The Greenwich Village Idea

What is Modernism?

Why are we spending so much time on this?

Who were the Moderns? Who were the Victorians? What was the nature of this culture war that broke out in America in the late 1910s and early 1920s? How did it lead to the creation of our world?

The following excerpt comes from Malcolm Cowley’s memoir Exile’s Return: A Literary Odyessy of the 1920s:

“In those days when division after division was landing in Hoboken and marching up Fifth Avenue in full battle equipment, when Americans were fighting the Bolshies in Siberia and guarding the Rhine – in those still belligerent days that followed the Armistice there was a private war between Greenwich Village and the Saturday Evening Post.

Other magazines fought in the same cause, but the Post was persistent and powerful enough to be regarded as chief of the aggressor nations. It published stories about the Villagers, editorials and articles against them, grave or flippant serials dealing with their customs in a mood of disparagement or alarm, humorous pieces done to order by its staff writers, cartoons in which the Villagers were depicted as long-haired men and short-haired women with ridiculous bone-rimmed spectacles – in all, a long campaign of invective beginning before the steel strike or the Palmer Raids and continuing through the jazz era, the boom and the depression. The burden of it was always the same: that the Village was the haunt of affectation; that it was inhabited by fools and fakers; that the fakers hid Moscow heresies under the disguise of cubism and free verse; that the fools would eventually be cured of their folly: they would forget this funny business about art and return to domesticity in South Bend, Indiana, and sell motorcars, and in the evenings sit with slippered feet while their children romped about them in paper camps made from the advertising pages of the Saturday Evening Post. The Village was dying, had died already, smelled to high heaven and Philadelphia. …

The Villagers did not answer this attack directly: instead they carried on a campaign of their own against the culture of which the Post seemed to be the final expression. They performed autopsies, they wrote obituaries of civilization in the United States, they shook the standardized dust of the country from their feet. Here, apparently, was a symbolic struggle: on the one side, the great megaphone of middle-class America; on the other, the American disciples of art and artistic living. Here, in its latest incarnation, was the eternal warfare of bohemian against bourgeois, poet against propriety, Villon and the Bishop of Orléans, Keats and the quarterly reviewers, Rodolphe, Mimi and the landlord. But perhaps, if we review the history of the struggle, we shall find that the issue was other than it seemed, and the enmity less ancient …”

In other words, the bohemian culture and lifestyle of the Modernist avant-garde which had blossomed in late 19th century France since the days of Baudelaire, Flaubert and Manet had found its way to America where it had established its first beachhead in Greenwich Village in the 1910s.

“Greenwich Village was not only a place, a mood, a way of life: like all bohemias, it was also a doctrine. Since the days of Gautier and Murger, this doctrine had remained the same in spirit, but it had changed in several details. By 1920, it had become a system of ideas that could roughly be summarized as follows:

