Stephen Kern writes about the sweeping changes in technology and culture between 1880 and World War I that created new modes of understanding and experiencing time and space. To mark the book’s twentieth anniversary, Kern provides an illuminating new preface about the breakthrough in interpretive approach that has made this a seminal work in interdisciplinary studies.
No brief summary can do justice to the richness and range of this exciting book, which brims with ideas and insights, evidence and examples, and provides the most comprehensive account of the life of the mind in these crucial decades before the First World War, when so much of our modern world was formed and fashioned. Kern’s command of art and literature, painting and architecture, philosophy and psychology, physics and technology is awesome: he moves from Proust to Picasso, Einstein to Stravinsky, with consummate ease and unquenchable enthusiasm.
A brilliant, gutsy essay in intellectual history [on] how thought, technology, art, and politics smashed objective time and bourgeois hierarchies of space.
Stephen Kern is Professor of History at The Ohio State University.