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The Twentieth Century

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The Twentieth Century HUM 2052: Civilization II Spring 2012 Dr. Perdigao April 6-11, 2012 – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Twentieth Century


1
The Twentieth Century
  • HUM 2052 Civilization II
  • Spring 2012
  • Dr. Perdigao
  • April 6-11, 2012

2
Framing
  • German army invades Belgium (August 4, 1914)
  • World War I (1914-1918) Treaty of Versailles
    (1919)
  • Bolshevik Revolution (1917) Industrialization in
    Soviet Union (1928) Collectivization of
    agriculture (1929)
  • Mussolini, power over Italy (1922)
  • US declares war on Germany (1917) Great
    Depression (1929)
  • Hitler becomes chancellor of Germany (1933)
  • Stalins purges in Soviet Union (1936-1938)
  • Spanish Civil War (1936-1939)
  • Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact (1939)
  • World War II (1939-1945)
  • German troops invade Poland, begins World War II
    (1939)
  • Germany invades Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, and
    France (1940)
  • Japan attacks Pearl Harbor, US enters war against
    Japan and Germany (1941)
  • US drops atomic bombs on Japan Japan surrenders
    (1945)

3
Cleaving
  • Freedom and responsibility are large and
    abstract ideas they are part of an ambitious
    rethinking of human existence, and of the
    relationship of individual and society, that
    characterizes mid-century thought. In their
    breadth, they interrogate fundamental assumptions
    about human nature and lay claim to universal
    significance. (2096)
  • Shift in conceptualization of the individual in
    the larger world against the backdrop of the
    horrors of World War II
  • The existential condition, according to Sartre,
    is the condition of all humanity, the essential
    plurality of human beings their inescapable
    connectedness, is a given for Hannah Arendt and
    the power of language to crystallize and to shape
    thought described by George Orwell, exists
    wherever speech is found (2096).

4
Newspeak
  • George Orwell (1903-1950)
  • Orwell Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) Animal Farm
    (1945) All Animals Are Equal, But Some Animals
    Are More Equal Than Others( 2096)
  • Hatred of Communist and Fascist
    totalitarianismstemming from time in Spain
    fighting Fascists during the Spanish Civil War,
    betrayal by Communist forces writings reflect a
    critique of British imperialism (and call to
    withdraw from India), Soviet Communism,
    capitalism (2097)
  • Despised the misuse of language to obscure the
    truth and rewrite history for political gain
    (2097)
  • Context for work P.E.N. Club speeches and
    refusal to address political liberty despite the
    fact of it celebrating the tercentenary of
    Miltons Areopagitica (1644), defense of freedom
    of the press (2097)
  • Dated November 12, 1945, published in January
    1946

5
Age of Fractures?
  • One can accept, and most enlightened people
    would accept, the Communist thesis that pure
    freedom will only exist in a classless society,
    and that one is most nearly free when one is
    working to bring about such a society. . .
    Freedom of the intellect means the freedom to
    report what one has seen, heard, and felt, and
    not to be obliged to fabricate imaginary facts
    and feelings. The familiar tirades against
    escapism, individualism, romanticism and so
    forth, are merely a forensic device, the aim of
    which is to make the perversion of history seem
    respectable. (Orwell 2099)
  • Totalitarianism, however, does not so much
    promise an age of faith as an age of
    schizophrenia. A society becomes totalitarian
    when its structure becomes flagrantly artificial
    that is, when its ruling class has lost its
    function but succeeds in clinging to power by
    force or fraud. Such a society, no matter how
    long it persists, can never afford to become
    either tolerant or intellectually stable. It can
    never permit either the truthful recording of
    facts, or the emotional sincerity, that literary
    creation demands. (2101)

6
Toward the Existential
  • ExistentialismPerry, Chapter 31 (804-805)
  • Response to anxiety and uncertainty during time
    of world wars, popularity after World War II
    (Perry 804)
  • Some as atheists, some believed in God but not
    Christianity, some were Christians, Jewish
  • Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980), like Maurice
    Merleau-Ponty, Albert Camus, and Simone de
    Beauvoir, involved in resistance to Nazi
    occupation during World War II (Perry 807)choice
    for French citizen to be a patriot or a traitor
    during German occupation (Perry 807)
  • Declined Nobel Prize in Literature in 1964 and
    French Legion of Honor in 1945
  • Evil as central and permanent fact of human
    existence (Perry 807)
  • Facing capture and death, recognition of solitude
    in a hostile universe rediscovered human freedom
    (Perry 807)

7
Being and Becoming
  • Sartre as atheist atheistic existentialism,
    rooted in individual rather than God,
    pre-established ethic, uniform conception of
    human nature (Perry 807)
  • In Being and Nothingness An Essay on
    Phenomenological Ontology, the French thinker
    proposed a theory of human existence that found
    eager adherents in a postwar society tired of
    authoritarian structures and ready to experience
    the pleasures of freedom (2102).
  • Novel Nausea (1938), play No Exit (1944)
  • Breaks with Camus as a result of his support of
    totalitarian regimes, support of social
    revolution
  • . . . he explored the relationship between
    absolute freedom for the individual and a moral
    responsibility for collective action (2103).
  • Individual versus the collectivefrom Dostoevsky
    to Marx and Engels. How the self is located in
    the world. Responsibility for individual choice,
    freedom to choose independent of regulating
    structures. We must choose our own ethics and
    create ourselves through our actions (Perry 807).