  1. The idea of salvation by the child. Each of us at birth has special potentialities which are slowly crushed by a standardized society and mechanical methods of teaching. If a new educational system can be introduced, one by which children are encouraged to develop their own personalities, to blossom freely like flowers, then the world will be saved by this new, free generation. (Each of us is a special snowflake and all cultural barriers to the full development of the modern self must be removed – HW).
  2. The idea of self-expression – Each man’s, each woman’s, purpose in life is to express himself, to realize his full individuality through creative work and beautiful living in beautiful surroundings. (Expressive individualism and aestheticism – HW).
  3. The idea of paganism – The body is a temple in which there is nothing unclean, a shrine to be adorned for the ritual of love. (Rejection of Christianity and traditional moral values – HW).
  4. The idea of living for the moment – It is stupid to pile up treasures that we can enjoy only in old age, when we have lost the capacity for enjoyment. Better to seize the moment as it comes, to dwell in it intensely, even at the cost of future suffering. Better to live extravagantly, gather June rosebuds, “burn my candle at both ends … It gives a lovely light.” (A culture of unbridled, self-absorbed narcissism and heedless disregard for the welfare of future generations – HW).
  5. The idea of liberty – Every law, convention or rule of art that prevents self-expression or the full enjoyment of the moment should be shattered and abolished. Puritanism is the great enemy. The crusade against puritanism is the only crusade with which free individuals are justified in allying themselves. (Cultural liberalism which elevates aesthetic self-expression over religion and morality – HW).
  6. The idea of female equality – Women should be the economic and moral equals of men. They should have the same pay, the same working conditions, the same opportunity for drinking, smoking; taking or dismissing lovers. (Cultural egalitarianism and the New Woman – HW).
  7. The idea of psychological adjustment – We are unhappy because we are maladjusted, and maladjusted because we are repressed. If our individual repressions can be removed – by confessing them to a Freudian psychologist – then we can adjust ourselves to any situation, and be happy in it. (But Freudianism is only one method of adjustment. What is wrong with us may be our glands, and by a slight operation, or merely by taking a daily dose of thyroid, we may alter our whole personalities. Again, we may adjust ourselves by some such psycho-physical discipline as was taught by Gurdjieff. The implication of all these methods are the same – that the environment itself need not be altered. This explains why most radicals who become converted to psychoanalysis or glands or Gurdjieff gradually abandoned their political radicalism.) (Modernism is obsessed with psychology and the “transformation of consciousness.” We are maladjusted because of our repressions. We need to be liberated from all the -isms and -phobias. – HW).
  8. The idea of changing place – “They do things better in Europe.” England and Germany have the wisdom of old cultures; the Latin peoples have admirably preserved their pagan heritage. By expatriating himself, by living in Paris, Capri, or the south of France, the artist can break the Puritan shackles, drink, live freely and be wholly creative.” – (Cosmopolitan nonsense. Ernest Hemingway committed suicide, F. Scott Fitzgerald died when he was 44-years-old and Ezra Pound ended up in a mental hospital. The heralds of Modernism include Baudelaire who had syphilis, Vincent van Gogh who cut his ear off and shot himself, Nietzsche who became Dionysus and went insane and Oscar Wilde who was a sodomite who was addicted to male teenage prostitutes. – HW).

There you have it.

This is where modern liberalism comes from: traditional religion, morality, culture and ethnic identity are all barriers to individual autonomy and self-expression and must be shattered and abolished in order to “liberate” the self for it can “blossom freely like flowers” and cultivate an aesthetic lifestyle.

About Hunter Wallace 9630 Articles
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Occidental Dissent

44 Comments

  1. “Modernism” is really another form of “urbanism”. This revolutionary idealism always begins in a cosmopolitan center where people have free time and access to parlor talks and “art” which gives them the impression they are both brilliant and unique. A bio-chemist in university or a car salesman from Kenosha did not have the means or free time to punch holes in racial precepts or gender norms

  2. 2020 USA is quite like 1930s Spain in the run-up to their civil war, says a well-done historical analogy article, right up Hunter’s alley

    1934 Spain – divisions are bitter, leftists have a slight national majority, and they are ruthless

    The article describes how in 1934 the Left began to sponsor massive waves of mob violence and killings, in areas where they have control

    1934-36 the leftist violence rages

    Finally in 1936, military commander Franco out in the boonies, begins the rightist revolution

    Three years of civil war go on until Franco’s full victory by early 1939

    The article notes a difference in that, once the Right in Spain was finally moved to act, the Right was rapidly more united, accepting the idea strong measures were necessary

    Whereas the Left continued to purge and kill their own, for not being leftist enough, or for being the wrong kind of leftist

    Another difference, says the piece, is that the Left tended to kill people wildly and in mobs … the Right would often hold a trial, and give people a chance to say what in fact was their role in what had gone down, though indeed lots of blood was spilled

    If 2020 USA = 1934 Spain, then USA civil war 2022-25?

    Fascinating read

    https://ammo.com/articles/spanish-civil-war-prelude-wwii-todays-america

    • Apropos of George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia about his experiences fighting for the communists. He got shot in the neck but survived to tell of his adventures and described how troops at the front didn’t have enough of anything while the communists in the rear had the best. Orwell’s criticism of the communists made him persona non grata with the Left because he told the truth about them.

      • That’s in activities in the present follow exactly the same timeline as the Spain in the 1930s.

        As long as the fascists are victorious, it will be a non-kosher happy ending.

          • @Christina,

            Indeed. Not that it matters, but I am curious as to how he became a Leninist-Trotskyite? “Red diaper” baby, indoctrination via political science and social science professors, teenage rebellion to be ‘edgy?’

  3. The “Moderns” can only be cured by marching them out of the city (and suburbs and other comfortable housing) to work the soil by the sweat of their brow from dawn to dark or starve. An agrarian Proletarian Cultural Revolution is the only possible mass cure for rootless-cosmopolitan greed, selfishness and un-inhibitions.

