1910: The Emancipation of Dissonance by Thomas Harrison1910: The Emancipation of Dissonance by Thomas Harrison

1910: The Emancipation of Dissonance

byThomas Harrison

Hardcover | April 12, 1996

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The year 1910 marks an astonishing, and largely unrecognized, juncture in Western history. In this perceptive interdisciplinary analysis, Thomas Harrison addresses the extraordinary intellectual achievement of the time. Focusing on the cultural climate of Middle Europe and paying particular attention to the life and work of Carlo Michelstaedter, he deftly portrays the reciprocal implications of different discourses—philosophy, literature, sociology, music, and painting. His beautifully balanced and deeply informed study provides a new, wider, and more ambitious definition of expressionism and shows the significance of this movement in shaping the artistic and intellectual mood of the age.

1910 probes the recurrent themes and obsessions in the work of intellectuals as diverse as Egon Schiele, Georg Trakl, Vasily Kandinsky, Georg Lukàcs, Georg Simmel, Dino Campana, and Arnold Schoenberg. Together with Michelstaedter, who committed suicide in 1910 at the age of 23, these thinkers shared the essential concerns of expressionism: a sense of irresolvable conflict in human existence, the philosophical status of death, and a quest for the nature of human subjectivity. Expressionism, Harrison argues provocatively, was a last, desperate attempt by the intelligentsia to defend some of the most venerable assumptions of European culture. This ideological desperation, he claims, was more than a spiritual prelude to World War I: it was an unheeded, prophetic critique.
Thomas Harrison, Visiting Associate Professor of Italian at the University of California, Los Angeles, is the author of Essayism: Conrad, Musil and Pirandello (1992).
Title:1910: The Emancipation of DissonanceFormat:HardcoverDimensions:280 pages, 9.41 × 7.24 × 0.98 inPublished:April 12, 1996Publisher:University of California Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0520200438

ISBN - 13:9780520200432

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From Our Editors

The year 1910 marks an astonishing, and largely unrecognized, juncture in Western history. As the spectacle of Halley's Comet pierces the skies of Europe, traditional harmonies fade away and dissonance dawns. In this brilliantly conceived work, Thomas Harrison defines 1910 through a perceptive interdisciplinary analysis of the creative works produced during or close to that year, most of them as unsettling as the comet itself: the atonal music of Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern; the distraught poetry of Trakl, Campana, and Rilke; the militant philosophy of Lukacs, Simmel, and Buber; the abstract or subjectivist paintings of Kandinsky, Schiele, and Kokoschka. All are matched by historical and existential turbulence: epidemics of suicide and madness and the plight of Italians and Jews in the empire of Austria-Hungary. Unlike previous cultural studies of the pre-World War I era, this book locates the most significant traits of the period in Middle rather than Western Europe and in expressionism rather than in more celebrated developments of the avant-garde. Expressionis