Name That Generation!
June 26, 2010
William Strauss and Neil Howe claimed that their generational periodization scheme (GPS) — i.e., 22-year generations, and “generational archetypes” repeating every 90 years — remains consistent all the way back to 1433. They also claimed that their GPS could predict the future! For example, they described the characteristics of the New Silent generation (later renamed the Homeland generation) back in ’91, even though the eldest members of this so-called generation wouldn’t be born until 2001. Strauss and Howe’s GPS, as they say in chop-socky movies, is no good.
My own GPS isn’t particularly scientific — no GPS can be — but at least it’s based on hard evidence; it’s not mystical-cyclical. Though I won’t be shocked if it turns out that men and women born between, say, 2014 and ’23 form a coherent generation, I can’t say for certain that this is going to happen. I’ve been reluctant to describe, much less name, the cohort born from 1994-2003, because they haven’t accomplished anything yet! (Remember the about-face Time Magazine and others did in 1997, when the young men and women they’d once dismissed as directionless slackers started running dotcoms like Yahoo!, Netscape, and Google?) As far as the past is concerned, I’ve so far only looked at Americans and Western Europeans born between 1843 and 1993; when it comes to them, I submit, my GPS is more useful than any other.
So what about men and women born between 1824 and ’33, or between 1834 and ’43? Do they form meaningful generations? Strauss and Howe claim that everyone born from 1822-42 are part of the so-called Gilded Generation. I don’t buy it! For example: while both generations (of Americans) were deeply affected by the Civil War, most men and women born from 1825-33 were in their 20s and 30s during the Civil War, while most men and women born from 1834-43 were in their teens and 20s; their experience of the war differed.
What about literary, intellectual, and artistic movements? Men and women born from 1825-33 were in their teens and 20s in the Eighteen-Forties (1844-53; not to be confused with the 1840s), and in their 20s and 30s in the Eighteen-Fifties (1854-63). Men and women born from 1834-43 were in their teens and 20s in the Eighteen-Fifties, and in their 20s and 30s in the Eighteen-Sixties (1864-73). When we think of these decades, we think of the transition from Romanticism to Modernism: e.g., Impressionism, Symbolism, Aestheticism, Pre-Raphaelitism.
In France, nearly every single one of the founding Impressionists (the first avant-gardists) was born from 1834-43: Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, Frédéric Bazille, Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Armand Guillaumin, Berthe Morisot. (Camille Pissarro and Édouard Manet, who joined later, were born before ’34; Mary Cassatt, born in ’44, would be an honorary member of this cohort.)
The Symbolist movement in literature and art was mostly spearheaded by members of what is starting to look like an 1834-43 cohort: Auguste Villiers de l’Isle-Adam, Stéphane Mallarmé, Algernon Charles Swinburne, Henri Fantin-Latour, Odilon Redon. (Paul Verlaine, born in ’44, would be an honorary member of this cohort; Gustave Moreau was older.) Aestheticism, the British branch of Symbolism, was pioneered by Swinburne, James McNeill Whistler, and Edward Burne-Jones, and influenced by Walter Pater: all born from 1834-43, except Burne-Jones, who was born on the cusp of this cohort, in ’33. And in America, the pioneering pragmatists — Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., William James, and Charles Sanders Peirce — were born from 1834-43.
Though they were modernist, artists and writers born from 1825-33 weren’t avant-gardists. They tended to be arrière-gardists (I may not be using the term correctly) who cast longing glances back to the Middle Ages — e.g., the pioneering Pre-Raphaelites (William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti; William Morris was born later) — or childhood, e.g., the scientific romances of Jules Verne [NB: in Mythologies, Barthes notes that Verne’s characters tend to withdraw into fully furnished, hermetically sealed spaces, i.e., like childrens’ tree-forts]. Or else they were fantasists — Lewis Carroll, George MacDonald, Christina Rossetti, H. P. Blavatsky, Gustave Doré — who revived and rebooted ancient myths, fairy tales, and esoteric cosmology. If they do form a cohort, it’s perhaps the last passionately Romanticist one; Symbolism and Impressionism, of course, eschewed Romanticism’s stormy emotions.
So here are a few iconic members of what I think is a coherent generation born from 1825-33: Camille Pissarro, Christina Rossetti, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Eadweard Muybridge, Edouard Manet, Emily Dickinson, George MacDonald, Geronimo, Gustave Doré, Gustave Moreau, H. P. Blavatsky, Henrik Ibsen, John Everett Millais, Jules Verne, Leo Tolstoy, Lewis Carroll, Louisa May Alcott, Sitting Bull, Thomas Henry Huxley, Wilkie Collins. What might you name this cohort?
