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[<<] 1850s [>>]

Parent 1800s

By year: 1850 - 1851 - 1852 - 1853 - 1854 - 1855 - 1856 - 1857 - 1858 - 1859

Literature: Les Fleurs du mal (1857) - Madame Bovary (1857) - Artifical Paradises (1850s) - The Origin of Species (1859)

Events and trends: rise of photography as an art form - the Great Exhibition (UK world fair) - invention of pulp paper - first purpose-built music halls - start of "industrial design" - start of modernism

The Crystal Palace (1851) - Joseph Paxton

Poem of the Soul, Nightmare (1854) - Louis Janmot (1814-1892)

Great Day of His Wrath (1851-53) - John Martin
Image sourced here.

Fading Away (1858) - Henry Peach Robinson

“The degenerate human being, if he is abandoned to himself, falls into a progressive degradation. He becomes…not only incapable of forming part of the chain of transmission of progress in human society, he is the greatest obstacle to this progress through his contact with the healthy proportion of the population.” Bénédict Augustin Morel, Treatise on the Physical, Intellectual and Moral Degeneration of the Human Race, 1857

Wood pulp [...]

Around 1850, a German named Friedrich Gottlob Keller crushed wood with a wet grindstone to obtain wood pulp. Further experimentation by American chemist C.B. Tilghman and Swedish inventor C.F. Dahl enabled the manufacture of wood pulp using chemicals to break down the fibres. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_pulp#History [Nov 2005]

Variety Shows, Music Hall Entertainment, and Dance Halls

1852: Canterbury Hall entrance, the first purpose built music hall
Image sourced here. [Dec 2004]

Music Hall is a type of British theatre which had its start in the public "song and supper" rooms of the 1850s. It flourished from the 1890s to the Second World War, when other forms of popular music evolved and it began to be replaced by films as the most popular form of entertainment.

British Music Hall was similar to American vaudeville, featuring rousing songs and standard jokes, while in the United Kingdom the term vaudeville referred to more lowbrow entertainment that would have been termed burlesque in the United States. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_Hall

Early in the nineteenth century, many British taverns had a "music room" adjacent to the bar in which entertainment was performed. These variety shows presented singers, dancers, and comedians. In 1850, these entertainment lounges were separated from taverns to appeal to more middle-class, family audiences.

Despite the move, British music hall entertainment still had much to offer non-heterosexual patrons, for it often featured a "best boy" (a woman in a breeches role) and the "dame" (played by a man in drag). The fact that men were playing men, women playing women, men playing women, and women playing men on the same stage allowed for numerous double entendres, comic misconceptions, and sexual layerings.

These same conventions were employed in British pantomime, which began in the 1870s and continues to this day in the form of the English Christmas pantomime.

While the famous dance halls of Paris--such as the Folies Bergères (est. 1869) and the Moulin Rouge (est. 1889)--might seem wholly dedicated to heterosexual titillation, most of the Montmartre halls did their part to expand the sexual continuum. Nude show-girls did not appear until 1910, but female impersonators had been part of the bill since the beginning.

One of the most famous was Barbette (Vander Clyde, 1904-1973), an American acrobat who wowed audiences in the 1920s and 1930s as the "jazz-age Botticelli." --http://www.glbtq.com/arts/cabarets_revues.html [Oct 2004]

Births: Guy de Maupassant (1850 - 1893) - Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 - 1894) - Jose Posada (1851 - 1913) - Antoni Gaudí (1852 - 1926) - Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890) - Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900) - Arthur Rimbaud (1854 - 1891) - H. Rider Haggard (1856 - 1925) - Max Klinger (1857 - 1920) - Émile Durkheim (1858 - 1917) - Henri Bergson (1859 - 1941) - Havelock Ellis (1859 - 1939)

A Biased Timeline of the Counter-Culture [...]

1850		The Vegetarian Society founded, Manchester
1851		or 53? Ruskin: The Stones of Venice (man can only be free
		if he is being creative, and industrialism destroys this)
1852		Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte declares himself emperor of France;
		Victor Hugo opposes this and flees into exile
		First Congress of Co-operative Societies meets, London
1853		Haussman begins redesign of Paris, creating boulevards
		through lower class areas for ease of moving the army
		around and to keep the middle classes from moving out
		Crimean War begins: xx die of cholera
		until Florence Nightingale introduces sanitation
		William Morris starts college, meets Edward Burne-Jones,
		and discusses John Ruskin's Modern Painters with him
		Saltaire model village built, ne of Manchester
1854		"War for Bleeding Kansas" between free and slave states
		Thoreau: Walden, or Life in the Woods
		First street-poster pillars erected in Berlin
1854/5		James Whistler, American artist, is one of many
		artists who flow into Paris after having read Murger's accounts
1856 +		Karl Marx living in London (observing cap sys) (when to when?)
1856?		Golden spike joins the west coast of U.S. to the east
1857		US-wide depression, & economic crisis throughout Europe,
		caused by speculation in U.S. railroad shares
		Irish Republican Brotherhood (Fenians) founded
		Charles Baudelaire: "Les Fleurs du mal"
		Pasteur shows that fermentation is caused by living organisms
		New Orleans legalizes licensed prostitutes
1858		Olmsted's design for New York's Central Park
when?		City Beautiful movement
1859		Darwin's Origin of the Species published
		John Stuart Mill (1806-73): On Liberty
		Internal combustion engine invented
		first self-help manual published (how to succeed in life)

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