"Perhaps no problem of historical analysis is so challenging and provocative, and so beset with pitfalls, as the attempt to explain the relationship between social and cultural phenomena...", Gene Brucker, Renaissance Florence.
- lifelong concern as scholar for the connection between urbanization and civilization, between the social structure of cities and their culture they produced and enjoyed.
- Surely the former provided for the basics of life; but some cities /states succeeded in providing for 'the good life' and / or 'high culture:As Aristotle says: 'polis comes into existence for the sake of mere life; but it exists for the sake of the good life', that is they generated such goodwill among their citizens that the latter were ready to die to preserve that life.
For the Greeks, this good life was constructed around civic participation and freedom of expression in all forms [toleration critical].
- Of course many cliches here: 'give me liberty or give me death'; and certainly many died in the trenches of Flanders without a clear sense of what they were dying for.
- But this statement conceptualizes the problem: there are 2.5 levels of success: preserving life and providing for something more, namely the 'good life' of the active citizen. What then is the 0.5 in the mix? Does high cultural achievement[my 0.5] depend on the ability of a community to provide for 'the good life'?
- Let's be clear on one component: The good life is an ideal, and some cities approached that ideal more closely than did others. We are then discussing 'relative advantage'. If a community can provide its citizens with the 'good life' with something so valuable that citizens would risk their lives to defend, cultural achievement may be the result.
- For me personally this quest begins /began in the process of urbanization = civilization= Romanization that transformed Europe in the First-Third Centuries.
- So many of the quintessentially European cities were established in this period: Rome, Milan; Paris, Strasbourg, Lyon, Bordeaux; Cordoba, Lisbon, Barcelona; Cologne, Basel, Vienna to name by a few. And the Romans had a good eye for sites that would lend themselves to urban development.
- My fascination has been with how those cities transitioned from the Roman Peace, through the perils of Late Antiquity to morph again into centers of learning and production in the early modern and modern periods.
- Self determination, peace, prosperity characterize those Roman cities. They provided amenities [water in and out, venues for exchange of ideas, self administration].
- Not all cities achieve that transcendent state of high cuture we see in Classical Athens or Renaissance Florence, or in late 19th Century Paris. But later generations return to study their characteristic features, what made them work? Where did they fail? and why?
- Let me say now: I cannot give a sufficient reason to explain the success of Athens or Florence or Paris. They do share some characteristic features and I intend to explore them here in particular reference to Vienna. To anticipate: even if we had no written documentation, 19th Cent builders [of both public and private structures] wanted to link their own cities to those of Greece and Rome. There was a cultivated empathy for the Classical; a sense of shared values of the role of the citizen, the secular nature of his world.
- The Siege and the Walls; map of city in the 1830s; the KärtenerTor
- Congress of Vienna and 1848
- Vienna and the Danube Monarchy-language and ethnicity. To administer there had to be some toleration. Here Rome offered an important model for integrating ethnic groups 'no privilege, no exclusion'
- Preservation of life and the promotion of the good life.
- Preservation of Life:
- A dirty story -- control of water: open sewer [Paris] => Cholera. After 1848 all major European cities build modern sewers, including Vienna. But this transformation limited to the what was underground.
- Public latrines: model; top down.
- at Ostia;
another view and in Africa. latrine in provincial city;
- the medieval alternative
- a brave new world...at home; and those involved and their wagon. Chamber pots: one, two, three.
- more recently,
and a new perspective.
- At Rome the original. Sewar at Cologne.
- Construction inscription, boat trip,
- On the consequences
of a lack of public sanitation standards, see the plumber's page; note also village life.
- transportation: street car. metro_station. train_station
- The Promotion of the Good Life / of Civic Life.
- The Creation of the RingStrasse. KärtenerTor was replaced with the Opera. The medieval walls were dismantled and the glacis was replaced with the RingStrasse, a wide constellation of public buildings and amenities: parks, boulevards, and 'palais' [apartment blocks]. and other amenities.
- The role of the cafe / coffee house], consensus building between aristocracy and upper bourgeoisie [Schorske has more data]; open society,social mobility, multi cultural [see above]. Kuenstler Cafe. torten
- Significance of the classical model as more democratic, liberal and republican. Role of historicism in design.
- Ringstrasse and its buildings; the center of bourgeois culture and clearly secular and heavily classical:
- Civic: Parliament, University [Student life], Rathaus, and of course the Volksgarten.
- Cultural: Theater , Opera, MusicVerein [PhilharmonicHall, recall the video].
- Homage to various influence; and a sense of liberation from supersition of the past. Clearly secular.
- Financing? Important, and provided in the Chp 2 of Schorske's book.
- To judge by this focus there is a clear sense that the 'good life' was the consequence of participation in all aspects of civil life, but also a sense that the good life involved also the promotion of high culture. Public competions for design and decoration of public buildings; Klimt and other participated, they won and lost [below].
- Realities:sometimes more liberarl, sometimes more autocratic [Paris, Berlin and Vienna]; but after 1848
ascendancy of a upper bourgeoisie.
- relatively more democratic and more socially conscious; more social mobility; still life improves for other classes as well: Tanzsaal Sperl, evolution of the waltz from a folk dance to something more refined ==>Ball1, Ball2, Ball.
- status of intellectuals. Characterized by complicity and confrontation[Freud, Hofmannsthal], artists Klimt [one and two]. Still vastly improved toleration [Secession: its building and an example.] Painters are not just artisans, but true artists who can and do market their products to a broader audience.
- No one would claim that a classless society had been created: differences in status and wealth were readily apparent. Those that benefited? primarily the middle and bourgeois classes; but with amenities [music, sewers, boulevards, rising prosperity, etc.] at least the stage was set for more general improvements. More democratic; more social mobility, and ultimately more social justice.
- housing: best and no-so-good.
- People: lovers. lovers2. girl painting. Sissy. market women.
- And to return to the video shown on the first day of class...
- NewYears Concert from Vienna is a stable feature Eurovision and PBS; represents the epitome of 19th century Euro urban and civil culture; still immensely satisfying, yet artificial? and at the same time uplifting? Other-worldy?
- What then is the 'good life'? Is it rooted in the amenities of a prosperous and peaceful life? Is it a product of civic identity and empowerment as the Greeks and Romans throught? is it the sum of social services the communty makes available to its members?
- Belief that there is social mobility; that anyone can rise to enjoy the amenities.
- And it is certainly the case that the contemporary sense of the good life / high culture continues to be firmly rooted in Vienna and Paris of the mid 19th Cent, and that playing a Strauss waltz has the power to evoke a nostalgia for the long period of peace before WW1. But does a civic community need to support high culture to insure the loyalty and support of its citizens? Is providing social services enough? Can a state afford to do both?