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End of the Century - Essay Example

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Fin de Siecle or End of the Century, often used as a synonym, referring to last years of 19th century, and mirrors the garbled period of unhappiness, uncertainty, political upheavals building up for First World War, and the human and intellectual attempts to come of the hurdles, by ushering in acute changes in art and humanistic fields, etc…
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End of the Century
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"End of the Century"

Download file to see previous pages Opening the introduction of Reading the 'Fin de Siecle', Sally Ledger and Roger Luckhurst say: "The Victorian fin de siecle was an epoch of endings and beginnings. The collision between the old and new that characterised the turn of the century marks it as an excitingly volatile and transitional period; a time when British cultural politics were caught between two ages, the Victorian and the Modern; a time fraught with anxiety and with an exhilarating sense of possibility, (2000, p. xiii).
According to them, women, imperialism, realism, journalism, drama, art, psychology, science, communication, education, democracy, politics, and meaning and expression of sex were all changing, at the turn of century. Intellectuality had a new meaning and geography of Europe, relationships between governments and countries were fast altering beyond recognition.
They say that the allure of fin de siecle, its 'naughtiness' were reflected in the fantasies of the late twentieth century. Those are the ending of Victorian days, days of Charles Dickens, Victor Hugo, Arthur Rimbaud, Thomas Hardy, Oscar Wilde, steam engines, literary groups, learned institutions, proud cultural heritages. In Europe, everything was so well established that people and intellectuals were craving for some change to break the monotony. It was a moment that started a literature movement in almost all the regions. As the authors say, the end of the century was also the beginning of another century in the true sense. World was ready for a new era full of new ideas, wars, scientific discoveries, new art and individuality in every scene. The era of Postmodernism had started. They were the days when Paris was full of radical ideas in literature and various forms of arts.

"When German troops withdrew from Paris after the Franco-Prussian War of 1871, French anarchists briefly established the Commune of Paris. Though the Commune of Paris was not long-lived, it seemed to set off a time in French culture when radical ideas in literature, art, theatre, and architecture were allowed to blossom. Paris became the center of avant-garde culture"
The unconventional ideas of writers like Stephan Mallarme, Guy de Maupassant influenced the new generation enormously. The saddest moment of fin de seicle came when Captain Alfred Dreyfus was falsely accused of spying for Germans, convicted and was deported into Devil's Island. Writer Emile Zola in his famous open letter 'J'Accuse' defended Dreyfus and eventually Dreyfus was brought back and exonerated, after much turmoil. Zola himself had to flee to English accused of a libel case and his novel Germinal kicked up a great scandal. This experience, in no way, hindered either Zola or other writers of fin de seicle.

Then there is the most famous Art Noveau movement, started by two stalwart architects, Hector Guimard and Victor Horta. They initiated the entire art movement of the century.

"The fluidity and asymmetry of these works had never been seen before, and was shocking to the bourgeoisie. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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