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Ibsen, more than any other playwright, established realism as a vital mode in the theatre. The nature of Ibsen’s realism, however, warrants careful description. Realism for Ibsen is simultaneously a theatrical technique and a philosophical stance. We find realism at work in Ibsen’s dialogue, scenery and characterization, as well as in the plays’ relentless critique of bourgeois ideals. Ibsen was not the first realist dramatist, but he remains its most influential practitioner. This legacy is somewhat ironic, given the disturbing surreality that leeches through the realist surface of his plays. And yet, the spark of recognition the plays continue to ignite bears witness to realism’s effectiveness, as audiences continue to find themselves represented, in all their faults, in his towering dramas.
This chapter examines two competing ideals about appropriate conduct for women: the lady of the court and the bourgeois woman. Interaction between courtly and bourgeois ideals of femininity had been taking place for centuries. Until the early twentieth century, courtly ideals of femininity continued to hold sway at the upper level of Thai society, although they were tempered by the rising influence of a bourgeois view of the world due to economic transformation. The declining social position of the aristocracy in the early decades of the twentieth century, culminating in the overthrow of the absolute monarchy in 1932, dealt a blow to courtly conceptions of behaviour for women while helping to elevate the bourgeois housewife as the new ideal of exemplary feminine conduct. The chapter also highlights the very influential role that many elite women played in the twentieth century in writing about manners, including in the new literary genre of novels of manners. The chapter examines the works of numerous well-known women writers on manners.
The European "modernism" of which Strauss was considered a representative in the 1890s and the "avant-garde" modernism that would exclude him in the new century differed significantly. Both are defined here as manifestations of, or critical reactions to, cultural and technological modernity. Varying shades of modernism are illustrated with reference to critical responses to Strauss and to his own 1907 essay "Is there an Avant-Garde in Music?" The length of Strauss’s career and the stylistic choices he made both reflect and problematize the once common notion that the history of the period’s music was simply one of evolutionary progress, which he first exemplified and then rejected. The varied and changing context of Strauss’s critical stance and compositional output resides not only in artistic ideas but also in politics and social practice in institutions like opera houses and concert halls and their audiences.
This chapter analyzes how and why the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal empires were militarily powerful but economically uncompetitive and intellectually stagnant. It emphasizes that out of the three technologies Western Europeans used effectively – the printing press, nautical compass, and gunpowder – these three Muslim empires employed only gunpowder effectively. The chapter explains this situation by the dominance of the military and religious classes and the marginalization of the intellectual and bourgeois classes in the Muslim world. In Western Europe, by contrast, the intellectual and bourgeois classes were influential; they played crucial roles in overlapping processes of the Renaissance, the printing revolution, the Protestant Reformation, geographical discoveries, and the scientific revolution, which led to the “rise of Western Europe.” The chapter critically evaluates alternative explanations to both the decline of the Muslim world and the rise of Western Europe.
This chapter begins by examining Muslims’ military, commercial, and intellectual achievements between the seventh and eleventh centuries. At that time, most of Islamic scholars (ulema) were funded by commerce, while only a few of them served the state. The merchants flourished as an influential class. The chapter goes on to analyze the beginning of the intellectual and economic stagnation in Muslim lands in the eleventh century. It explains how, gradually, the ulema became a state-servant class and the military state came to dominate the economy. The alliance between the ulema and the military state diminished the influence of philosophers and merchants. This changing distribution of authority led to the long-term stagnation, if not the decline, of Muslim intellectual and economic life. This gradual process began in the eleventh century and continued for centuries, as subsequent chapters elaborate.
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