Civilization Death

France in Early Modern Era (1500-1800)

High Feudal Era

1100 - 1800

Weak central Power and Constant Warfare

1300 - 1500

, notably “The Hundred Years War” (1338-1453) also afflicts France; death of Joan of Arc (1431

establishment by Henry IV of the Bourbon monarchy or “Old Regime

1500 - 1600

Civil wars in France in the early 1500s culminate with the establishment by Henry IV of the Bourbon monarchy or “Old Regime”; although feudal customs do not disappear completely France becomes more of a territorial state than Japan

“Nobility of the robe” supersedes “nobility of the sword”

1594 - 1789

Old Regime; The French monarchs also attempt to domesticate the landed, erstwhile feudal, aristocracy by immersing them in the ceremonial life at the Versailles Palace, Thirty Years War, Dutch War, reign of Louis XIV (1643-1715); “Nobility of the robe” supersedes “nobility of the sword”

rise of the bourgeauios and decline of nobles;

1700 - 1789

Population increases to 26 million, rise of the bourgeauios and decline of nobles; Reign of Louis XV (1715-74); Generally reviled by his countrymen; Louis XV’s death is discussed by the late 19th century historian H. Noel Williams in his life of Madame DuBarry; French Revolution 1789

Death of King Louis XV

May 10, 1774 - May 11, 1774

Petty Death

a. This text is taken from H. Noel Williams, Madame du Barry (New York, 1909) and is based heavily on contemporary documents related to the death of King Louis XV of France on May 10, 1774. Madame du Barry was the King’s mistress and widely resented by high courtiers as well as an object of ridicule throughout the land

Japan in Early Modern Era (1500-1867)

  1. Japan knew an era of extended peace and internal stability during what is known as the Tokugawa Period, ending sharply with the Meiji Restoration beginning in 1867

Beginning of Early Feudal period

1100 - 1180

is characterized by the rise of the samurai and decline of the court aristocracy

Victory of Genji over Heike

1180 - 1185

Victory of the Genji over the Heike in the Gempei Wars; establishment of the first samurai government or Bakufu in Kamakura in 1185

Era of Feudal Anarchy

1300 - 1500

Internecine warfare in Japan as warrior clans battle for power, era of feudal anarchy

establishment by Tokugawa Ieyasu of the Tokugawa Bakufu

1500 - 1600

The movement toward unification of feudal domains in Japan leads ultimately to the establishment by Tokugawa Ieyasu of the Tokugawa Bakufu; Ieyasu assumes the title of Shogun but allows his rival overlords to control their own domains in exchange for loyalty and service; rigid social structure of Daimyo (overlords), Samurai (retainers), peasants, and merchants

The Tokugawa Period

1600 - 1867

The Tokugawa Period; An era of peace and stability and prosperity in Japan as the Bakufu revives the institutions and ideologies of a Confucian agrarian bureaucracy or the rule by educated ‘gentleman’; This requires resocialization of the Samurai through education and Confucian etiquette; The alternate attendance system bears certain similarities to the ceremonial life at Versailles, Japan, however, enters an era of isolation unlike France. As in France, office-holding supersedes swordsmanship

Growth of Urban and Rural Economy

1700 - 1789

Growth of urban and rural economy, population rises to 30 million. Reign of the 6th Shogun Ienobu (1709-12); Arai Hakuseki (1657-1725) serves as a Confucian tutor and adviser for Shogun Ienobu, under his influence the Bakufu completes the transformation from a military to a civilian administration operating under the rules of etiquette. Hakuseki discusses his service to Shogun Ienobu and his infant successor, Ietsugu, in his autobiography Told Round a Brushwood Fire

Death of Shogun Ienoby

November 12, 1772 - November 13, 1772

shows the decline of Japanese learning that things have come to past

Decline and Breakdown of the Tokugawa Regime (1800-1867

1800 - 1867

o Internal Crisis:
 The impoverishment of the samurai class and growing discontent over the contradictions between social/political status and economic wealth
o External Crisis:
 The Perry Missions to Japan (1853-54) and the forced opening of the country under an "unequal treaty" system;
 Japan, like China, falls into a subordinate, "semi-colonial" status

Movement for Imperial Restoration

1855 - 1867

o Led by discontented lower samurai who initially call for the expulsion of foreigners from Japanese soil along with the overthrow of the Tokugawa Bakufu;
o Full-scale civil war breaks out in 1866 with dissidents establishing sectional bases in the Western domains of Choshu and Satsuma

