- Western dance - The 20th century | jozomibola.tk
- A Conversation with Fritz Stern
- 11.1. Racial, Ethnic, and Minority Groups
As I wrote or said somewhere, I knew who threw bombs before I knew where children came from. That was part of my education. Since you asked how we took our papers out, that's a very complicated story. My father had the very good sense to want to get out in the summer of I have not talked about the personal unpleasantness or the growing anxiety of everyone I grew up with. When a close friend and patient of one's father is murdered, you don't have to go very far to understand that one is very much in danger.
What is unforgettable, and I want to bring it up precisely as a kind of counterpoint to the growing terror, was that it was known that we were making preparations to emigrate in July and August of One evening that summer the doorbell rang, and I opened the door. My father had his medical office and examination rooms in our large apartment. Although it was late, I opened the door to a retired major of the German army, now in civilian clothes.
I will never forget him. It was absolutely unprecedented for someone to ring without announcement at nine o'clock at night. The major said, "I want to talk to your father. My father told my mother, my sister, and me that the man had come and said, "I've always told you not to emigrate because my wife has been a patient of yours for years. He went on, "She needs you.
But I am told that you have made up your mind to emigrate. And I have come tonight to tell you that my active comrades in the army tell me that it is very likely that there will be war with Czechoslovakia over the Sudetenland. And if there is a war, you'll be drafted into the medical corps. And therefore I think that you ought to get out as soon as possible.
The notion that by that time a non-Aryan, Jewish doctor would be drafted into the Wehrmacht shows some of the illusions that existed at the time. But there also was the decency of the man to come. Instead of packing leisurely, my father and I left the next night, and my mother and sister left two or three nights later. Since everything had been relatively prepared, my parents were able to take their papers along with lots and lots of other stuff.
Because we could not take any money out and there wasn't any left after all the various exit taxes we had to pay, my parents included even a refrigerator because they thought that it was needed in the United States - we didn't have one in Germany. So when we arrived with the refrigerator, it's needless to say that it didn't work in this country because of differences in voltage.
A: That is a very good question, although I am afraid that I may be boring you. We left by train from Breslau to Berlin, where we stayed with my aunt. She was married to somebody who didn't recognize the danger. We tried to get them out later and failed. My aunt and her husband were later killed. We stayed with them for a couple of days and then flew from Tempelhof Airport to Amsterdam.
Tempelhof was surrounded by anti-aircraft guns. I remember that vividly. It was a direct flight, the first time I was on a plane, and I was elated to get out. The joy I felt was extraordinary. Suddenly, we landed in Hannover because there hadn't been enough fuel in Berlin. I'm serious. For obvious reasons they kept as much gasoline in the capital as they could. The fact of landing on German soil one more time was terrible, but the flight went on all right.
In Amsterdam we suddenly discovered that the flight from there to London was also a German flight - painted on the back of the plane was a swastika and so on, a horrible moment - but that too passed and we landed in Croydon. My mother's older brother lived near Cambridge, England, and we spent a great week with them before we took the boat to America from Rotterdam.
What did it feel like to arrive in the United States, how did you get to college, and what was your graduate training like? A: It was blessed, simply a kind of liberation, although it wasn't easy. It was terribly difficult for both of my parents. As you probably know, a physician first had to take an English-language exam, and my father, who could quote Greek until the day he died and whose Latin was very, very good, had French as his only modern language. The English came later. After having been a specialist in internal medicine, he had to take all the medical boards again.
It was all very difficult, and we had no money. But I remember a prolonged sense of liberation. I got into Columbia College in and wanted to be a doctor like my father, my two grandfathers, and my four great-grandfathers - I had no choice, but I was helped by my remarkable incompetence in chemistry and physics, and by the fact that I had two very different but each very wonderful teachers: Jacques Barzun, the European cultural historian, and Lionel Trilling, the literary scholar.
He was then an assistant professor, not yet the celebrated, great man, but I must say it was an absolutely overwhelming experience to have been in Lionel Trilling's class on romantic poetry in which I distinguished myself mostly by being silent and overawed. To give up Barzun and Trilling for chemistry was just too much. It wasn't an easy decision. I hesitated and in fact consulted Barzun, who knew I was thinking of switching. Barzun said, "Marry medicine and keep history as your lifelong mistress.
That would be very nice. I believe the test, which to him was intuitive, was to ask, "Would you be satisfied teaching history in high school, albeit a special high school? It happens that I have found, in all the mementos that are slowly re-emerging, my mother's date books from the entire period in the United States.
And I found there by chance the date on which she went to see Einstein to show him the mathematical material she had devised for a different approach to teaching mathematics. He came downstairs after he had spent an hour looking at her material and afterward asked me what I was doing. I told him that I couldn't make up my mind between the two subjects, and he said, "It's easy, medicine is a science and history is not, therefore you'll be going into medicine. One person once said to me, "You've taken your revenge on him by writing about him.