And here are a few iconic members of what I think is a coherent generation born from 1834-43: Alfred Sisley, Ambrose Bierce, Auguste Villiers de l’Isle-Adam, Charles Sanders Peirce, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Ernst Haeckel, Henry Adams, Henry James, James McNeill Whistler, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, Mark Twain, Mother Jones, Odilon Redon, Paul Cézanne, Paul Verlaine [honorary], Pierre-August Renoir, Stéphane Mallarmé, Thomas Hardy, Wild Bill Hickok, William Dean Howells, William James, William Morris, and Winslow Homer. What might you name this cohort?
What do you think?
Sitting Bull was born in The Year A Pawnee Banner Bearer Was Killed. Ceci n’est pas une pipe!
This is also where Strauss and Howe’s theory fell apart. They say we lost a “Hero” generation due to the civil war. This is part of their baby boomer bias against generation X type of generations. In this case the Nomad generation wins the war and creates prosperity, the modern world and a medical revolution. Further more the next cohort 1844 to 1853 produces even more violent individuals. These generations are easier to interpret by their action than by their words.
1824 – to 1833 maybe you should call this generation the Wizards due to their ability to invent. They seem to be focused on making, potions, formulas, inventions and fictional worlds. They are a lot more practical than the group before them and a lot less violent than the group after them. They were very fantasy prone. Americana was invented by this cohort, Coca Cola, Blue Jeans.
This generation also had (forgive me for any repeats) .Stonewall Jackson, Charles Pfizer, Friedrich Bayer (invented Aspirin), George Phillips Bond, Jean-Martin Charcot, Thomas Henry Huxley, Johann Strauss, Stanislao Cannizzaro, Stephen Foster (invented mythical south), Joseph Lister (Listerine), Hormuzd Rassam, Lew Wallace (Ben Hur), Roy Bean ( roll model for the next group) Henrik Ibsen, Solomon Loeb, Franz Reuleaux, Levi Strauss (Blue Jeans), George Brayton, Helen Hunt Jackson, Ignatius Donnelly, John S. Pemberton (Coke),George Pullman, James Clerk Maxwell, Heinrich Anton de Bary, Gustave Eiffel, John L. Mason (Mason Jar), Nikolaus Otto (Automobile Engine)
Lewis Carroll, George MacDonald, Christina Rossetti, H. P. Blavatsky, Gustave Doré (reactionaries)
1833 to 1844: This group is easier to see a pattern in. I suggest you call them Mavericks. These guys wandered around and made a lot of money, possibly more than any other generation. More of the super rich in America come from this period than any other. Calling this group gilded in their adult life is appropriate, especially when considering what they did while young.
Charles Bradlaugh, Alfred Nobel, (dynamite), Jeb Stuart, Joseph Mortimer Granville, Lord Acton, Gottlieb Daimler (invented motorcycle), Marshall Field, Jim Fisk, Ernst Haeckel, George du Maurier, James Whistler, Charles Francis Adams, Jr. (railroad tycoon), Adolphe-William Bouguereau, Rebecca Latimer Felton, Joseph E. Nathan, Camille Saint-Saëns, Mark Twain (the man of his age), Adlai E. Stevenson, Iwasaki Yataro, Andrew Carnegie (rich bastard), Milton Bradley (monopoly), W. S. Gilbert, Arthur Sullivan, Frederick A. O. Schwarz, George Dewey, Wild Bill Hickok, Mother Jones, Dwight L. Moody, William Quantrill, Algernon Charles Swinburne, Henry Adams (you know the book), John Wilkes Booth, John Muir, Adolphus Busch (BUDWIESER) , George Armstrong Custer, Modest Mussorgsky, Charles Sanders Peirce, John D. Rockefeller, Sarah Winchester, George F. Baker, Chief Joseph, Sir Hiram Maxim (the maxim gun), Thomas Nast, Benjamin F. Goodrich, Frederick Arthur Stanley (Stanley Cup), Henry Morton Stanley (finder of Dr. Livingstone), Lester Frank Ward, John Wyeth, Ambrose Bierce, Crazy Horse, Alferd Packer (cannibal killer) Henry Sherwin (influential in painting –in a different way), Virgil Earp, Frank James, Karl Benz, Cassius Marcellus Coolidge (founder of Hi-Low brow?), Henry J. Heinz, Friedrich Nietzsche, Cole Younger, Frederick Weyerhaeuser, James J. Hill, Anthony N. Brady, Jay Gould, Hetty Green,
My proposal: call the 1824-1833 generation the Decadents, 1834-1843 the Fin de Sieclists. Or the “Old” and “Young” Decadents. Else you need to reclaim “Anarcho-Symbolists” from Jarry and co., and call that gang “the Pataphysicians.”
