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The Watershed 1929

by Darya Tarishkina

March 2013

Post world War I QUEST FOR PEACE

Virginia Woolf A Room of One's Own

THE ROARING TWENTIES AND THE GREAT DEPRESSION

A place where "before" and "after" meet


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Foreword Modernism as much as we are familiar with the term, there is always something that remains unattainable in its experimental form, its rebellion against the past and its uncertainty about the future

year 1929 This issue is concerned with the events and artistic works of 1929, a year that stands out of the row of the Roaring Twenties and can certainly be called a watershed of European and American history. In the aftermath of the First World War modernism was enriched by new themes and literary techniques, which challenged the norms and provoked a range of emotions from admiration to aversion. The goal of this issue is to provide an insight into the amusing history, literature and art of 1929 and bring you closer to understanding modernism.

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Contents The War to End Wars 4 and the Quest for Peace Ernest Hemingway 6 A Farewell to Arms Erich Maria Remarque 7 All Quiet on the Western Front The Roaring Twenties 8 Innovation and Change THE GREAT DEPRESSION 10 1929 as a historical watershed Virginia Woolf 12 A Room of One's Own Gallery 26 the art of 1929

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The War to End Wars .......................................................................... 3 ........................................................................


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Modernism, it is argued, is a child of tragic events and cultural shocks of the 20th century. Emerging as a response to the absurd and cruel reality, modernism incorporated most liberal and scandalous ideas of the century. The devastating First World War (1914-1918) was one of the great culture shocks that changed the way people viewed the world. In the aftermath of the war, people began to ask question about the importance of their very existence within the society and

wonder what their civilization is heading at. Modernist artists perceived the past as a cultural dead-end of civilization, which led to the First World War. Hence it was essential to reject the past and build on the new ideology that was all about rebellion, breaking social norms and enforcing individualism throughout art, literature and philosophy. Artists and writers employed new techniques as they struggled to satisfy the demand of society for art that would be modern.

Postwar disillusionment and the Quest for peace Being intimidated by the horrors of war leading European states and the US have signed in 1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact, which was supposed to prevent the another devastating war. However, the pact was proven to be ineffective and failed to meet its aims in the years to come. Certainly, everybody sensed the escalating tension between communist government in Russia, fascist government in Germany and Italy and the hazard of a new war.

Perhaps, the horrors of war made brutality, death and pain the main themes of Remarque's "All Quiet on the Western Front". Mental destruction and loss of selfconsciousness as a result of participating in war. Ernest Hemingway's "A Farewell to Arms" also depicts most brutal images of the First World War in American literature. It is about the inner struggle to overcome the brutality of war to return to civilian life.

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Ernest Hemingway

A Farewell to Arms (1929) Ernest Hemingway as a soldier (1918)

"A Farewell to Arms" by E.Hemingway published in 1929 is a first person narration (a common modernist literary technique) of an American Lieutenant. Despite the fact that the plot revolves around a love story of an American soldier and a nurse in a hospital in Milan, where he is delivered after being seriously wounded, the story can be characterized as depressing. Images of brutal warfare described with precision and vividness

A screen from a screen adaptation of "A Farewell to Arms" (1932) described in the book explain the alienation of the main character, Frederic Henry, from the rest of the world.In his desperate attempt to distance himself from war he falls in love. The disillusionment, symbolism and psychological complexity are a persistent feature of the book. The war is perceived in terms of destruction and brutality; the glory and honor are not mentioned as such. Hemingway implies that the war is a result of cultural dead-end of a civilization that lost the ability to comprehend love.

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"All Quiet on the Western Front" by Erich Maria Remarque Remarque's "All Quiet on the Western Front" is not as modernist stylistically: the author employs dialogues and description of real-time events, rather than stream of consciousness. Instead, the mood of the era is described through the hopelessness of young soldiers, who at the dawn of their lives face death and destruction, the brutality of war for no particular reason. Similar to Hemingway, Remarque does not glorify the war, but rather points out its senselessness and its immense effect on lives of individuals. The inescapable doomed fate, which soldiers approach as they walk towards front takes over their very existence, becomes their idea of what life is - only a way to death.

The portrayal of German soldier that Remarque provided caused much discontent and criticism for a number of reasons. Nazi Germans burned "All Quiet in the Western Front" because it condemned the image of glorified German soldier who sincerely and bravely fought for his beloved motherland. It was also accused of betraying the ideals and the sacrifice of the soldiers of The Great War. Despite the criticism, the novel sold 2.5 million copies in 22 languages in its first eighteen months in print. Certainly, it is considered the most influential novel about the World War I. Perhaps, the success of the story was conditioned by Remarque's style that shifted from individual experience of war to collective.

"All Quiet on the Western Front" managed to appeal to each and every soldier of the Great War, staying an individual story. It told the world the story of the "Lost Generation", people whose lives were sucked into the terrifying vortex of death and destruction. ....................................................................... 6


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The spirit of Roaring Twenties was associated with a break with traditions, individualism and rebellion against the social norms of the past.

