Friday, January 30, 2009




The story of ABBA (from start)
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Posted by ljiljan01
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The Story Of ABBA (Part One)
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The Story Of ABBA (Part Two)
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The History of ABBA (part 3)
Posted by gimmeabba15
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© Copyright 2008 Bebo at

ABBA represented a healthy challenge to the two-decades-long dominance of Western pop music by Britain and the United States. The musical context from which ABBA evolved was that of so-called Euro-pop – a flossy, bouncy, sometimes triumphantly silly fluff-music that derives not from the urgency of American blues (the source of rock) but from older forms of European folk music.
ABBA were a phenomenon. There was no way around that statement. In Oz they sold more records than anybody, ever. In England their Greatest Hits set was the biggest seller of 1976. In America Dancing Queen crashed the Top 10.
In Sweden they like to joke that ABBA was the nation’s biggest provider of revenue outside of Volvo. An exaggeration, of course, but just one of ABBA’s five companies was reputed to have paid a staggering $5.6 million tax in 1976 and 1977.
ABBA was the most successful pop group in the world, a show packed worth more than $70 million.
Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Anni-Frid, and their manager Stig Anderson were no longer innocents writing and singing Honey, Honey.
They have grown out of that part. They have gone to the top, and at the top, it was Money, Money, Money!
ABBA the music machine became ABBA the money machine. It became big business.
ABBA was making money on a grand scale. Money was rolling in at an increasing rate, and a rumour suggested there were plans to plough some of it into one of the biggest department stores in Stockholm. A likely price was $20 million.
ABBA’s rise was more methodical than meteoric, leading some to suspect that the group was more interested in marketing than music. Anderson insisted that this was a canard. “If you’re writing good songs, why shouldn’t the marketing be as good as the rest of it?” he asked. “After all, this is the first time in the history of show business that there has been 100% artistic control of writing, marketing, recording and record label. We’re just not giving it away to some third, fourth, fifth or sixth party.”
ABBA’s music was as tightly controlled as that dialogue. Every song, not just a few, rode on sprightly rhythms, bounced from melodic hook to melodic hook and was overlaid with the chiming vocals of Agnetha (Anna) Fältskog and Anni-Frid (Frida) Lyngstad. It was just the sort of music that dominated the American Top 40 – intense beat, frothy instrumentation and well-sung lyrics, much like Cyrkle’s Red Rubber Ball
ABBA, of course, stands for easy on the ear pop music of rock derivation, carefully-honed arrangements, catchy lyrics of no great substance and a stage presentation that has audiences on their feet and cheering loudly. The two girls do a lot of hip-wriggling and bottom-pushing of rich sex appeal, but at the same time remain as cool as any ziegfeld girl of the past. The cleanness of ABBA’s act and their obvious bourgeois appeal is never in doubt.

Benny and Bjorn

The ABBA story began in June 1966 when Björn Ulvaeus (born 1945) met Benny Andersson (born 1946) for the first time. Björn was a member of the Hootenanny Singers, a very popular folk music group, while Benny played keyboards in Sweden’s biggest pop group of the 1960s, The Hep Stars.
The pair wrote their first song together later that year, and by the end of the decade they had established a regular partnership as composers. By that time, Benny had left The Hep Stars, while the Hootenanny Singers only existed in the recording studio. The Hootenanny Singers released their records on the Polar Music record label, owned by Stig Anderson (1931–1997), who was to become ABBA’s manager. Stig also contributed lyrics to many ABBA hits during the first years of the group’s career.
In the spring of 1969, Björn and Benny met the two women who were to become not only their fiancées but also the other half of ABBA. Agnetha Fältskog (born 1950) had been a successful solo singer since releasing her first single in 1967. She and Björn were married in July 1971.

Agnetha 1982


Anni-Frid, also known as Frida, started her recording career shortly before Agnetha. Frida was of Norwegian origin, but had moved to Sweden at a very early age. Benny and Frida didn’t get married until October 1978.
They entered the 1973 Swedish selections for the Eurovision Song Contest with the song ‘Ring Ring’. They finished third, but the single and the album of the same name competed for the top positions on the Swedish chart. ‘Ring Ring’ also became a hit in several other European countries.
The group entered the selections again in 1974, this time with ‘ Waterloo’, which took them all the way to the finals in Brighton, England. By this time they had changed their name to ABBA, an acronym of their first names. ABBA was also the name of a Swedish canned fish company, which luckily agreed to lending their name to a pop group. The Eurovision Song Contest on April 6, 1974 turned out to be the most famous moment in ABBA history, when the group won the international juries over with ‘ Waterloo’.

ABBA wins Eurovision Song Contest 1974
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ABBA - Waterloo
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Soon after this triumph, ‘ Waterloo’ was Number One on the charts all over Europe, and even reached the US Top Ten. The album of the same name was also a huge hit in Sweden. However, the "stigma" of being winners of the Eurovision Song Contest made it difficult for ABBA to be taken seriously when they tried to follow this first success. It was not until some 18 months later that they got a major worldwide hit again with ‘SOS’, taken off their third album, simply titled ABBA.
Mamma Mia’, also taken from ABBA, returned the group to the UK Number One spot, which they occupied a total of nine times between 1974 and 1980. ‘Mamma Mia’ was also a Number One hit in Australia, which was the first territory to release it as a single in August 1975. Over the next few years, Australia would be caught up in a virtual ABBA fever, giving the group a total of six Number One hits.
(From Official ABBA biography, written by Carl Magnus Palm April 2008 for Polar Music International/Universal Music Group at
In March 1976, the band released the compilation Greatest Hits, despite having had only six Top 40 hits in the UK and the US. Nevertheless, it became their first UK #1 album, and also took ABBA into the Top 50 on the US album charts for the first time, eventually selling more than a million copies there. At the same time, Germany released a compilation named "The Very Best of ABBA", also becoming a number 1 album there whereas the "Greatest hits" LP followed few months later to number 2 on the German charts, despite all similarities with "The Very Best" album. Also included on Greatest Hits was a new single, "Fernando". This song had first been written by Ulvaeus and Andersson in Swedish for Lyngstad's #1 1975 solo album Frida ensam (Frida alone). After Lyngstad's major success with the song in Scandinavia, the group decided to record an English version. With "Fernando" hitting #1 in twelve countries worldwide (including the UK and Germany), it occupied the top position in Australia for 14 weeks, tying The Beatles for longest number one for "Hey Jude", making it one of the best-selling singles of all time in that country. That same year, the group received its first international prize, with "Fernando" being chosen as the "Best Studio Recording of 1975". In the US, "Fernando" reached the Top 10 of the Cashbox Top 100 singles chart and #13 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also topped the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, ABBA's first American number one single of any kind.
(Copyright 2009, iCubator Labs, LLC)

With history making runs of releases worldwide including :
19 top 5 U.K. hits, 9 of them #1's
15 top 10 hits in Australia, 6 being # 1
12 top 3 hits in Sweden
11 top 10's in Japan, 4 hit the top
23 top 5 hits in Holland, 8 were # 1's
21 top 10 singles in Germany, 9 at # 1
13 top 30 hits in the U.S.
(From ABBA histoty page at

