It is sometimes used to show improvement, but more often used to represent the increasing isolation of society and the cold, mechanical nature of the world. The last theme is the theme of structure and geometry. It is partially related to technology, in that it emphasizes functionality over decoration.
This theme is displayed in the authors streamlining of description and embellishment, favoring instead shortened, functional definitions. Along the same line with the themes of modernism are the styles used in modernist literature.
Although there are many styles used in modernist literature, there are four many styles of writing that we will discuss. Firstly, the style of imagism was highly present. Imagism involves using precise, clear, and sharp language in writing, rather than over-embellishment and exaggeration. Imagism called for a return to the directness of presentation and economy of language, as well as a willingness to experiment with non-traditional views.
A distinct feature of imagism is its attempt to isolate a single image and reveal its essence. This focus on concisely describing a singularity, rather than a vast topic, is a definite stylistic change from the previous romantic and Victorian literary works. Secondly, modernist literature uses very symbolic language and content.
This is noticeable in the amount of metaphors used by modernist writers. In general, nothing is skin-deep in modernist writing. There is a deeper, symbolic meaning behind most characters, places, names, and other elements of the story.
This was a very anti-idealist style of writing as it attempted to show life in its gritty particulars and humble realities. Symbolism takes the literature away from realism, abstracting the ugly truth from any and all situations. Those who wrote with this style believed that there were some absolute truths that could not be written about directly, choosing instead to represent these things through metaphorical and suggestive writing.
They endowed images and objects with symbolic meaning in order to point the reader in the direction of the truth without saying it straight-out. Symbolism brought with it a freer flow in the writing of poetry. Modernist authors did not want to hinder themselves or their message by being confined to consistency of stanzas, rhyming, or any other traditionally accepted norms in poetry. They chose instead to follow whatever form and flow that would best suit their particular pieces of literature, without paying any attention to specific rules or consistency.
Third on the list of styles used is vorticism. This was a style of writing that attempted to relate art to industrialization and machinery. It opposes sentimentality and promotes the mechanical and futuristic.
Lastly, there is the style of expressionism. Expressionism was the tendency of modernist authors to present the world from a subjective perspective, distorting the view in order to evoke an emotional response. Although similar to symbolism, expressionism is different in that the author wished more to lead the reader to the specific personal emotions, moods, and ideas of the author instead of general feeling and emotion.
This style was brought about largely by the perceived dehumanization effect of industrialization and the growth of cities. These are the styles and themes of modernism used by those who are considered the major writers of the modernist movement.
This literary movement was mostly displayed in British literature. The most notable authors who wrote in the UK are T. Eliot was a poet who lived from He was born in St. Eliot had a distinguished career in literature, and even received the Nobel Prize in literature in James Joyce was born in and died in Born in Ireland, Joyce moved to continental Europe after university and stayed abroad for most of his life.
The last major author of the modernist movement was Virginia Woolf, who lived from She was born in London, and lived in England her whole life. Woolf is considered one of the major writers of the modernist movement because of the content and style of her work.
She wrote many essays and stories with feminist undertones, and had strong opinions on the liberation and education of women. She was a member of the Bloomsbury Group, an intellectual society of writers in England. Among the lesser known modernist writers is Ezra Pound, who lived from He was born in the US, but spent most of his life living abroad in different parts of Europe.
He was a friend to T. Eliot, and even helped him to translate and publish some works in England. Another lesser known writer is the author Gertrude Stein. She moved to Paris in the early s, where she stayed until her death in She was primarily a novelist and a poet. It is divided into 5 titled sections which all share a link to the common themes of death, disillusionment, barrenness, and rebirth displayed throughout the poem.
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Modernism was the most influential literary movement in England and America during the first half of the twentieth century. It encompassed such works as The Waste Land , by T.
Representing an unequivocal rejection of Victorian aesthetic standards, moral precepts, and literary techniques, Modernism was initiated during the opening decade of the century, a time of extensive experimentation in the arts.
