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Internationalism and the Arts in Britain and Europe at the "Fin de Siècle"


Grace Brockington

This collection of essays stems from the conference ‘Internationalism and the Arts: Anglo-European Cultural Exchange at the Fin de Siècle’ held at Magdalene College, Cambridge, in July 2006. The growth of internationalism in Europe at the fin de siècle encouraged confidence in the possibility of peace. A wartorn century later, it is easy to forget such optimism. Flanked by the Franco-Prussian war and the First World War, the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were marked by rising militarism. Themes of national consolidation and aggression have become key to any analysis of the period. Yet despite the drive towards political and cultural isolation, transnational networks gathered increasing support. This book examines the role played by artists, writers, musicians and intellectuals in promoting internationalism. It explores the range of individuals, media and movements involved, from cosmopolitan characters such as Walter Sickert and Henri La Fontaine, through internationalist art societies, to periodicals, performance, and the mobility of the Arts and Crafts Movement. The discussion takes in the geographical breadth of Europe, incorporating Belgium, Bohemia, Britain, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Poland, Russia and Slovakia. Drawing on the work of scholars from across Europe and America, the collection makes a statement about the complexity of European identities at the fin de siècle, as well as about the possibilities for interdisciplinary research in our own era.
Contents: Grace Brockington: Introduction: Internationalism and the Arts – Anna Gruetzner Robins: Walter Sickert and the Language of Art – James G. Mansell: Music and the Borders of Rationality: Discourses of Place in the Work of John Foulds – Rosalind P. Blakesley: ‘The Venerable Artist’s Fiery Speeches Ringing in my Soul’: The Artistic Impact of William Morris and his Circle in Nineteenth-Century Russia – Andrzej Szczerski: The Arts and Crafts Movement, Internationalism and Vernacular Revival in Central Europe c.1900 – Neil Stewart: The Wildes of Bohemia: The Cosmopolitan Voice of Moderní Revue – Matthew Potter: Cambridge University and the Germanist Bridge: The Aesthetics and Politics of Internationalism at the Fin de Siècle – Petra Rau: The Trouble with Cosmopolitans: Ford and Forster between Nation and Internationalism – Tore Rem: Ibsen and Shakespeare: Insularity and Internationalism in Early British Ibsen Reception – Anne Leonard: Internationalist in Spite of Themselves: Britain and Belgium at the Fin de Siècle – Daniel Laqua: Transnational Endeavours and the ‘Totality of Knowledge’: Paul Otlet and Henri La Fontaine as ‘Integral Internationalists’ in Fin-de-Siècle Europe – Hannes Schweiger: Between the Lines: George Bernard Shaw as Cultural and Political Mediator – Grace Brockington: ‘A Jacob’s Ladder between Country and Country’: Art and Diplomacy before the First World War.