Tag Archives: edwardian society

Uncertain Futures

Vanessa Bell, ‘Abstract Painting’, c.1914

‘In a large part, the uncertain future facing us early in the twenty-first century arose from the inventions, thoughts and transformations of those unusually rich fifteen years between 1900 and 1914, a period of extraordinary creativity in the arts and sciences, of enormous change in society and in the very image people had of themselves. Everything that was to become important during the twentieth century – from quantum physics to women’s emancipation, from abstract art to space travel, from communism and fascism to the consumer society, from in industrialized slaughter to the power of the media – had already made deep impressions in the years before 1914, so that the rest of the century was little more than an exercise, wonderful and hideous by turn, in living out and exploring these new possibilities’

(Philipp Blom, The Vertigo Years: Change and Culture in the West, 1900-1914, London 2008)

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Beyond Edward

Edward VII by Max Beerbohm

‘To call the years 1901 to 1910 the Edwardian era is misleading, mediating the complexity and discordancy of this decade through a single patriarchal figure. The whole field of political and social representation was in the process of transformations begun in the 1880s and not completed until the 1920s. The successful Black participation in politics; the feminist campaigns around suffrage, sexuality and work; the important Black anti-colonialist movements; and the labour movement of working-class and socialist organizations – all contributed to changing the structure and patterns of British society through collective identities and struggles’

(Deborah Cherry and Jane Beckett, The Edwardian Era, 1987)