    • Emptying the cities, like Pol Pot did? That didn’t work out so well. Do you advocate shooting people wearing glasses, too?

      • Not like Pol Pot, the psychopath, who evidently tried to copy Mao’s cultural revolution that killed a lot fewer people than critics claim and laid ?(or rebuilt) the Confucian moral foundation for China’s material progress ever since.

        Remember, the U.S. actually supported Pol Pot for years, proof that he was not good. Remember that Cambodia was peaceful and prosperous after the French empire withdrew, until the U.S. empire began bombing and invaded, which is the real cause of the loss of nearly one fifth of the population and nearly one third of the male population!

        However, all I meant by the “marching out” hyperbole is that “Moderns” and other “rootless cosmopolitans” who live for “excitement,” ought to experience being rooted in the soil, with honest labour – to “eat bread by the sweat of the brow” (or starve) as it says in the Bible.

        No, I’m not a Trotskyite internationalist either.

        • “The real cause” of over a million Cambodians dying was Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime. Don’t give me that propaganda bs, okay? I’ve met survivors from that horrific period. Their stories are grim, to be mild about it. “Year Zero” marked the start of the building of hills of Cambodian skulls. You’re a simp for Communism, an extremely murderous form of politics. To want to excuse wholesale murder for your ideology makes you part of a lower species.

  4. “… there was a private war between Greenwich Village and the Saturday Evening Post.”

    If I may mention it, I myself said as much in a comment I posted at “The Birth of the Mainstream,” an Occidental Dissent entry of September 2. “The Saturday Evening Post versus Greenwich Village,” I said. “That encapsulates the culture war.”

    I’m reminded of a tempestuous romance of mine of decades back: She was Greenwich Village, I the Saturday Evening Post. On an occasion when I, in conversation with her, characterized myself as middle-class, she looked stricken and replied to the effect that I should not disparage myself in that way. It hadn’t seemed to me that I’d been disparaging myself.

    • @John Bonaccorsi…

      Thank you for sharing with us that. It sounds like you stumbled into a living chapter of Turgenev or Dostoevsky, without having been advised beforehand of the fact…

      • Since I don’t have your literary knowledge, Ivan, I’m glad you pegged that for me. Heretofore, I’d been figuring Rod Serling …

        • @John Bonaccorsi…

          Alright, Dear John – I assume you mean , by Mr. Serling, that the scene seemed like something out of The Twilight Zone, or is it something else you wish to imply?

          What I was implying by Dostoevsky and Turgenev is that both spent the lst years of their lives (1865-1885) warning of the jealous peasant and the empty middle class urbanite youth who, lacking anything better to do, had settled on Revolutionary Anarchism and Nihilism.

          In what is perhaps his greatest work, Dostoevsky wrote a novel, which, in Russian is called ‘The Devils’, but, which in English has oft been translated as, ‘The Possessed’. The central figure in the novel is, if memory serves, a character by the name of Stepan Verhovensky who, if permitted by a Twilight Zone flip of space & time, would find himself very much at home with the Emma Goldman’s circles, or those of Antifa today.

          The destruction of things around him was his supreme goal, and everything he did, and everyone he touched was merely a means to it.

          After writing an autobiographical collection of Short Stories, entitled, ‘A Sportsman’s Tales’ in the late 1850s, Turgenev then wrote another autobiographical tale about his aristocrat father, though, the lead in that novel, ‘Fathers & Sons’, was Bazarov who does not accept any law except what he regards those as ‘proven’ by science.

          The novel would prove to establish Turgenev’s international reputation as a premiere novelist in very short order.

          As Nihilism and Anarchism were growing as a phenomenon in Mother Russia, Turgenev would again return to these themes in his last novels entitled, ‘Smoke’ & ‘Virginia Soil’.

          Both Dostoevsky (who actually began as a revolutionary – yet was saved by the Czar’s Christian grace from a firing squad, as he was lined up against the wall) and Turgenev did not live to see that their attempts to dissuade their fellow countrymen from collective madness were in vain.

          Now the virus is here, and even more well and widely established than it was in Russia in 1915.

          Yet, this is not pre-revolutionary Russia, so we do not know how it will turn out.

          Will this Nihilist movement fizzle out, as did the milder Nihilist movement we called, ‘The Hippis (converted Beatniks – note the Russian coinage of Beat + nik:) in the 1970s, or will everything here be toppled?

