Week 29: Wednesday, May 30, 2018
Fin de Siècle
Wikipedia: Fin de siècle is French for “end of the century”. The term sometimes encompasses both the closing and onset of an era, as it was felt to be a period of degeneration, but at the same time a period of hope for a new beginning. “Fin de siècle” is most commonly associated with French artists, especially the French symbolists, and was affected by the cultural awareness characteristic of France at the end of the 19th century. However, the expression is also used to refer to a European-wide cultural movement. The ideas and concerns of the fin de siècle influenced the decades to follow and played an important role in the birth of modernism. The expression fin de siècle usually refers to the end of the 19th century, in Europe, France and/or Paris. It has connotations of decadence, which are seen as typical for the last years of a culturally vibrant period (La Belle Époque at the turn of the 19th century and until World War I), and of anticipative excitement about, or despair facing, impending change, or both, that is generally expected when a century or time period draws to a close. In Russia, the term Silver Age is somewhat more popular. That the expression is in French probably comes from the fact that the fin de siècle is particularly associated with certain late 19th-century French-speaking circles in Paris and Brussels, exemplified by artists like Stéphane Mallarmé and Claude Debussy, movements like Symbolism, and works of art like Oscar Wilde’s Salomé (originally written in French and premiered in Paris)—which connects the idea of the fin de siècle also to the Aesthetic movement. Also, Edvard Munch spent some of his time in Paris around the turn-of-the-century, which was his most melancholy period.
Fin de siècle music: Erik Satie:
play various selections
France, Fin de Siècle,
Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (March 15, 1988),
The films of the Lumiere Brothers.
and Georges Melies, “A Trip to the Moon” 1902