The Aesthetic Movement implied that art is only to exist for the idea of beauty, and that the viewer of the art should not look into the meaning behind the art. Oscar Wilde believed this theory, and he used ideas from the Aesthetic Movement in many of his pieces, including The Picture of Dorian Gray. The Picture of Dorian Gray was an incredibly controversial novel, especially with its added aesthetic ideas. David A. Upchurch emphasizes the impact that the novel had on Victorian society in his article, “The Picture of Dorian Gray: Overview”. Upchurch declares: The novel was immediately controversial because of the ethics of the aesthetic doctrines it seemed to embrace.
It rose as a reaction to the belief that the causes of World War I are ‘reason’ and ‘logic’. The movement itself was influenced from previous movements such as Cubism, Futurism, Constructivism and Expressionism. Dada was the opposite of what art stood for. The Dadaists rejected traditional culture and aesthetics hoping to destroy it. The Dadaist’s interests are solely in rebelling against what they saw as cultural snobbery and political support for the war.
ART __-history, __-theory, __-world (Accounting for modern art with Dickie, Danto, and Weitz) Up until the twentieth century art theorists had consistently sought for a definition of art—a definition that would determine a set of necessary and sufficient conditions for something to be called art. But artists in the 20th century did not want to be defined, and they deliberately tried to create artworks that would not fit under some theorist’s umbrella. We saw the Beatniks with their free verse; we saw the pop art of Andy Warhol; we saw the rise of abstractionist and surrealist painters; we saw “happenings”, and we saw “ready-made” art, all of which combined to make the finding of a definition of art almost impossible. It’s not a surprise that some theorists just gave up and argued that a definition of art, or an umbrella theory, was non-essential at least, and at most not possible. The artworks in themselves in the 20th century were too radical to fit a definition, so an attempt was made to turn the focus away from the artwork itself and instead focus on the “artworld”—the institutional/historical world that was the practical force for deciding where the line between art and non-art was and how it moved.
Woolfolk reveals the counter idea in which art is taking control and containing politics. He gives many examples. For instance, George Orwell, who believes in the attempts of European literature to widen imagination so that it can contain political movements. Woolfolk gives us a very important example on the first story that crossed political engagement as Camus' thinks. Also, Woolfolk describes why Camus refuses political engagement, because it resets upon the way revolutionaries forget their promises when they become in power.
Modernism started as a movement around late 19th and 20th centuries. It rejected the conventional forms of art, architecture, literature, religious faith, social organisation and everyday life as they felt it was incompatible with the new economical, social and political conditions that was emerging at that period of time. Many distinctive styles can be defined as modernist, but majority of them had very similar values and theories on different aspects of society. It gave birth to a whole array of art, cultural and political movements. Often referred to as an avant-garde movement at that time, it was a loose assembly of ideas.
Eliot. The techniques that these outstanding literary buffs used were rejection of traditional themes, subjects, and forms; bold experimentation in style and form reflecting fragmentation of society; sense of disillusionment and loss of faith in the American Dream; rejection of sentimentality; rejection of the ideal hero and instead using the flawed hero; interest in the workings of the human mind; and revolt against the spiritual debasement of the modern world. Many early authors, like the ones mentioned above, used these techniques to contribute to a unique American voice. In T.S. Eliot’s Poem, The Waste Land, modernism is strewn across every page.
The task of such literature is its own self-realisation which is both outside and beyond established orders, breaking away from familiar functions of language and conventions of form. Many practitioners rejected traditional realism and experimented with both the form and the content. This has meant though, not only a radical remaking of form, but also, as Frank Kermode says, the tendency to bring it closer to chaos, thus, producing a sense of ‘formal desperation’. Indeed, Modernism would seem to be the point at which the idea of the radical and innovating arts reaches formal crisis. While some literature participated in the ideological implications of this conflict, much writing retreated into a longer-term contextualisation of the confrontation as futile and resting on debased values.
The Significance of Anti-visual Imagery in Story of the Eye and Un Chien Andalou The faithful alliance between the eye and the body came under severe attack with the oncoming of the first world war. The effects of trench warfare on peoples' perceptions caused them to question and reevaluate the confidence they had once put into their sense of vision. The experience of trench warfare was characterized by confusion due to not being able to see the enemy, indistinguishable shadows, gas-induced haze, and sudden spurts of blinding light (Jay 174). As a result of this lack of visual clarity, a nationalistic movement in interwar France emerged towards visual lucidity that was evident in the declining interest in Cubism and the subsequent appraisal of Purism (Silver 79). The directive of this movement was to restore a unified sense of vision that would coincide with what was desired for the reemerging postwar society.
The socialist movement was a reaction against the Enlightenment because as it progressed it took on the resemblance of Nationalism. Lastly is the movement of romanticism and unlike the Enlightenment, this movement rejected natural science. Conservatism was a political and social movement, it embraced tradition and any change that came about was minimal. “Conservatives detested attempts to transform society according to a theoretical model. They considered human nature too intricate and social relations too complex for such social engineers,” (Perry, pg 532).
Wilde published The Picture of Dorian Gray as a response to his essay collection arguing the tenets of Aestheticism, Intentions. In his The Picture of Dorian Gray, he uses the characters as an example of the beliefs of the Aesthetic ideal. Through his character’s experiences, Wilde illustrates the soul of the character, the character’s pursuits of pleasure and the character’s opinion of art. The author’s idea of Aestheticism is art that exists for the meaning of beauty, alone. Art served no purpose in the philosophy because “All art is useless.” (Wilde).