          Perhaps something bizarre in this space and time is that the Nihilists here actually have the support of the very powerful Oligarchs and government they seek to depose, yet, are opposed by an every growing number of the peasantry, which, unlike Mother Russian in the 1910 and 1920s is armed to the teeth.

          • Yes, Ivan, you correctly understood my Rod Serling remark. Your reference to Turgenev and Dostoevsky clarified a thitherto Twilight-Zoneish set of memories, and I was hoping my remark would prompt you to elaborate, as you now have elaborated. Great comment, from first word to last.

          • @John Bonaccorsi…

            Thank you so very much, Dear John, for the kind words.

            I confess that, as well apprized as to what this last century of American thinking has been, most especially vis-a-vis the nihilists, I would be curious to know what you thought of what I regard as Dostoevsky’s greatest novel, ‘The Possessed’, or, as the Russians put it, ‘The Devils’.

            Again, thank you!

  5. I’m going to mention again something that I mentioned here, at Occidental Dissent, quite a while ago but that I might not have made clear: Many residential blocks in old parts of Philadelphia are undergoing a sort of century-late conversion to architectural modernism. Old row-homes that are probably structures of the kind that come to the minds of most Americans when they picture an old neighborhood here are being replaced or remodeled with row-homes that are Bauhausian, which is the only term that I, with my limited knowledge of architectural styles, can coin for them.

    To me, at least—but probably to many Philadelphians—it’s strange. Imagine Rocky Balboa, from those “Rocky” movies, walking along a street of old Philadelphia homes and passing, here and there, a home that looks like something from a science-fiction movie. All this is being driven by an influx of hipsters, who are turning Philadelphia neighborhoods into Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Lite, I guess; but it’s striking that, as was confirmed for me by an acquaintance who would know, the old homes that are being done away with are, in many or all cases, the original structures on the land they occupy. They were built on “virgin soil,” as my friend told me.

    Some of the photographs at the following will give you the idea:

    https://hiddencityphila.org/2015/04/many-ways-to-skin-a-row-house/

    https://emmacustom.com/custom-curtains-cost-philadelphia-rowhome/

    • “an understated modernism in its façade”

      What an understatement. It is extreme. William Penn and the other Quaker founders of the ideal city must be rolling in their graves.

      It’s interesting that they are original structures, on otherwise undisturbed virgin soil.

      Like automobile styling, newer is uglier.

      • “It’s interesting that they are original structures, on otherwise undisturbed virgin soil.”

        Yes, those old homes that are disappearing are the only Philadelphia there’s ever been—until now.

        Well, I should add that many blighted, ghetto blocks of them have been torn down since, I don’t know—the 1970s?—but those have been replaced either by nothing or by conventional townhomes, shopping centers, and the like in a contemporary style (and funded largely, I would guess, by government-backed loans). These hipster habitats are something comparatively new, modernist mushrooms popping up from a mycelial mat of madness that now underlies a large part of the city.

  6. “F. Scott Fitzgerald died when he was 44-years-old and Ezra Pound ended up in a mental hospital.”

    Hunter, this is getting ridiculous. Fitzgerald was a white nationalist and Ezra Pound was a white nationalist who was put in a mental hospital, Soviet style, to silence him for being a dissident against the new anti-white ideological regime of post-WWII Pax America. It is outrageous that you would use the persecution of Pound by the enemies our race to defame him. Shame on you.

    • Let’s say then that Pound simply fell under a “spell” of Fascism, that made him LOVE Il Duce (and the other fascist dictators) so he likened Il Duce’s unprovoked, barbaric chemical-warfare invasion of Ethiopia to Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase, and believed “No man living has preserved the Peace of Europe as often as has Benito Mussolini,” who had already participated in El Caudillo’s (Franco’s) criminal coup with weapons, supplies, aerial bombing and Blackshirt paramilitary forces, and aggressively invaded and conquered Albania and attacked Greece.

      • I think you’re in the wrong neighborhood here, communist.

        You should head off to Mother Jones or Daily Kos, you’d fit in a lot better there.

      • Evelyn Waugh’s Waugh in Abyssinia is a good account of how the Italians should have been applauded for invading Ethiopia. ITALIAN fascism would have brought much needed progress there.

        • Your comments are always intelligent and interesting. I read a review and some excerpts here: http://evelynwaugh.org.uk/styled-134/index.html Some quotes:

          “At dawn this morning the Italian war planes flew over Adowa and Adigrat. They dropped seventy-eight bombs, causing great loss of life among the civilian population.”

