One of the dominant features of the nineteenth century was a profoundly disturbed intellectual life. Another was the triumph of the idea of progress and the rousing spectacle of economic achievements which for many confirmed the power and the truth of this new faith. The traditions of literary anger and ennui, by now seemingly endemic to Western culture, had their beginning at about the same time that the industrial exposition was being invented. Business and technology affected not only the material aspects of modern life but most of the basic perspectives of social worth. The unprecedented skills which they demanded and created for the mastery of the natural environment, and the techniques of production, transportation, and distribution of goods they caused to develop, were so complex and so palpably successful that inevitably they presented a challenge to the older notions of intellectual and public performance.