By George Van Cleve Speer
Within the Thirties, the crises caused by means of the melancholy, climatic devastation, and the rearmament of Europe led americans from all walks of lifestyles to think that capitalism and know-how had synthesized right into a enormous strength that threatened the human race. And but, this chaotic decade additionally witnessed an unheard of point of help, either rhetorical and institutional, for the significance of paintings within the lives of daily americans. This ebook investigates that paradox, asking why, whilst easy survival provided its personal stumbling blocks, our traditionally pragmatic tradition started to outline paintings as a need instead of a luxurious. to reply to this query, the booklet lines the symbolism of the embattled and recuperative physique throughout a vast spectrum of yank tradition within the laptop Age. The e-book situates this symbolism in the statement of artists, novelists, critics, and educators who depended on within the strength of inventive expression and the event of artwork to revive the future health of the physique politic.
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Extra info for Things of the Spirit: Art and Healing in the American Body Politic, 1929-1941
Victory goes with strength,” their copy asserted, “But do not confuse strength with bulk. ”49 Whether in strength of body or in strength of will, both of which the copywriters claimed for their admen, this bravado sounded a great deal like the language of Mussolini. Not to be outdone, the McCann Agency embraced the connection with Il Duce’s regime that same year: FASCISTI ALL! The bundle of rods which is on the United States ten cent piece; the red strapped fasces that lay over the left shoulder of the Roman Lictor; the name of the Italian Fascisti—all these signs and names say strength is in union.
Because architecture had failed to adapt to the new energies of modernity, its forms held no possibility for innovation or growth. ”32 Brownell and Wright asserted that authentically modern form would help Machine–Age citizens to recognize the vitality of contemporary culture. Their insistent metaphors of birth, life and death culminated in the example of Walt Whitman as a modern American who understood the arts to be ever–changing manifestations of being (AML, 81, 88, 157). Invoking Walt Whitman, poet of the ecstatic body, to validate modern culture was a favored rhetorical device in the interwar years.
We Have Good News and Bad News ! 21 governing elites, particularly when such texts are situated in broader circumstances and commentary. In the Machine Age, slogans invoking the efficiency and organization of industry defined the United States as an enormous mechanism of production and consumption. But that mechanism had to be made friendly and its power a natural result of human aspirations. In advertising and business reportage, this naturalization of technology relied largely on images of virile workers at the heart of our industries.