The key moments you need to address for these mid-19th centurions: The 1848 revolutions and their suppression, the American Civil War, the Franco-Prussian war and the Paris commune, the formation of Germany and Italy as modern states, the gold rushes and Western expansion, etc….
How about you call the Twenties generation the Golden Keys, after the MacDonald story? They were looking for secrets, inventing worlds and finding solutions that didn’t have problems yet.
The Golden Keys is a great name.
Golden Keys is a fun idea. “Decadents” is a tricky moniker — I purposely left it out of this post — because the so-called Decadent movement includes men and women born earlier (e.g., Baudelaire) and later (e.g., Huysmans, Wilde) than the dates we’re looking at here.
Wizards and Mavericks— I dunno. Every 19th century cohort is full of inventors and pioneering scientists and (in the era before anti-trust laws and income tax) super-successful businessmen. Would need to be more specific — what types of inventions, scientific discoveries, businesses? I like the Levi Strauss/Coca-Cola “Americana” insight; that same generation gave us Horatio Alger, Henry Chadwick (so-called father of baseball), Wesson of Smith&Wesson, the Stetson hat guy, Americana songwriter Stephen Collins Foster, Carl Schurz (German-American statesman who said: “My country, right or wrong”), and the American automobile pioneer Studebaker. Plus, in France, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, who designed our Statue of Liberty. Could be something there.
We should also consider Realism — Realism in American literature brought to US by Howells, who wrote fiction and essays in the realist mode. Mark Twain rejected flowery, sentimental, ostentatious prose style. (However, literary realism in Europe the product of men and women born before 1824.) American realism (painting): James McNeill Whistler, Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins [honorary], Mary Cassatt [honorary]. However, I’m a little confused by the Realist/Impressionist thing, i.e., the Impressionists were formerly known as Realists.
Here’s my complete-ish list of notable 1824-33s.
1824: Wilkie Collins (novelist, The Moonstone), Stonewall Jackson (Confederate military genius), Lord Kelvin (physicist, illustrated 2nd Law of Thermodynamics), George MacDonald (author, At the Back of the North Wind), Ambrose Burnside (inspiration for term “sideburns”), Henry Chadwick (journalist, baseball statistician, helped baseball become popular at the turn of the century), Alexandre Dumas fils (playwright), Benjamin Apthorp Gould (astronomer), Wilhelm Hofmeister (botanist), William Huggins (spectrographic astronomy pioneer), Pierre Janssen (astronomer, solar observer), Gustav Robert Kirchhoff (physicist, theory of spectrum analysis), Francis Turner Palgrave (critic), Charles Pfizer (chemist, founder of Pfizer Pharmaceuticals), Leland Stanford (businessman, governor of California, founder of Stanford University)
1825: Thomas Henry Huxley (English biologist, debated Wilberforce over evolution), Johann Strauss (Austrian composer, The Blue Danube), Friedrich Bayer (founder of Bayer AG), George Phillips Bond (father of astrophotography), Jean-Martin Charcot (father of neurology), George Pickett (Confederate general, Battle of Gettysburg), Thomas B. Welch (grape juice magnate), Daniel B. Wesson (repeating pistol), Harriet E. Wilson (novelist, Our Nig), Robert Michael Ballantyne (Scottish novelist), Paul Kruger (Boer resistance leader).
1826: Gustave Moreau (French painter), Stephen Collins Foster (preeminent American songwriter: “Oh! Susanna”, “Camptown Races”, “Old Folks at Home” (“Swanee River”), “Hard Times Come Again No More,” “My Old Kentucky Home,” “Old Black Joe,” “Beautiful Dreamer”), Matilda Joslyn Gage (pioneering feminist), Frederic Edwin Church (American painter, Hudson River School), Bernhard Riemann (German mathematician; made lasting contributions to analysis and differential geometry, some of them enabling the later development of general relativity), Hormuzd Rassam (Middle Eastern-born archaeologist, discovered Epic of Gilgamesh).
