“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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What emerged from the smoking ruin was a subdued and dazed continent, its firebrand patriotism and enthusiasms tempered by disillusionment and bitterness—and set against one’s indentity as part of an ethnic state was a new focus upon the individual and his own egoistic needs and manifestations.

Eksteins argues that WWI acted as an accelerant on modernization for France and England – although there was still a general commitment to the conservative ideals of duty, honor, and conserving traditions, by the conclusion of the War, the horrors of trench warfare and total war had called into question the relevance of the past for the present experienced by English and French veterans and their families.

Sring like in the modern world, the slring in pre-war Germany was on scientism, efficiency and management [12]. Obviously good for undergrads–super accessible, while still eeksteins enough to be useful.

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

The first question one has to ask is whether culture is the reflection or the cause of historical change. Customers who viewed this item also viewed. Subjectivity is not always solipsism.

How the different cultural and national groups fought in different ways is fascinating. I felt like I was physically witnessing what I was reading.


It’s difficult to argue that abstract concepts do indeed determine history but much easier to argue the opposite. The gore does not approach the level of Fussel’s ‘Great War and Modern Memory’ In conclusion, oh my gawd, it’s like I’m writing a paper View all 3 comments.


Nazism was a grand spectacle, from sprlng to end.

Eksteins makes connections that seem implausible until he connects the dots — then, it’s “Aha! From here it also seems to me, that the logical, even inevitable, consequence of the Nazi’s attempted ressurection of prewar values, i.

The Rites of Spring

Amazon Second Chance Pass it on, trade it in, give it a second life. The war experience was a crucial factor in understanding the new culture of the s and 30s, but it was first met with silence, then with emotional rather than intellectual accounts. An interesting cultural history of WWI.

The anti-heroic spawn of the industrial age. And just what sustained them, or broke them, after it was all over? Eksteins is equally iconoclastic in describing Germany, rather than France, as the most “individualistic”–i. Eksteins argues convincingly that supporters of the avant-garde went to the premiere expecting a scandal and did everything possible to promote the idea that a scandal had occurred. Mar 17, howl of minerva rated it liked it Shelves: Eksteins calls himself a post-modern narrativist, and he gives the reader a lot of responsibility.

I’m actually not sure what Eksteins is arguing, but that is my best guess.

However, today, we see the Church intervening more and more in politics and public life. I was fascinated by it from the beginning where Stravinsky’s ballet ‘Le Sacre du Printemps’ The Rites of Spring and it’s infamous premiere are offered as a precursor and motif of the world transformation wrought by the coming storm of World War I.

Don’t try selling this idea on any undergraduate history term paper however. However, Eksteins makes it clear that this display of dare I say comradery and Christmas spirit is the outlier of WWI. That optimism had not disappeared entirely by the twenties, but it was now more wish than confident prediction.

Eksteins brought the history to a visceral level which I have rarely experienced before or since. I guess it’s somewhat “revisionist,” but Ecksteins makes a compelling case. Only an audience could give Hitler meaning; he had none himself.


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? While most people tend to think of Paris as the cultural centre of Europe, and, thus, the place where one would expect to see the earliest signs of things to come, Eksteins points, instead, to Berlin as the most modern city in the world [7].

The Rites of Spring – All Empires

The exlcusion of the photographs was an incredibly stupid thing to do in order save If you’ve read Esteins Fussell’s The Great War and Modern Memorythen you must read this one as as well.

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But he never really defines what he means. This makes me uncomfortable, somehow, as if in appreciating the art I have also condoned the violence. Sspring fact that some French general or something considered the way his soldiers saluted was very important is representative of – umm, of absolutely nothing.

Read this book for its details, for its descriptions, and for its insight into the growth of some dimensions of what the author calls modernism. We spent some time discussing how important World War I was as an accelerant to tensions over increased sexual freedom, the roles of the New Eksteihs and the New Man in Western society, etc.

He uses events like the opening night of the Rites of Spring ballet, or the Christmas Truce, or the flight of Charles Sspring to reveal the hearts and minds of Europeans.