A "Silver Age" in anything besides comics?

Look in just about any art form of the last century and you’ll find a “Golden Age,” which is generally accepted as a time when that form was at its peak in terms of popularity and/or glamor. Search for “Silver Age” and you’ll find nothing but comics and maybe a few references to Greek Mythology.

I propose we give this thread a twofold purpose: first, to define the criteria that make a “Silver Age,” and second, to say what marks the “Silver Age” of various art forms.

To start, I’ll say that, while a Golden Age may mark a more popular or glamorous time, a Silver Age marks a period when an art form undergoes significant internal development, gaining greater depth and transforming it into the basis of what we now know and accept today.

The Silver Age of… Movies: late 50s - early 70s. More realistic acting, development of the R-rated film, increased use of score & soundtrack; Hitchcock, early Kubrick.

The Silver Age of… Jazz: 50s - early 60s. Bebop and Cool genres, moving away from dance music to listening music; Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, John Coltrane.

The Silver Age of… Science Fiction: 60s - early 70s. Moving away from pulps to more scientific stories, Star Trek, 2001; Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein.

The Silver Age of… Radio: late 60s - 70s. FM, single-format stations.

The Silver Age of… TV: 70s - early 80s. Sitcoms like MASH and All in the Family, Cable TV, specialized channels; HBO, PBS.

The Silver Age of… Cartoons: mid 90s - right now. Computer animation, mainstream cartoons that appeal to adults; The Simpsons, Pixar

What else?

That’s generally referred to as the New Wave. I’ve never heard anyone call it a “silver age”.

Well… yeah. My whole point is that there doesn’t seem to be anything called a silver age outside of comics, when it seems like it should be obvious.

Pornography. The Golden Age is regarded at the 70’s and early 80’s. I consider the Silver Age to be the late 90’s to today, thanks to the internet. Millions of people getting exactly the type of porn that they want, when they want. Not as much glitz and glam associated with it as the golden age, but certainly a noteworthy point.

zyzzyva writes:

> The Silver Age of… Movies: late 50s - early 70s. More realistic acting,
> development of the R-rated film, increased use of score & soundtrack;
> Hitchcock, early Kubrick.

Well, if the Golden Age of movies is the late 1930’s through the early 1950’s, the Silver Age would be the late 1960’s though the late 1970’s. That’s for American movies, though. Part of the reason that the late 1950’s and early 1960’s weren’t a very good time for American movies was that foreign movies were pretty good at the time, were being seen a fair bit in the U.S., and were being well reviewed.

Video/PC games - 1998-2001. Half-Life, Metal Gear Solid, and Grand Theft Auto III permanently raised the bar for gaming.

The Greeks had a mythical golden age followed by a silver age.


Latin literature had a Silver Age of the 1st and 2nd centuries AD.

As for current Silver Ages, I’m not sure I have any to contribute, but I would like to quibble with zyzzyva’s definition, inasmuch as it mandates all Silver Ages to be after a Golden Age. I find it plausible for it to be the other way around.

And (appropriately enough) Horace Silver. :smiley:

I like your thinking, but that’s mostly because I do think of pre-bop as jazz’ golden era, and the bop-and-on era as an intricate superstructure built on that foundation. Critical thinking and (especially) music education would see things differently (though maybe not admit it). They have pretty much buried the pre-bop era out of sight as a music to be listened to rather than learned, leaving bop as the ground floor. That’s their Golden Age.

I think Videogaming’s golden age is debatable, and depending on how you define it, the silver age shifts as well.

If Atari, its peers, and the first wave of arcade games was the golden age, then the 16 bit console era, it’s roughly contemporary rise of handheld gaming units, the age of 2D fighting arcade games, and the emergence of most of today’s pc gaming genres would rightly be the silver age (early to mid 90’s).

If the golden age is the 80’s-early 90’s (Atari era-16 bit era), then I think the silver age starts earlier with the rise of 32 bit-64 bit consoles, the final days of cartridge based consoles, and the dawn of graphics cards and online gameplay being taken for granted in pc gaming (not to mention the rise of MMO’s) that runs from 1996-2001 or so.

At any rate, what I’m saying is that I agree with your premise that these were momentous releases in the history of the medium, but I feel that you’re seriously narrowing the scope far too much.

The late 1940’s through 1950’s is often referred to as the Silver Age for science fiction.

Soviet Poetry actually had a silver age.

Yevtushenko broke down 20th century Russian poetry as such.

“Golden age”: Poets born prior to 1900.
“Silver age”: Poets born after 1900, and before the revolution.
“Steel age”: Born after revolution, but before WW2

“children of Alpha and Omega” Poets born after WW2.

His Anthology titled “20th century Russian poetry” is an excellent book if your interested in such a thing.