Five Faces of Modernity: Modernism, Avant-garde, Decadence, Kitsch, Postmodernism

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Duke University Press, 1987 - Architecture - 395 pages
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Five Faces of Modernity is a series of semantic and cultural biographies of words that have taken on special significance in the last century and a half or so: modernity, avant-garde, decadence, kitsch, and postmodernism. The concept of modernity—the notion that we, the living, are different and somehow superior to our predecessors and that our civilization is likely to be succeeded by one even superior to ours—is a relatively recent Western invention and one whose time may already have passed, if we believe its postmodern challengers. Calinescu documents the rise of cultural modernity and, in tracing the shifting senses of the five terms under scrutiny, illustrates the intricate value judgments, conflicting orientations, and intellectual paradoxes to which it has given rise.
Five Faces of Modernity attempts to do for the foundations of the modernist critical lexicon what earlier terminological studies have done for such complex categories as classicism, baroque, romanticism, realism, or symbolism and thereby fill a gap in literary scholarship. On another, more ambitious level, Calinescu deals at length with the larger issues, dilemmas, ideological tensions, and perplexities brought about by the assertion of modernity.
 

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Contents

Introduction
3
THE IDEA OF MODERNITY
13
Three Eras of Western History
19
Comparing the Moderns to the Ancients
26
From Modern to Gothic to Romantic to Modern
35
The Two Modernities
41
Modernity the Death of God and Utopia
58
Literary and Other Modernisms
68
Nietzsche on Decadence and Modernity
178
The Concept of Decadence in Marxist Criticism
195
Decadentismo
211
KITSCH
223
Kitsch Camp and High Art
229
Kitsch and Romanticism
237
Some Stylistic Considerations
249
Kitsch and Cultural Industrialization
255

Comparing the Moderns to the Contemporaries
86
From Modernity to the AvantGarde
95
Some MidNineteenthCentury Writers and the AvantGarde
108
AvantGarde and Aesthetic Extremism
116
AvantGarde Dehumanization and the End of Ideology
125
AvantGarde and Postmodernism
132
Intellectualism Anarchism and Stasis
144
Versions of Decadence
151
From Decadence to Style of Decadence
157
The Decadent Euphoria
171
A New Face of Modernity
265
The Silence of the AvantGarde
275
Critiques of Postmodernism
288
The Shaping of a Corpus
296
Postmodernist Devices and Their Significance
302
Conclusion
310
Selected Critical Bibliography
365
Index
387
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