KHJ: In between your leaving and getting to Columbia University a process of cultural transformation must have taken place. How did that work for you? Did you find it easy to speak English? Did you have Latin and Greek in Breslau, and what was that like? Here you were competing in one of the leading American institutions with lots of people who were steeped in their own culture. For some refugees, at least, these kinds of transitions were hard.
A: I have nothing but happy memories of my time in Public School , Queens, where I began as a twelve year-old in first grade. And you're right about the Latin and Greek. I took two-and-a-half years of Latin and three months of Greek at the Gymnasium - in preparation for emigration, obviously. I can't honestly recall the difficulties you're alluding to. I do remember in the fall of I was given a scholarship to a New York private school, which doesn't exist anymore, and in school we had a debate. Even in those days they had presidential elections, and I volunteered to be the spokesman for F.
I spoke with all the passion I commanded, and a wonderful girl spoke for Willkie and did very well. The Democrats won, I'm glad to say. So I always meant to be politically active. All in all, I think college was hard for me, partly because I didn't know what I wanted to do, and later I felt that I was ill prepared. KHJ: You didn't tell us how you got to your subject in history, since it is a large field.
There are many different kinds of things you could possibly have done. Since your teachers also worked on other topics, how did you end up with the German subject, after you had just physically escaped that country? A: I did not think of myself as a German historian until much later. When I first worked under the tutelage of Barzun and Trilling - and on my own volition - I thought of myself as an historian interested in European culture of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. I wrote my dissertation, or certainly meant to write it, as a study of a German subject within a European context.
This seemed to me self-evident. Perhaps my wish to be a Europeanist was arrogant. One can't, of course, master it all. But the desire was always there. I wanted to see the content and the context of German history, which I first taught in at Cornell, when my employment at Columbia had ended and I had to scrabble for a job. At Cornell I was an "acting" assistant professor since I had no Ph. I was teaching four courses and finishing my dissertation.
One of the courses was German history. To put together a syllabus for a German history course in was actually not an easy matter. There was A. Taylor's Course of German History , but otherwise not all that much. But that made the field quite open. There was an element of luck in that situation. German history was central not just to me but to the world after the Nazis. Something terrible had happened, and good German historians and many American scholars asked themselves, How could it have happened? They actually may have been helped by the fact that the page was blank, or at least relatively blank, compared to what it is now.
The unsatisfactoriness of A. Taylor, however enticing he was, was apparent. It was an exciting situation. KHJ: Your answer clarifies a quality of your own work, which sees German problems in a broader perspective. This, I think, is essential because in some other cases there is a narrowness in discussions about the German legacy. You also pointed this out at a very important lecture at the centennial meeting of the American Historical Association AHA - on a panel that we shared - that the professional development of Central European history is an achievement of the postwar or Cold War period.
European history did, of course, exist in this country before, but it was much more generalized - as we think about Bernadotte Schmitt and Sidney B. They dealt with the grand politics of Europe. But beyond diplomatic history, research on internal, cultural, social, and other kinds of German history was developed as a result of your own cohort. A: I am grateful to you for mentioning the AHA talk because it meant a lot to me to dig into the work of American historians and try to prove that there was a good deal going on at the time.
The names that instantly come to mind - this is by no means a complete list - are Pauline and Eugene Anderson, Walter Dorn, who wrote important articles, and Sidney Fay, whom you mentioned. Then of course there was Hajo Holborn, who is very important to me, particularly here in this context, and having looked at his picture [hanging in this lecture hall] all morning long with the deepest affection.
I had the good fortune to become his friend in the late s or early s, although never formally his student, but there was no distinction between being a friend and a student of Holborn, who was teaching at Yale. That was an enormous influence. I am also bound by ties of friendship to Felix Gilbert - the other picture I was gazing at here. They were of a different generation, both students of Friedrich Meinecke. And as Holborn sometimes said, "I danced in Meinecke's house, as he had danced in Ranke's. When you think about what the German historical profession lost when these young men were forced to emigrate, and they were not the only ones - there was Hans Rosenberg and many others - it is quite extraordinary.
KHJ: I completely agree. I only wanted to point out that it is a considerable part of your generation's achievement, that your cohort had an enormous influence in the United States by pushing the beginnings further back and articulating them; it wasn't just the refugees who were already mature and settled as historians and scholars. How did you get to The Politics of Cultural Despair ?
There was a lot of older literature around. We already mentioned Taylor, but there was also Rohan Butler and so on; there were all sorts of explanations for Germany having gone wrong through the centuries, whereas you were wrestling with the same question but in a much more precise and constructive manner. A: I did my master's essay on Arthur Moeller van den Bruck. I can't tell you now how I happened to stumble on van den Bruck, but he was quite fascinating.
