Expressionism Historical Context

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Expressionism blossomed in Germany in the early part of the twentieth century during the reign of William II. Germany was a relatively prosperous country under Wilhelm, with an established middle class, and it is the very complacency of this middle class, its order, efficiency, and obsession with social conventions, against which many writers and artists rebelled. In particular, expressionists saw hypocrisy in German society's repressive and repressed attitudes towards sex and the simultaneous popularity of prostitution. In Literary Life in German Expressionism and the Berlin Circles, literary historian Roy Allen notes, "The flourishing of prostitution in the Wilhelminian era, as the expressionist viewed it, most sharply gave the lie to the effectiveness of the Wilhelminian approach to morality, particularly to sexual conduct." Wedekind's plays underscore this hypocrisy. In Spring's Awakening, for example, he singles out German schools for their part in keeping children ignorant...

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This section contains 609 words
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Literary Movements for Students
Expressionism from Literary Movements for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.