AGE OF ANXIETY
The age of anxiety. The half of the twenties century was an age of transformation.It was marked by the two world wars, the lunch of the atomic bomb. New and faster means of transport and communication were discovered and psychology assumed a scientific status.
A profound cultural crisis had been growing. In this period the people thought that the material gain implied spiritual loss, the decency should always be maintained. Yet the First World War left the country in a disillusioned mood: stability and prosperity belonged only to the privileged classes. There was a gap between the generation of the young and the older one, which brought a frustration, that grow after the slow dissolution of the Empire into a free association of states, the Commonwealth.
Nothing seemed to be right; even science and religion seemed to offer little comfort security. So the people began to believe that all human misery would be swept away.
In this period, new views of man and the universe emerged.
L'ETA' DELL'ANSIA THE AGE OF ANXIETY
SIGMUND FREUD introduced the first set of the new ideas with his work "The Interpretation of Dreams". He said that the man psyche is deeply affected by the unconscious; so irrational forces could motivate the man's action. For the Freud's theory in the man there were a SUPER-EGO, that is composed by the education and the moral laws, the IGO, that is the rationality, and the ED, the unconscious that contrasts the Igo. Then the Freudian concept of infantile sexuality focused attention on the importance of early developments and childhood. Freud introduced a new method of investigation of the human mind through the analysis of dreams and the concept of the "free association" influenced the modern writers.
The concept of relativity was introduced by Albert Einstein, whose theory conceived time and space as a subjective dimensions.
THE AGE OF ANXIETY AUDEN
Ludwig Wittgenstein shook the old stable foundation of the scientific thought through the Quantum Mechanics and the new theories of language. As a consequence the world view lost his solidity and it was introduced the exploration of memory in literature, the rebellion against perspective in art, or the revolution of tone, rhythm and harmony in music.
The idea of "time" was questioned by William James and Henry Bergson. James, in his Principles of Psychology wrote that our mind records every single experience as a continuous flow of "the already" into "the not yet". Bergon made a distinction between historical time, which is eternal, linear and measured by the clock, and psychological, which is internal, subjective and measured with by the relative emotional intensity of a moment.
In the cultural crisis that affected society, a need for new values emerged in literature, which spoke about the isolation and alienation of the man. In particular Auden spoke about anxiety and the impossibility to master the chaotic universe.