ABBA gained immense international popularity employing catchy song hooks, simple lyrics, and a Wall of Sound achieved by overdubbing the female singers' voices in multiple harmonies. As their popularity grew, they were sought after to tour Europe, Australia, and North America, drawing crowds of near-hysterical fans, notably in Australia. Touring became a contentious issue, being particularly unpopular with Agnetha, but they continued to release studio albums to great commercial success. At the height of their popularity, however, both marriages of the band members (Benny with Frida, and Björn with Agnetha) failed, and the relationship changes were reflected in their music, as they produced more thoughtful lyrics with different compositions.
The group's next album, Arrival, a number 1 bestseller all over Europe and Australia, represented a new level of accomplishment in both songwriting and studio work, prompting rave reviews from more rock-orientated UK music weeklies such as Melody Maker and New Musical Express, and mostly appreciative notices from American critics. In fact, hit after hit flowed from Arrival: "Money, Money, Money", another number 1 in Germany and Australia, and "Knowing Me, Knowing You", ABBAs sixth consecutive German number 1 as well as another UK #1. The real sensation of all was "Dancing Queen", not only topping the charts in the loyal markets UK, Germany and Australia, but also reaching number 1 in the United States. In 1977, Arrival was nominated for the inaugural BRIT Award in the category "Best International Album of the Year". By this time ABBA were very popular in the UK, most of Western Europe and Australia.
In Frida the dvd, Lyngstad explains how she and Fältskog developed as singers, as ABBA's recordings got more and more complex over the years.
(Copyright 2009, iCubator Labs, LLC)

ABBA: Hit Singles from Start to Finish
Posted by Silverslayer1190
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From the video of "The Winner Takes It All"





1982: Release of ABBA's last single
"Under Attack/You owe me one".


ABBA working on "Super Trouper"



ABBA's performance at the "R.D.S Main Hall", Dublin
Their last live concert, ever, in Europe

"Mamma Mia!" is nominated for Best Soundtrack album
Motion picture or television.


Image from

George W. Bain has written, "Prejudice is one of the most unreasonable traits in character. It is said: 'One of the most difficult things in science is to invent a lense that will not distort the object it reflects; the least deviation in the lines of the mirror will destroy the beauty of a star.' How unreliable then must be the distorting lense of human prejudice. You do not know the forces that have given direction to the lives of others; if so, you might know why one is a member of this or that political party, why one lives north, another south, one on the land, another on the sea.
If yonder oak, that came from the finest acorn and promised to be the monarch of the forest, was dwarfed by simply a drop of dew; if yonder rolling river, bearing its commerce to sea, was turned seaward, instead of lakeward, by simply a pebble thrown in the fountain-head; why not have consideration for those whose circumstances and early training set in motion convictions differing from ours. God did not intend all the trees to be oaks, or that all the rivers should run in one direction, but He did intend all to make up at last His one great purpose.
We should not judge a person by one trait. There are persons for whom you may do fifty favors, yet make one mistake and they will never forgive you. Little things are suggestive of great things. We read that a ship-worm, working its way through a dry stick of wood, suggested to Brunell a plan by which the Thames river could be tunneled. The twitching of a frog's flesh as it touched a certain kind of metal led Galvani to invent the electric battery. The swinging of a spider's web across a garden walk led to the invention of the suspension bridge. The oscillation of a lamp in the temple of Pisa led Galileo to invent the measurement of time by a pendulum. A butterfly's wing suggested the combination of colors. So little things are suggestive of great things in character.
What are these little traits in human character? They are matches struck in the dark. Do you know what that means, a match struck in the dark? If not, get up some night when it's pitch dark in the room, run your face up against a half open door, knock the pitcher off the table and spill the cold water on your bare feet, sit down on a chair that's not there, and you'll realize what it means to strike a match. If I were to go into a parlor of one of your finest homes at midnight with all the lights out, I would see nothing, but let me strike a match and beautifully decorated walls, fine paintings, and furniture will meet and greet my vision.
You cannot be very long in the company of anyone until a match will be struck. Of one you will say, "that's good; I'm glad to find such a trait in that person," but directly another match will flare up and you will find another trait as disappointing as the other was commendable, and you are at a loss to know what "manner of man" you are with.
It's a wonder to me when so many characters are so difficult to solve that many young people rush headlong into matrimony without striking a match, except the match they strike at the marriage altar. A girl sees a young man today; he's handsome, talks well, and she falls in love with him, dreams about him tonight, sighs about him tomorrow and thinks she'll surely die if he doesn't ask her to marry him. Yet she knows nothing about his parentage or his character. No wonder we have so many unhappy marriages, so many homes like the one where a stranger knocked at the front door and receiving no response went around to the rear where he found a very small husband and a very large wife in a fight, with the wife getting the better of the battle.
We don't seem to realize that every public man is a teacher, every home is a school, and the education received outside the schoolroom is often more effective than the education inside. All the forces and elements of the organism of society are teachers and all life is learning. The birth of an infant into this world is its matriculation into a university, where it graduates in successive degrees. And do you know in this great school of human life that we never reach a grade that we are not influenced by what touches us? We are constantly being influenced by what touches us.
Many persons make themselves miserable by contrasting the little they have with the much that others have, when if they would compare their blessings with the miseries of others it would add to their contentment. There are more bright days than cloudy ones, a thousand song birds for every rain-crow,[page 53] a whole acre of green grass for every grave, more persons outside the penitentiary than inside, more good men than bad, more good women than good men; slavery, dueling, lottery and polygamy are outlawed, the saloon is on the run, the wide world will soon be so sick of war that universal peace, with "good will among men," will prevail, labor and capital will be peaceful partners and human brotherhood will rule in righteousness throughout the world.
It has been said: "We live in a materialistic age; that all human activities are born of selfishness; that manhood is dying out of the world." All over the land at midnight, men lean from the saddles of iron horses, peering down the railroad track, ready to die if need be for the safety of those entrusted to their care. Firemen will climb ladders tonight and their souls will go up in flames, like Jim Bludsoe's, to save the lives of imperiled women and children.
The man or woman who lives in this age of the world and lives in idleness, should have lived in some other age. When ox-teams crept across the plains, and stage coaches went six miles an hour, idleness may have been in some kind of harmony with the age, but now, when horses pace a mile in two minutes, express trains make fifty miles an hour, and aeroplanes fly a mile in a minute; when telephone and telegraph send news faster than light flies, the idler is out of place. Carlisle said: "The race of life has become intense; the runners are tramping on each other's heels; woe to the man who stops to tie his shoestrings!"
Yonder on the ocean a vessel springs a leak and soon the water stands thirty inches deep in the hold. The captain says: "To the pumps!" and the sailors leap to their places. At the end of one hour the captain measures and says: "Thirty inches; you are holding it down." Hour after hour the pumping goes on, with changing hands at the pumps, and hour after hour[page 302] the captain says: "You are doing well; she can't go down at thirty inches. Hold it there and we'll make the harbor." Twenty hours and the captain shouts: "Thirty inches; and land is in sight. Pump on, my boys, you'll save the ship." Suppose one of our croakers who says, "Prohibition won't prohibit," had been on board. He would have said: "Don't you see you are doing no good; there's just as much water as when you began." What would have become of the ship?
If we could live life over surely we could ask no better age than the one in which we have lived. We no longer toil over a mountain, but glide through it on ribbons of steel; telegraphy dives the deep and brings us the news of the old world every morning before breakfast; we talk with tongues of lightning through telephones and send messages on ether waves over the sea; we ride horse-cycles that run, never walk and live without eating; we travel in carriages drawn by electric steeds that never tire; the signal service gives us a geography of the weather, so the farmer may know whether or not to prepare to plow, and the Sunday school whether to arrange or to postpone its picnic tomorrow; airships mount the heavens, steamships plough the ocean's bosom, submarine torpedo boats undermine the deep with missiles of death, while photography turns one inside out, and doctors no longer guess at the location of a bullet. All these things have come to pass within our life-time. What may the young before us expect in the next fifty years?"
-Excerpts from 'Wit, Humor, Reason, Rhetoric, Prose, Poetry and Story woven into Eight Popular Lectures' by George W. Bain.
© 2003-2008 Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Image from the United States Library
Congress's Prints and Photographs Division

