Belle Époque

Belle Époque

The Belle Époque (IPAEng|bɛːl e'pɔk; French for "Beautiful Era") was a period in European history that began during the late 19th century and lasted until World War I. Occurring during the time of the French Third Republic and the German Empire, the Belle Époque was considered a "golden age" as peace prevailed between the major powers of Europe, new technologies improved people's lives, and the commercial arts adopted modern forms.


The years between the Franco-Prussian War and World War I were characterized by unusual political stability in western and central Europe. Although tensions between the French and German governments persisted as a result of the French loss of Alsace-Lorraine to Germany during 1871, diplomatic conferences, including the Congress of Berlin in 1878 and the Berlin Congo Conference in 1884, mediated disputes that threatened the general European peace. Indeed, for many Europeans, transnational, class-based affiliations were as important as national identities in the Belle Époque. A middle- or upper-class gentleman could travel through much of Europe without a passport and even reside abroad with minimal bureaucratic regulation. [A.J.P. Taylor, "English History 1914-1945"] [A.J.P. Taylor, "The Struggle of Mastery in Europe, 1848-1918"] Meanwhile, the international workers' movement also reorganized itself and reinforced pan-European, class-based identities. The most notable transnational socialist organization was the Second International.

In terms of domestic politics, there were very few regime changes in Europe, the most major exception being Portugal which experienced a republican revolution in 1910. However, tensions between working-class socialist parties, bourgeois liberal parties, and landed or aristocratic conservative parties did increase in many countries; and it has been claimed that profound political instability belied the calm surface of European politics in the era. [Arno J. Mayer, "The Persistence of the Old Regime: Europe to the Great War"] In fact, militarism and international tensions grew considerably between 1897 and 1914, and the immediate prewar years were marked by a general armaments competition in Europe. Additionally, this era was one of massive overseas colonialism, known as the New Imperialism, or High Imperialism. The most famous portion of this imperial expansion was the Scramble for Africa.

cience and technology

The Belle Époque was an era of great scientific and technological advancement in Europe and the world in general. Inventions that either are associated with this era or became generally common in this era include the automobile, the aeroplane, the phonograph, the telephone, the cinématographe and the subway or underground railway.

It was during this era that biologists and physicians finally came to understand the true origins of illnesses, and the field of bacteriology was established. Max Planck, Albert Einstein, Nikola Tesla and Niels Bohr initiated modern physics. To recognize many of the great advances made in science in this era, the Nobel Prizes were established for physics, chemistry, and physiology or medicine.

The social sciences also flourished with the professionalization and modernization of research techniques for many disciplines, including history and political science. Georg Simmel, Émile Durkheim and Max Weber, along with American Thorstein Veblen, pioneered the field of academic sociology.

Art and literature

The arts underwent a radical transformation during the decades before World War I, and new artistic forms associated with cultural modernity emerged.

Impressionism, which had been considered the artistic avant-garde in the 1860s, gained widespread acceptance. In the early 20th century Expressionism became the new avant-garde. The visual art style known as Art Nouveau (called Jugendstil in central Europe), characterized by its curvilinear forms, become prominent and dominated design throughout much of Europe. Many successful examples of this style, with notable regional variations, were built in France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Austria (the Vienna Secession), Hungary, Bohemia, and Latvia. It soon spread around the world, including to Mexico and the United States. It is sometimes called Belle Époque style.

Theatre adopted new modern methods, including Expressionism, and many playwrights wrote plays that shocked contemporary audiences either with their frank depictions of everyday life and sexuality or with unusual artistic elements. Cabaret theater also become popular. Musically, the Belle Époque was characterized by salon music. This was not considered "serious" music but, rather, short pieces considered accessible to a general audience. In addition to works for piano solo or violin and piano, the Belle Époque was famous for its large repertory of songs ("mélodies", "romanze", etc.). The Italians were the greatest proponents of this type of song, its greatest champion being Francesco Paolo Tosti. Though Tosti's songs never completely left the repertoire, salon music generally fell into a period of obscurity. Even as encores, singers were afraid to sing them at "serious" recitals. In that period, waltzes also flourished. Operettas were also at the peak of their popularity, with composers such as Johann Strauss III, Emmerich Kalman, and Franz Lehár. It was during this era that the motion pictures were developed, though these did not become common until after World War I.

European literature underwent a major transformation during the Belle Époque. Literary realism and naturalism achieved new heights. Among the most famous realist or naturalist authors are Theodor Fontane, Guy de Maupassant, and Émile Zola. Realism gradually developed into modernism, which emerged in the 1890s and came to dominate European literature during the Belle Époque's final years and throughout the interwar years. Among the most prominent European modernist authors are Andrei Bely, Joseph Conrad, James Joyce, Franz Kafka, D. H. Lawrence, Thomas Mann, Robert Musil, Marcel Proust, Arthur Schnitzler, Robert Walser, and William Butler Yeats.


ee also

* "Fin de siècle"
* The corresponding Victorian and Edwardian period in Britain
* "Succès de scandale"
* Belle Époque (film)

External links

* [ The Belle Époque in Europe] (in English, French, German, Italian, many pictures of Art Nouveau architecture)

* [] The Belle Époque in Paris through postcards and documents

* [] The Belle Époque in Dijon through postcards

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См. также в других словарях:

  • Belle Époque — Belle Époque …   Deutsch Wörterbuch

  • Belle Epoque — Belle Epoque …   Deutsch Wörterbuch

  • Belle Epoque — Belle Époque Pour les articles homonymes, voir Belle Époque (homonymie) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Belle époque — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Belle Époque (homonymie) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Belle Époque — [bɛleˈpɔk] (frz. für „schöne Epoche“) ist die Bezeichnung für eine Zeitspanne von etwa 30 Jahren um die Wende vom 19. zum 20. Jahrhundert, hauptsächlich in Europa. Die genaue Datierung ist nicht verbindlich geregelt. Meist wird die Zeit von 1884… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Belle Époque — 〈[bɛl epɔ̣k] f.; ; unz.〉 Epoche eines geistigen u. wirtschaftlichen Aufschwungs in Frankreich zu Beginn des 20. Jh. [frz., eigtl. „schöne Epoche“] * * * Belle Époque [bɛle pɔk ], die; [aus frz. belle = schön, heiter u. époque = Epoche]: Zeit… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Belle Epoque — (Познань,Польша) Категория отеля: Адрес: ul.Prusa 6, Ежице, 60 820 Познань, Польша …   Каталог отелей

  • Belle Epoque — may refer to:*Belle Époque, a period in European history that began during the late 19th century and lasted until World War I * Belle Époque (film) , a 1992 Spanish film directed by Fernando Trueba *Belle Epoque (band), a European disco music… …   Wikipedia

  • Belle Epoque — (Шинон,Франция) Категория отеля: 2 звездочный отель Адрес: 14 Avenue Gambetta, 37500 Шино …   Каталог отелей

  • Belle Epoque — (Graglia,Италия) Категория отеля: Адрес: Via Casale Campiglie 2, 13895 Graglia, Италия …   Каталог отелей

  • belle époque — belle epoque [be lā pôk′] n. 〚Fr〛 [also B E ] the era of elegance and gaiety that characterized fashionable Parisian life in the period preceding WWI * * * belle é·poque (ā pŭkʹ) n. An era of artistic and cultural refinement in a society,… …   Universalium

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