Chapter 15 Book Notes - Chapter 15 The Contemporary Spirit...

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Chapter 15 – The Contemporary Spirit Contemporary spirit – exhilarated by global unity, alive with the possibility of new technologies, but a little perplexed by what it all meant and how quickly it changed. The Age of Anxiety The Cold War threatened a global nuclear war. Post War America By 1950, The U.S. emerged as the world’s most dominant economic power. Jazz saw a revival with the “be-bop” which was more jagged and adventurous o Charlie “Bird” Parker was a saxophonist and did songs like Little Benny and Bloomido . o Parker’s exploration of solos created the spawning of popular forms of rock and roll and rhythm and blues. Allen Ginsberg was a writer and part of the writing group called Beats. o The Beats explored themes of rootlessness and the endless quest for meaning. “Confessional poets” recorded intensely intimate accounts of their personal lives. Anne Sexton employed graphic images of female sexuality and menstruation, topics not often written about by males. Sylvia Plath The Bell Jar – described her fascination with suicide. Plath eventually killed herself along with Anne Sexton. Exploring the Absurd Existentialism – sought engagement in a world that was essentially “absurd”, empty of fundamental or ultimate meaning. The existential hero typically faced circumstance that negated all human effort. Ex: Camus ’ novel The Plague Jean-Paul Sartre – with Camus he was a leader of the French Resistance during WWII. He declined the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1964 for political reasons. He was the father of a Parisian student revolt in 1968. o His best known play was No Exit in which three characters serve as each other’s tormentors in hell. In a scene a woman reveals there are no mirrors in her part of hell and must rely on another person to put on her lipstick. It ends with the famous motto “Hell is other people.” o Sartre found the existence of God to be incompatible with human freedom. He argues if God existed, then humans were still left utterly free. Simone de Beauvoir The Second Sex – modern feminism that criticized “the feminine” as a philosophical category. o When women were treated different than men they were robbed of their existential freedom she argued. o The Ethics of Ambiguity examined the difficulty of making ethical choices in a world without universal rules or values. The Theater of the Absurd The “Theater of the Absurd” rejected realistic devices or explicit political messages. Instead they used dream, burlesque comedy, and nonsensical language as dramatic metaphors for the emptiness of the human condition. Samuel Beckett – his characters inhabit a wasteland of empty hopes and futile action. His plays stripped drama to its bare essentials. o
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This note was uploaded on 09/01/2009 for the course HUM 2230 taught by Professor Jordan during the Spring '08 term at University of Central Florida.

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Chapter 15 Book Notes - Chapter 15 The Contemporary Spirit...

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