Overture to a Dance of Locomotives Historical Context

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"Overture to a Dance of Locomotives" was written at a time of unparalleled cross-fertilization of the arts in both America and Europe. The 1910s were witness to some of the most important innovations in art, music, poetry, business, communication, photography and architecture. In the art world, figures like Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque were experimenting with what would become cubism, perhaps the most influential artistic movement of the century. In 1917, the same year Williams read this poem, Marcel Duchamp shocked the art world by exhibiting a men's urinal as a piece of sculpture. In America, artists like Georgia O'Keefe and Charles Demuth began painting large non-representational canvases that attempted to evoke emotions and reactions rather than replicate images. All of these people were transforming art from a kind of passive activity that beautified the world into an active, dynamic gesture that commented on modern society's tendency to disrupt...

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This section contains 777 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Overture to a Dance of Locomotives Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
Overture to a Dance of Locomotives from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.