Writers of the movement embraced the psychological theories of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung and the anthropological relativism espoused by Sir James Frazer, and in their works the Modernists emphasized the psychological state of a character through the use of such devices as the interior monologue, or stream-of-consciousness narrative. In English literature, manifestations of the modernist aesthetic in fiction range from the sexual explicitness of D. Lawrence to the formal experimentation of Virginia Woolf and the myth-based narrative of James Joyce.
The disorienting effects of the era of modern warfare that began with the First World War gave rise to such American expressions of modernist concerns as the novels of John Dos Passos, whose Manhattan Transfer utilized montage-like effects to depict the chaos of modern urban life, and Ernest Hemingway, whose The Sun Also Rises portrayed the aimlessness of the "lost generation" of American expatriates in Europe during the postwar era. Similarly, The Great Gatsby is seen to epitomize the demoralization of American society and the end of innocence in American thought.
While sharing the novelists' preoccupation with themes of alienation and ambivalence, Modernist poetry is chiefly known for its dependence on concrete imagery and its rejection of traditional prosody. Considered a transitional figure in the development of modern poetry, W. Yeats rejected the rhetorical poetry that had gained prominence at the height of the Victorian era, favoring a personal aesthetic, natural rhythms, and spare style.
American expatriate Ezra Pound, who with Richard Aldington and Hilda Dolittle founded the Imagist movement in poetry in , favored concise language and free rhythms, and became a champion of avant-garde experimentalists of the era. The thematic preoccupations and technical innovations of Modernist poetry are seen to culminate in The Waste Land, Eliot's complex, erudite expression of modern malaise and disillusionment.
Each generation of writers had the habit of reacting against the past by declaring itself "modern. In early uses the word had a pejorative meaning, implying that what was new and modern could not be as good as what had the prestige of approval over a period of time. Baudelaire as both poet and critic was one of the first to splice the meaning of "modern" in a modest article relating to his viewing of the art of his time.
Since the middle of the nineteenth century critics as well as artists in the broader sense of the word have compounded ambiguities on "modern" by using it in both senses. Succeeding generations have been calling themselves modern and allowing the word to lose gradually its defensive tone and instead assume an attitude of contestation and even arrogance. It has become in many cases a cry of rebellion, and sometimes what the late Renato Poggioli called agonism, no longer apologetic but rather challenging.
Others have claimed the label "modern" in the Baudelairian sense that while reflecting the passing climate of the time, what is modern has caught "the eternal and the immutable. In both cases there has emerged an added aspect of the confusion.
There has developed a tradition of the antitraditional, and the label of "modern" has been retained for works of the past. With the passage of time each era claiming the advantage of a little distance used to delimit what had passed with a more precise label and claim for its own rebellion or renewal in the arts its own modernity.
Ours is the first era on record in which succeeding waves of moderns carry on their backs the memorabilia of their ancestors and sustain the myth that modernism, proclaimed and acknowledged at a moment in time for a group of works, forever retains that label in reference to those works, that it survives in a cumulative form, generation after generation, and that avant-gardes as well as golden-seal moderns can follow each other without a posteriori appraisal, which might result in a more permanent label than the temporal one of "modern.
The French, more pedagogical in their classifications, have adhered to Baudelaire's definition in one sense but, unable to define their own modernism, have virtually abandoned the label itself and created newer "ism" labels. They complicate the chronological problem by following up with "postmodernismo," which is not of the vintage of the Anglo-American postmodernism. The Germans associate modern with Expressionism and Dada, the Russians hang on to Futurism as the ultimate modern before the curtain came down on any further movement in the arts.
The common agreement among all of them is to call a certain moment in time modern and surrender the word to it for eternity. In calling the past modern the commentators would let their elders retain the label and in amazing timidity would relegate to their own era the rank of reargarde, paradoxically labeling the contemporary scene "postmodern.
Has there ever been such ancestor worship recorded on the part of writers and artists themselves or of critics and literary historians? In terms of literary criticism the ambiguity simply tells us that out of the plethora of books on the market on "modernism" or "the avant-garde" there is very little chance that they are discussing the same artists or writers or the same period in literary history.
