A panel proposed for the conference 'Internationalism and the Arts: Cultural Exchange between Britain and Europe at the Fin de Siècle' (4-5 July 2006, Magdalene College, Cambridge, UK).
This panel will examine the impact of the outbreak of World War I on European cultural exchange and internationalism.
It was unpredictable, at the outset, what impact the Great War would have on artistic interactions within and between European capitals. For many practitioners and coteries, used to a cross-fertilization of ideas and influences from overseas, August 1914 brought with it opportunity, not threat. The critical reception of their work, however, seemed to experience a seismic shift in tolerance, verging on hostility, whereby this same war with its ‘purifying fire’ might actually sweep away such symbols of decadence and ‘foreignness’. How, therefore, would the avant-garde artists and groups of the now belligerent European capitals identify an acceptable route between pacifism and jingoism, internationalism and xenophobia, whilst addressing conflicting demands for a nationally intact and internationally significant cultural expression? For some, the nature of modernism had to be rethought, and a national identity created for it, to replace the now unacceptable internationalism that had characterized it in the pre-war years. For others, the continuation and survival of pre-war cultural ‘progress’ seemed vital in a climate where the Kultur of the Central Powers could not be seen to score an early victory against ‘the West’.
This panel will focus on the year 1914 (though a slightly wider time frame can be considered i.e 1913-1915) and on contemporary debates concerning what impact the war would have on modernism, in all disciplines (especially art, literature, theatre, music, architecture, fashion design) in the capitals of Europe.
Abstracts (max. 250 words) together with a brief biography should be submitted to the panel convenor Prof. Michael Walsh (Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org) and to the conference convenor Dr Grace Brockington (e-mail address shown below) by 1 June 2005.
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