1827: Charles Eliot Norton (American man of letters), Lew Wallace (Civil War General, novelist: wrote Ben-Hur), Ellen G. White (American Christian pioneer whose ministry was instrumental in founding the Sabbatarian Adventist movement that led to the rise of the Seventh-day Adventist Church), Marcellin Berthelot (chemist), William Holman Hunt (British Pre-Raphaelite painter), Walter Deverell (British Pre-Raphaelite painter), Joseph Lister (English surgeon, pioneer of antiseptic surgery).
1828: Leo Tolstoy (Russian novelist), Henrik Ibsen (Norwegian playwright, Peer Gynt), Jules Verne (pioneering French science fiction author, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea), Dante Gabriel Rossetti (English pre-Raphaelite painter and poet), Henry Dunant (Swiss founder of the Red Cross), R. T. French (yellow mustard entrepreneur), Meyer Guggenheim (patriarch of Guggenheim fortune), George Meredith (novelist, The Egoist, Balfour Stewart (physicist who studied magnetism, radiant heat), Sir Joseph Wilson Swan (physicist — light bulb, photographic printing), Hippolyte Taine (influential historian)
1829: Geronimo (Apache leader, the last Indian to surrender), John Everett Millais (British Pre-Raphaelite painter), Anthony Frederick Augustus Sandys (Pre-Raphaelite British painter), Chester A. Arthur (21st US President), Asaph Hall (astronomer, discovered the moons of Mars), Levi Strauss (blue jeans businessman), Charles Dudley Warner (Harper’s editorialist), Catherine Booth (the Mother of The Salvation Army), Carl Schurz (German revolutionary and American statesman: “My country, right or wrong”), William Booth (founder of The Salvation Army), Shusaku Honinbo (Japanese Go player), Franz Reuleaux (mathematician, father of modern kinematics).
1830: Emily Dickinson (American poet), Christina Rossetti (poet), Eadweard Muybridge (photographer), Camille Pissarro (French Impressionist painter), Jules de Goncourt (French writer), Paul von Heyse (German writer, Nobel Prize laureate), John Batterson Stetson (hat maker), Emperor Franz Joseph I (of Austria), Belva Lockwood (feminist).
1831: Madame H. P. Blavatsky (founded Theosophy; author, The Secret Doctrine), James Garfield (20th US President), E. L. Godkin (co-Founder of The Nation), Sitting Bull (Warrior Chief of the Sioux), Arthur Hughes (British Pre-Raphaelite painter), Heinrich Anton de Bary (botanist, founder of modern mycology), Richard Dedekind (mathematician, developed theory of irrational numbers), Mary Mapes Dodge (American children’s writer and editor, Hans Brinker), Ignatius Donnelly (U.S. Congressman, pseudo-historian, amateur scientist: Atlantis, the Antediluvian World), James Clerk Maxwell (physicist, Maxwell’s equations), John S. Pemberton (inventor, creator of Coca-Cola), Philip Henry Sheridan (Union Army General), Peter Guthrie Tait (physicist, Treatise on Quaternions), Clement Studebaker (American automobile pioneer)
1832: Lewis Carroll (author, Alice in Wonderland), Edouard Manet (French Realist/Impressionist painter), Louisa May Alcott (author, Little Women), Gustave Doré (engraver, book illustrator on steelplate), Horatio Alger (Unitarian minister, rags to riches author), Gustave Eiffel (architect, designer of Eiffel Tower), Maximilian (Emperor of Mexico), Nikolaus Otto (four-stroke internal-combustion engine), Edward Tylor (founder of cultural anthropology), Wilhelm Wundt (father of Experimental Psychology)
1833: Johannes Brahms (German composer), Wilhelm Dilthey (philosopher), Benjamin Harrison (23rd President of the United States), Alfred Nobel (Swedish inventor of dynamite, creator of the Nobel Prize), Alexander Borodin, Russian composer), Charles Montgomery Barnes (founder of Barnes & Noble), Charles Bradlaugh (atheistic Iconoclast), Joseph Mortimer Granville (doctor, invented electric vibrator), Jeb Stuart (Confederate cavalry officer). HONORARY MEMBERS OF 1834-43 COHORT (born 1833): Edward Burne-Jones (British artist and designer, Aesthetic Movement); Edouard Manet (French painter who bridged Realism and Impressionism; born 1832)
And my complete-ish list of notable 1834-1843s.