But thereby he raised a new problem; in borrowing a term metaphorically from military terminology one expects the garde itself after the avant-garde. For more than two decades in the course of various communications I have been asking, "Where is the garde of the avant-garde? Instead we observe in studies of theories of the avant-garde such terms as "old avant-garde," "the return of the avant-garde," "post-avant-garde" although I can't quite see how you can be out front and at the tail end simultaneously , "academy of the first avant-garde," "other avant-garde," "the twilight of the avant-garde," and most recently "the neo-avant-garde.
It is no solution to suggest, as Ihab Hassan has in relation to Surrealism, that "these movements have all but vanished now, Modernism has proved more stable. The end of the century that has had in its existence so many ruptures with the past has not yet had the vision and the courage to proclaim the past moderns as pre-something that would define changes in literature and art in our era reflecting our society and at the same time preserving those of its qualities that may have resilience and permanence.
The reason that one sometimes denigrates a phenomenon or task is the realization that one cannot cope with it. That is perhaps why literary history is a bad term these days and the practice of analysis has priority over attempts at synthesis. We have dwelt on the most comfortable assumption that ruptures in the realm of arts can be paralleled with political revolutions, but in doing so we may be overlooking the fundamental cohesions that existed beneath the many "isms" of the first half of our century, alternately called modern and avant-garde.
My perspective tells me that there is something else that is understressed: Such are the drastic changes in concepts of reality, time, nature, causality and chaos, indeterminacy, and above all, in terms of all the arts, the notion of communication and reception. As the spectrum of reality enlarges, replacing the old opposition between real and supernal, a progressive distinction is perceived between mimesis and more sophisticated representations of the relative notion of reality. And we have gradually understood that the unconscious is not simply the opposite of the conscious but part of a continuum within the totality of human experience.
The old and sage dichotomies between the real and the unreal, the conscious and the unconscious, simply no longer hold, and the dialectics involving them have been run into the ground. The famous phrase of the early decades of the century, "the juxtaposition of distant realities," so often cited as the basis of daring associations created in poetry and paintings by the still so-called moderns and a governing principle of so many works of art and poetry, has lost much of the meaning it had at its inception because we know now that distance exists only in the eye of the beholder, and that if the creative artist has brought two entities together, it is because on some level of sensorial lucidity a connection was made.
In the same way, disordinate perceptionis—such as what Rimbaud called the reasoned disorder of the senses—and their representation reflect disorder only if the natural world is perceived as a network of determinable and tested physical laws producing predictable results. But we have discovered that every law of physics does not have a Newtonian regularity or if it does it is not yet within our capacity to grasp, and we have also learned that there are phenomena which cripple at least temprarily our perception of a logical, precise universe.
And in accepting these facts we, as a society, have had to develop the ability to express with mathematical precision the indeterminacies of the material world. Because this ambiguity or presumed randomness is part of our reality, it can be said that the writers or painters who once were considered avant-grade because they performed in an unrealistic or irrational way are from a more educated view no longer avant-grade because they are still holding the mirror up to nature when they represent this indeterminacy: In other words, the perceived disorder is part of the system of laws whose supposed randomness may be only an appearance manifested in our partial knowledge of the totality.
Early in the twentieth century, Guillaume Apollinaire, whose voice was more European than French, said in his essay Les Peinters cubistes: From hard ground to soft terrain, the writer moves with the scientists, stunned by his own ignorance, which he characterizes as indeterminacy, replacing previous attitudes of positivism and determinism. In his isolation and sense of loss of control, he drifts into a nonanthropocentric universe.
And whereas most observers of the strong element of alienation in the literature of our century may continue to attribute it to psychological disturbances and social maladjustments, the alienation may more correctly be explained by cosmic causes. The sense of dispersion emphasized by neophilosophers such as Derrida and Foucault is not new to modernism. All self-named moderns have had it. An early avant-gardist, Hugo Ball, often too exclusively associated with Dada but closer in reality to Rimbaud, described the condition of the modern man of his time in an article on Kandinsky in during a devastating war.
