at the Birth of the. Rites of Spring The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age By Modris Eksteins Illustrated. pages. A Peter Davison Book/Houghton.

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Ours is the age of uncertainty in which all theories and sets of values hold a kernel of truth but none of them is absolute. I think the idea that World War 1 was the defining point for the end of the Victorian age and the start of Modernism is valid and an inherently interesting subject.

Though we may not realize it, our own obsession with beauty might be another expression of the same impulses which motivated the Nazis. His answers, executed in brilliantly descriptive and readable prose, embrace a contextual rktes rarely achieved in a manageable monograph.

Over all, this is a great read. Morris Mangetout Wallace K. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. The soldiers tentatively poking their heads above the trench and finally walking out to greet each other across the field where men were normally killed in droves, even exchanging gifts in honor of Christmas.

Even the resurgence of militant Islam, while outside of Western Civilization, is a sign that the secular Enlightenment values of Western Civilization are losing their spell on the rest of the world. Perhaps, the madman is right and that Nazism was just a bad artistic movement that got out of hand.

That attitude makes me care little for the book. Presenting events, roughly in chronological order, he tells a cultural history from the days leading up to World War One to the beginnings of World War Two.

Eksteins strikes the right balance between supplying general information and counting on the reader to have a little background on the subject; he writes with both the rigor of academia and the accessibility of popular history.

The First World War marked the demise of two European empires and the appearance of several new states on the map of Europe. In order to navigate out of this carousel please use your heading shortcut key to navigate to the next or previous heading. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. While Germany lost the war, many of the ideas and attitudes that characterized German society have eventually won out and are characteristic of the modern consciousness.

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What if these ideas had occurred in Russia or Britain instead? Flanders was Flanders; Diaghilev was Diaghilev.

Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. By contrast, Remarque’s All Quiet became, virtually overnight, the best seller of all previous time. There is another option. The first question one has to ask is whether culture is the reflection or the cause of historical change. Intentionally manufactured for a reaction, the author argues that the audience is integral to the experience of the work.

Eksteins’ main thesis is that the modern artistic spirit is characterized in the period leading up to WWI by a transition from art as expression of moral commitment to the past, to art as “provocation and event. This book succeeds in doing exactly what it sets out to do, which is provide a cultural history of the Great War, beginning with the avant-garde and the premiere of Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” in riges ending with Hitler’s rise to power.


Share your thoughts with other customers. To me it was easier to love that strange and sophisticated music than to those guys in Paris on In Germany, however, this feeling was not universal. An interesting cultural history of WWI. This a wild, nonsensical theory made credible and charming by Ekstein’s elegant style and enormous er Modris Eksteins theory is that the rise of Modern Art and the emergence of a Nazi state in Germany were part of a single phenomenon.

The British, in response, felt that they had a duty to protect the old world order: His thesis that the First World War has changed our society forever and that Germany was the modernist nation par excellence, which served as a model for our world, holds some merit. It was only after the war bogged down in the sprlng that attitudes began to change. It was the culmination of a progression in daring which the Russian ballets had exhibited since they first enjoyed success on the western cultural scene [2].

My own exposure to the sprkng comes largely from that literature and some contemporary fiction, such a Interesting yet unsatisfying on several levels. The Germans, more than any other nation, placed a lot of emphasis on ideals and on spiritual fulfillment [13]. Be the first to discover new talent! There is much more to this book than I can summarise here but my thoughts at the moment are this; – The significance of war to the C20th was arguably less about military history and political intrigues than the ekseins it wrought on society and especially human consciousness as a whole; i.


RITES OF SPRING: The Great War and the Birth of th by Modris Eksteins | Kirkus Reviews

The First and Second World Wars have so thoroughly discredited the idea that humans are good and rational, an idea which was central to the Enlightenment, that the old springg formerly discredited by the Enlightenment now seems, to many people, as a more credible alternative for a guiding hand in their daily lives. It was within these complex amalgamations of a fiery prewar modernist and avant-garde uprising against the previous centuries’ stolid virtues, and an existential angst and smoldering resentment at all that was lost—most especially, personally lost—that, wedded with the spreading oc themes of spirit and myth and a primal, romantic Samsonian strength that was treacherously sheared by the Slring of the enlightenment bourgeoisie, set the stage for the virulent outbreak of Nazi fervor and a crippling and nihilistic self-doubt amongst the Western states.

Only an audience could give Hitler meaning; he had none himself. If I understand Mr Eksteins correctly then, Europe was driven by it’s own aspirations towards war; essentially a civil war that sucked the world into it. This surging energy literally drove the crowds to sprijg the war that their monarchs and prime ministers were hesitantly offering.

Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age

A telling consequence of the war was that words such as Honor, Duty and Valor started to lose their capitals: He describes trench warfare in all its enormous horror with both appropriately shocking detail and sincere indignation. Dazzling in its originality, Rites of Spring probes the origins, impact, and aftermath of World War I, from the premiere of Stravinsky’s ballet The Rite of Spring in to the death of Hitler in The aura of invincibility and infallibility that Europeans possessed was now gone.

Before the war the avant-garde had adopted modernism as a rebellion against bourgeois conformity and sterility. So the question is how do you solve the equation.

In addition, morals in general were being repudiated.