HONORARY (1833): Edward Burne-Jones (British artist and designer, Aesthetic Movement); Edouard Manet (French painter who bridged Realism and Impressionism)
1834: James McNeill Whistler (American realist artist and dandy), Edgar Degas (French Impressionist painter, preferred to be called a realist), William Morris (English poet and artist, Arts & Crafts movement), Gottlieb Daimler (German engineer, invented the motorcycle), Charles W. Eliot (president of Harvard University), Big Jim Fisk (American financial buccaneer), Artemus Ward (American humorist), Carl Heinrich Bloch (Danish painter whose religious scenes are often used in Mormon literature), John Venn (British mathematician, Venn diagram), Marshall Field (founder of Marshall Field’s), Ludovic Halévy (French vaudevillain author), George du Maurier (British caricaturist, Punch, author of urban Gothic fiction), W. C. Minor (prolific OED contributor), Léon Walras (French economis, founded the marginalist school of economics), Frederick Weyerhaeuser (founder of Weyerhaeuser Company). HONORARY TKTK (born 1834; ???s indicate that they may or may not be honorary members of the 1824-33 generation): Ernst Haeckel (German zoologist and philosopher, proponent of evolution and amazing illustrator of undersea life ???), Dmitri Mendeleev (Russian chemist, Periodic Table of the Elements ???), John Wesley Powell (American geologist, explored the Colorado River ???), Johann Philipp Reis (German physicist and inventor ???), Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi (French sculptor, designed Statue of Liberty ???), Samuel Pierpont Langley (American astronomer, physicist, and heavier-than-air flying machine pioneer ???), August Weismann (biologist, theory of Germ Plasm ????),
1835: Mark Twain (American author and humorist, Huckleberry Finn), Samuel Butler (iconoclastic English author of the Utopian satire Erewhon and The Way of All Flesh, also known for his translations of The Iliad and The Odyssey ), Andrew Carnegie (American robber baron and philanthropist, Giovanni Schiaparelli (Italian astronomer discovered “canals” on Mars; uncle of Elsa Schiaparelli), Elisha Gray (American electrical engineer who co-founded the Western Electric Manufacturing Company, developed a telephone prototype before Alexander Graham Bell; considered to be the father of the modern music synthesizer), Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (Indian Muslim religious figure, founded Ahmadiyya), John Hughlings Jackson (father of British neurology, clinical descriptions of epilepsy’s stages), Simon Newcomb (Canadian-American astronomer, author of the Nautical Almanac, and a science fiction novel: His Wisdom the Defender), Eduard Strauss (Austrian composer, part of the Strauss musical dynasty), Jožef Stefan, Slovenian physicist, mathematician, and poet who determined the temperature of the Sun’s surface), King Léopold II of Belgium (founder of the brutal Congo Free State), Alfred Austin (English poet laureate), Pope Pius X (reversed modernizing trend of Leo XIII), Adah Isaacs Menken (American actress and adventuress), Giosuè Carducci (Italian writer, Nobel Prize laureate), Camille Saint-Saëns (French composer), Adlai E. Stevenson (US Vice President, grandfather of namesake presidential candidate), Adolf von Baeyer (German chemist, Nobel Prize laureate who synthesized the plant dye indigo), Rani Lakshmi Bai (Indian freedom fighter), Olympia Brown (lady preacher and suffragette), Susan Coolidge (novelist, What Katy Did), Joseph E. Nathan (founder of Glaxo), Iwasaki Yataro (founder of the Mitsubishi companies).
1836: Winslow Homer (magazine illustrator turned preeminent American painter), Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (Austrian novelist and utopian thinker, Venus in Furs; the term masochism is derived from his name), Sir Walter Besant (novelist, All Sorts and Conditions of Men), Milton Bradley (board games), Henri Fantin-Latour (French symbolist painter and printmaker), W. S. Gilbert (British playwright and librettist, Gilbert & Sullivan), Jay Gould (railroad baron owned Union Pacific), T. H. Green (philosopher, Prolegomena to Ethics), Bret Harte (author, master of the western short story), Frederick A. O. Schwarz (founder of FAO Schwarz), Lewis Waterman (invented the fountain pen), Mendele Moykher Sforim (Russian Yiddish writer), Ramakrishna Paramhansa (Bengali religious leader), Isabella Beeton (British cook and expert on household management), Touch the Clouds (chieftain of Teton Lakota Sioux), Thomas Crapper (British plumber, inventor who did much to popularize the water closet).
