3.89 (649 ratings by Goodreads)
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Acclaimed cultural historian Peter Gay traces and explores the rise of artistic Modernism, the cultural movement that heralded and shaped the modern world, dominating western high culture for over a century. Peter Gay's most ambitious endeavour since Freud explores the shocking modernist rebellion that, beginning in the 1840s, transformed art, literature, music, and film with its assault on traditional forms. Beginning his epic study with Baudelaire, whose lurid poetry scandalised French stalwarts, Gay traces the revolutionary path of modernism from its Parisian origins to its emergence as the dominant cultural movement in world capitals such as Berlin and New York.A work unique in its breadth and brilliance, "Modernism" presents a thrilling pageant of heretics that includes (among others) Oscar Wilde, Pablo Picasso, and D W Griffiths; James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and T S Eliot; Walter Gropius, Arnold Schoenberg, and (of course) Andy Warhol. Finally, Gay examines the hostility of totalitarian regimes to modernist freedom and the role of Pop Art in sounding the death knell of a movement that dominated Western culture for 120 years.
Lavishly illustrated, "Modernism" is a superlative achievement by one of our greatest historians.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 640 pages
  • 157 x 240 x 41mm | 934g
  • William Heinemann Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0434010448
  • 9780434010448
  • 806,684

Review quote

"Beautifully written, wide-ranging and psychologically acute, Modernism: The Lure of Heresy is a celebration of the subversive energies that decisively transformed art and culture in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. At once bracingly intelligent and elegiac, Gay's magisterial book is richly rewarding for anyone who wants to understand the fractured world we have all inherited." Stephen Greenblatt "Peter Gay has outdone himself. In his hands Modernism adds up to more than the sum of its subversive, sensational, unsettling parts. This is cultural history of the highest magnitude, a work as astute in its analyses as it is massive in its ambition. And as ever, it is written with stunning lucidity. A splendid, invigorating achievement." Stacy Schiff "A wonderful book. You can be sure that students and journalists and teachers will be stealing from Modernism for years to come. Bravo!" Hilton Kramer "[a] thrilling survey of a century." The Observer "Tackling the 20th century's massive diversity of cultural productions, this highly readable, well-illustrated survey, moving between art, literature, architecture, music and film, with a light touch...As an intelligent and exciting account of creative individuals and the times in which they worked, it's an enormous achievement." New Statesman
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About Peter Gay

Peter Gay is the author of more than twenty-five books, including the National Book Award winner The Enlightenment, the best-selling Weimar Culture, and the widely translated Freud; A Life for Our Time.
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Rating details

649 ratings
3.89 out of 5 stars
5 29% (186)
4 40% (262)
3 24% (156)
2 6% (39)
1 1% (6)
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