Western dance - The 20th century | jozomibola.tk
By tracing his life and thought I came to realize that he came out of certain traditions that went back further. So, for my dissertation I picked two other people to study, of two different generations. One, Paul de Lagarde, and the other, Julius Langbehn, from a generation later. I was fascinated by their writings. I realized they were second-rate - at one time I toyed with a dissertation or book to be called "After Nietzsche," since Nietzsche had an enormous influence on these people.
I should add that I had a particular fascination with Nietzsche from the beginning. So I was just looking at what one might call a neglected side of "lower" German intellectual history, and yet the impact of these thinkers was considerable, precisely because it was cultural and political at the same time. They had their European analogues, which I tried to make clear in both the introduction and the conclusion.
I did not write in an effort to whitewash the Germans, as it were. After all, I am known and decried as someone who has defended the notion of a German Sonderweg. Not that I didn't agree and indeed say that there was such as thing as a German Sonderweg, a deviance from the West. But it was nevertheless terribly important to me to make it clear that in order to recreate the past, we have to show the many connections to a larger culture, which for historical-political reasons in Germany took a particular turn. There were also political analogues, but in Germany politics took a world-historical leap that fortunately did not take place in other countries.
KHJ: It's interesting that these figures, as you quite rightly said just a moment ago, expanded the scope of intellectual history because the older generation was still examining the great thinkers. Referring to those who were thought of as somewhat second-rate must have been difficult and daring to some degree. You kept doing this also in a political context. A: Something else is and remains terribly close to my heart and brain, and that's The Varieties of History That collection of essays by great historians was purely a labor of love.
I have a great capacity, if I may say so, for admiration. I don't like to deal with second-rate people, necessarily. And it has just occurred to me that this is also a reason for this other book. Somehow, in my graduate days, I was required to take a compulsory course on the history of history writing, which was incredibly dull and quite unsatisfactory. And I suddenly had the idea "I want to see what the great writers of history from Voltaire on down had said. It was truly a labor of love. I owe a certain amount of encouragement to Richard Hofstadter, who said this was a very good idea.
Actually, he said, "It's going to sell. Well, it has done very well and is still very much in print. I still read it myself again and again with fantastic pleasure, and it's something I want to pass on to other generations. The great historians, from Voltaire onward - French, English, German, American - with all the changes should still inspirit us and give us a sense of tradition that we dare to go into, that we should carry on. KHJ: Let me ask you something else.
I am not fortunate enough to have been a student of yours in a direct sense but encountered you by reading The Politics of Cultural Despair and The Varieties of History in graduate school. Your subsequent work came to focus directly on the issues of the First World War. How did that come about?
A: The First World War was a subject of abiding interest to me, in my lectures and in my teaching. Perhaps the fact that my father was in the First World War for four years on the western front had something to do with it, though relatively little except to bring a certain emotional content to the subject. The war's importance, reflected in George Kennan's remark that it was the seminal catastrophe of the century, was clear to me, I must say.
The war was an absolute horror and marked a break in the world. When Peter Gay and Jack Garraty brought out a history of the world, they asked me to write the chapter on the subject, which led me to give an undergraduate seminar on the First World War. I think I'm right that this was simultaneous with the eruption of the Fritz Fischer controversy. This debate, put very briefly, was sparked by a book that was published in by Fischer, whom I had met. He came to see me at Cornell in , and it was an uncanny meeting.
I must say that the two students of Fischer who were there to defend him didn't help him very much. It was somewhat left to two outsiders - Jacques Droz, a wonderful French historian, and myself - to speak up. It was a deeply politicized meeting. Fischer's book insisted on Germany's responsibility for the outbreak of the First World War, not sole responsibility, but it did away with the comfortable notion that Europe had slithered into the war. Fischer made clear, on the basis of archival material on the German side and subsequent research, that there was far more conscious planning.
But other Germans disagreed; in particular, one right-wing historian had, at the fiftieth anniversary of the outbreak of the war, just written that it was a Betriebsunfall - a factory accident or an occupational accident. The audience consisted of about 1, people, of them perhaps students. Right afterward, Ritter and company no longer would shake my hand, which I took to be a Germanic sign of being taken seriously. After I was accused - in jest - of having started the student revolt by inciting students with my remark, but that was rather far from my intention.
The depth of my concern for the First World War is unquestionable. I also then got ahold of the Riezler Diary, and you and I both worked on that particular text, which is an irresistible and important source. And let me add, it was an accident that I was invited to speak at the Historical Congress in Berlin in If I hadn't been invited, I'm not sure that I would have done as much work as I did.
I probably wouldn't have hunted down the Riezler Diary.
I would not have researched the German chancellor's confidant, from before the First World War until he was dismissed. It was very difficult to get access to the diary, etc. The accident happened to coincide with a deep, abiding interest of mine, and I am grateful that I had the chance to do it.
