Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

After the war

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During [World War I] very little got to the public through the strict censorship. But after the collapse, every day brought new works from the newly liberated minds. The form which this art took was called expressionism. It was just as much reaction as it was synthetic and creative action. It turned against that tendency in art which was satisfied merely to set down impressions, one after the other, without troubling to question their essential nature, justification, or the idea involved. The expressionists were not satisfied simply to photograph. They knew that environment permeates the artist and is reflected in his psychic mirror in such a way as utterly to transfigure this environment. Expressionism wanted to influence environment, to change it in giving it a brighter, more righteous appearance, to make it impossible, for example, for a catastrophe like the war ever to threaten mankind again.

Ernst Toller, “Postwar German Drama” (1928)

Written by nevalalee

September 2, 2018 at 7:30 am

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