“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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There are some good sections on art and aesthetics but Eksteins expends much energy trying to tie this into political matters. Don’t try to comprehend the war by counting the corpses and the wounded. Were the rulers of Europe as weak and ineffectual as to give in to the demands of the crowds, if there had not been strong economic and political reasons for the war?

Eksteins’ description of a lone violin on the German lines beginning to play ‘Stille Nacht’ Silent Night and a German soldiers beginning to sing. Pure motion, pure vitality, pure revolt. But it is the spirit Eksteins wants us to see! 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.


Even truth became a matter of technique, all sense of proportion lost, anything made up by anyone to serve the war effort. With the death of traditional values and standards, people sought to escape the constraints of history and fashion an artistic construct to provide meaning for their lives.

It is a gripping, though heavy, read. 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 idealistic themes of spirit and myth and a primal, romantic Samsonian strength that was treacherously sheared by the Delilah 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.

A Study in the Rise of Germanic Ideology.

See 1 question about Rites of Spring…. I don’t normally do that when reading a history text. Gee, it had to be really hard to them.

Don’t try selling this idea on any undergraduate history term paper however. Nazism was a grand spectacle, from beginning to end. Paul Fussell’s brilliant book is a kind of literary history of the Great War, and one of its theses is that the cataclysm of that war gave birth to literary and cultural modernism.


Add all three to Cart Add all three to List. Kitsch is a form of make-believe, a form of deception. Following the war, he focuses on two cultural phenomena which shed insight on the way that the war had changed the world: The spoken word took precedence over the written.

It cannot be blamed for anything; action is life! 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].

English Choose eksteisn language for shopping. A perceptively researched and imaginatively organized analysis of the common roots of WW I and the modernist movement, as well as the impact of that war on subsequent events up to the collapse of the Third Reich.

The Germans, however, had an added dimension to their culture.

Be the first to discover new talent! But this book somewhat lost me in the the Rites of Spring ballet anticipating all of that, and further lost me with the Lindbergh flight as a post war benchmark. The First World War is without a doubt the catalyst which has changed our world forever. Oct 09, James rated it really liked it Shelves: Mar 17, howl of minerva rated it liked it Shelves: The eroticism present in the ballet is in fact a rebellion against the established order, which Eksteins sees as characteristic of Germany prior to the onset of the First World War [6].

But it is also radical enough to seriously challenge the liberal world order in the same way that the French Revolution challenged the world of religion and absolute monarchies. Perhaps the most important book I have ever read as it regards shaking up my understanding of the world. 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.

A single poignant event, such as a performance of the Ballet Russe in or the Unofficial Christmas Truce ofbecomes the point of departure for Ekstein’s far-reaching discussions, as he attempts to explain how such an event was possible within the context of the time. I am still pondering the ongoing connection between societal change that could simultaneously create the environment where such important musical and artistic developments could happen, while also being the same breeding ground for devastating war.

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 order formerly discredited by the Enlightenment now seems, to many people, as a more credible alternative for a guiding hand in their daily lives. A book to be read and reread. Beginning with the debut of the then-controversial ballet The Rites of Spring in Paris in and ending with the death of Hitler inEksteins has written a unique cultural history of the time period.


This well-researched and well-written history spans about 35 years, from the Parisian performance of Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” to brief mentions of the end of WWII.

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

Without the war, the Russian people would have never successfully revolted against the tsarist regime, and Lenin would never have been transported to Russia by the Germans. It enables one to compare his or her own life time of experience reading books or attending the opera with the perceptions of Eksteins. Now well, in this vein, what you get in Rites of Spring is an elaborated but very natural picture of a crazy world.

Alexa Actionable Analytics for the Web. Which brings us back to the Germans. I felt that Eksteins backed into his discussion of pre-War England, and did not develop as comprehensive a description of English culture as he provided for Germany and France.

I also appreciated his effort to tease out differences between the British, German, and French motivations for war. Eksteins often w Probably my favorite history book I’ve ever read.

The Rites of Spring – All Empires

If you are uncomfortable reading descriptive accounts of the gore and raw violence of war, I would read with caution.

Buy the selected items together This item: There is much more to this book than I can summarise here but my eksheins at the moment are this; – The significance of war to the C20th was arguably less about military history and political intrigues than the change it wrought on society and especially human consciousness as a whole; i.

After all, many of the new states, along with several states in Southern Europe, witnessed the appearance of fascist movements, which actually took over power in Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Spain and Portugal. I like my history a bit more grounded. So strange an epoch

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