Cover of Outrage by Katherine Giuffre
The Arts and the Creation of Modernity
Katherine Giuffre


June 2023
210 pages.
from $26.00

Hardcover ISBN: 9781503635357
Paperback ISBN: 9781503635821
Ebook ISBN: 9781503635838

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Excerpts and More

A cultural revolution in England, France, and the United States beginning during the time of the industrial and political revolutions helped usher in modernity. This cultural revolution worked alongside the better documented political and economic revolutions to usher in the modern era of continuous revolution. Focusing on the period between 1847 and 1937, the book examines in depth six of the cultural "battles" that were key parts of this revolution: the novels of the Brontë sisters, the paintings of the Impressionists, the poetry of Emily Dickinson, the Ballets Russes production of Le Sacre du printemps, James Joyce's Ulysses, and Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God. Using contemporaneous reviews in the press as well as other historical material, we can see that these now-canonical works provoked outrage at the time of their release because they addressed critical points of social upheaval and transformation in ways that engaged broad audiences with subversive messages. This framework allows us to understand and navigate the cultural debates that play such an important role in 21st century politics.

About the author

Katherine Giuffre specializes in the sociology of art and culture and studies social networks and communities, as well as Polynesian society. She is the author of Communities and Networks (2013), and Collective Creativity (2009), among other publications. She is Professor Emerita of Sociology at Colorado College.

"Outrage will teach readers to think about modernity in new ways—as an era in which public disputes about art shifted our imaginations of society and our ability to critique the status quo. Giuffre's book is the newest and best addition to a tradition of academic scholarship on cultural conflict and the politics of the arts."

—Jennifer Lena, Columbia University

"Giuffre persuasively and engagingly documents how artistically transgressive works not only violate the conventions of their own genres, but also offend contemporary sensibilities. They spur outrage in the short run, whether intentionally or inadvertently, but they also respond to and catalyze long-term social and moral change. A terrific work that shows how art and politics are recurrently intertwined."

—Paul McLean, Rutgers University

"Though historical in focus, the themes of [Outrage] remain relevant today, including gender transgression, obscenity, identity politics, and censorship.... Recommended."

—T. Nygard, CHOICE