In THE SPIRIT OF YOUTH AND THE CITY STREETS, JANE ADDAMS has written, "Perhaps never before have the pleasures of the young and mature become so definitely separated as in the modern city. At the very outset we must bear in mind that the senses of youth are singularly acute, and ready to respond to every vivid appeal. This period of groping is complicated by the fact that the youth's power for appreciating is far ahead of his ability for expression. "The inner traffic fairly obstructs the outer current," and it is nothing short of cruelty to over-stimulate his senses as does the modern city. The newly awakened senses are appealed to by all that is gaudy and sensual, by the flippant street music, the highly colored theater posters, the trashy love stories, the feathered hats, the cheap heroics of the revolvers displayed in the pawn-shop windows. This fundamental susceptibility is thus evoked without a corresponding stir of the higher imagination, and the result is as dangerous as possible. We are told upon good authority that "If the imagination is retarded, while the senses remain awake, we have a state of esthetic insensibility,"—in other words, the senses become sodden and cannot be lifted from the ground. It is this state of "esthetic insensibility" into which we allow the youth to fall which is so distressing and so unjustifiable. Sex impulse then becomes merely a dumb and powerful instinct without in the least awakening the imagination or the heart, nor does it overflow into neighboring fields of consciousness. Every city contains hundreds of degenerates who have been over-mastered and borne down by it; they fill the casual lodging houses and the infirmaries. In many instances it has pushed men of ability and promise to the bottom of the social scale. Warner, in his American Charities, designates it as one of the steady forces making for failure and poverty, and contends that "the inherent uncleanness of their minds prevents many men from rising above the rank of day laborers and finally incapacitates them even for that position." He also suggests that the modern man has a stronger imagination than the man of a few hundred years ago and that sensuality destroys him the more rapidly.
It is difficult to state how much evil and distress might be averted if the imagination were utilized in its higher capacities through the historic paths. An English moralist has lately asserted that "much of the evil of the time may be traced to outraged imagination. It is the strongest quality of the brain and it is starved. Children, from their earliest years, are hedged in with facts; they are not trained to use their minds on the unseen." It is neither a short nor an easy undertaking to substitute the love of beauty for mere desire, to place the mind above the senses; but is not this the sum of the immemorial obligation which rests upon the adults of each generation if they would nurture and restrain the youth, and has not the whole history of civilization been but one long effort to substitute psychic impulsion for the driving force of blind appetite?
A certain number of the outrages upon the spirit of youth may be traced to degenerate or careless parents who totally neglect their responsibilities; a certain other large number of wrongs are due to sordid men and women who deliberately use the legitimate pleasure-seeking of young people as lures into vice. There remains, however, a third very large class of offenses for which the community as a whole must be held responsible if it would escape the condemnation, "Woe unto him by whom offenses come." This class of offenses is traceable to a dense ignorance on the part of the average citizen as to the requirements of youth, and to a persistent blindness on the part of educators as to youth's most obvious needs.
The young people are overborne by their own undirected and misguided energies. A mere temperamental outbreak in a brief period of obstreperousness exposes a promising boy to arrest and imprisonment, an accidental combination of circumstances too complicated and overwhelming to be coped with by an immature mind, condemns a growing lad to a criminal career. These impulsive misdeeds may be thought of as dividing into two great trends somewhat obscurely analogous to the two historic divisions of man's motive power, for we are told that all the activities of primitive man and even those of his more civilized successors may be broadly traced to the impulsion of two elemental appetites. The first drove him to the search for food, the hunt developing into war with neighboring tribes and finally broadening into barter and modern commerce; the second urged him to secure and protect a mate, developing into domestic life, widening into the building of homes and cities, into the cultivation of the arts and a care for beauty.
In the life of each boy there comes a time when these primitive instincts urge him to action, when he is himself frightened by their undefined power. He is faced by the necessity of taming them, of reducing them to manageable impulses just at the moment when "a boy's will is the wind's will," or, in the words of a veteran educator, at the time when "it is almost impossible for an adult to realize the boy's irresponsibility and even moral neurasthenia." That the boy often fails may be traced in those pitiful figures which show that between two and three times as much incorrigibility occurs between the ages of thirteen and sixteen as at any other period of life.
Many boys in the years immediately following school find no restraint either in tradition or character. They drop learning as a childish thing and look upon school as a tiresome task that is finished. They demand pleasure as the right of one who earns his own living. They have developed no capacity for recreation demanding mental effort or even muscular skill, and are obliged to seek only that depending upon sight, sound and taste. Many of them begin to pay board to their mothers, and make the best bargain they can, that more money may be left to spend in the evening.
This inveterate demand of youth that life shall afford a large element of excitement is in a measure well founded. We know of course that it is necessary to accept excitement as an inevitable part of recreation, that the first step in recreation is "that excitement which stirs the worn or sleeping centers of a man's body and mind." It is only when it is followed by nothing else that it defeats its own end, that it uses up strength and does not create it. In the actual experience of these boys the excitement has demoralized them and led them into law-breaking. When, however, they seek legitimate pleasure, and say with great pride that they are "ready to pay for it," what they find is legal but scarcely more wholesome,—it is still merely excitement. "Looping the loop" amid shrieks of simulated terror or dancing in disorderly saloon halls, are perhaps the natural reactions to a day spent in noisy factories and in trolley cars whirling through the distracting streets, but the city which permits them to be the acme of pleasure and recreation to its young people, commits a grievous mistake.
Perhaps never before have young people been expected to work from motives so detached from direct emotional incentive. Never has the age of marriage been so long delayed; never has the work of youth been so separated from the family life and the public opinion of the community. Education alone can repair these losses. It alone has the power of organizing a child's activities with some reference to the life he will later lead and of giving him a clue as to what to select and what to eliminate when he comes into contact with contemporary social and industrial conditions. And until educators take hold of the situation, the rest of the community is powerless.
The revolt of youth against uniformity and the necessity of following careful directions laid down by some one else, many times results in such nervous irritability that the youth, in spite of all sorts of prudential reasons, "throws up his job," if only to get outside the factory walls into the freer street, just as the narrowness of the school inclosure induces many a boy to jump the fence.
Even as we pass by the joy and beauty of youth on the streets without dreaming it is there, so we may hurry past the very presence of august things without recognition. We may easily fail to sense those spiritual realities, which, in every age, have haunted youth and called to him without ceasing. Historians tell us that the extraordinary advances in human progress have been made in those times when "the ideals of freedom and law, of youth and beauty, of knowledge and virtue, of humanity and religion, high things, the conflicts between which have caused most of the disruptions and despondences of human society, seem for a generation or two to lie in the same direction."
Are we perhaps at least twice in life's journey dimly conscious of the needlessness of this disruption and of the futility of the despondency? Do we feel it first when young ourselves we long to interrogate the "transfigured few" among our elders whom we believe to be carrying forward affairs of gravest import? Failing to accomplish this are we, for the second time, dogged by a sense of lost opportunity, of needless waste and perplexity, when we too, as adults, see again the dreams of youth in conflict with the efforts of our own contemporaries? We see idealistic endeavor on the one hand lost in ugly friction; the heat and burden of the day borne by mature men and women on the other hand, increased by their consciousness of youth's misunderstanding and high scorn. It may relieve the mind to break forth in moments of irritation against "the folly of the coming generation," but whoso pauses on his plodding way to call even his youngest and rashest brother a fool, ruins thereby the joy of his journey,—for youth is so vivid an element in life that unless it is cherished, all the rest is spoiled. The most praiseworthy journey grows dull and leaden unless companioned by youth's iridescent dreams. Not only that, but the mature of each generation run a grave risk of putting their efforts in a futile direction, in a blind alley as it were, unless they can keep in touch with the youth of their own day and know at least the trend in which eager dreams are driving them—those dreams that fairly buffet our faces as we walk the city streets."
From Project Gutenberg's The Spirit of Youth and the City Streets, by Jane Addams

