January 6, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: History, US History, World Wars And The Great Depression (1910-1945), World War I
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Daniel Sobol

Expressionism Overview • • • • •

Political and Social Context What is Expressionism? Expressionism in Art and Film Noir Expressionism in Theater Franz Kafka

World War One, The Great War • World War One consisted of two stages – conventional warfare from 1914-1916 – War of desperate expedients, as both sides struggled for their own existences

World War One- Who’s Involved The Allied Powers: •France •Great Britain •Russia •United States

Central Powers: •Germany •Austria-Hungary •Turkey/Ottoman Empire

Germany in World War One • On June 28, 1914, Franz Ferdinand, the AustroHungarian heir to the throne, is assisinated • Germany allies with Austria-Hungary • On August 3rd, 1914, Germany delcares war against France, and German soldiers invade Belgium, seizing towards France • By August 27th, Germany sends forces to the eastern front

Germany in World War One • The Trench is built on the western front- the battle in the west becomes a war of attrition • Forces on the eastern front trapped by Russian forces • May 31, 1916, the U.S. enters the War, after having ships attacked and sunk by the German navy

Germany is defeated •March- September, 1918: The Allies surge Germany and push them back from the western front •Germany has lost 1,000,000 soldiers, leaving them with an army of 2.5 million •The German army is down 191 divisions to the 400-500 of the Allies •Bulgaria (Germany’s ally) is defeated in late September •German army is defeated

Impact of World War One on Germany • Throughout the war, Germans had been led to believe by government propaganda that they were winning the war • Germany literally being starved of food due to Britain’s blockade of Northern ports • Germany’s leader- William II, forced to abdicate • The Social Democratic Party comes into power, led by Friedrich Ebert • SDP announces that Germany is now a republic

More Effects of the War on Germany • Ebert completely unable to control Berlin, establishes the “Weimar Republic” • Soldiers returned from war still armed, blaming the government (although it was not Ebert’s fault that Germany had lost the war) • 2 million soldiers killed. Because these soldiers had been Germany’s workforce, the country’s economic situation plummeted

In Summation…World War One resulted for Germany in: • • • •

Economic disaster Loss of manpower Complete disrespect for the government Thousands of armed, disillusioned soldiers roaming streets • A civilian population devastated and traumatized by the impact of war • A political revolution, transforming the nation into a republic led by an unpopular and opposed government

Women in the early 20th Century Germany • For centuries, women in Germany are considered inferior to men • The Weimar Republic in 1919 gives women new freedoms and privileges, including: – Emphasis on secondary education – The right to vote

• This small progress towards equality ends in 1933 when Adolph Hitler comes to power

Women’s Fashion in Berlin, 1912-1916

To…Expressionism! • Expressionism is a term that was first coined in 1901 to distinguish paintings done by neoimpressionists who tried to capture the appearance of objects under a particular light and moment • Expressionism in painting emphasizes strong inner feelings about an object • Portrays life as modified, twisted, and distorted by the artist’s personal perception of reality • Does not try to imitate reality, but transform it.

So what is expressionism? • Expressionism seeks to discover and examine the essence of life, the internal, eternal meanings of facts, objects, and people. • Expressionism seeks to find a deeper reality than on the surface • Expressionism is not sight; it is vision

Expression in Visual Arts: Starry Night, Vincent Van Gogh 1889

Madonna- Edvard Munch, 1894

The Tempest- Oscar Kokoschka,1914

The Scream- Edvard Munch,1893

This painting in often interpreted as an EXPRESSION of Munch’s personal torment and mental illness.

Expressionism and Film Noir • German Expressionism sprung a small, distinct period of filmmaking, which included stylized representations of reality – The soul in anguish

• Exaggerated shadowing, high-contrast lighting, skewed sets, and off-kilter camera angles visualize psychological states. • The Cabinet of Dr. Cilgari, 1919- First attempt to create expressionist film

The Cabinet of Dr. Cilgari

Expressionism in Theater! • 1910- Expressionism introduced in Germany • “An anthropomorphic view of existence,” expressionism projected human views and emotions into inanimate objects. • Expressionists sought truth in human spirituality rather than in external appearances

• Expressionists rejected realism, believing that it focused only on the surface of life, implying a fixed and materialistic nature of society, not the real truths of the universe. •Expressionists believed that external reality is malleable, and should be changed until it is in harmony with human spirituality, the only significant truth

• Expressionists viewed the society in which they lived as one which mechanized and distorted the human spirit, preventing the attainment of truth and happiness • Some expressionist dramatists, thus, took this militant view into their art and sought to transform social and political conditions and effect change.

