Synopses & Reviews
A rare and remarkable cultural history of World War I that unearths the roots of modernism
Dazzling in its originality, Rites of Spring probes the origins, impact, and aftermath of World War I, from the premiere of Stravinsky's ballet The Rite of Spring in 1913 to the death of Hitler in 1945. Recognizing that “The Great War was the psychological turning point . . . for modernism as a whole,” author Modris Eksteins examines the lives of ordinary people, works of modern literature, and pivotal historical events to redefine the way we look at our past and toward our future.
"A Fertile Book." -- Paul Fussell
"A bold and unforgetable journey into the heart of our Daemonic century." - Alfred Kazin
Dazzling in its originality, witty and perceptive in unearthing patterns of behavior that history has erased, RITES OF SPRING probes the origins, the impact, and the aftermath of World War I -- from the premiere of Stravinsky's ballet The Rite of Spring in 1913 to the death of Hitler in 1945. "The Great War," as Modris Eksteins writes, "was the psychological turning point . . . for modernism as a whole. The urge to create and the urge to destroy had changed places." In this "bold and fertile book" (Atlantic Monthly), Eksteins goes on to chart the seismic shifts in human consciousness brought about by this great cataclysm through the lives and words of ordinary people, works of literature, and such events as Lindbergh's transatlantic flight and the publication of the first modern bestseller, ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT. RITES OF SPRING is a remarkable and rare work, a cultural history that redefines the way we look at our past and toward our future.
About the Author
Modris Ekstein is a professor of history at the University of Toronto's Scarborough campus.