KHJ: Your story does illustrate a mechanism of support for critical views on the past inside Germany through Anglo-American scholars, who have played an important role in helping transform historical scholarship. I think I'm not misinterpreting you by saying that this is also one of the functions you consider important.
A: Let me say one more thing about accidents. In the late s and early s, in connection with my dissertation, I wanted to do research, but there wasn't all that much archival material in the first place. I thought, the more interviewing I could do for a better sense of the people I was writing about, the better.
And I mention that because again it's the accidental that is so interesting. I went to see him in Hanover, New Hampshire, where he was living at the time, more-or-less in exile. In the first ten minutes he said, "You have to understand the period, the s. I came from the First World War. I was a machine gun captain. And my dream, politically, was to recreate the cohesion that I felt then.
I mention this because I still think that we historians must be alert to the gifts that are given to us by chance. KHJ: If I may comment on that by citing your own words: The development of scholarship might sometimes seem to be a series of accidents, but it takes a certain sensibility to make these accidents happen. One has to be fortunate enough to encounter people with whom one can pursue those interests, but one also has to recognize such chances. A: That is very kind of you.
A Conversation with Fritz Stern
I accept that. The origin of Gold and Iron is quite simple. David Landes, an economic historian then at Columbia, came to me one day in We could do it in a year. This is new material. Nobody has ever seen all that is left of the political part of a major banking house in Berlin. That was in or so. I didn't get started on it until my first sabbatical, which was in Paris, where we were going to work in the Rothschild bank. Landes had arranged access to the archives for us. That gave me a chance to work on the Banque Rothschild.
It was fascinating. She would probably have said in self-defense, "Well there aren't any other bankers," which wasn't true. Still, it was an encouragement to the cultural historian to do what had to be done. It was incredibly hard, in retrospect, to get to all the archives I needed - these included the private Bismarck archives, archives in the GDR, and many others.
A committee of French communist historians who knew perfectly well that I was a bourgeois historian helped me get in. But that, too, involved an incredible accident - having been there in and , three months before the building of the Berlin Wall and a year afterward, and finding rich material. David Landes then decided that he needed to work on something else, though he was always willing to read what I had written and remained enormously helpful.
But in the end it was left to me. The book took not one year but sixteen years of writing. But I learned a great deal, and it, too, had a great impact on my life. KHJ: My graduate students are still admiring the work, since we just discussed it in our reading course. Books have a life of their own once they leave the author's desk. I hope it will please you to hear that it is still in demand, because it speaks to the quality of that double biography and the very difficult economic and diplomatic connections that you had to work through in order to put it together.
If we had more time we could also talk about your most recent work, the various essay collections, the book on Einstein's German World , and so on. But I do also want to bring up the question of you being a transatlantic public figure, your efforts to promote a critical conception of the past in Germany and, finally, your role in teaching a differentiated kind of German history in an Anglo-American context.
A: I think I sort of stumbled into that role. I grew into it. There are many in this audience who have played that role as much as I have, unlike what happened after the First World War, or in the s and early s. Beginning in the early s we formed collegial relationships, even friendships, with German and European historians. It became a common enterprise, which didn't exclude having "common targets" or common causes of great interpretation.
I would mention, above all, Ralf Dahrendorf and a great many more of whom I really would want to speak. We were essentially united by a sense of what had happened and what could be learned from the German disaster. I was very fortunate early on in having good relations with German historians.
It was wonderful. We worked separately and together, and sometimes refuted in different ways what we would assume to be common misinterpretations, attacks on us, or whatever - but never along national lines. One other aspect of the question that you rightly posed is that since the s I also have tried to have a civic life in the United States, and occasionally, when the spirit moved me or when the occasion demanded it, I did want to be a citizen in a political situation.
Recently, I wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Times, attacking Condoleezza Rice's pronouncement that the Bush administration would withdraw our troops from Kosovo "We don't need the 82nd Airborne division to escort kids to kindergarten" , and I called that particular statement "frivolously irresponsible. So I do take the responsibility to take sides as a citizen, not as a professional historian.
KHJ: I am glad that you were able to comment on your public commitment as well. You have, of course, spoken out in a variety of venues such as the Bundestag, the journal Foreign Affairs, also some articles in the German media. Since I do see questions from the audience, we now want to turn to your students, colleagues, and friends here.
Q: Let me say at the outset what a privilege it is and how moved I am to participate in this unique occasion, this personal and highly enjoyable discussion. Against this background, I wonder whether you would like to share your impressions of when and under what conditions you first went back to Germany. What impressions and feelings did you have? A: When I went back to Germany, to Munich, for the first time in , I worked in the library for my dissertation.
I chose Munich in part because a group of Social Democratic Sudeten Germans who had been expelled were there. They had been friends of my family when I was a child and had found themselves in Munich. I had the great fortune to meet Franz Schnabel there and spend some time with him. He was a liberal, Catholic historian. My feelings toward Germany then were very bad.