Expressionist Technique • Expressionist Truth was subjective • New artistic means were needed in order to express these new perspectives and bring audiences beyond the surface: • Distorted line • Exaggerated shape • Mechanical stage movement and body language • Abnormal coloring of set and lighting

Expressionism: Through the Protagonist’s eyes

• Often expressionist plays were shown through the perspective of the protagonist • Seeing a piece of theater through the eyes of the protagonist alters emphasis and imposes dramatic interpretations on the event, story, character, and thus the audience’s perception of the piece.

Thematic and Structural Elements of Expressionist Plays • Generally Episodic • A central idea creating unity in a piece, often questioning the idea of a future Utopia, and the possibility of such • The struggle between old values and new conventions – The Beggar by Reinhard Johannes Sorge (1912) tells the story of a visionary poet striving for fulfillment in a harsh and materialistic society.

• The journey to find fulfillment and truth in life

History of Expressionism in Germany • With the impending threats of World War One, the emphasis of expressionist work turned away from personal problems and became a warning of universal catastrophe and a plea for the reformation of man and society. • Until revolution overthrew the German monarchy in 1918, little expressionist theater was being produced due to strict and imposing censorship.

Expressionism Flourishes • When the war ended, however, expressionism took root in Germany. • Theaters began to take expressionist plays into their repertoire • 1919-1924Expressionism was the principle type of theater in Germany

Decline of Expressionism • As the state of German society declined, so did the optimism of the end of the war turn to disillusionment and disappointment. • The ideals and views of Expressionist thinkers were crushed. • By 1924, Expressionism had essentially become dead, and what expressionist works remained evoked pessimism and personal despair.

Great Expressionist Playwrights • Georg Kaiser (1878-1945) • His trilogy of expressionist plays reveal his perception of the world as it recedes into despair, paralleling the state of Germany: – Coral (1917): Protagonist comes to understand the soulfails, but is optimistic about the future. – Gas I (1918): Son on a journey to regenerate societyfails but is left optimistic about the future. – Gas II (1920) : Desperation of mankind- the world is self-destructing at the end of the play

Franz Kafka

• Born July 3, 1883 in Prague, Bohemia • Grew up in a middle-class Jewish family, with the constant presence of his domineering shopkeeper father. • Received a degree in law in 1906 – Could sustain a livelihood and have time to write.

• 1917- Kafka diagnosed with tuberculosis, spends most of his time in sanatoriums and health facilities. • Dies June 3, 1924

Kafka’s life as reflected in his writing • Kafka lived in emotional dependence on his parents – In much of his writing, a sense of impotence (even in rebellion) underlies thematically.

• Kafka had many fruitless love affairs; his values contradicting between an utter aversion to intercourse and a fondness for prostitutes. – In his writing, Kafka connects sex with guilt, treating it as an attractive and enticing abomination.

Some of Kafka’s Expressionist Works • The Judgment- 1913 – The story of a rebellious son who is condemned to suicide by his overbearing father

• The Metamorphosis- 1915 – The story of a son, an outsider, who undergoes a physical and symbolic transformation into a repulsive and fatally wounded insect.

• The Penal Colony-1919 – The story of a torture machine, its operators, and its victims. Parallels are made to a person’s inner morality, guilt, and retribution; the age of World War One.

• Kafka’s concise writing style sharply contrasts the complexity, anxiety, absurdity, and powerfully oppressive symbols of torment that fill his vision as a writer. •Kafka’s writing both elicits and defeats any attempt at conclusive explanation and is thus expressionistically subjective.

The Guardian of the Tomb-1916 • Nightmarish vision of a castle on the threshold between “the human sphere and the other” • Cool yet grotesque style. • Contains little plot; set in a timeless room in an unnamed country. • Portrays the challenge of discovering ultimate truth

“But I know it is getting blacker and blacker, this time it is an autumn sad beyond all measure.”

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