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[<<] 1890s [>>]

Parent: 1800s - fin de siécle

By year: 1890 - 1891 - 1892 - 1893 - 1894 - 1895 - 1896 - 1897 - 1898 - 1899

Literature: The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890) - Ubu Roi (1896) - Alfred Jarry - Dracula (1897) - Bram Stoker - The Songs of Bilitis (1894) - Pierre Louÿs - H.G. Wells's science fiction

Film and theatre: cinema (first paying audiences) - The Kiss (1896 film) - Grand Guignol theatre (Paris)

Music: music halls (height of popularity) - ragtime music - Tin Pan Alley

Visual arts: Art Nouveau - arts and crafts movement

Technology: phonograph (enjoys popularity) - telephone (enjoys popularity) - early commercial production of cars

Sociology: Degeneration (Nordau, Lombroso) - New Woman (feminism) - first pin-up girls - Decadent movement - start of psychoanalysis in Vienna

Births (literary): H.P. Lovecraft - Henry Miller - Walter Benjamin - Edogawa Rampo - Céline - Aldous Huxley - Paul Éluard - Antonin Artaud - André Breton - Louis Aragon - Georges Bataille - Bertolt Brecht - Vladimir Nabokov - Henri Michaux -

Births (other): Erich Auerbach - Bruno Schulz - Josef von Sternberg - Jean Renoir - Alfred Kinsey - Mikhail Bakhtin - Max Horkheimer - Dziga Vertov - André Masson - Wilhelm Reich - Jean Epstein - Sergei Eisenstein - René Magritte - Herbert Marcuse - Tamara De Lempicka - Alfred Hitchcock

Quote: "We stand at the threshold of an altogether new art- an art with forms which mean or represent nothing, recall nothing, yet which can stimulate our souls as deeply as only the tones of music have been able to." --August Endell, 1898.

Lynchings of African Americans in the United States averaged 150 per year. [Apr 2006]

First modern music: If modern music may be said to have a definite beginning, then it started [!] with this flute melody, the opening of the Prélude à après-midi d'un Faune (1862-1918). -- Paul Griffiths

Tar-ra-ra-boom-der-ay (1891) - Henry J. Sayers
image sourced here.

Key work of art: Scream (1893) - Edvard Munch


  • 1890 Sult/Hunger (1890) - Knut Hamsun
  • 1891 Scatalogic Rites of All Nations (1891) - John G. Bourke
  • 1892 Prélude à après-midi d'un Faune (1892) - Claude Debussy
  • 1893 Scream (1893) - Edvard Munch
  • 1894 Bilitis (1894) - Pierre Louÿs
  • 1895 Cinema's first paying audiences
  • 1896 Sexual Inversion as Das Konträre Geschlechtsgefühle (1896) - Havelock Ellis
  • 1897 Magnus Hirschfeld founds the Scientific Humanitarian Committee
  • 1898 La Femme et le Pantin/The She Devils (1898) - Pierre Louys
  • 1899 The Torture Garden (1899) - Octave Mirbeau


    The 1890s were sometimes referred to as the "Mauve Decade," because William Henry Perkin's aniline dye allowed the widespread use of that colour in fashion, and also as the "Gay Nineties", under the then-current usage of the word "gay" which referred simply to merriment and frivolity, with no connotation of homosexuality as in current-day usage. The phrase, "The Gay Nineties," was not coined until 1926. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1890s [Apr 2006]

    Cinema [...]

    It was in America that people were first induced to pay to watch -- in May 1895 in a store on Broadway. In Europe it was not until November 1895 in Berlin that a movie was shown in public.

    The quality of the movies shown in New York and Berlin were extremely poor and used processes that had no lasting impact on movie technology. The "true" debut of the motion picture is therefore usually dated to December 28, 1895 in Paris, where at the Grand Cafe in Boulevard des Capucines the Lumière brothers had their first paying audience. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_cinema [Sept 2004]

    A Biased Timeline of the Counter-Culture [...]