That's probably an understatement. Suffice it to say, I had to overcome ugly feelings, I mean strong antipathies, to put it mildly. I recently discovered in my disorder, which students of mine will remember from my office, a review I wrote of a book by H. Tettens, a German refugee, that was called Know Your Enemy It was a flaming attack, a denunciation basically even more punitive than the Morgenthau Plan.
When it first came out in the early s I wrote a review denouncing it, saying, "This won't do. I had a sense that one can't condemn a whole people - which again may in part have to do with the fact that, after all, I grew up knowing German democrats. Q: As you may know, yesterday there was a very impressive demonstration of , people in Berlin and elsewhere. Even CNN covered it, I was quite moved.
I wonder whether you would like to share your views on this and the background that led to the demonstration. A: I didn't see the event of November 9, and I'm not sure how much I can say on the subject. It would take so much time for me to sort out what's there. For the first time in German history, since , and increasingly since or so, there are liberal Germans, and now there are Germans who are prepared to go out on the street and demonstrate for a decent society, let me put it that way. The fact that they have done it in the face of desecration and rising anti-Semitism, and in light of the unease with which Germans and Jews continue to live together, is another matter.
Though it's a different group of Jews now, the unease is still there. We see that all the time. There is a great deal of goodwill among some Germans, but among other Germans, a different group, there is a feeling which I find hard to deal with, which is, "My goodness, what we have lost. But I don't think that immunity lasts forever. Q: Let me ask a question as a student: Over the years you have stressed the importance of illiberalism in German society.
But another school has developed that has argued, in fact, that this is vastly exaggerated and Germany could not have missed the ascendancy of the bourgeoisie. It's also contrary to your friend Lord Dahrendorf. It's a school that argues that the difference between England and Germany really isn't as great as it's been made out to be and, in fact, that Germany had a much stronger liberal tradition, and that this Sonderweg, which is tied very much to the question of liberalism, is vastly exaggerated.
I wonder if you could comment on that train of thought. A: I welcome the question for the simple reason that I could be quite wrong. I've been attacked precisely as a proponent of the Sonderweg notion, which I did not coin by any means but which I accepted. I do believe that there were different paths to modernity in Germany as against in England, France, or Belgium. I have now taken on board the marvelous studies that show how strong a liberal tradition there was - Peggy Anderson's recent book Practicing Democracy - and that there was, after all, on different communal and urban levels a relatively strong liberal tradition.
I am seeing this in my own work right now. Perhaps I generalized too quickly, perhaps I overemphasized it. However, as I've had occasion to remark in a couple of places fairly recently, the Germans themselves were not unaware of this separate identity. I'm struck by Rathenau's remark, "How long can we live in a different climate? There was an illiberal strain in German education, in student life, etc. Were there analogues elsewhere in Europe? I have always insisted, for example, that after all, considering the immensely neuralgic point of anti-Semitism, that it was certainly a European phenomenon, and before it was probably stronger in France than in Germany.
In Germany, as I once put it, in the treatment of Jews there was both hospitality and hostility. The hospitality should not be forgotten. Maybe I've even learned from some of my more extravagant critics, who see me as a favorite target because of this Sonderweg notion. Particularly young English historians who mind that some of my cohorts were guilty of what Isaiah Berlin most beautifully described as the Anglophilia of the Central European and that looked to England through rose-colored glasses. Q: I was on the Columbia campus in in the Navy mid-shipman school, I don't remember seeing you.
Nicholas Murray Butler was still around, but did you know James Shotwell, the great American historian who had edited a monumental work on the economic and social consequences of the war, the First World War that is, with a group of transnational scholars? He had earlier written The History of History A: I met him.
That's all I can say. I grew up in awe of him.
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That Carnegie sponsored history of the First World War which you referred to remains a marvelous attempt at an international history. A typically post American effort, getting Europeans involved. I learned a tremendous amount from one of the books in that series, which I think I inherited somehow via another teacher, maybe even Shotwell's copy, but I'm not sure. And I pointed it out to the Germans. Do you realize that that book has never been translated into German?
That's an astounding fact. Mendelssohn-Bartholdy was a major figure in political science in Hamburg in the s until he had to leave Germany. He went to Oxford and wrote while at Oxford. It remains a highly suggestive and important work. KHJ: Thank you Professor Stern for this conversation and for the illuminating answers you offered us. In the United States Senate received a request for a congressional investigation into the possibility of receiving messages from the dead. The senators' answer ridiculed Spiritualism as yet another relic of premodern "superstition": In their opinion, alchemy and natural magic had to their credit the fact that they had been the predecessors of rational "useful" science.