Japan/Asia Modern World Era, 1860s – Global Wars of 20th Century

The Meiji Restoration

1867 - 1868

o The pivotal event in modern Japanese history which is highlighted by the final overthrow of the Tokugawa Bakufu and the restoration of the Imperial Household as a new symbol of centralized authority

The Meiji Period

1868 - 1912

Meiji reforms which include

1868 - 1875

o The abolition of the feudal social classes in favor of a self-help ideology of merit or competitive individualism;
o The elimination of the feudal domains in favor of prefectures for a new nation state;
o The legal recognition of private property and the virtues of capital investment;
o The establishment of universal education and conscription; the opening of the country for trade, travel, and cultural exchange;
o Rise of cultural iconoclasm

Seinan War or Satsuma Rebellion


o The last stand by diehard supporters of the old feudal regime;
o General Nogi fights for the new government forces;
o Discussed in Kokoro p. 246

Establishment of a constitutional monarchy


with separate executive, legislative and judicial branches

Imperial Rescript on Education


o A new public nationalism with neo-traditional language and values

The Rise of Romanticism in Japan

1890 - 1895

o Marked by the translation of works by major European romantics including Byron, Shelley, Keats, and Goethe

Suicide of Kitamura Tokoku


Sets off wave of philosophic suicides

Period covered by Kokoro

1895 - 1912

Japan's Industrial Take-off

1895 - 1905

Meiji Civil Code


o reaffirms the authority of the family patriarch regarding marriage and property rights

Natsume Soseki studies in England

1900 - 1902

o suffers a nervous breakdown;
o witnesses the funeral for Queen Victoria

Russo-Japanese War

1900 - 1902

o Imperial Army led by General Nogi;
o Japan emerges as an imperialist power in East Asia

Civilization Sickness

1905 - 1910

Increasing signs of "civilization sickness" and psychological despair among late Meiji intellectuals who become social "drop-outs"

Death of Tolstoy


Death of Meiji Emperor


o Followed by the suicide of General Nogi

Bolshevik Revolution


Japan - Era of Liberal Government and Mass Culture (1918-1932)

End of WWI


End of World War I; Hara Takashi becomes Japan’s first elected and first commoner prime minister; thus begins an era of liberalism, roughly equivalent to the German Weimar Republic

Treaty of Versailles


Failed socialist uprising in Germany leads to the brutal killing of Rosa Luxemburg; Treaty of Versailles launches an era of internationalist agreements, which gain wide support in Japan; founding of the Adam Smith Archive at Tokyo University; women’s suffrage movement begins in Japan (Lisa Erdman begins psychotherapy with Freud in Vienna)

Founding of Japanese Communist Party


1922 Founding of the Japanese Communist Party; Rilke completes Duino Elegies; Mussolini seizes power in Italy; moderate liberalism continues to flourish in Japan and Germany

Universal Manhood Suffrage


1925 Universal Manhood Suffrage in Japan; huge growth of an urban consumer culture which provokes attacks from the right; birth of Mishima Yukio; death of Rilke (1926)

Start of Great Depression

1929 - 1930

1929-30 Beginning of the world-wide Great Depression; unemployment soars throughout the
industrial world, including Japan; Dazai Osamu enters Tokyo University, majors in French literature and becomes enamored with surrealism; Freud publishes Civilization and its Discontents

Manchuria Incident


1931 Manchurian Incident marks the beginning of World War II in East Asia

Japan - Era of Militarism and Total War (1932-45)

Capitulation of the Liberal Gov't


1932 Rightist paramilitary groups in Japan call for the overthrow of the liberal-capitalist order;
the capitulation of the liberal government in favor of a national cabinet, but one that still exists under the bureaucratic and pluralistic rubric of the Meiji Constitution (1889)

Hitler takes Power


1933 Hitler appointed German chancellor and quickly assumes dictatorial power signaling the
collapse if the Weimar Republic; Japan and Germany withdraw from the League of Nations

Attempted Coup


1936 Attempted rightist coup by insurgents within the Imperial Army in downtown Tokyo; constitutional government under siege for three days although the coup is ultimately quashed (see Mishima’s Patriotism and Lieutenant Takeyama’s crisis); outbreak of the Spanish Civil War; Hemingway writes Capital of the World; Japan joins the Anti-Comintern Pact with Germany

