Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

The Primitive Sophisticate: Humanism and Aesthetics in the Twenty-First Century

Dr David Breeden.

Since the beginning of the Industrial Age, accelerating in the twentieth century, the question of how to be human in the midst of applied science, industry, and endless war has become a central obsession for artists; unfortunately, the question has yet to be adequately answered while the threats have accelerated. How do we construct a self in the face of an increasingly connected physical yet an increasingly fragmented psychic world? Twentieth century artists created Dada, Surrealism, Existentialism, and the Beat movement, among others, as solutions to the aesthetic and psychic fragmentation of the twentieth century. Oddly, as in the case of fashion and musical styles, these movements have now become part of a sampler, a grab bag, from which post-modern artists choose. Is this enough to save the individual consciousness or is it time for artists, the antennae of the race, to create a new paradigm?


Dr David Breeden  (United States)
Professor of English
English Department
Schreiner University

Dr. David Breeden is a poet, novelist and critic.

  • Aesthetics
  • Humanism
  • Poetry
  • Dada
  • Surrealism
  • Beats

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)