Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2012

Document Type

Thesis

Department

English

First Advisor

Dr. Bruce F. Kawin

Abstract

When I was first introduced to Abel Gance's La Roue, I was rather interested in the fact that it was released in 1922. I knew that this was also the year that James Joyce's Ulysses and T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land were published. I began to wonder why this year produced such significant works of modernism. I repeatedly asked a professor of mine, Bruce Kawin, a number of questions about 1922. My core questions were: "Why then?" and "What happened before?" At some point, Professor Kawin suggested that I write an honors thesis on 1922. After some discussion about what the thesis should contain, I decided that I was interested in the history of modernist aesthetics. I wanted to determine what occasioned the emergence of modernism and why it arrived at an apex in 1922. With this goal in mind, I began reading and watching a number of significant modernist works that were released before 1922. In addition to this project, I tried to isolate a number of historical factors (outside of artistic tendencies) that may have occasioned the creation and evolution of modernist aesthetics. I discovered that the events of 1922 were the culmination of an evolution of aesthetic tendencies. Also, modernist aesthetics were the response to a particular consciousness that was occasioned by a number of significant historical events that occurred around that time. In discussing this, my thesis aims to provide a some coherence to the vast and complex artistic movement known as modernism.

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