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


As a student between 1877 and 1881, Jane Addams (6 Sept. 1860-21 May 1935), was among the first generation of college-educated women in the United States. She was an exemplary student and a charismatic campus leader, serving as class president all four years, editor of the school magazine, president of the literary society, and valedictorian. Ultimately, Addams was the first student to receive a bachelor's degree from Rockford, an event that marked the school's transition to collegiate status.

Image from the United States Library
Congress's Prints and Photographs Division

At the peak of her popularity in the years between 1909 and 1915, Addams became the first woman president of the National Conference of Charities and Correction (later the National Conference of Social Work), a vice president of the National-American Woman Suffrage Association and pro-suffrage columnist for the Ladies' Home Journal, a founding member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the author of six books, including her bestselling autobiography, Twenty Years at Hull-House (1910).
Before World War I, Addams had been the most famous and most respected American woman of her day. In 1906 the British labor leader John Burns called her "the only saint America has produced." In 1912 the Philadelphia North American called her "probably the most widely beloved of her sex in all the world." In 1913 the Twilight Club of New York asked three thousand "representative Americans" to name America's most socially useful Americans and Addams was listed first on over half of the ballots. That same year, the Independent asked its readers, "who among our contemporaries are of the most value to the community?" In that poll Addams came in second to Thomas Edison. As a result of her pacifism during the war, however, Addams's public image was transformed from saint to villain, and during the reactionary 1920s, many conservatives in the United States regarded her as a dangerous radical with suspicious ties to subversives.
During the last fifteen years of her life the criticisms of Addams darkened but did not defeat her political activism. She continued to lead Hull-House but spent increasing amounts of time and energy on international peace efforts. In her capacity as president of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom she traveled often to Europe and Asia, meeting with a wide variety of diplomats and civic leaders and reiterating her Victorian belief in women's special mission to preserve peace. Recognition of these efforts came with a gradual thaw in the U.S. political climate, and by the late 1920s Addams had regained her stature as a beloved public figure. The culmination of this restoration came with the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Addams in 1931. As the first U.S. woman to win the prize, Addams was applauded for her "expression of an essentially American democracy of spirit."
Age and ill health prevented Addams from playing an active role in the New Deal, but she did serve on the Chicago advisory committee of the housing division of the Public Works Administration and was one of the vice presidents of the American Association of Social Security. She was dismayed by the depression's widespread poverty but welcomed the opportunity it provided to expand public responsibility for the common welfare.
Addams died of cancer in Chicago, ten days after a banquet in Washington celebrating the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and its founder. Thousands attended her funeral in the courtyard of Hull-House and agreed with Walter Lippmann's editorial eulogy declaring her career "the ultimate vindication of the democratic faith."
In DEMOCRACY AND SOCIAL ETHICS, Addams has written , "we realize, too, that social perspective and sanity of judgment come only from contact with social experience; that such contact is the surest corrective of opinions concerning the social order, and concerning efforts, however humble, for its improvement. Indeed, it is a consciousness of the illuminating and dynamic value of this wider and more thorough human experience which explains in no small degree that new curiosity regarding human life which has more of a moral basis than an intellectual one.
The newspapers, in a frank reflection of popular demand, exhibit an omniverous curiosity equally insistent upon the trivial and the important. They are perhaps the most obvious manifestations of that desire to know, that "What is this?" and "Why do you do that?" of the child. The first dawn of the social consciousness takes this form, as the dawning intelligence of the child takes the form of constant question and insatiate curiosity.
Doubtless one under the conviction of sin in regard to social ills finds a vague consolation in reading about the lives of the poor, and derives a sense of complicity in doing good. He likes to feel that he knows about social wrongs even if he does not remedy them, and in a very genuine sense there is a foundation for this belief.
There are many people in every community who have not felt the "social compunction," who do not share the effort toward a higher social morality, who are even unable to sympathetically interpret it. Some of these have been shielded from the inevitable and salutary failures which the trial of new powers involve, because they are content to attain standards of virtue demanded by an easy public opinion, and others of them have exhausted their moral energy in attaining to the current standard of individual and family righteousness.
Such people, who form the bulk of contented society, demand that the radical, the reformer, shall be without stain or question in his personal and family relations, and judge most harshly any deviation from the established standards. There is a certain justice in this: it expresses the inherent conservatism of the mass of men, that none of the established virtues which have been so slowly and hardly acquired shall be sacrificed for the sake of making problematic advance; that the individual, in his attempt to develop and use the new and exalted virtue, shall not fall into the easy temptation of letting the ordinary ones slip through his fingers.
This instinct to conserve the old standards, combined with a distrust of the new standard, is a constant difficulty in the way of those experiments and advances depending upon the initiative of women, both because women are the more sensitive to the individual and family claims, and because their training has tended to make them content with the response to these claims alone.
There is no doubt that, in the effort to sustain the moral energy necessary to work out a more satisfactory social relation, the individual often sacrifices the energy which should legitimately go into the fulfilment of personal and family claims, to what he considers the higher claim.
If we could only be judged or judge other people by purity of motive, life would be much simplified, but that would be to abandon the contention made in the first chapter, that the processes of life are as important as its aims. We can all recall acquaintances of whose integrity of purpose we can have no doubt, but who cause much confusion as they proceed to the accomplishment of that purpose, who indeed are often insensible to their own mistakes and harsh in their judgments of other people because they are so confident of their own inner integrity.
There is no doubt that the great difficulty we experience in reducing to action our imperfect code of social ethics arises from the fact that we have not yet learned to act together, and find it far from easy even to fuse our principles and aims into a satisfactory statement. We have all been at times entertained by the futile efforts of half a dozen highly individualized people gathered together as a committee. Their aimless attempts to find a common method of action have recalled the wavering motion of a baby's arm before he has learned to coördinate his muscles.
If, as is many times stated, we are passing from an age of individualism to one of association, there is no doubt that for decisive and effective action the individual still has the best of it. He will secure efficient results while committees are still deliberating upon the best method of making a beginning. And yet, if the need of the times demand associated effort, it may easily be true that the action which appears ineffective, and yet is carried out upon the more highly developed line of associated effort, may represent a finer social quality and have a greater social value than the more effective individual action. It is possible that an individual may be successful, largely because he conserves all his powers for individual achievement and does not put any of his energy into the training which will give him the ability to act with others. The individual acts promptly, and we are dazzled by his success while only dimly conscious of the inadequacy of his code. Nowhere is this illustrated more clearly than in industrial relations, as existing between the owner of a large factory and his employees.
Social life, however, in spite of class distinctions, is much freer than industrial life, and the men resented the extension of industrial control to domestic and social arrangements. They felt the lack of democracy in the assumption that they should be taken care of in these matters, in which even the humblest workman has won his independence. The basic difficulty lay in the fact that an individual was directing the social affairs of many men without any consistent effort to find out their desires, and without any organization through which to give them social expression. The president of the company was, moreover, so confident of the righteousness of his aim that he had come to test the righteousness of the process by his own feelings and not by those of the men. He doubtless built the town from a sincere desire to give his employees the best surroundings. As it developed, he gradually took toward it the artist attitude toward his own creation, which has no thought for the creation itself but is absorbed in the idea it stands for, and he ceased to measure the usefulness of the town by the standard of the men's needs. This process slowly darkened his glints of memory, which might have connected his experience with that of his men. It is possible to cultivate the impulses of the benefactor until the power of attaining a simple human relationship with the beneficiaries, that of frank equality with them, is gone, and there is left no mutual interest in a common cause. To perform too many good deeds may be to lose the power of recognizing good in others; to be too absorbed in carrying out a personal plan of improvement may be to fail to catch the great moral lesson which our times offer.
We have assumed that much of our ethical maladjustment in social affairs arises from the fact that we are acting upon a code of ethics adapted to individual relationships, but not to the larger social relationships to which it is bunglingly applied. In addition, however, to the consequent strain and difficulty, there is often an honest lack of perception as to what the situation demands.
Nowhere is this more obvious than in our political life as it manifests itself in certain quarters of every great city. It is most difficult to hold to our political democracy and to make it in any sense a social expression and not a mere governmental contrivance, unless we take pains to keep on common ground in our human experiences. Otherwise there is in various parts of the community an inevitable difference of ethical standards which becomes responsible for much misunderstanding.