          Now that’s progress. Soon the Ethiopians will be forced to surrender and let themselves be converted by force from Orthodoxy to Roman Catholicism. But No. They refuse to give up.

          “The Italians were a poor sort of people, he said; one of his friends had killed forty of them, one after the other, with his sword. He asked us if we knew General Harrington; he had been a good man; was he still alive? Then he returned to the question of the Italians. They did not like the smell of blood, he said; when they smelled blood they were afraid; when an Abyssinian smelled blood he became doubly brave”

          The Italians, like Americans, like to fight from a distance, preferably from the air, using chemical gas bombs and conventional bombs, because they are cowards in actual combat.

      • Every word from the mouth of a communist is an atrocity. Every bullet fired into the head of one is a glistening dewdrop of joy.

    • I’m not interested in their racial beliefs so much as their destructive lifestyle and values. F. Scott Fitzgerald died in his forties. His wife Zelda Fitzgerald also died in her forties. She was locked up in a mental hospital after coming down with schizophrenia. Did you know Ezra Pound abandoned his own daughter and gave her to a couple in the Italian Alps? He also had almost nothing to do with his son.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_de_Rachewiltz

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omar_Pound

  7. “#1. The idea of salvation by the child. Each of us at birth has special potentialities which are slowly crushed by a standardized society and mechanical methods of teaching. If a new educational system can be introduced, one by which children are encouraged to develop their own personalities, to blossom freely like flowers, then the world will be saved by this new, free generation. (Each of us is a special snowflake and all cultural barriers to the full development of the modern self must be removed.”

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    THIS IS THE CHILD OF ROUSSEAU, the cholericK, paranoicK, vituperative, and misanthropic Burgundian philosopher/musician/troll of the 18th century.

    Rousseau’s essential thesis is that Man is born good, and is only every ruined thereafter by institutions and traditions which corrupt him by setting him against the greatest aspect of his own deity – his intuition.

    Thus, Rousseau either recommended or implied that, for Mankind to ever have his potential filled, what had ever been known before had to be destroyed.

    Every single evil (he called it good) that Rousseau sought to commit would be done so under the pretext of taking The Moral High Ground.

    For his philosophical expoundings, Rousseau was made the honourary godfather of The French Revolution, though, by that time Jean Jacques was too much of a superannuated reclusive, totally dependent on the simple, illiterate, and supersticious peasant woman who took care of him his last several decades – but whom he could never bring himself to marry:)

    Though Marx would later go at this from another angle, THE TRUE FATHER OF MODERNITY IS JEAN JACQUES ROUSSEAU…

    • Rousseau also presaged the modern worship of “the Other” by the elites. I would argue Foucault completed that satanic project by including pedophiles and other inhuman filth as Others. For all the concern about Germans in the 20th century, it’s clear to me that French philosophers caused more cultural damage. It has been done over a longer time period, as well. (I’m saying this as someone of Voyageur heritage, btw.)

      • @Boomer…

        Thank you, Sir, for not only your affirmation, but, as well your augmentation.

        Though I have carefully studied Montaigne, Pascal, La Fontaine, Voltaire, and Rousseau, and, as well, read a great deal of those who came after – Flaubert, Stendahl, and Balzac, most notably I have neglected to acquaint myself with Foucault or much of Victor Hugo.

        Thus,it was good to hear of your more comprehensive view, and to realize it was what I suspected : that, after reading a lot of what Mr. Griffin has written over the last month about who sired modernity in this country, and, more broadly, in The West, that it was really Rousseau and the Revolutionaries soon to come in France who led the way in opening The Devil’s Gate.

        On a lark, I have to wonder if part of what encouraged the French to act this way was, in part, a desire to get at what they regarded as, ‘The Anglo Heirarchical World?

        One cryptick clue about this might be taken by Rousseau who, after spending some time in Britain, was given to remark, ‘The English are always so very reasonable. We Frenchmen are far too reasonable for that.’

        And so there, even in what could be seen as a passing civil remark, there is the fully evolved seed of Nihilism.

        Thank you again, Sir! I appreciate you brain!

        • I appreciate the compliment, Ivan, but you’re actually much better read than me. Your more comprehensive and detailed comment inspired my response, is all.

