Only Connect

Only Connect

Kandinsky‘Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. Only connect, and the beast and the monk, robbed of the isolation that is life to either, will die.’
E.M. Forster, Howards End, 1910

‘Only connect’ is a powerful exhortation from one of the most vibrant epochs of cultural and social history, around the end of first decade of the 20th century. This period marks the break from the representational and the formal, when artists, writers and composers were emboldened by new technologies, expressed their opinions through audacious, transformational techniques, explored the everyday and the personal rather than the classical and thrust themselves to the forefront of  movements for change. The drive towards Modernism in the painted arts, music, poetry and fiction had begun in earnest.

1910: A Fantastic Year

1910 was the publication year of Debussy’s atonal book of Preludes, Francesco Pratella wrote the Manifesto of Futurist Musicians, Ezra Pound published Provenca and expounded Imagist poetry as a rejection of Romantic and Victorian sensibilities, the artists of Der Blaue Reiter, including Kandinsky, Klee and Macke began their scrutiny of inner expression and Umberto Boccioni  helped write the Manifesto of Futurist Painting.  In mass market fiction H.G. Wells’ dystopian SF adventure The Sleeper Awakes was released and the literary novel too was swept along as Howards End  laid out a path, begun by Henry James, that would led to the destruction of the great nineteenth century novel.

With the Great War snapping at its feet, Europe was in the throes of a huge social shift that would see a decline in deference and servility, the widespread rise of iconoclasm, active doubt and the full force of expressionism.

These Fantastic Worlds

Umberto BoccioniIn the next few months this blog, These Fantastic Worlds, will explore the breakthrough themes of Modernism, tracing connections between art, music and fiction of the early 20th century. Sometimes this will take us back to earlier periods to excavate sources (of the modern horror novel for instance), or forward (to the impact of pulp magazines), but overall the focus will be on Futurism, Expressionism, atonality and the impact of technology on the forces of culture during the fantastic period of change at the beginning of the 20th Century (The first of these posts is now available: Only Connect: Fantastic Futurism).

Other posts will continue too, including links for writers, with helpful advice on the craft of writing and social media: ‘only connect’ with a thoroughly modern twist!

In the meantime please feel free to look through the different categories of the blog, on art, album covers, movies etc.

The paintings are (at the head of the page) Murnau with a Church, 1910, by Wassily Kandinsky, (bottom) Visioni Simultanee, 1911 by Umberto Boccioni

Links

Comments 41

  1. Only Connect

    Amazing I should stumble upon this discourse today (as suggested from your tweet)! I am currently writing a YA historical-fantasy novel inspired by a moment in history, the regicide in Portugal in 1908 and the life of the unfortunate young king, Manuel II. Truly it was the best of times and the worst of times. I’d love to talk further of this!

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      Only Connect

      Hi I don’t know much about Portugal but it is interesting that different European countries were at very different stages of cultural, societal and political evolution during this period. And yet, Modernism in its various forms broke across the western world like a tidal wave. Your book sounds fascinating. I’d love to hear more.

  2. Only Connect

    I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect! Hope to see more from you 🙂

    -Meryl S. Fortney, the only transsexual indie author who writes space-opera fiction!

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      Only Connect

      Thanks for the connect through WLC. I’m still working my way through the blogs too! Hope to give you some good posts to read and look forward to seeing more of your space-opera sf.

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      Only Connect

      Thank you for reading. I enjoy seeking out connections between art, music, literature and popular culture, and hope future posts will keep you interested.

  3. Only Connect

    I found this thru yer #twitter acct, which I found frm other #IndieAuthors as, I like to read their bks/stories. Love yer website, paintings r awesome! Will rtrn soon. Thanx. JM

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  4. Only Connect

    Hi Jake, I look forward to reading your posts on futurism, expressionism, atonality and the impact of technology on culture. The beginning of the century was indeed a fascinating period. I am currently reading The Radetzky March by Joseph Roth, which is set in Austro-Hungary shortly before The Great War.

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      Only Connect

      I’ve not read that, although I do admire Roth’s writing. Sounds perfect. Will add it to my must-reads. Thank you.

      Am wrestling with Picasso and early Cubism at the moment!

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