It is difficult both to interpret sympathetically the motives and ideals of those who have acquired rules of conduct in experience widely different from our own, and also to take enough care in guarding the gains already made, and in valuing highly enough the imperfect good so painfully acquired and, at the best, so mixed with evil. This wide difference in daily experience exhibits itself in two distinct attitudes toward politics. The well-to-do men of the community think of politics as something off by itself; they may conscientiously recognize political duty as part of good citizenship, but political effort is not the expression of their moral or social life. As a result of this detachment, "reform movements," started by business men and the better element, are almost wholly occupied in the correction of political machinery and with a concern for the better method of administration, rather than with the ultimate purpose of securing the welfare of the people. They fix their attention so exclusively on methods that they fail to consider the final aims of city government. This accounts for the growing tendency to put more and more responsibility upon executive officers and appointed commissions at the expense of curtailing the power of the direct representatives of the voters. Reform movements tend to become negative and to lose their educational value for the mass of the people. The reformers take the rôle of the opposition. They give themselves largely to criticisms of the present state of affairs, to writing and talking of what the future must be and of certain results which should be obtained. In trying to better matters, however, they have in mind only political achievements which they detach in a curious way from the rest of life, and they speak and write of the purification of politics as of a thing set apart from daily life.
On the other hand, the real leaders of the people are part of the entire life of the community which they control, and so far as they are representative at all, are giving a social expression to democracy. They are often politically corrupt, but in spite of this they are proceeding upon a sounder theory. Although they would be totally unable to give it abstract expression, they are really acting upon a formulation made by a shrewd English observer; namely, that, "after the enfranchisement of the masses, social ideals enter into political programmes, and they enter not as something which at best can be indirectly promoted by government, but as something which it is the chief business of government to advance directly."
Men living near to the masses of voters, and knowing them intimately, recognize this and act upon it; they minister directly to life and to social needs. They realize that the people as a whole are clamoring for social results, and they hold their power because they respond to that demand. They are corrupt and often do their work badly; but they at least avoid the mistake of a certain type of business men who are frightened by democracy, and have lost their faith in the people. The two standards are similar to those seen at a popular exhibition of pictures where the cultivated people care most for the technique of a given painting, the moving mass for a subject that shall be domestic and human.
In certain stages of moral evolution, a man is incapable of action unless the results will benefit himself or some one of his acquaintances, and it is a long step in moral progress to set the good of the many before the interest of the few, and to be concerned for the welfare of a community without hope of an individual return. How far the selfish politician befools his constituents into believing that their interests are identical with his own; how far he presumes upon their inability to distinguish between the individual and social virtues, an inability which he himself shares with them; and how far he dazzles them by the sense of his greatness, and a conviction that they participate therein, it is difficult to determine.
Morality certainly develops far earlier in the form of moral fact than in the form of moral ideas, and it is obvious that ideas only operate upon the popular mind through will and character, and must be dramatized before they reach the mass of men.
Ethics as well as political opinions may be discussed and disseminated among the sophisticated by lectures and printed pages, but to the common people they can only come through example—through a personality which seizes the popular imagination. The advantage of an unsophisticated neighborhood is, that the inhabitants do not keep their ideas as treasures—they are untouched by the notion of accumulating them, as they might knowledge or money, and they frankly act upon those they have. The personal example promptly rouses to emulation. In a neighborhood where political standards are plastic and undeveloped, and where there has been little previous experience in self-government, the office-holder himself sets the standard, and the ideas that cluster around him exercise a specific and permanent influence upon the political morality of his constituents.
Nothing is more certain than that the quality which a heterogeneous population, living in one of the less sophisticated wards, most admires is the quality of simple goodness; that the man who attracts them is the one whom they believe to be a good man. We all know that children long "to be good" with an intensity which they give to no other ambition. We can all remember that the earliest strivings of our childhood were in this direction, and that we venerated grown people because they had attained perfection.
Primitive people are still in this stage. They want to be good, and deep down in their hearts they admire nothing so much as the good man. Abstract virtues are too difficult for their untrained minds to apprehend, and many of them are still simple enough to believe that power and wealth come only to good people.
The successful candidate, then, must be a good man according to the morality of his constituents. He must not attempt to hold up too high a standard, nor must he attempt to reform or change their standards. His safety lies in doing on a large scale the good deeds which his constituents are able to do only on a small scale. If he believes what they believe and does what they are all cherishing a secret ambition to do, he will dazzle them by his success and win their confidence. There is a certain wisdom in this course. There is a common sense in the mass of men which cannot be neglected with impunity, just as there is sure to be an eccentricity in the differing and reforming individual which it is perhaps well to challenge.
Look at the constant kindness of the poor to each other, and that they unfailingly respond to the need and distresses of their poorer neighbors even when in danger of bankruptcy themselves. The kindness which a poor man shows his distressed neighbor is doubtless heightened by the consciousness that he himself may be in distress next week; he therefore stands by his friend when he gets too drunk to take care of himself, when he loses his wife or child, when he is evicted for non-payment of rent, when he is arrested for a petty crime. It seems to such a man entirely fitting that his alderman should do the same thing on a larger scale—that he should help a constituent out of trouble, merely because he is in trouble, irrespective of the justice involved.
We are constantly underestimating the amount of sentiment among simple people. The songs which are most popular among them are those of a reminiscent old age, in which the ripened soul calmly recounts and regrets the sins of his youth, songs in which the wayward daughter is forgiven by her loving parents, in which the lovers are magnanimous and faithful through all vicissitudes. The tendency is to condone and forgive, and not hold too rigidly to a standard. In the theatres it is the magnanimous man, the kindly reckless villain who is always applauded. So shrewd an observer as Samuel Johnson once remarked that it was surprising to find how much more kindness than justice society contained.
According to the same law, the positive evils of corrupt government are bound to fall heaviest upon the poorest and least capable. When the water is foul, the prosperous buy water bottled at distant springs; the poor have no alternative but the typhoid fever which comes from using the city's supply. When the garbage contracts are not enforced, the well-to-do pay for private service; the poor suffer the discomfort and illness which are inevitable from a foul atmosphere. The prosperous business man has a certain choice as to whether he will treat with the "boss" politician or preserve his independence on a smaller income; but to a day laborer it is a choice between obeying the commands of a political "boss" or practical starvation. Again, a more intelligent man may philosophize a little upon the present state of corruption, and reflect that it is but a phase of our commercialism, from which we are bound to emerge; at any rate, he may give himself the solace of literature and ideals in other directions, but the more ignorant man who lives only in the narrow present has no such resource; slowly the conviction enters his mind that politics is a matter of favors and positions, that self-government means pleasing the "boss" and standing in with the "gang." This slowly acquired knowledge he hands on to his family. During the month of February his boy may come home from school with rather incoherent tales about leaders, and the father may for the moment be fired to tell of Garibaldi, but such talk is only periodic, and the long year round the fortunes of the entire family, down to the opportunity to earn food and shelter, depend upon the "boss."
All parts of the community are bound together in ethical development. If the so-called more enlightened members accept corporate gifts from the man who buys up the council, and the so-called less enlightened members accept individual gifts from the man who sells out the council, we surely must take our punishment together. There is the difference, of course, that in the first case we act collectively, and in the second case individually; but is the punishment which follows the first any lighter or less far-reaching in its consequences than the more obvious one which follows the second?
Have our morals been so captured by commercialism, to use Mr. Chapman's generalization, that we do not see a moral dereliction when business or educational interests are served thereby, although we are still shocked when the saloon interest is thus served?
After all, what the corrupt alderman demands from his followers and largely depends upon is a sense of loyalty, a standing-by the man who is good to you, who understands you, and who gets you out of trouble. All the social life of the voter from the time he was a little boy and played "craps" with his "own push," and not with some other "push," has been founded on this sense of loyalty and of standing in with his friends. Now that he is a man, he likes the sense of being inside a political organization, of being trusted with political gossip, of belonging to a set of fellows who understand things, and whose interests are being cared for by a strong friend in the city council itself. All this is perfectly legitimate, and all in the line of the development of a strong civic loyalty, if it were merely socialized and enlarged. Such a voter has already proceeded in the forward direction in so far as he has lost the sense of isolation, and has abandoned the conviction that city government does not touch his individual affairs. Even Mill claims that the social feelings of man, his desire to be at unity with his fellow-creatures, are the natural basis for morality, and he defines a man of high moral culture as one who thinks of himself, not as an isolated individual, but as a part in a social organism.
Would it be dangerous to conclude that the corrupt politician himself, because he is democratic in method, is on a more ethical line of social development than the reformer, who believes that the people must be made over by "good citizens" and governed by "experts"? The former at least are engaged in that great moral effort of getting the mass to express itself, and of adding this mass energy and wisdom to the community as a whole.
The wide divergence of experience makes it difficult for the good citizen to understand this point of view, and many things conspire to make it hard for him to act upon it. He is more or less a victim to that curious feeling so often possessed by the good man, that the righteous do not need to be agreeable, that their goodness alone is sufficient, and that they can leave the arts and wiles of securing popular favor to the self-seeking. This results in a certain repellent manner, commonly regarded as the apparel of righteousness, and is further responsible for the fatal mistake of making the surroundings of "good influences" singularly unattractive; a mistake which really deserves a reprimand quite as severe as the equally reprehensible deed of making the surroundings of "evil influences" so beguiling. Both are akin to that state of mind which narrows the entrance into a wider morality to the eye of a needle, and accounts for the fact that new moral movements have ever and again been inaugurated by those who have found themselves in revolt against the conventionalized good."
From The Project Gutenberg EBook of Democracy and Social Ethics, by Jane Addams

