Henri Bergson, Duree Reelle and high modernism.

McMahon, Sarah. (2013) Henri Bergson, Duree Reelle and high modernism. Masters thesis, University of Wales, Trinity St David.

Sarah McMahon new.pdf
Available under License CC-BY Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (793kB) | Preview


The cultural status and popular appeal of the philosopher Henri Bergson in the first decade of the 20th century is said to have exceeded even that of his fellow Parisian, Jean-­‐Paul Sartre in the 1950s. Bergson was an important influence on modernism, achieving a particular resonance with the ‘high modernist’ writers who were seeking new ways of giving expression to the ‘inner-­‐self’ and exploring the nature of time during a period when modernity was felt to be both moving too fast, and encroaching on individual identity and freedoms. This thesis aims to provide reinforcement, and also fresh evidence for the view that Bergson’s influence was more powerful and more widespread than has been recognised or acknowledged in the post-­‐war years. It starts by describing Bergson’s philosophy of time, intuition and inner experience, with its central distinction between ‘clock-­‐time’ (l’étendu), and ‘inner-­‐time’ (durée réelle). It then goes on to contextualise this within the intellectual and cultural environment of the period. The rapid dissemination of his ideas across Europe and America is explained by an analysis of the ideas themselves, and the intricate networks of early 20th century modernism which acted as their vectors. The decline in his influence is located within the history of ideology and culture, rather than in any philosophical critique. The main section of the thesis is based on a comparative exegesis of Bergson’s texts, and those of the modernists whom he inspired, revealing the anatomy of their application of his philosophy of durée, and his aesthetics to their work. The goal has been to convey the sense of excitement which his ideas generated, and demonstrate the creative, experimental ways in which they were adopted by the leading figures of high modernism, who, along with Bergson himself, have helped shape our own understanding of ourselves, and time, today.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Additional Information: Series: Carmarthen / Lampeter Dissertations.;.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bergson, Henri, High modernism, Philosophy
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Divisions: Theses and Dissertations > Masters Dissertations
Related URLs:
Depositing User: John Dalling
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2014 16:43
Last Modified: 26 Feb 2016 09:43
URI: https://repository.uwtsd.ac.uk/id/eprint/376

Administrator Actions (login required)

Edit Item - Repository Staff Only Edit Item - Repository Staff Only