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Primary Sources: World War I

Arts & Culture

How World War I sparked the artistic movement that transformed Black America

The First World War, which was fought between 1914 and 1918, had an immediate impact on popular culture. In over the hundred years since the war ended, the war has resulted in many artistic and cultural works from all sides and nations that participated in the war. During and after World War I, flowery Victorian language was blown apart and replaced by more sinewy and R-rated prose styles. In visual art, Surrealists and Expressionists devised wobbly, chopped-up perspectives and nightmarish visions of fractured human bodies and splintered societies slouching toward moral chaos. “The whole landscape of the Western Front became surrealistic before the term surrealism was invented by the soldier-poet Guillaume Apollinaire,” Modris Eksteins wrote in “Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age.” Los Angeles Times