Modris Eksteins


Rites of Spring

“Eksteins is as gifted a stylist as he is a scholar. One reads it with fascination and intellectual gratitude.”
Alfred Kazin

“…a witty and enterprising scholar”
Kurt Vonnegut

“...nothing less than a retrospective of our entire century. Art and politics, dance and war, have never been the same. ...It is the start of a new history.”
James Carroll

“This provocative and disturbing reappraisal of modernism rings with authority.”
Publishers Weekly

Winner Trillium Award

Macmillan UK 2000 OP
Houghton Mifflin USA 1989
Knopf /Can 2012
Dogan Turkey 2014
Rowohlt Ger 1990/OP
Plon France 1990/OP
Misuzu Shobo Japan 2010
Editora Rocco Brazil
Standard Uitgeverij Holland
PIW Poland
Geulhangari Korea
Editorial Pre-Textos Spain
Social Sciences Academic Press China 2019
Argo Czech 2019

Rites of Spring

The Great War and the birth of the modern age

This classic, award-winning book, in print since 1989, is celebrated by scholars and readers alike. It even inspired a Hollywood film, Max, starring John Cusack.

“The Great War was the psychological turning  point for modernism,” argues Eksteins. “The urge to create and the urge to destroy had changed places.”

With originality and discerning historical analysis, he describes the origins, impact, and aftermath of WWI from the premiere of  Stravinsky’s ballet The Rite of Spring in 1913, to the final dance by the denizens of Hitler’s bunker in 1945.

This is a remarkable cultural history that redefines the way we look at our past and think about the future.