A wall-mounted quote by Jane Addams
The American Adventure
The World Showcase pavilion
Walt Disney World's Epcot
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Centennial Dinner honoring Jane Addams
Photo by Wallace Kirkland//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Alfons Mucha, half-length portrait, facing right
Date Copyrighted 1906
Author Geo. K. Lawrence Co., Chicago
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Maude Adams (1872–1953) as Joan of Arc
Technique Poster 1909
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Source Art Renewal Center Museum
Created by Mucha in Chicago

Alfons Maria Mucha (1860 - 1939) was born in the town of Ivančice, Moravia (today's region of Czech Republic). His singing abilities allowed him to continue his education through high school in the Moravian capital of Brno, even though drawing had been his first love since childhood. He worked at decorative painting jobs in Moravia, mostly painting theatrical scenery, then in 1879 moved to Vienna to work for a leading Viennese theatrical design company, while informally furthering his artistic education. When a fire destroyed his employer's business in 1881 he returned to Moravia, doing freelance decorative and portrait painting. Count Karl Khuen of Mikulov hired Mucha to decorate Hrušovany Emmahof Castle with murals, and was impressed enough that he agreed to sponsor Mucha's formal training at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts.

La Primevère

Mucha produced a flurry of paintings, posters, advertisements, and book illustrations, as well as designs for jewellery, carpets, wallpaper, and theatre sets in what was initially called the Mucha Style but became known as Art Nouveau. Mucha's works frequently featured beautiful healthy young women in flowing vaguely Neoclassical looking robes, often surrounded by lush flowers which sometimes formed haloes behind the women's heads. In contrast with contemporary poster makers he used paler pastel colors. The 1900 Universal Exhibition in Paris diffused the "Mucha style" internationally. He decorated the Bosnia and Herzegovina Pavilion and collaborated in the Austrian one. His Art Nouveau style was often imitated. However, this was a style that Mucha attempted to distance himself from throughout his life; he insisted always that, rather than adhering to any fashionable stylistic form, his paintings came purely from within and Czech art. He declared that art existed only to communicate a spiritual message, and nothing more; hence his frustration at the fame he gained through commercial art, when he wanted always to concentrate on more lofty projects that would ennoble art and his birthplace.
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

La Plume
Alphonse Mucha achieved international fame as a master of Art Nouveau, the decorative style of sensuous and opulent decoration that captured the fin-de-siecle world but was rapidly supplanted by the harsher vision of modernism. His poster art remains familiar over sixty years after his death, but the work he considered his masterpiece is sadly neglected. Whilst the series is now on public display, it is confined to a remote Czech village and outside this site, images are hard to find.
The Slav Epic is nevertheless a monumental artistic achievement; it consists of twenty enormous canvases, some as tall as 6 metres, presenting a brilliantly conceived narrative history of the Slavic people in general and the Czech people in particular.

