1913. The Summer of the Century

©‎ Park KonykiadoViktória Bodó Booklány
Még semmi nem történt meg (Nothing has happened yet), 2014

©‎ Park KonykiadoThis one year divided the long nineteenth century from the short twentieth century. 1913 was the dividing point between what is referred to here as “happy peacetime” and hell itself. That was the year when a somehow nihilistic, rebellious, individualistic zeitgeist that was being stretched to breaking point reached its climax, while in the depths one could already sense the smell of ultimate disintegration and decay.

That was the year that personalities who were or were not acquainted with one another met in the continent’s major cities. Schönberg, who was infinitely superstitious, met Stravinsky, the reformer in music; Picasso, Kokoschka and Malevich met in painting, Proust, Rilke and the Mann brothers met in literature, Chanel appeared in a small hat shop and Mahler’s widow was mainly to be found in an artist’s bed. This luckless, mediocre painter, a certain A.H., and a figure by the name of J.(W.)S. travelling illegally under a pseudonym, probably walked past each other in a certain park, perhaps they even took their hats off politely to one another, as was customary at the time. And Jung and Freud left their mark on thinking for ever ….

The fact that ever since, we have talked about the soul, about the value of human beings, about war and peace, art, fashion, music and literature in the way that we still do today can be traced back to them. They were simply leading their lives, endeavouring to work, to cope, to love, and seeking success…. They gave us, posterity, fundamental terms, and the basis and reference points for our thinking.

Florian Illies
1913 : Az évszázad nyara
(Origin.: 1913 : Der Sommer des Jahrhunderts)
Translation: Fodor Zsuzsa.
Budapest: Park, 2014
ISBN 978-963-355-050-2