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The Edwardian Period (1901-1914)
Transcript of The Edwardian Period (1901-1914)
This period covered the reign of King Edward VII (1901 to 1910). Edward was part of a fashionable elite which set a style influenced by the art and fashions of continental Europe.
The era had significant shifts in politics, great social changes and the solidification of the power and luxury of the ruling elite. Wealth was abundant and nearly income tax-free; society was no longer a small, exclusive circle confined to those of aristocratic birth; the arts produced genius and modern movements; travel was cheap and easy and technological advances were thrilling and amazing. The British class system was very rigid and there was an increasing interest in socialism, attention to the plight of the poor and the issue of women's suffrage, as a result of rapid industrialization.
Literature of the Edwardian era reflected the restless ambivalence of the new millennium. Some playwrights (mainly George Bernard Shaw) transformed Edwardian theatre in a way of debate over the issues of his time: political organization, armaments and war, family and marriage, for instance.
The Edwardian era gave birth to a number of literary and poetic movements such as: Imagism, Futurism, and the Lost Generation.
Imagism, futurism and the Lost Generation
Imagism describes a movement in American and British poetry beggining in 1910 that borrowed from haiku and free verse.
Futurism was born in Europe, and advocated the abandonment of coventional syntax and the use of images drawn from the age of technology.
The Lost Generation refers to expatriate American writers including Ernest Hemingway and Francis Scott Fitzgerald, who came into prominence after the WW1 and whose works reflected a deep disillusionment with their society.
The Edwardian period is sometimes imagined as a romantic golden age of long summer afternoons and garden parties, basking in a sun that never sets on the British Empire. This perception was created in the 1920s and later by those who remembered the Edwardian age with nostalgia, looking back to their childhoods across the abyss of the Great War. The Edwardian age was also seen as a mediocre period of pleasure between the great achievements of the preceding Victorian age and the catastrophe of the following war.