1837: Mother Jones (activist), William Dean Howells (socialist, Atlantic Monthly editor, Realist novelist, The Rise of Silas Lapham), Algernon Charles Swinburne (controversial pseudo-decadent British poet, influenced by French symbolism), Grover Cleveland (22nd & 24th US President), Henry Draper (astronomer, early astrophotographer), Wild Bill Hickok (gunfighter and actor, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show), J. Pierpont Morgan (banker and railroad financier, J. P. Morgan & Co., William Quantrill (Quantrill’s Raiders), John Burroughs (naturalist), Johannes Diderik van der Waals (Dutch physicist, Nobel Prize laureate), Dwight L. Moody (American evangelist), Adam Opel (German engineer and industrialist), Robert Gould Shaw (American Civil War General, reformer), Harriet Powers (African-American folk artist).
1838: Auguste Villiers de l’Isle-Adam (French symbolist writer), Edwin A. Abbott (author, Flatland), Henry Adams (Historian, The Education of Henry Adams), General Tom Thumb (circus performer), Franz Brentano (German philosopher, psychologist who influenced Freud and Husserl — “perception is misception”), Cleveland Abbe (physicist, America’s first weatherman), Georges Bizet (French composer, Carmen), John Wilkes Booth (Abraham Lincoln’s assassin), Léon Gambetta (French head of state), John Hay (US Secretary of State, 1898-1905), Eli Lilly (founder of Eli Lilly & Co.), Ernst Mach (optical and sensory perceptualist), John Muir (activist, ecologist), William Henry Perkin (chemist, invented mauve), Henry Sidgwick (philosopher), James Craig Watson (astronomer), Victoria Woodhull (activist, first woman candidate for US President), Ferdinand von Zeppelin (builder of rigid airships), Emile Loubet (president of France).
1839: Charles Sanders Peirce (philosopher, mathematician, semiotician — Pragmatism), Walter Pater (English art critic, influenced Aestheticism movement), Paul Cézanne (French impressionist and post-impressionist painter, bridge to Cubism), Alfred Sisley (English impressionist painter), John Butler Yeats (Irish artist), Machado de Assis (Brazilian author), John D. Rockefeller (oil magnate, philanthropist; richest person in history), Henry George (political economist who argued that land belongs to all humanity), George Armstrong Custer (American cavalry officer), Adolphus Busch (German-American beer pioneer).
1840: Odilon Redon (French symbolist artist), Thomas Hardy (English writer, Tess of the D’Urbervilles), Auguste Rodin (French sculptor, progenitor of modern sculpture), Chief Joseph (Nez Percé chief), Claude Monet (French realist turned impressionist painter, founder of that movement), Thomas Nast (American political caricaturist), Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Russian romantic composer, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker), Emile Zola (naturalist French novelist, liberal activist who precipitated the Dreyfus Affair), Richard von Krafft-Ebing (Austro-German sexologist and psychiatrist, coined the terms sadism and masochism), Alphonse Daudet (naturalist French novelist), Sir Benjamin Baker (engineer, designed the Forth Bridge), Edward Drinker Cope (prolific paleontologist), Isabelle Stewart Gardner (eccentric Bostonian art patron, collector), Sir Hiram Maxim (invented Maxim machine gun), John Addington Symonds (English art critic, poet), Ernst Abbe (German physicist, developed optical instruments), John Boyd Dunlop (Scottish inventor, founded tire company).
1841: Pierre-Auguste Renoir (French impressionist painter, father of Jean Renoir), Frédéric Bazille (French impressionist painter), Armand Guillaumin (French impressionist painter), Berthe Morisot (French impressionist painter), Henry Morton Stanlet (Welsh journalust and explorer), Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (influential American judge, pragmatist), Antonín Dvořák (Czech composer of romantic music), Charles J. Guiteau (president Garfiel’s assassin), Georges Clemenceau (French statesman), Edward VII (King of England, Edwardian period named after him), William Henry Harrison (9th US president), Bernadette Soubirous (religious visionary), Alfred Cornu (French physicist, studied optics and spectroscopy), Benjamin F. Goodrich (founded Goodrich — tires), Gerard Heineken (Dutch beer brewer).