Curiously, his apocalyptic fresco is not politically inspired but reflects a metaphysical anxiety: Man lost his divine countenance, became matter, chance, an aggregate. He became a particle of nature… no more interesting than a stone: If, in responding to the effect of this condition on the arts, Ortega y Gasset coined the phrase "dehumanization of the arts," "dehumanization" means something quite different today from what it meant in the early part of the century.
We can each select a cast of characters to reflect this dehumanization from the annals of literary and art history of the seventy-five years since Hugo Ball's statement and Ortega y Gasset's definition: All were "modern" in a moment in time, and all can be said to hold the mirror up to nature as nature was perceived at that moment in time.
In that sense, in each case the classical dictum of a Boileau or a Pope was applicable to his aesthetics and in that sense his forms of representation are from our vantage point mimetic. If his expression of nature is being called antirealistic by some contemporary critics it is so only in terms of previous definitions of reality and nature.
The minute one considers our changed perception of reality, such writings and art expressions fit the changed definitions of reality. The disparity between the perception of the critics and the artists is due to the fact that critics are clinging to the older notions of reality and nature, and they are not as agile in grasping the ontological changes.
They are bridging the gap between their superannuated notion and the artist's more updated one with the convenient use of the label "modern.
One of the most important transitions—oh so gradual but so irreversible once it is made—in the changing characterization of "modern" is the manner in which the "modern" artists are reacting to the passing of a centrality of purpose and of a supernal presence.
Instead of mourning they are accepting the plurality of the universe, of which their predecessors had been warned three centuries earlier but had not seriously implemented, that changes their art forms. There was to be a giant difference between the Nietzschean proclamation that God was dead and the proposition that God never existed. As the poet-artist Jean or Hans Arp observed, "Dada was the revolt of the nonbelievers against the disbelievers. It had not yet been ingrained.
The revolution in the arts that I would call a postapocalyptic posture is a more radical one than reactions to the kind of sociopolitical events that are generally attributed to avant-garde manifestations and their reflections on the arts. I would suggest that modernism today, responding primarily to passing political winds and ideologies, is modern only in terms of the first part of Baudelaire's definition, "transitory, fugitive, contingent," or in my own words I would call them contemporary works dependent on circumstantial events, reserving the label "modern" for those which anchor their vision on phenomena relating to decentralization and decontrol in what is perceived to be an indifferent universe.
Among those who share these deeper disquietudes there are some who reject the continuity more generally perceived between themselves and earlier moderns; instead they sense grave schisms separating them from their predecessors.
Modernism Essay Words | 5 Pages. The modernist period in British and Irish literature was one of the most important and exciting times in literary history. The term modernist stemmed from the beginning of the 20th century labelled the modern period.
Literature has kept changing as it adjusts with the modern world. The manner in which literature is being expressed today is different compared to the past when technology was not well developed. For instance in the field of art, it is believed that modernism began during the time of high and low art.
André Breton's most important contribution of the groundwork of the literature of modernism as it is shaping up today was his earlier adjustment to the new factors in a way to make literature and art and their need for determined absolute values viable in a relativist world. Modernism in Literature Introduction The horrors of World War I (), with its accompanying atrocities and senselessness became the catalyst for the Modernist movement in hesmatcchfet.cfist authors felt betrayed by the war, believing that the institutions in which they were taught had led the civilized world into bloody conflict.
To this end, modernist literature is marked by a blurred distinction between the internal and the external. The second major theme in modernism is the rejection of norms. At the very core of modernism is the defiance of society’s established standards and traditions. Modernism is marked by experimentation, particularly manipulation of form, and a strong and intentional break with tradition. Modernist literature has a tendency to lack traditional chronological narrative, break narrative frames or move from one level of narrative to another without any warning through the words of a number of different characters.