    1890		Standard Oil becomes the first U.S. industrial `Trust'
    		Sherman Anti-Trust Law
    		Mississippi becomes first Southern state to draw up
    		new constitution to control who could vote
    		Sitting Bull, Sioux leader, assassinated, Sioux sought refuge at Pine Ridge
    	Dec	(last Indian massacre) Wounded Knee, South Dakota: U.S. army kills 300 of 350
    		Vincent Van Gogh dies (37!?)
    		U.K.: William Morris: News from Nowhere (describes socialist utopia)
    		Jacob Riis (Danish sociologist studying U.S.): How the Other Half Lives
    		Sir James Frazer: The Golden Bough
    		Healthy and Artistic Dress Union, U.K.
    		"Comic Cuts" and "Chips" comic papers, U.K. (-1953)
    1890s		-- first generation born after birth of modern Europe 187O
    		reaches its 20s: Dreiser, Mann, Proust, Gertrude Stein,
    		Jack London, Rilke, Robert Frost --  "the Gay Nineties"
    		Classic Bohemian society in Paris's Latin Quarter;
    		Four Arts Balls held yearly;
    		Toulouse-Lautrec, Jarry, Bonnard, Gide, Mallarme, etc.
    		Railways permit middle class to move to countryside around
    		London (& start of Back To The Land movement)
    		first public bathing place on the river at Cambridge (men only)
    		(1890s: diptheria, typhoid, smallpox & dysentery epidemics)
    		Racist legislation in New Orleans forces Creoles, among
    		the prosperous families of the city, into social &
    		occupational contact with blacks; leads to changes in the
    		music, as Creoles are educated & could read music
    1891		first(?) U.S. miners strike, Tennessee
    1891-3		Gauguin settles and paints in Tahiti 
    1892		strikes all over the U.S.:  iron & steel workers;
    		gen strike New Orleans; railroad strike Buffalo NY; 
    		miners strike Coeur d'Alene, Idaho; Homestead steelworkers, Pennsylvania
    		U.S.: Populist candidates in presidential and other elections
    		Diesel patents his internal combustion engine
    		First automatic telephone switchboard
    		Bedales School, Sussex
    		Home Colonization Society founded
    		Monet begins series of paintings of Rouen Cathedral (-1895)
    		Toulouse-Lautrec: "At the Moulin Rouge"
    		first newspaper comic strips in U.S. newspapers (S.F. Examiner)
    1893		Depression (worst in US so far), & riots in California
    		U.S. adopts single gold standard, basis of capital centralism
    		Henry Ford builds his first car
    		George Poore, M.D.: Essays in Rural Hygiene: introduces
    		earth closet in Britain
    		Edvard Munch: The Scream
    		ART NOUVEAU appears in Europe
    		Buddy Bolden (14) is "king" of black Nola music
    1894		Coxey leads mass march of unemployed to Washington
    		Pullman Strike, Pres. Cleveland sends troops to put down;
    		Eugene Debs, who helped organized it, sent to prison for six months
    		Altruria community, Sonoma County, Calif (to 1895)
    		Populist Party gets 40% of congressional elections vote
    		Aubrey Beardsley (22) drawings for Salome
    1895		Rontgen discovers x-rays
    		Marconi invents radio (=wireless) telgraph
    		Maryland Colony, Essex: first intensive agricultural
    		coloney for city market (lasted 10+ years)
    		Bouesville (ck spell) model village (Cadbury chocolate)
    		first public film show, Paris (Hotel Scribe)
    		H.G. Wells: The Time Machine
    		Art Nouveau style predominates
    1895-6		Bohemian "Les Jeunes" in San Francisco publish journal "The Lark"
    1896		Supreme Court ruling against Homer Adolph Plessy for refusing
    		to occupy a seat in the colored car of a Louisiana train
    		sets up the "separate but equal" doctrine
    		Populists enticed into Democratic Party to elect
    		William Jennings Bryan, who lost anyway, to Republican
    		William McKinley, supported by the first massive money campaign
    		"La Boheme" - opera by Puccini based on Murger's work,
    		opens in Turin, popularizes bohemian life
    		"Die Jugend" & "Simplicissimus" Ger. art magazines, Munich
    		Hearst starts first comics newspaper supplement
    when?		discovery of gold in Black Hills of Dakota brings vast
    		new influx of white settlers into Sioux territory
    1896		Sioux and Cheyenne defeat Custer at the battle of 
    		Little Big Horn; later (when?) defeated at Tongue River Valley
    1896-7		Purleigh Colony, Essex (commune) -1898
    		Whiteway Colony, Cotswalds (proposed to be deeded to God) -1901
    1897		Royal Automobile Club founded, London
    		Vienna: Klimt, Schiele and others: first Secessionist exhibition
    		William Morris: Forecasts of the Coming Century (posth.)(get this)
    		Henri Rousseau: "Sleeping Gypsy"
    		In the wake of the opening of a large U.S. Navy base in
    		New Orleans, Alderman Charles Storyville sponsors an
    		ordinance to limit prostitution to one area of the city,
    		bordered by the Mississippi River, Perdido & Basin Streets;
    		it is nicknamed "Storyville" and becomes the center for
    		the development of ragtime piano (Jelly Roll Morton, etc.)
    1898		U.S. fights Spanish-American War
    		photographs first taken using artificial light
    		Paris Metro opened
    		Ebenezer Howard: Garden Cities of To-Morrow proposes 
    		suburban planned developments with their own employment
    		UK: Folk Song Society founded
    		Aubrey Beardsley dies (26)
    		H.G. Wells: The War of the Worlds
    		Alfred Jarry: Ubu Roi
    		The MacKintosh School of Art, Glasgow: art nouveau architecture
    		Peter Kropotkin: Fields, Factories and Workshops (explain)
    		First ragtime song published 1897, by twelve months later
    		the first dance craze (?Scott Jopline's Maple Leaf Rag -
    		sold 1 million copies in U.S. alone)
    1899		first magnetic recording of sound
    		London County Council buys land for first suburb, connected by 
    		electric railway (Totterdown Fields, opened 1903),
    		meant to relieve crowding in inner city slums
    1890-	1914	Invention of: the telephone, cheap camera, phonograph,
    		rotary press & linotype, photoengraving, railroad
    		air-brake & sleeping car, electric street car, skyscraper,
    		suspension bridge, motor vehicles, airplane, typewriter,
    		bicycle, electric light, motion picture, public library,
    		scientific medicine, department store, ocean liner,
    		refrigeration, elecvator, sewing machine, gas stove,
    		steam heating, hot running water  + traffic light
    		Also: Art Nouveau: Vienna, London, Paris,
    		Munich, Barcelona, Glasgow, San Francisco
    1900		Sigmund Freud: Interpretation of Dreams
    		L. Frank Baum: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
    		The Cake Walk becomes the most fashionable dance
    		Silent Film era begins

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