Japan Invades China


1937 Japan launches a full-scale invasion of China followed by the Nazi invasion of Poland (1939)

Germany invades USSR


1941 German invasion of Soviet Union; Babi Yar and onslaught of the Holocaust; Pearl Harbor

Japan rocked with Nuclear Bombs


1944 Mishima Yukio joins a neo-romantic and quasi-fascist literary group at Tokyo University
1945 Nuclear attacks against Hiroshima and Nagasaki mark the end of World War II; beginning of the American Occupation (Kazuko and her mother move from devastated Tokyo to rural Izu)

Japan’s Re-emergence as an Industrial Democracy (1945 to the present)

New Constitution


1947 Drafting of a new Constitution with a strengthened legislature and firmer guarantees for individual rights; publication of Dazai Osamu’s Setting Sun (1935-1946, but mostly 1946)

End of American Occupation


1952 Ending of the American Occupation; release of Kurosawa Akira’s Ikiru (1952 with a few recollections of Watanabe’s prewar youth and recruitment for the war)

publication of Mishima Yukio’s Patriotism


1960 publication of Mishima Yukio’s Patriotism (1936);

Mishima commits Seppuku


1970 Mishima commits seppuku

Publication of The White House


1981 publication of The White Hotel by D. M. Thomas (1890-1941 and beyond?)

Intellectual Foundations of European Capitalism and Imperialism (18th-19th c.)

Proponents and Critics of Capitalism

Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations


Still optimistic (late 19th c. are pessimists) on individualism; anti-mercantilist, free trade, no tariffs, against accumulation of gold/silver, for division of labor, man as machine; invisible hand of supply/demand required human greed

Thomas R. Malthus, Essays on Population

1798 - 1803

stopping geometric population growth
two parents have four children (eventually eight) until equilibrium is reached; then the checks set in: (1) the positive check of death, (2) the preventive check of lower fertility

Karl Marx

1848 - 1894

Communist Manifesto (1848, with Friedrich Engels)
Das Kapital (1867-1894)

working class march to socialism is scientifically inevitable;
awareness by workers of the “alienation” of their value would lead to revolts to take back what was theirs;

as feudalism and slavery paved the way for capitalism, so capitalism would spawn socialism = dialectical

Herbert Spencer, Social statics;

1851 - 1855

or, The conditions essential to human happiness specified, and the first of them developed and Principles of Psychology

unchecked struggle for survival
the “unfit” should be allowed to perish in the name of progress; opposed public education, social reform, anything to mitigate the harsh realities of struggle

Charles Darwin

1859 - 1873

The Origin of Species (1859)
Descent of Man (1871)
Expression of Emotion in Man and Animals (1873)

made Spencer’s advocacy into scientific reality as “Social Darwinism”

challenged entire Judeo-Christian formulation of creation and of pre-eminent place of mankind

what we laugh at as Skopes trial fundamentalist idiocy in fact was a defense of humanity and humaneness all living things subject to evolution by natural selection (still optimistic) things getting better;

Sexual Selection - some members have greater ability to attract the opposite sex, which is how natural selection works

Grief over death is: (1) merely a serviceable habit
(2) antithetical to progress, and therefore most typical of women (mothers)
(3) a function of the nervous system, not the intellect, and results in trembling, sweating, fear, anger, exhaustion.

Change (progress) would occur more rapidly but for the contrary trend of grief –
like progress in genetic engineering! And cloning Dolly!

Friedrich Nietzsche

1886 - 1889

Beyond Good and Evil (1886)
Thus Spake Zarathustra (1884),
The Antichrist (1889)
The Will to Power (1889)
radical creative individualism (not capitalist bureaucratic alienated individualism);
rejects positivism (faith in science);
all assertions of knowledge -- whether mathematical, artistic, or linguistic are mere representations and not truth or nature itself.
“God is dead, we have killed him.” The death of God meant a joyful quest for the poetries of life.
His sister edited excerpts of his writings that were profoundly against women and Jews, that established the idea of a blond, Germanic super-race; 1000s of German soldiers went to the front in WW-I with copies of Thus Spake Zarathustra in their knapsacks (not Bibles, as with U.S. soldiers).
The assassins of Archduke Franz Ferdinand were reported to have been quoting Nietzsche in the cafes of Zagreb before proceeding to Sarajevo.