In contrast, Spiritualism was an absurd delusion that could only be accounted for by the corporal and mental instability of individuals or by the ineffectiveness of the educational system. In this essay I attempt to determine the place of Spiritualism in enlightened nineteenth-century America.
I compare the Fox sisters - the "mothers" of Spiritualism - and their early followers with a German sect that worshipped ghosts. Traditional folk tales about the spirits of the dead provide the background matrix of a tertium comparationis. I concentrate on three major topics: First, the origins of the respective spirit narratives; second, the organizational patterns developed by Spiritualism and the ghost sect; and third, their ideas concerning life after death. The comparison is justified by structural affinities between the two cases of alleged contact with the dead.
It clarifies the specifics of both systems of belief and helps us to understand the role they played in their respective societies. In the duke officially legalized them and at the same time established church and state control over these groups. After that the Pietists, formerly outspoken critics of the state, became reclusive and quiet. They did not rekindle their zeal until the s when lay preachers inspired a new wave of religious enthusiasm. It had been inflamed by a variety of religious revivals in short succession; the Shakers and the Mormons, Perfectionists and Millerites all had found adherents here.
The Congregational Friends considered the disciplinary structure of Quakerism irreconcilable with the idea of the "inner light" - God's spirit in every individual that guaranteed personal freedom. The Foxes started off from this background of religious heterodoxy. A very brief outline of the Fox sisters' career will be sufficient here.
The family's three daughters, Margaret, Kate, and Leah, were considered to be mediums. In the presence of the Foxes the dead "spoke" on their own account or even answered specific questions by knocking. During the s the Fox sisters attracted enormous public interest from all over the United States and Europe. Under the guidance of Leah, who was the eldest of the sisters by more than twenty years, 8 the Foxes became the first professional mediums. Numerous investigations into the authenticity of the spirit manifestations conducted by scientists, doctors, and theologians were an integral part of the Fox sisters' career.
The sisters always welcomed these investigations and yet always rejected them later as prejudicial and hostile because the results suggested that the spirit noises had been made by the mediums themselves. In contrast to later Spiritualists the Fox sisters never actively engaged in politics; 9 politicians and state officials also took no official notice of the sisters. In the s the Fox sisters slowly withdrew from the public eye.
By that point the Spiritualist movement they had helped found had spread all over the United States and to Europe. Despite criticism, the Spiritualists themselves never seriously questioned the authenticity of the Foxes' claims. One might say that the events at Hydesville not only were the starting point of Spiritualism; the way in which they were interpreted by the Fox sisters and their earliest followers also was the closest approach to an orthodoxy that the dazzlingly complex Spiritualist movement made before the end of the nineteenth century.
The nature of these spirits was ill defined: Although Freyin maintained they had gone to heaven, they nevertheless haunted her master's house. I will return to this apparent contradiction. The spirits or ghosts were seen and heard by Freyin, Buck, and a fast-growing number of curious visitors. The ghosts that, in a peculiar way, belonged to heaven rather than to earth conducted religious services with those present. They quoted passages from the Bible, prayed, sang religious songs, and urged people to live morally impeccable lives according to Christian ethics.
Within weeks random gatherings at Buck's house to see the ghosts and worship with them developed into regular meetings. Buck, who had been excluded from the Eucharist because of his drinking and laziness, became the spokesman at these meetings. According to Protestant tradition, the church suspected the ghosts were really demons and complained to the authorities.
Nevertheless, the ghosts kept coming to Buck's house, and the meetings continued. Buck, who was heavily in debt, borrowed money from some of the ghosts' adherents. He promised to repay them as soon as the spirits had told him where a treasure could be found or how he could win a fortune in the lottery. But there was more to this movement than monetary motives: The people who met regularly at Buck's came to regard the spirits' utterances as divine revelation.
It was claimed that the ghosts were capable of working miracles greater than those that had occurred at the birth of Christ. Buck's followers stated publicly that they received far better instruction in Scripture from the spirits than from their minister. The religious songs sung by the spirits were said to be of unearthly beauty and in themselves proof of the divine nature of the apparitions.
Buck adopted a six-year-old boy whom he did not allow to attend Protestant services and catechism. The child was considered to be on particularly good terms with the ghosts. According to Weilheim's Protestant minister the boy offered the spirits a veneration solely due God: He had reportedly been taught to kneel down and worship them.
In all likelihood he was being prepared for the role of priest. Freyin's and Buck's followers cultivated the aggressive self-confidence of an elitist group. They "alone had bright, open eyes, whereas the other people were blind, perverse, and pitiable. The ghost worshippers actively tried to recruit other people to join their group and openly rejected the authority of the established church. Freyin supposedly had begun to write down the sayings of the ghosts, their prayers and hymns considered immediate divine revelations by the sect.