1842: William James (pioneering American psychologist and philosopher — Pragmatism), Ambrose Bierce (American writer and satirist, The Devil’s Dictionary), Stéphane Mallarmé (French symbolist poet), Peter Kropotkin (Russian anarchist), Karl May (German writer of westerns), Carl Jacobsen (Danish brewer — Carlsberg), John Fiske (American intellectual historian), Eduard von Hartmann (German philosopher), Crazy Horse (Sioux chief), Lord Rayleigh (English physicist, first to explain why the sky is blue), Arthur Sullivan (composer, Gilbert & Sullivan).
1843: Henry James (author, Portrait of a Lady), William McKinley (25th US President), Lillie Hitchcock Coit (San Francisco eccentric philanthropist), Virgil Earp (gunfight at the O.K. Corral), Prentiss Ingraham (Dime novelist wrote 600 Old West novels), Cornelius Vanderbilt II (socialite, businessman). Honorary Prometheans: Pierre Lallement (French inventor of the bicycle), Gabriel Tarde (French sociologist — Group mind, Theory of Imitation — and author of one science fiction novel), Frank James (bank robber, with James Gang).
Honorary members of the 1834-43 generation (born 1844): Paul Verlaine (poet, leader of symbolist poetry movement), Anatole France (French novelist), Thomas Eakins (American realist painter), Mary Cassatt (American realist-impressionist painter).
I apologize, Wizards is a terrible name. The Golden Keys is much better.
As to the Super rich, look up any list of the richest Americans of all time (adjust for inflation) and you will find a disproportionate amount born in the 1834 to 1844 Generation. No cohort comes close to this kind of wealth creation until the Bill Gates computer era.
Here’s just one example from the New York Times.
For 1834 to 1844 group.
This was a cohort faced with massive change in their young years. In America: America becomes a continent. Slavery ends. Poverty becomes the new social cause. This cohort, ages 17 to 27 at outbreak of the civil war is decimated.
The telegraph made all news local. Now you can get pissed off about things you would never have heard of before. Newspaper writers like Twain, can send their story in from anywhere and work for more than one paper at a time. Is this an impetuous for realism?
We have cameras now.
Q. What the hell should a painter do?
A. Whatever a camera can’t.
1834 to 1844 Generation.
In literature can you make a case forcalling them Anti-Moralism Moralists?
Mark Twain – Anti-Moralism Moralists, Humor
Samuel Butler – Anti-Moralism Moralists, Humor
Henry Adams – Anti-Moralism Moralists, Humor, Not Funny.
Ambrose Bierce – Anti-Moralism Moralists, Humor
Lewis Carol – Anti-Moralism Moralists, Humor
Thomas Hardy – Anti-Moralism Moralists,
You’re right, Sickmon. Among the wealthiest Americans in history are Rockefeller (1839), Carnegie (1835), Weyerhaeuser (1834), Gould (1836), Marshall Field (1834), Morgan (1837), Oliver Payne (1839), Henry Huttleston Rogers (1840), and Peter Widener (1834). That’s a valuable insight into what makes this generation unique. Can we think of a moniker that would account for Symbolism, Aestheticism, and the Gilded Age? The New Aristocrats? The Hermetics?
PS: Look at the 1854-63 (Plutonian) cohort: Barron, Mellon, Schwab, and (Dow) Jones’ very names are now associated with Wall Street. Plus: Diamond Jim Brady and honorary Plutonians Cecil Rhodes and John Jacob Astor. Not to mention Ford, Gillette, Sears, Duke, Hearst, Guggenheim, Hershey, Dayton, Maytag, Smucker, Hormel, and Wrigley.
Other influential Gilded Age figures: Vanderbilt (1794), Mellon (1855), Flagler (1830), F.W. Taylor (1856).
The Hermetics is a good name for the 1834 to 1843 group. It covers the tendencies of this cohort’s writers, musicians and painters and the alchemic aspects serve as an allegory for the money makers.
How about the Magi?
I still think “Decadents” works, and I’ll tell you why — it was mostly used as a negative term to describe this generation, and only reclaimed as a positive term by Huysmans and co., who then looked to Baudelaire, Poe, and the late Roman writers for models. Kind of like Generation X. (“Original Decadents”?)
For instance, see Max Nordau’s Entartung (Degeneration); if it seems implausible now that Tolstoy, Zola, and Wilde could all be seen as part of the same literary movement, well, then you weren’t a conservative future Zionist in Budapest in the fin de siècle.
A very persuasive argument, thanks Tim!
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