8
Im free in all the ways that youre not
  • We are not objectified instruments, determined
    and shaped by material forces, as Marxism
    teaches. Nor do unconscious drives determine our
    actions, as Freud contended. For Sartre, we are
    not helpless prisoners of our genes, of the
    environment, of historical forces, or of culture.
    Rather, we alone are responsible for who we are
    and for the feelings that torment, trap, and
    immobilize us. Even though the conditions in
    which we find ourselves impinge on our existence,
    it is up to us to decide what to do about them
    (Perry 807).

9
  • Existence precedes essence is a famous statement
    of that paradigm our actions are constantly
    determining the person we will have been at the
    end. There is no pre-existing essential
    identity. . . Instead, the existential self is
    always in process. (2103).
  • Continuation of Pirandellos scheme in the sense
    of the freeplay of identity and meaning. There
    exist no higher realm of Being and no immutable
    truths that serve as ultimate standards of
    virtue. It is unauthentic to submit passively to
    established values, which one did not participate
    in making. The individual has nothing to cling
    to he or she is thrown into the world with no
    support and no aid (Perry 807).
  • Potential identity as existential self comes into
    being through a series of conscious choices, only
    essential or fixed at moment of death
  • . .. each person is an absolute choice of self
    from the standpoint of a world of knowledges and
    of techniques which this choice both assumes and
    illumines each person is an absolute upsurge at
    an absolute date and is perfectly unthinkable at
    another date. (2105)
  • Rather than abstract philosophy, true philosophy
    makes commitments and incurs risks (Perry 807).

10
Die Welle?
  • http//www.thewave.tk/
  • http//www.youtube.com/watch?vBVRXXbU-z7U
  • http//www.youtube.com/watch?vHFq6xIaAFtcfeature
    related
  • http//www.youtube.com/watch?vfwur20pbygkfeature
    related

11
Applications of Theory
  • Any belief in civilization, in common humanity,
    or in divine Providence is sorely tested
    Borowskis bleak picture questions everything and
    does not pretend to offer encouragement (2304).
  • Here is what Arendt raises at the end of her
    essay, the notion of a burden of guilt that all
    carry, even though this protagonist attempts to
    suppress it with his impersonal attitude
    (2304).
  • The attempt to suspend, for the moment, ones
    humanity in the midst of a landscape
    underwritten with the hollowness of their
    civilized image (2306). Ultimately, the story
    paints a picture of spiritual desolation that
    not only illustrates a shameful moment in modern
    history but raises questions about what it means
    to be civilized, or even human. (2307)
  • This is the tearing of the veil the horror
    Marlow conceals. It is the culmination of what
    Montaigne argued about civilized and savage.
    Here the masking in language of Ladies and
    Gentlemen juxtaposed with horrors of the
    experience.

12
Contexts
  • Tadeusz Borowski (1922-1951)
  • Borowski arrested, sent to Auschwitz with Maria
    Rundo in 1943
  • 1946 collection We Were Auschwitz, literature of
    atrocity
  • Own job in camp as orderly in hospital, burden
    of guilt, connection to Arendt
  • Letters to Mariapublished in Auschwitz, Our Home
  • world of antiheroes, those who survive by
    accommodating themselves to things as they are
    and avoiding acts of heroism (2305) Edgar
    Derby?
  • The World of Stone (1948 collection)life in
    postwar Germany, disgust at the false normalcy
    of postwar society (2305)

13
Paradoxalist?
  • Emphasis on his writing, how he will grasp the
    true significance of the events, things, and
    people he has seen For I intend to write
    (2305).
  • Courted by Polands Stalinist government, wrote
    stories, intelligence work in Berlin for Polish
    Secret police but with revelation of Soviet
    prison camps, became disillusioned, felt
    complicit with the oppressors
  • Committed suicide by gas July 1, 1951
  • Theodor Adornos famous comment that To write
    poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric in 1949

14
Framing the Text
  • Birkenau (second and largest of three
    concentration camps at Auschwitz) (2306)
  • systematic dehumanization and common
    vulnerability leads to alienation and rage at
    their fellow victims rather than at their
    executioners (2306)
  • gentlemen
  • Red Cross ambulance
  • the only permissible form of pity in deceit
    (2313)
  • Canada
  • Religion is the opium of the people (2309)
  • Darwin (2315)
  • throw out circles of light into the impenetrable
    darkness (2319)
  • Esperanto (2311)
  • unnatural mothers (2317)
  • are we good people? (2315)
  • 131-132 (2314)
  • It was a good, rich transport (2320)
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