Zyziza photo at

Mucha's first theatrical poster without Sarah Bernhardt was one of three projects he made at the printing firm of Camis before settling down with Champenois. The play, a comedy by Maurice Donnay, starred Jeanne Granier and Lucien Guitry, and premiered on November 5, 1895.
(By Zyziza at

Chocolat Ideal
Zyziza photo at

Bieres de la Meuse
Zyziza photo at

The jovial beer drinker has her long flowing tresses adorned with some appropriate beer ingredients, including barley stalks and green hops, and large field poppy flowers indigenous to northeastern France. This is another one of Mucha's characteristic designs featuring a beauty, semicircular and circular motifs, and artfully meandering hair.
(By Zyziza at

Pévecké sdruzeni ucitelu moravskych
Zyziza photo at

Princezna Hyacinta
Zyziza photo at

Printed in Prague, this poster advertised Princess Hyacinth by Ladislav Novák and Oskar Nedbal, a fairy tale ballet and pantomime about a blacksmith who dreams that his daughter is a princess kidnapped by a sorcerer. The popular actress Andula Sedláková starred in the title role and her portrait with its icy blue eyes and fixed gaze dominates the poster.
Mucha uses the decoration, which incorporates hearts, the tools of the blacksmith, a crown and instruments of sorcery, to make references to the plot of the ballet. The motif of the hyacinth is used throughout the design, from the embroidered robes to the exquisite silver jewellery, as well as in the circular device held by the princess.
(By Zyziza at
In his studio on the Zbiroh Castle in 1911, Mucha began creation of a monumental and controversial series of paintings known as the "Slav Epics" (in Czech: "slovanská epopej"). The series attempted to record slavic history, and in so doing, justify and solidify the basic ideas of the new state. The whole project was sponsered by the American industrialist and diplomat Charles R. Crane. In 1928 - after moving into his own house in Prague-Bubeneč - Mucha donated the entire series of paintings to the city of Prague. In 1921, five of these paintings were displayed to great acclaim in Chicago and New York. Since 1963 you can see the complete series in the castle of Moravský Krumlov near Mucha's town of birth Ivančice.
(© Gerhard Batz 1997-2001)
The last thirty years of his life were devoted to these not particularly fortunate works and to a number of official orders which he was granted by the new Czechoslovak republic.
(From think magazine, Inkybrain Media Ventures Pte Ltd)

Slavs in their Original Homeland
Between the Turanian Whip and the Sword of the Goths

The first painting of the series presents a Slavic Adam and Eve in hiding from an invasionary force sometime during the third to sixth centuries. The white of their clothing represents purity and innocence and contrasts with the flames of a village set ablaze by the soldiers. Most interesting is the levitating figure on the right; he is a pagan priest praying for mercy for his suffering people. Under his his left arm is a girl wearing a green wreath as a symbol of peace and under his right is a warrior youth representing the just war. The message conveyed is that, in future, the Slavic people must fight for their freedom.
After spending many years in Paris and America, Mucha returned to Prague in 1910 with the Slav Epic project as his driving ambition. He had arranged funding from the American, Charles Crane, and the work occupied the years 1912 to 1928. The first eleven canvases were displayed in Prague's Klementium in 1919 to great public interest and acclaim. Critical opinion though was hostile, being out of sympathy with was was seen as its dated nationalism and academic style.

Located in Moravský Krumlov
© 2004 - 2009 malyfred

Various canvases from from the sequence were displayed in both Czechoslovakia and America over the next twenty years producing a similarly ambivalent reaction. Mucha gifted the Slav Epic to the city of Prague in 1928. The sequence is divided equally between Czech and broader Slavic themes, and is also arranged thematically along allegorical, religious, military and cultural lines. As well as the time spent composing the paintings, Mucha devoted considerable energy to research involving travel throughout the Balkans and Russia; this scholastic approach resulted in considerable moral and didactic content.
The first twelve painting group readily into blocks of three:
The first three deal with the early days of Slavic history and are highly symbolic, using the devise of an upper and lower register.
The next three are centred around specific rulers from the early middle ages.
The Magic of the word triptych deals with the emergence of a Slavic religious consciousness, centred around Jan Huss.
Finally, there are three murals illustrating the effects of the Hussite wars:
These series establish the themes of the series which are:
Celebration of Slavic love of peace, piety and learning.
Lamentation of the interference of foreign oppressors, and the wars they bring.
Pleas for Slavic unity, which finds expression in Slavic liturgy and religion.
These ideas recur repeatedly in the remainder of the series, which is supportive of the right of the peoples of the world to live and prosper in an environment free from oppression and subjugation. Its creation marked a shift in Mucha's artistic interest from the individual to the collective in an attempt to inspire his countrymen to achieve their full destiny. This has being unfairly characterised as jingoism, but can more accurately be understood by considering Mucha's own words:
'I am convinced that the development of every nation may proceed with success only if it grows organically and continuously form the nation's own roots and that for the preservation of this continuity, knowledge of its historical past is indispensable.'

Petr Chelcicky at Vodnany
Do not repay evil with evil

This composition though stylistically similar to the depiction of the battle of Vitkov, deals with a different aspect of the Hussite Wars. Vodnany was a small town caught in the crossfire between the Hussites and the Germanic forces. They chose to flee to Petr Chelcicky, a religious peasant philospher. When they arrived, they lay down exhausted and dieing, consumed by anger and grief, their homes burning in the background. Chelcicky moves amongst them with a Bible, offering comfort and support, asking that they do not seek vengeance.
This is the most clearly pacifist of Mucha's series of battle paintings and relates closely to the carnage brought about by the First World War which was drawing to a close when the scene was painted.

The Abolition of Serfdom in Russia
Work in Freedom is the Foundation of a State

In Russia, serfdom was abolished by means of the Emancipation Edict of 1861, much later than elsewhere in Europe, The painting of the occasion shows a subdued crowd, uncertain as to what to make of the event, as perhaps expressed by the mother and child figure looking out from the left, her anxious expression reflecting the hard peasant life.

The Bohemian King Premysl Otakar II
The Union of Slavic Dynasties

Premysl Otakar II who ruled from 1253 to 1278, was one of the greatest kings in Czech history, famed for his military successes, wealth generosity and political acumen. The mural depicts the wedding celebration of one of his nieces, to which he invited all Slavic rulers in an attempt to forge an alliance and bring about peace.
The setting is a large tent with a enclosed chapel showing the King's crest, a spread eagle. Otakar himself, is greeting two of his guests while others inanimately observe.