          A general trend among elites throughout history is rejecting their own people and past, for a new and better future controlled by the wise men. The schemes of a Rhodes or a Weishaupt are all of a piece. Soros, David Rockefeller and their arrogant, evil ilk are just newer iterations of the same old misanthropic trope. I’ve never understood why those with so much begrudge those with much less having anything at all. They should be grateful for not being born in a Rio favela cardboard shack or a Laotian mountain village bamboo hut, instead of planning the widespread exploitation and destruction of less-fortunate people.

          • @Boomer…

            Again, thank you for your kind words. If you are not so well read as I, you sure have read plenty and apply that well!

            I guess it comes down to this – if you don’t have Chryst, and you are a very aggressive Alpha-male type and blessed with brains, you might interpret your existence at this time in history as a mandate to create a racket that will coronate you into seeming like god of your own making.

            In the end, this elitism I see practiced amongst even the most ordinary people. You can see it when someone will say, ‘I may have my faults, but I would NEVER do what she did!’

            People think this way all the time, even if they don’t say it – rejecting others, upon any criterion or criteria, in order to elevate themselves, if not before others in an obvious way, then, at least, privately in their own minds..

            In fact, this is so instrinsick to human behavior, I bet you cannot think of many you know have never felt or acted this way.

            God bless you and yours!

    • “Rousseau, this first modern man, idealist and rabble in one person …. This miscarriage, couched on the threshold of modern times ….”
      — Nietzsche (Section 48, Part 9 (Skirmishes of an Untimely Man), Twilight of the Idols)

      • @John Bonaccorsi…

        Fantastic quote that would seem to settle that matter of whether Nietzsche was trying to midwife Modernity or abort it.

        Given that there is so much dualism in the way folks are responding to him, (pursuant to Mr. Griffin’s recent expoundings) it makes me wonder if the German was conscious anti-Modernity, yet, unconsciously pro-?

        I wouldn’t surprise me, because folks are full of those sorts of vagaries & complexities.

        • Let me try it this way, Ivan—and in a sense, I’ll be thinking out loud, i.e., addressing me as well as you …

          As this Nietzsche debate has proceeded here, at Occidental Dissent, what has come repeatedly to my mind is a passage not from Nietzsche himself but from Oscar Wilde, who, too, I think, has been characterized, in Mr. Wallace’s posts, as a Modern or proto-Modern. Maybe you’re familiar with Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest,” which includes the following:

          Gwendolen. Perhaps this might be a favourable opportunity for my mentioning who I am. My father is Lord Bracknell. You have never heard of papa, I suppose?

          Cecily. I don’t think so.

          Gwendolen. Outside the family circle, papa, I am glad to say, is entirely unknown. I think that is quite as it should be. The home seems to me to be the proper sphere for the man. And certainly once a man begins to neglect his domestic duties he becomes painfully effeminate, does he not? And I don’t like that. It makes men so very attractive.

          Even a century-and-a-quarter after the appearance of that play and almost as much time since the death of the Victoria who was ruling England when it appeared, it’s clear, I think, that what’s being lampooned there is anti-feminist cant, cant that would run as follows:

          “The home seems to me to be the proper sphere for the woman. And certainly once a woman begins to neglect her domestic duties she becomes painfully masculine, does she not? And I don’t like that. It makes women so very unattractive.”

          What kind of anti-feminist argument is that? It’s cuckservative. It’s an attempt to win the argument without saying what you really want to say, i.e., women should do what men tell them to do. I guess I would say no, Nietzsche was not a Modern but neither was he a Victorian. He saw that the Victorian could not be defended on its own terms–so he didn’t defend it.

          • @John Bonaccorsi…

            Of Wilde I read, ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’, and, as well, I saw the excellent film with Cornell Wilde.

            So I was unfamiliar with Gwendolyn from ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’.

            I thought the analogy is very interesting, as well as your conclusion.

            I have to think about what it means that ‘The Victorian could not be defended on it’s own terms, so he didn’t defend it.’

            In saying that it seems like you are making the point advanced by Flaubert and Stendahl, that the state of being bourgeois is not necessarily laudable, which, I suppose, means that you are kind of confirming what I thought – that Nietzsche’s posture towards Modernity was complex, nuanced, and dualistick.

            Thank you and so long for now!

        • Nietsche was sort of a “third-way” chap, IMO.

          This discussion is interesting, I’ve been searching these threads for “Bonaccorsi” in order to see these exchanges.

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