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What does this verbiage mean?

"Others focus on modernism as an aesthetic introspection. This facilitates consideration of specific reactions to the use of technology in the First World War, and anti-technological and nihilistic aspects of the works of diverse thinkers and artists spanning the period from Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900) to Samuel Beckett (1906–1989)."

So let's try to parse it:

Focusing on modernism as an "aesthetic introspection" makes it possible (or easier) to consider "specific reactions" to tanks, machine guns, and heavy artillery; opposition to technology; and nihilism; in the works of thinkers and artists, between 1844 and 1989.

I've never studied Beckett, so I don't know if he was an anti-technology nihilist. So let's look at Nietsche. First of all, he died 14 years before the outbreak of WW1. I've read most of Nietsche's works; I don't recall him railing against technology. The term "nihilism" has been used to refer to his philosophy, but it's trite and dismissive. Nietsche's work is life-affirming. So perhaps it's Beckett to whom the description "nihilist" is being attributed.

So what's this "aesthetic introspection"? The only work of Nietsche that I'm aware of that touches on aesthetics is The Birth Of Tragedy, an early work that purports to deal with the contrast between the epic and lyric styles in ancient Greek drama; but it's really more about human nature, and contrasting ways of seeing the world. I have no idea what that has to do with modernism.

These "specific reactions" that are "facilitated": I have no idea what that means. If they're specific, might it help if they were specified? Of the two named writers, only one lived through WW1. So the reactions being referred to can't be Nietsche's. Perhaps we could specify what, in Beckett's work, is anti-technology? Or maybe we could identify some other writers and thinkers that exemplify this claim more obviously?

Which "diverse" thinkers in the specified period are we talking about? All of them? "Diverse" just means "different kinds of them", so the only clue we get about which kinds of artists and thinkers are meant is the two names that we are given. There is very little in common, as far as I can see, between the works of Nietsche and Beckett.

This "anti-technology" business bothers me too. Is modernism really anti-technology? Isn't Futurism a flavour of modernism? Unfortunately, the paragraph is so evasive and obfuscated that it's not clear whether that's what's being said or not. There are many words here, but not much meaning.

The turgidity of this piece of prose suggests to me nothing so much as the postmodernist writing of someone like Derrida.

I hesitate to rewrite something that I can't even parse, so maybe someone who knows what it means could suggest an alternative phrasing, or perhaps work with me to improve this section. BTW, I've not studied Art; I think I have a "feel" for French and German painting in the period that's referenced, but only for appreciating it - not for writing about it. I know there are intellectual underpinnings for the modernist project, but I can't articulate them - which is why I was reading this article.

I haven't visited the numerous citations; I'm too terrified of finding more prose like that. Perhaps I will try in a bit. I suppose that I should, if I want to make this section more readable.

MrDemeanour (talk) 14:15, 27 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Agree. The lede does a much better job of defining modernism. Rwood128 (talk) 16:23, 27 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you for fixing it. I guess I should have been WP:BOLD, instead of composing a critical talk-page essay. But I felt like having a rant.
MrDemeanour (talk) 14:48, 30 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's word soup, and begins with the classic weasely 'others'. The cites are just broad references to a cluster of books, with no specific attributions. Cull the whole mess. Anastrophe (talk) 02:31, 28 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I understand the point in the first section that the movement developed gradually and that its origins are therefore hard to pinpoint, but is it possible to pin down when the term came into use? Furius (talk) 19:58, 29 March 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

An interesting question. But a difficult one to answer, Furius, given that what is modern, or new is constantly changing, and that there will be a different date for each discipline. However, Google Books Ngram Viewer indicates an increased use of the word after 1901, and then a very steep upward curve after 1917. Here are a couple of articles which supply dates of early use: Modernism in the Catholic Church; Oath against modernism. Rwood128 (talk) 23:00, 29 March 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
See, Furius, Thomas Hardy's use of the phrase "the ache of modernism" in Tess of the d'Urbervilles in 1891. Rwood128 (talk) 12:03, 31 March 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Modernist art movements" listed at Redirects for discussion[edit]

Information.svg An editor has identified a potential problem with the redirect Modernist art movements and has thus listed it for discussion. This discussion will occur at Wikipedia:Redirects for discussion/Log/2022 August 18#Modernist art movements until a consensus is reached, and readers of this page are welcome to contribute to the discussion. Veverve (talk) 19:21, 18 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A Commons file used on this page or its Wikidata item has been nominated for deletion[edit]

The following Wikimedia Commons file used on this page or its Wikidata item has been nominated for deletion:

Participate in the deletion discussion at the nomination page. —Community Tech bot (talk) 22:06, 25 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Footnotes section[edit]

I'm puzzled by the entire Footnotes section of the article. First, with footnote "a", it appears that much of this text may be direct quotes from an article by Graff (without distinguishing between two different articles referenced), but are not so indicated with quotation marks. Then footnote "c" is either an entire mini-essay written by an unattributed editor, or an editor's précis of two referenced pages from a book by "Steiner (1998)" with no first name or book title provided. Are people just writing their own stuff here? Milkunderwood (talk) 11:17, 27 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Anything about philosophy[edit]

... in the article, excepting the lede? Or is "modernism" in philosophy actually a straw man thrown out there by postmodernists to decapitate? Rursus dixit. (mbork3!) 07:45, 27 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Rursus, I find your comment interesting. I have been thinking about the relationship between modernism as a religious movement and the how the word is used in relation to art, music, literature, etc. That is how the word "modernism" has been used in recent times. Is modernism an ideology or a philosophy? I certainly think that there is room to improve this article. Rwood128 (talk) 12:50, 30 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I note that I commented on this, under "Origins", earlier this year. I have been gathering stuff, but I haven't found the time yet to shape the research into anything. Rwood128 (talk) 12:55, 30 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you for your interest in the matter. I'm not qualified to write about it, but I think there is actually a fuzzy but somewhat coherent image out there about a "modernism". This link is effectively unusable, but gives some hints to me: What is modernist philosophy? Some of the commentors have credentials that are acceptable to me. This site MODERNISM AND POSTMODERNISM gives the impression that modernism is about scrutinizing statements of old by a "critical mind" and "empirical observations" in order to get an updated understanding of something, but I don't know if that is part of modernism. For me the notion is termed "natural philosophy" as regards to maths, physics, astronomy and perhaps chemistry, and I don't quite get the connection of that to Catholic Modernism, since that occurred much later. Rursus dixit. (mbork3!) 14:04, 30 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]