Coronation of Serbian Tsar Stepan Dusan as East Roman Emperor
The Slavic Code of Law

Stepan Dusan was a strong military leader who took advantage of the failing Byzantine empire to expand Slavic territory southwards, being crowned in 1346 as Tsar of the Serbs and Greeks. From this position he instituted a code of law which held force throughout the Roman Empire.
The subject of the picture is the procession which followed the coronation. It is led by young girls in native dress who steal the scene from the elders bearing the Tsar's sword and crown, their youth expressing Mucha's hope for the future. The newly crowned Tsar's red-lined cloak frames his figure in the centre of the composition.
(From The Slav Epic at

© Copyright 1996-2009 Radio Prague

Alfons Maria Mucha handwritings
Source: Don Kurtz
Images is courtesy of the Art Renewal Center


Alphonse Mucha with his decorative posters has become a kind of trademark and synonym for the Art Nouveau movement. In the sixties his poster reproductions had a revival and were popular again among the flower-power and hippie generation.

Monday, January 26, 2009


William James in 1858, age 16
From William James Page
On April 29, 1870 William James, after reading an essay by French philosopher Charles Renouvier, decided that "My first act of free will shall be to believe in free will." This brought an end to a personal crisis of depression and marked the beginning of James's own brand of psychology. Some Problems of Philosophy, is his start on a systematic treatise for metaphysics which offered his own unique philosophical perspectives.
Horace M. Kallen, a student of James and another young philosopher, Ralph Barton Perry edited this last work of James.

Henry James, age 20-21,
app. 1863
From William James Page

James begins, "The progress of society is due to the fact that individuals vary from the human average in all sorts of directions, and that the originality is often so attractive or useful that they are recognized by their tribes as leaders, and become objects of envy or admiration, and setters of new ideals.
Philosophy is dogmatic, and pretends to settle things by pure reason, whereas the only fruitful mode of getting at truth is to appeal to concrete experience. Science collects, classes, and analyzes facts, and thereby far outstrips philosophy.
The problem convenient to take up next in order will be that of the difference between thoughts and things. 'Things' are known to us by our senses, and are called 'presentations' by some authors, to distinguish them from the ideas or 'representations' which we may have when our senses are closed. We have grown accustomed to the words, 'percept' and 'concept' in treating of the contrast, but concepts flow out of percepts and into them again, they are so interlaced, and our life rests on them so interchangeably and undiscriminatingly, that it is often difficult to impart quickly to beginners a clear notion of the difference meant. Sensation and thought in man are mingled, but they vary independently. In our quadrupedal relatives thought proper is at a minimum, but we have no reason to suppose that their immediate life of feeling is either less or more copious than ours.

William James, mid-1890s
From William James Page

The great difference between percepts and concepts is that percepts are continuous and concepts are discrete. Not discrete in their being, for conception as an act is part of the flux of feeling, but discrete from each other in their several meanings.
So many disputes in philosophy hinge upon ill-defined words and ideas, each side claiming its own word or idea to be true, that any accepted method of making meanings clear must be of great utility. No method can be handier of application than our pragmatic rule. If you claim that any idea is true, assign at the same time some difference that its being true will make in some possible person's history, and we shall know not only just what you are really claiming but also how important an issue it is, and how to go to work to verify the claim. In obeying this rule we neglect the substantive content of the concept, and follow its function only. This neglect might seem at first sight to need excuse, for the content often has a value of its own which might conceivably add luster to reality, if it existed, apart from any modification wrought by it in the other parts of reality.
We harness perceptual reality in our concepts in order to drive it better to our ends. ...the better we understand anything the more we are able to tell about it. Judged by this test, concepts do make us understand our percepts better...
...An ancient philosophical opinion, inherited from Aristotle, is that we do not understand a thing until we know it by its causes.
We thus see clearly what is gained and what is lost when percepts are translated into concepts. Perception is solely of the here and now; conception is of the like and unlike, of the future, of the past, and of the far away. Who can decide offhand which is absolutely better to live or to understand life? We must do both alternately, and a man can no more limit himself to either than a pair of scissors can cut with single one of its blades."

William James,
photograph taken by Mrs. Montgomery Sears,
circa 1894-95
From William James Page

James quoted Malebranche, Nicholas (1638-1715), Cartesian Philosopher, Platonic Idealist, "Your sensational modalities, writes one of these, are but darkness, remember that. Mount higher, up to reason, and you will see light. Impose silence on your senses, your imagination, and your passions, and you will then hear the pure voice of interior truth, the clear and evident replies of our common mistress [reason]. Never confound that evidence which results from the comparison of ideas with the vivacity of those feelings which move and touch you.... We must follow reason despite the caresses, the threats and the insults of the body to which we are conjoined, despite the action of the objects that surround us.... I exhort you to recognize the difference there is between knowing and feeling, between our clear ideas, and our sensations always obscure and confused."
James goes on to say, "No real thing can be in two relations at once; the same moon, for example, cannot be seen both by you and by me. For the concept 'seen by you' is not the concept 'seen by me'; and if, taking the moon as a grammatical subject and, predicating one of these concepts of it, you then predicate the other also, you become guilty of the logical sin of saying that a thing can both be A and not-A at once. Learned trifling again; for clear though the conceptual contradictions be, nobody sincerely disbelieves that two men see the same thing.
Black in the coat and black in the shoe are the same in so far forth as both shoe and coat are called black — the fact that on this view the name can never twice be the 'same' being quite overlooked. What now does the concept 'same' signify? Applying, as usual, the pragmatic rule, we find that when we call two objects the same we mean either (a) that no difference can be found between them when compared, or (b) that we can substitute the one for the other in certain operations without changing the result. If we are to discuss sameness profitably we must bear these pragmatic meanings in mind.
Do then the snow and the paper show no difference in color? And can we use them indifferently in operations? They may certainly replace each other for reflecting light, or be used indifferently as backgrounds to set off anything dark, or serve as equally good samples of what the word 'white' signifies. But the snow may be dirty, and the paper pinkish or yellowish without ceasing to be called 'white'; or both snow and paper in one light may differ from their own selves in another and still be 'white,' — so the no-difference criterion seems to be at fault. This physical difficulty (which all house painters know) of matching two tints so exactly as to show no difference seems to be the sort of fact that nominalists have in mind when they say that our ideal meanings are never twice the same. Must we therefore admit that such a concept as 'white' can never keep exactly the same meaning?
According to James, 'evidently it is got in our own personal activity-situations. In all of these what we feel is that a previous field of 'consciousness' containing (in the midst of its complexity) the idea of a result, develops gradually into another field in which that result either appears as accomplished, or else is prevented by obstacles against which we still feel ourselves to press.
To some such vague vision are we brought by taking our perceptual experience of action at its face-value, and following the analogies which it suggests.
Even if our desires be an unconditional causal factor in the only part of the universe where we are intimately acquainted with the way creative work is done, desire is anything but a close factor, even there. The part of the world to which our desires lie closest is, by the consent of physiologists, the cortex of the brain. If they act causally, their first effect is there, and only through innumerable neural, muscular, and instrumental intermediaries is that last effect which they consciously aimed at brought to birth. Our trust in the face-value of perception was apparently misleading."
(Some Problems of Philosophy, 1911, with review by Doug Renselle at Quantonics, Inc.)

James letter to Carl, from Cambridge
From William James Page

William James in 1907
Photo taken for Harvard University
m '69 denotes that he received his medical degree in 1869
From William James Page