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1920's were an era of economic prosperity and cultural dynamism, which ended in 1929. Popular culture in the 1920's would become remembered by innovation in film, visual art and architecture, radio, music, dance, fashion, and, certainly, literature. Technological innovation allowed for spread of revolutionary ideas. Emancipation of women became one of the dominant trends of the Roaring Twenties. ............................................................ 8


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The Roaring Twenties

Innovation and Change First Color Television Demonstration 1929

In 1929 US Bell Labs demonstrated a color TV system. Television was becoming an important attribute of each household

1929: Edwin Hubble Discovers the Universe is Expanding Multiple images of the nearest galaxies carefully examined by Hubble have proven the Universe expanding, shaking the foundation of religious dogmas.

The Museum of Modern Art opens in New York in 1929 The Museum was to help people understand and enjoy the visual arts of the time, and to provide New York with "the greatest museum of modern art".

Flapper Fashion 1929 Flapper fashion emphasized straight lines, nor curves. Women quit wearing corsets, their skirts were short, just below the knee.

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THE GREAT DEPRESSION .............................................................. 10


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1929 as a historical watershed After 1929 Wall Street Crash the history became to be divided into "before" and "after". Before, in the 1920's anything was possible: economic prosperity and technological advancement motivated cultural development. People invested in art and music, new movements institutions developed to contribute to cultural rebirth. The role of women changed: women, who voted and earned a salary, and wore loose clothing and listening to jazz were challenging the ideal of a woman, creating a new identity for the new generation.

The "after" was to become one of the most difficult time in US history. The society was dominated by poverty, crime and prostitution. In a way, a break away from the traditional society was also evident. However, such break was pessimistic, with no forseeable improvements of economic condition. In these circumstances the protest against the unjust reality was depicted in a multitude of way in art, one of which was photography. For example, some photographs of Dorothea Lange, who depicted farm life during the great depression became symbolic in depicting the hardships of the era.

The Great Depression that began after the American stock market crashed became another significant cultural shock of the 20th century that gave a new spiral of development to modernist culture and is argued to be one of the factors leading to WWII. .................................................................. 11


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A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf

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ear 1929 will not be forgetten by the people also because of Virginia Woolf's novel 'A Room of One's Own'. The fiction novel is based on a series of lectures Woolf delivered in Cambridge University, hence is considered as non-fiction.

“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” ― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own Virginia Woolf's style is modernist, as she frequently employs such literary tecniques as stream of consciousness to place the reader inside the inner conflict of the character. Woolf's argument is predominantly economic: she claims that women have done less writing because they have been economically disadvantaged throughout the history. Woolf claims that in order to write a woman needs a room of her own and substantial income, which she can receive from writing or other sources, that would allow for spare time. In order to prove her point, she invents a character by the name of Judith Shakespeare, an imaginary sister of William, who was as talented as her brother though was not sent to school to receive education due to the mere fact of being a girl. Judith ends up running away and ending her life quite miserably. This attempt to escape the unjust system turns out a tragedy for young Judith. However, it helps the reader realize to what extent the opportunity matters in achieving the desired end. Woolf's writing is considered feministic, and for better of for worse, her works have been very influential among the young 20th century ladies.

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“Therefore I would ask you to write all kinds of books, hesitating at no subject however trivial or however vast. By hook or by crook, I hope that you will possess yourselves of money enough to travel and to idle, to contemplate the future or the past of the world, to dream over books and loiter at street corners and let the line of thought dip deep into the stream.” ― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

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Gallery

Art of 1929 The Great Masturbator Salvador Dali 1929

Large Nude in the Red Armchair Pablo Picasso 1929

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Reference List

R - Article on modernism on the Literature Network, retrieved from: http://www.online-literature.com/periods/modernism.php

- Patrick Clardy, "All Quiet on Western Front" Analysis from the Modernist Lab at Yale University, retreived from: http://modernism.research.yale.edu/wiki/index.php/All_Quiet_on_the_Western_Fro - Kelley Skumautz, "How Natural Images Convey Modernist Concepts in Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway and Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front" from COASTLINE JOURNAL, retreived from http://coastlinejournal.org/2010/07/03/how-natural-images-conveymodernist-concepts-in-virginia-woolf%E2%80%99s-mrs-dalloway-and-erichmaria-remarque%E2%80%99s-all-quiet-on-the-western-front/ - Russell L. Johnson for AMERICAN HISTORY FOR AUSTRALASIAN SCHOOLS Journal, retrieved from http://www.anzasa.arts.usyd.edu.au/ahas/flappers_overview.html - Jonathan Karr, "A Room of One’s Own and “Modern Fiction”" retreived from http://www.uah.edu/woolf/AROO_Jon_Karr.PDF

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Darya