Selected aphorisms from Beyond Good and Evil: does any of this sound a bit like Sensei in Kokoro?

69: One has not watched life very observantly if one has never seen the hand that—-kills tenderly.
76: When there is peace, the warlike man attacks himself.
94: Man’s maturity: to have regained the seriousness that he had as a child at play.
104: Not their love, but the impotence of their love keeps today’s Christians from burning us at the stake.
116: The great epochs of our lives come when we gain the courage to re-baptize our evil as our best.
127: Science runs counter to the modesty of all genuine women. They feel as though it were being used to peek under their skins-—worse yet, under their dress and make-up.
131: The sexes deceive themselves about one another. For fundamentally they honor and love only themselves (or their own ideal, to say it more pleasingly). Man, for example, wants woman to be peaceable, but women are unpeaceable by their very nature, like cats, however well they have trained themselves to appear peaceable.
139: In revenge and in love, women are more barbaric than men.
144: When a woman is intellectually inclined there is usually something wrong with her sex. Even barrenness disposes her to a certain masculinity of taste; for man—if I may say so—is the “barren animal.”
145: Comparing men and women as a whole, one may say that women would not have their genius for adornment if they did not have the instinct for playing a secondary role.
156: Insanity is the exception in individuals. In groups, parties, peoples, and times, it is the rule.
157: The thought of suicide is a strong consolation; one can get through many a bad night with it.
164: Jesus said to his Jews, “The Law was made for servants. Love God as I do, love him as a son does. What do we sons of God care about morality!”

Sigmund Freud

1900 - 1905

The Interpretation of Dreams (1900)
(1905) The Psychopathology of Everyday Life
Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality

Like Nietzsche, Freud was profoundly ambivalent about women; they were his patients all his life and yet at the end he wrote that female sexuality was a mystery to him, like the dark continent of Africa.
Unlike Nietzsche, he adored scientific method, even as it led him to “prove” the significance of the irrational, the childish, the emotions, the id, and found a science that perhaps is not a science. At RU 1000 major in psychology, maybe 10 in religion

Judeo-Christian beliefs swept away; science offers no answer and may lead to destruction; racism and misogyny reach heights perhaps unknown in European history; WW-I destroys Europe on the ground “the killing fields of Flanders” and the Eastern front

The Readings and their Time Frame

Death of Shogun Ienobu


Who to chose as his successor, debate over letting child mourn father

Death of King Louis XV


Written in 1909
Selection from: H. Noel Williams, Madame du Barry



by Mary Shelley



Giuseppi Verdi

La Boheme


Movie clip from La Bohème (2008), film adaptation by Robert Dornhelm, with Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazón

Europe 1815-1914

A century of Peace

Peter the Great and Russia

1689 - 1725

moves capital from Moscow to St. Petersburg (built it from nothing)

Imitates the west
Frenchified manners – low-cut dresses for women; men in German suits
smoking, drinking, cursing just like real Europeans
translations of European literature; French language spoken by elites
cut off beards (agst. Old Believers)

Moscow (huge village) vs. St. Petersburg (Leningrad) (Euro city)
absolute autocracy
administration through a class of service nobility (all had to serve)

Legacy of Napoleonic Failure


no united, continental Europe
rise of artificially created nationalisms
no fraternal equality of all Europeans
rise of class conflict (socialism, communism)
balance of power (Prince Clement Metternich)

Tsar Alexander II Liberates all Serfs


a) received some land (usually not enough to live on) and had to pay freedom payments (a new form of taxes)
b) owners in black soil areas gave as little as possible whereas elsewhere peasants were saddled with payments for large amounts of unproductive land
c) compare with Am slavery (40 acres + mule)
d) the MIR (communal holding and rights) remained
romantic view of peasant communalism
denial of peasant greed
communal pasture & forest, + right to reallot
e) village elder (starosta) presided over a shkod, or assembly of heads of every village household to make decisions

