The Christian Humanist Podcast, Episode #101: Modernism 101

General Introduction
– A note from the future: Michial passed his defense
– Listener feedback

World War I: A Hindenburg Overview
– And other material conditions
– Massive movements across borders
– Shock to optimism
– The League of Nations
– An unexpected cultural reference from Gilmour

Defining Our Terms
– David answers like a medievalist
– Privileging the here and now
– The irrevocable past
– Architectural terms
– Why begin with architecture?

Modernist Music
– Schoenberg’s mathematical music
– Trying to whistle Samuel Barber
– Return to previous conventions
The Rite of Spring
– Revolt against Romanticism
– We fight about modern music

Modernist Literature
– New times need new art
– Formal experiment
– Stream of consciousness
– The death of the idea
– The Modernist Novel
– Interactions with psychology
– Playing with time
– Fragmentation

Modernist Art
– Post-Impressionism
– Expressing emotions
– Pablo Picasso
– Painting aerial warfare
– Alienation of visual impression and ethical impact
– Geometric forms and abstraction
– Futurism
– Surrealism and the subconscious

Modernism and Tradition
– Make it new!
– Who is Eliot reacting to?
– What are we making new?
– A post-romantic moment

What Survived? What Should Have?
– The echo in theology
– Movie scores
– Erudition

6 thoughts on “The Christian Humanist Podcast, Episode #101: Modernism 101

  1. After several attempts at Faulkner’s novels they remain frustratingly enigmatic. A few years ago I picked up an audio version of Light in August because I traveled a lot at the time.Several minutes (and several dozen incomplete sentences) into it I realized I was over my head, but I plodded along waiting for the light. It never came. About all I can remember is that it involves some sort of sordid affair after which the main dude gets emasculated by another guy close to a railroad track.

    After a year or so I tried again with Intruder in the Dust (a guy falls into a pond)followed by As I Lay Dying (a man builds a coffin which ticks off his family). After several chapters I ditched both. 
    I can appreciate “stream of consciousness” as a psychological phenomenon, but I find it positively tortuous to read. At the same time I know I’m missing something that Faulkner is trying to do. Am I expecting things from him that he doesn’t claim to offer (a level of coherency, for example)? Or am I just an illiterate hick? What are some tips to accessing and–hopefully at some point–enjoying Faulkner? Because I’m floundering in The Faulkner Abyss…

    1. JoshN I can give the amen to frustration with Faulkner, Josh.  But then again, I’m not remotely an Americanist, so I should probably defer to Michial on this one.

  2. Some of the philosophical bases for the literary portions is the internal consciousness of time. My mentor has written extensively on this. If you’re interested look up Ben Mijuskovic’s work on loneliness and contingent materialism.

  3. A huge impact upon post-impressionist and early modern art was also the fascination with Asian, African, Pacific and Atlantic Island cultures, etc. Manet’s development in the early impressionist clearly demonstrates a fascination with Japanese woodblock prints. Gauguin moved to Tahiti due to the fascination with tribalism. Picasso’s work has a clear connection to tribal masks and totemic imagery which also ties to Freudian explorations of taboos and totemism.

    1. MichaelDBobo This is definitely an angle that we didn’t engage in the episode, Michael, and you’re right that the period, coming in the wake of the new colonialism, definitely shows signs of influence from the colonized people’s artistic traditions.

  4. Sorry for the tardy post–I really should be working!
    🙂
    It was terrific. I enjoyed the parts about WWI  the best.
    Great book you should read–The Great War and Modern Memory by Paul Fussell. Not only superb cultural history,  but it’s well written with IRONY.  The supreme irony is the paradoxical life of Trench Warfare–the sheer inhumanity and brutality; short life expectancy juxtaposed with culture!  While soldiers were bogged down before the “pushes” ordered from on high they received mail, edited journals, etc. This is where the irony came from–the actual conditions the men faced and the sanitized “conditions” they read about in the Home Front papers.

    I like Owen but prefer early Sassoon even more. Perhaps the best stuff on WWI is:
    1. Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves(If you prefer your memoirs served with irony, Graves is your man)
    2. In Parenthesis by David Jones( Welsh artist, poet and Christian makes Hemingway and Remarque seem immature)

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