The Mental Life of Modernism: Why Poetry, Painting, and Music Changed at the Turn of the Twentieth Century

Samuel Jay Keyser in Rorotoko:

I don’t believe in coincidences, at least not big ones. That’s why the sea change the sister arts of poetry, painting, and music underwent at the turn of the 20th century has always intrigued me. All of them veered off course at virtually the same time and in virtually the same way. To paraphrase Yul Brynner in The King and I, “It was a puzzlement.” It was as if a group of high achieving artists had met, mafia-style, in some non-disclosed location to plan mischief against the art world. It had all the hallmarks of a conspiracy. They would do something so radical, so scandalous that it would turn the art world on its head.

And they did.

In a remarkably short period of time poetry, painting, and music abandoned all that was tried and true.

More here.