The Culture of Time & Space 1880-1918 (Cloth)

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9780674179721: The Culture of Time & Space 1880-1918 (Cloth)

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From about 1880 to World War I, sweeping changes in technology and culture created new modes of understanding and experiencing time and space. Stephen Kern writes about the onrush of technics that reshaped life concretely--telephone, electric lighting, steamship, skyscraper, bicycle, cinema, plane, x-ray, machine gun-and the cultural innovations that shattered older forms of art and thought--the stream-of-consciousness novel, psychoanalysis, Cubism, simultaneous poetry, relativity, and the introduction of world standard time.

Kern interprets this generation's revolutionized sense of past, present, and future, and of form, distance, and direction. This overview includes such figures as Proust Joyce, Mann, Wells, Gertrude Stein, Strindberg, Freud, Husserl, Apollinaire, Conrad, Picasso, and Einstein, as well as diverse sources of popular culture drawn from journals, newspapers, and magazines. It also treats new developments in personal and social relations including scientific management, assembly lines, urbanism, imperialism, and trench warfare.

While exploring transformed spatial-temporal dimensions, the book focuses on the way new sensibilities subverted traditional values. Kern identifies a broad leveling of cultural hierarchies such as the Cubist breakdown of the conventional distinction between the prominent subject and the framing background, and he argues that these levelings parallel the challenge to aristocratic society, the rise of democracy, and the "death of God." This entire reworking of time and space is shown finally to have influenced the conduct of diplomacy during the crisis of July 1914 and to have structured the "Cubist war" that followed.

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About the Author:

Stephen Kern is Professor of History at Ohio State University.

Review:

Kern's book is splendid. It is imaginative, convincing, learned, and readable.
--Eugen Weber (University of California, Los Angeles)

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