This basically was the genesis of a holy book. This prohibition was ignored. The authorities hoped that if Freyin could be convicted for fraud, the activities of the ghost worshippers would come to an end. The leaders of the ghost sect reveled in "prophecies" reinterpreting harassment and impending failures as the road to martyrdom and a prerequisite to their final triumph. They insisted with even more zeal on the truth of their revelations and attacked the established ecclesiastical and secular institutions.
Buck thus denied the representatives of church and state their moral integrity. He thereby implied that the church and the state themselves were based on mendacity. Buck rejected both officeholders as liars, frauds, and - regarded from the perspective of an unenlightened Christian ideal state - as opponents of the divine order.
In doing so Buck denounced both church and state as corrupt. At Weilheim the consequences of Buck's breach with the traditional order began to appear. A local official who had joined the sect was despised by Buck's opponents and also disrespected by Buck's followers as a representative of the established order. Religious doubts were voiced, and some of the parishioners complained that "they no longer were sure what to believe. Facing what they considered another threat of "revolution" the authorities finally resorted to harsh measures.
After they had refused to confess that they were frauds Buck and another leader of the ghost sect were sent to Ludwigsburg Prison for two years.
- Wicked Obsession (Nexus).
- Diaghilev and his achievements;
- Bulletin Spring ;
- Naked Before the World.
- 1 Introduction.
- Who Put Scoundrels In Charge?.
- Talios (Kemet Uncovered Book 1).
Without their spokesman the group slowly dissolved. Under massive pressure she confessed that she had been hiding in Buck's house all the while staging the alleged appearances of the spirits. Some days later Freyin escaped from prison in the traditional way, using a rope made from bedclothes. This time, however, she disappeared for good.
Following the principles of the Enlightenment the authorities of the midnineteenth-century United States did not consider it their duty to judge religious orthodoxy. The American discourse was predominantly scientific: Did the Fox sisters really communicate with the dead? Were their allegations correct? Because of the scientific nature of the American discourse, the Fox sisters' spiritual messages were considered an object of empirical research, whereas nothing that we would consider rational scientific investigation ever took place in Buck's house.
As one might expect, the unenlightened state persecuted magic or at least unorthodox beliefs, whereas the enlightened state ignored them and thereby allowed them to flourish.
11.1. Racial, Ethnic, and Minority Groups
By separating church and state the Enlightenment had made room for heterodoxy and magic. It was their pre-Enlightenment environment that made Freyin and Buck revolutionaries. The authorities could not ignore their claim that they had received divine revelations without the assistance of the church, especially when it became obvious that these revelations were at least in part contradictory to established theology.
The ghost sect formed a new hierarchical structure analogous to the churches, but in doing so it brought into question the old hierarchies of society. Let us now take a closer look at the origins of the respective movements and the ways in which they constructed their spirit narratives. The pioneers of this new dance were Isadora Duncan — , who stormed across European stages in her loosely flying tunic, inspiring a host of disciples and imitators, and Ruth St.
Denis — , who surprised American and European audiences with her Oriental-style dances. In the German Ausdruckstanz the central figure was Rudolf Laban — , who was more a theoretician and teacher than a choreographer. His researches into the physiological impulses to movement and rhythm crystallized in a formidable system of physical expression. His system of dance notation , known most widely as labanotation, provided the first means for writing down and copyrighting choreographies.
His most prolific disciples were Kurt Jooss —79 and Mary Wigman — Jooss became known for his dances containing strong elements of social commentary. When she toured the United States in the s, Americans became aware that they were not alone in their search for new forms of expressive dance. She left behind one of her closest collaborators, Hanya Holm , who became another major figure on the American scene. Across the United States schools opened, producing small groups of dancers who performed on college campuses and on small stages in the cities.
Each choreographer and company brought different materials, artistic points of view, and performing styles to the dance. Perhaps the single element common to all of the many facets of modern dance was the search for new and valid forms of artistic expression. The changes in the social climate that were evident in the new century had a notable influence on the ballrooms. The younger generation in Europe eagerly took up the more vivacious , dynamic, and passionate social dances from the New World.
The turning dances of the 19th century gave way to such walking dances as the two-step , the one-step, or turkey trot, the fox-trot , and the quickstep, performed to the new jagged rhythms. These rhythms were African in origin, whether from the Latin-American tangos and rumbas or from the Afro-American jazz. It is impossible to say how far this music was reduced in intensity from its original forms, but its influence was enormous in shaping the ragtime popular before , the syncopated rhythms and mellower swing that followed it, the acrobatic jitterbug of the s and s, and the rock and roll of the next decades.
In New York City saw one of the first cakewalk competitions, and in Nice advertised the first tango contest. After the first world dance competition in , in Paris, this became an annual event, which in lasted for two weeks. But it was England that acted as arbiter of taste for the new movements in social dance. In the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing was established, and in the periodical Dancing Times made its bow. The English style involved strict definitions for the five standard dances—quickstep, waltz , fox-trot, tango, and blues—to which were added after the Latin-American rumba , samba , calypso, and cha-cha-cha.
