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Body ascendant : modernism and the physical imperative
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  • Iky
Main Entry - Personal Name
Title Statement
  • Body ascendant : modernism and the physical imperative
Publication, Distribution, etc. (Imprint)
  • Johns Hopkins University Press , Baltimore : 1998
  • 1998
  • Språk: Engelska.
SAB Classification Code
Physical Description
  • 282 s., [14] pl.-s.
Series Statement
Subject - Topical Term
Index Term - Uncontrolled
  • 0-8018-5821-6
  • 0-8018-5821-6
  • 0 (0)
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*24510$aBody ascendant :$bmodernism and the physical imperative  /$cHarold B. Segel
*260  $aBaltimore  :$bJohns Hopkins University Press ,$c1998
*300  $a282 s., [14] pl.-s.
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*650 4$aDrama
*650 4$aModernismen
*650 4$aFascism i litteraturen
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*650 4$aScenisk konst
*650 4$aKroppskultur
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*653  $aDans
*697  $cLitteraturhistoria Modern Tid
*697  $cDans Konstnärlig Modern Tid
*8520 $cIky
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The revival of the Olympic Games in 1896 was just one result of the unparalleled interest in physical culture that consumed Europe and America in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Various national physical education movements enjoyed extraordinary success, including the German Turnverein, the Czech Sokol, and Scouting in England and America. Dance, outdoor spectacle, and massive political rallies reflected the turn away from language toward more gestural, mythic, and body-oriented ways of communicating. This preoccupation with physicality could be seen in the era's growing exultation in war, blood sport, and high adventure -- and, in its most extreme form, in the racist cult of the body emerging in Hitler's Germany. In Body Ascendant, Harold Segel shows that this obsession with physical culture resonated widely through the modernist movement and traces its profound influence on the arts in the early twentieth century. Segel examines the emergence of modern dance and its impact on virtually all the other arts. He describes the shift from speech to gesture in modern drama and the revival of serious artistic interest in pantomime, a trend that culminated in Max Reinhardt's spectacular productions of The Miracle in London and New York. And he shows how bold attempts to revitalize literary language paralleled a new emphasis on the direct experience of the writer -- the more adventurous the life, the greater the literary appeal. Characterizing the modernist man of letters as a self-styled man of action, Segel reviews the careers of such writers as Gabriele D'Annunzio, F. T. Marinetti, Nikolai Gumilyov, Ernst Junger, Ernest Hemingway, Henry de Montherlant, and Antoine de Saint-Exupery. He offers a broad overview of the various manifestations of the modernist preoccupation with physicality, including the disparagement of Christianity and Judaism for their focus on spiritual life. He clearly establishes the disturbing compatibility between the era's artistic and athletic celebration of body and the eventual rise of totalitarian nationalism and racism. The dark side of Nazi emphasis on physical perfection as essential to ideal Germanness, Segel notes, was the consistent portrayal of the Jew as physically and racially inferior.

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