Major peasant revolts & Anti-Jewish Sentiment

1890 - 1910

a) despite the mir, a class of rich peasants emerged everywhere who bought land and became moneylenders (mir-eaters, Jews)
b) major peasant revolts in 1902 & 1905, anti-Jewish pogroms
c) 1904-05 Russo-Japanese war. Japan’s navy destroys Russian fleet
d) Stolypin reform of 1906 privatizes all holdings, abolishing the mir
e) ca. 900,000 peasants “cashed in” their shares and left for Moscow or America, creating more inequality in the countryside (richer peasants, also poorer); many Eastern European Jews in NYC etc. from this migration
f) numbers of workers vastly increased, created DISincentives to capital & machine-intensive industrialization
g) control of bureaucracy by nobility left no place for intellectuals of peasant/worker origin - plenty of time to become anarchists, revolutionaries

Lenin's "What is to be Done"


“What Is To Be Done” Lenin - 1902 explicitly recognizes this cadre of elite revolutionaries who would work for peasants/workers

October Revolution in Russia


Three key factors in success of October 1917 revolution
a) mass industrial strike
b) disorder in the countryside
c) mass desertion in the army

Europe in the 20th Century Themes

French Revolution


The revolution signaled a throwing off of old traditions and customs of the wealthy classes, as the balance of economic power shifted toward the middle class with the rise of industrialism.

Shelley's father William Godwin, in fact, strongly influenced Romantic writers when he wrote Inquiry Concerning Political Justice because he envisioned a society in which property would be equally distributed.

September Massacres


The bloody "September Massacres" in which French revolutionaries executed nearly 1200 priests, royalists, aristocrats, and common criminals, occurred in 1792. This event and the "Reign of Terror," during which the revolutionary government imprisoned over 300,000 "suspects," made English sympathizers lose their fervor With the rise of Napoleon, who was crowned emperor in 1804, England itself was drawn into war against France during this time. After the war ended in

Ludite Movement


his movement encouraged people to sabotage the technology and machinery that took jobs away from workers. Because the new machines produced an unparalleled production rate, competition for jobs was fierce, and employers used the low employment rate against their workers by not providing decent wages or working condition

Pablo Picasso


Pablo Picasso, “Woman in an Armchair” (1913) – similar to parts of The White Hotel



by Natsume Soseki
1895-1912 marks the approximate period covered in the novel Kokoro
1894-95 Sino-Japanese War mentioned in Kokoro, p. 145
1898 Meiji Civil Code reaffirms the authority of the family patriarch regarding marriage and property rights
1899 Abrogation of the "unequal treaties"
1895-1905 Japan's Industrial "take-off"
1900-1902 Natsume Soseki studies in England; suffers a nervous breakdown; witnesses the funeral for Queen Victoria
1904-05 Russo-Japanese War Imperial Army led by General Nogi;
Japan emerges as an imperialist power in East Asia
1905-1910 Increasing signs of "civilization sickness" and psychological despair among late Meiji intellectuals who become social "drop-outs"
“Illustration of a Fierce Russo-Japanese War Battle” by Kyōkatsu, May 1904.
1907 Natsume Soseki leaves his position as a Tokyo University Professor of English to become a full-time writer as a staff member for Asahi Shimbun,
Japan's largest newspaper
1909 Soseki publishes his novel And Then (we use this for the Love course)
1910 Death of Leo Tolstoy
1912 Death of the Meiji Emperor
Followed by the suicide of General Nogi (both deaths are discussed at length in the novel Kokoro)

Europe/U.S. hostility to outsiders: Turks, Muslims, 3rd world immigrants


Xenophobia in Switzerland, Nazi skin-heads, Oklahoma bombing response, John Ashcroft, Homeland Security, French conflict with Muslim immigrants, Irish terrorist Rep. Peter King of NY holds hearings on Muslim terrorism

Outside of the World Hostile to US/EU


Outside world hostile to Europe/America – fundamentalists in Algeria, Egypt
Violence in Rwanda, South Africa, Chiapas in Mexico, Ghadaffi in Lybia,
Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Ayatollah Khomeni in Iran, Osama Bin Laden

Inability to deal and cope w/ Death


The inability to accept death and cope with it
1) Fragmentation/failure of religion
2) Demise of utopian optimism
3) Nuclear disaster, immediately replaced by ecological nightmare, – global warming, deforestation, oceanic pollution – then by “Weapons of Mass Destruction” – anthrax, SARS, smallpox – carried on our own airplanes or by them as in 9/11
4) Disease/death is anti-social and cannot be controlled – AIDS = Love means death, an ironic inversion of Boccaccio, love defies death