What was left of the social barriers existing in between the exclusive and the popular dancing establishments was swept away. Many observers were indignant about the changes taking place. Even so liberal a historian as Curt Sachs could not refrain from stating:. Since the Brazilian maxixe of and the cakewalk of broke up the pattern of turns and glides that dominated the European round dances, our generation has adopted with disquieting rapidity a succession of Central American dances, in an effort to replace what has been lost to modern Europe: multiplicity, power, and expressiveness of movement to the point of grotesque distortion of the entire body.
All [of these dances are] compressed into even movement, all emphasizing strongly the erotic element, and all in that glittering rhythm of syncopated four-four measures classified as ragtime. From Curt Sachs, op. Sachs went on to note the rapid rise and fall in popularity of individual dances and suggested an impermanence to the entire movement. As social dancing spread with the advent of the radio and the phonograph, the regions where genuine folk dancing was practiced became fewer.
It continued least corrupted by the new forms in those countries outside the mainstream of Western urbanization and industrialization. Minority groups such as the Basques in Spain did likewise to maintain their identity against the overpowering influences of their neighbours. Folk dancing remained a vital reality in the Soviet Union, especially in those European and Asiatic provinces that had distinctive ethnic populations and were far removed from Moscow, Leningrad, and other centres with Western contacts.
In the industrial nations of Europe and the Americas, special nationwide councils and societies were founded to preserve the traditional folk dance that was under threat of extinction. Technological progress itself became the subject of dance and dancing. In the Soviet Union, there were experiments during the s with dances created to express urban traffic, the accuracy of machine work, and the grandeur of skyscrapers. In Germany , the painter Oskar Schlemmer — realized his vision of a dance of pure, geometric form in the Triadisches Ballet performed in Stuttgart in It was written not for the live dancer but for an animated film.
Dance of all kinds emerged from World War II , more vital and more expansive than before. Postwar social dancing was marked by continuing exuberance and enthusiasm. Motion pictures and television helped to spread such rock and roll dances as the twist more rapidly and widely than dances had travelled before. A characteristic of this new generation of jazz-based dances was the lack of bodily contact between the participants, who vibrated their legs, gesticulated with their hands, swung their shoulders, and twitched their heads.
Many observers attempted to draw social implications of all kinds from these dances, which began to spread also among the youth of the Communist countries of Eastern Europe and Asia. Among the more interesting interpretations was that of Frances Rust:. This, in turn, is now replaced amongst young people by partner-less dancing, which, although individualistic, seems none-the-less, to be rooted in a striving for community feeling and group solidarity from Dance in Society ; Routledge and Kegon Paul, In the mids, disco dancing brought a return to dancing with a partner in choreographed steps in dances such as the hustle and the bump.
Disco was influenced by modern jazz dancing and became rather athletic, incorporating kicks, turns, and even backflips. Athletic dance moves continued to develop, especially in the s in break dancing , an acrobatic style that featured intricate contortions, mime-like walking moves, and rapid spins on the neck and shoulders. On the postwar ballet scene there were no revolutionary developments such as those of Diaghilev earlier in the century.
The classical ballet style reigned supreme throughout the West and in the Soviet Union. Petersburg, continued the great 19th-century Russian tradition of full-length dramatic ballets. The popularity of ballet and the establishment of many apparently permanent companies made inevitable wide variations in style and content. International tours were resumed on a large scale. There was also considerable interaction in terms of style and personnel between ballet and modern dance. Another leading company was the American Ballet Theatre , founded in Its repertoire combined a broad range of works by choreographers such as Antony Tudor and Eliot Feld and balanced classical ballets with established contemporary pieces and newly commissioned works.
The development of modern dance continued in the work of innovative dancer-choreographers who formed their own companies to explore new styles of dance. Twyla Tharp was another experimental choreographer whose early work reduced dance to its most fundamental level—movement through open areas, often without music. Her later work melded classical ballet and jazz with modern dance. A different perspective was offered by Arthur Mitchell , who left the New York City Ballet to found the Dance Theatre of Harlem , a company with strong roots in classical ballet.
The American musical theatre benefitted from the techniques of theatrical dance forms. Choreographers of ballet and modern dance also created works for musical comedy. Jerome Robbins contributed excellent works for the stage in The King and I and Fiddler on the Roof , as well as the stage and film versions of West Side Story and Companies presenting dances from India, Sri Lanka , Bali, and Thailand were no longer considered exotic on Western stages, and their influences contributed to both ballet and modern dance.
Numerous ensembles sprang up, their repertoires based on traditional national dances adapted for the stage. Many were modelled on the Moiseyev folk-dance company of the Soviet Union, which had attracted large audiences during its frequent European and American tours.