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Modernism

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Modernism

Post by sassy86 on Thu Oct 27, 2011 5:33 pm

Here is the article I promised you EmilySo. It was given to me by my teacher, who is specialized in Modernism. So I hope it will be helpful. If you have any questions don't hesitate because it's a topic I really love. If you want after discussing Modernism as a movement, we can deal with T.S Eliot's The Waste Land which illustrates perfectly the principles of Modernism.



Modernism

ORIGINS AND CONTEXT:

Modernism is a cultural and literary movement which flourished during the first decade of the 20 th century. The word modernism is used to designate works not only in literature but also in painting, music, science, theology, anthropology, sculpture.
Ex: T.S Eliot used some allusions to Picasso's works, notably cubism. The beginning of the 20 th century was a key movement as theories proved to be influenced on modernism were elaborated such as: Einstein treaties on relativity, Freud's theory on the unconscious and Marx Plunck's Quuntum theories.
In literature, influences came from the French novelist Flaubert and the symblolist poet Malarmé.
CHANGE was the norm of the 20th century, new social theories, industrialisation, the Second World War, and rise of communism changed the face of the world forever.
Karl Marx, Freud, and Darwin had unsettled human subject from its previously secur position, at least at the center of human universe and revealed his dependance on laws and structures which are beyond his control and outside even his knowledge.
The spychoanalytic theories (Freud's) had revealed the self as a pawn in a process dominated by inaccessible, unconscious play of forces. The conception of evolution and heredity (Darwin) situates humanity as no more than the latest product of natural selection.
Freud and Darwin contributed to create doubts concerning the humanist self-confidence and provoked a feeling of uncertainty.
The 20 th century was also marked by urbanisation and industrialisation as Western nations moved from their agricultural roots to factory nations. All Western countries developed very quickly exemples of slum conditions.

This era was also an era of WARS as two world wars broke out, killing millions of innocent people with the help of a technology which had seemed to make life better.

The rise of communism was another source of distruction. With its atheist creed, communism offered deluding promises to the blind masses. Nietsche predicted the age of Barbarism and saw modern life falling into hell.

He prophetically predicted: "there will be wars such as have never existed on earth".
Frank Kafca criticized the rise of communism, he said: " the buttresses of human existence are collapsing. Historical development is not determined by individuals but by societies. We are rushed away and swept. We are the victims of history" (attack on communism).

****In such a CONFUSED CONTEXT all old beliefs became illusions. The confident view of history that things are improving as rationality brought its social benefits looked wrong.

Beatrice Webb once wrote: "with science alone all human misery would be ultimatly swept away".

The social theorists, the two World Wars, rise of communism and industrialisation tended towards the apocaliptic conclusion imaged in T.S Eliot's The Waste Land that man was about to face.

In such context, the stable, coherent and inherently world view of the nineteenth century could not, wrote T.S Eliot: "accord with the panorama of futility and hanarchy of contemporary history"

This feeling of confusion and insecurity proved productive. It ingendered the aesthetics of FRAGMENTATION, ambiguity and neherism.

Modernism in fact can be considered as the movement which developed out of the loss of community and civilization.

Themes of Modernism:

This context in fact encouraged the modernists to inculed such themes as :
1- The question of the experience of reality itself.
2- The search for a ground of meaning in a world without meaning.
3- Critique of the tradition of the western culture.
4- The search for hope in a world without God.


Modernist techniques:


Recognizing the failure of language to fully convey meaning, Eliot's Prufrock said: " This is not it at all. This is not what I meant at all", the modernists adopted some techniques and strategies to support their themes throwing away the burden of the realist writings.

1- Time as psychological: it is not historical or rail way time. A good example of the use of time as psychological is the use of the stream of consciousness. Time is also structuring device. Through movement backward or forward to juxtapose the past with the present and to predict what is going to happen in the future.

2- The rejection of the past and even iconoclasm
(hostile to tradition):
For modernists, the previous writing was inadequate and stereotyped. This is why the modernists were very much interested in technical innovations and sometimes even for their own sake.
Modernists abandoned the social world in favour of form. Form is part of the way a poem conveys its meaning.

3- A blurring distinction between high and low cultures:
The modernists sometimes rejected what they believed to be a highly elevated diction of the Victorian poets.
The use of daily speech aims at creating a sense of immediously that is dialect experience.

4- A blurring distinction between literary genres: A poem seems documentary and prose seems to be poetic.

5- The use of such new techniques as epiphany, "objective correlative", "perspectivism" (multiple narration) a technique borrowed from Picasso's cubism in visual arts.
In the story, you may have many narrators (multiple narration) to replace the omnicient narrator or point of view that characterizes the traditional novel.

6- The use of detached narrator through technique as narration within narration.(Faulkner for example detached himself frim his characters)

7- The open ending:
The modernists abandoned the realistic close ending in favour of open ending which reflects the inaccessible 20 th century.


Last edited by sassy86 on Thu Oct 27, 2011 11:55 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Modernism

Post by wonderland20 on Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:29 pm

Very helpful as usual our sweet Sassy [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] <3
By the way we had modernism in the MA contest, may God be with the corrctor, I am afraid I talked too much Rolling Eyes *fingers crossed*
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Re: Modernism

Post by sabine on Fri Oct 28, 2011 4:14 pm

Bless you dear sassy!
May allah reward you

I really wish you all the best sister.
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Re: Modernism

Post by Guest on Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:20 pm

Always at the top dearest sassy86. Thanks so much

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Re: Modernism

Post by sassy86 on Sat Oct 29, 2011 11:37 pm

Bless you my dearest sisters wonderland, sabine, and Hadiya [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

EmilySo
didn't show up yet, waiting for your suggestion dear, shall we start analyzing The Waste Land's modernist techniques??
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Re: Modernism

Post by EmilySo on Sun Oct 30, 2011 12:47 am

Hi my dear Sassy Very Happy. I was looking for you but this computer made me crazy.Any way, I read your article, it's amazing [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]that what I need. THANK you so much Sassy. OK let's start analyzing The Waste Land's modernistic teqniques. I'm ready. But wait for a while, Is modernism in English lit as the same in American lit?!
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Re: Modernism

Post by sassy86 on Sun Oct 30, 2011 7:46 pm

Hi dear Smile You're welcome sister, I'm glad you found it useful.
Well, Modernism includes both British and American literature (though it's often related to the latter).
In British literature, you have James Joyce's works as well as many of Virginia Woolf's literary works. We'll have an overview on these too.

I'll try to prepare something tomorrow about The Waste Land because through T.S Eliot's work you can really feel Modernism par excellence.
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Re: Modernism

Post by sassy86 on Tue Nov 01, 2011 1:50 pm

Modernist elements in T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land


The Waste Land
is one of the outstanding poems of the 20 th century. It has been considered as Eliot's masterpiece, and an exemple of poetic triumph in the 20 century.

Yet it has been criticized as too abstract, ambigious and overrated poem. This controversy does not distruct out its
over role merits and its greatness. The poem is written in the form of an epic. It is written in a form like in Dante's The Divine Comedy (devided into parts).
This poem has FRAGMENTED quality, this is very symbolic to the aridity and decadence of the 20 th century
life and the poet's inner despair at the desolate prospect of Western civilisation after the 1 st WW.

The Waste Land as an ambihious poem presents a labyrinth of meanings, images, ideas (form reflects content and vice versa).
It is full of intricate images and complex symbols which in fact add richness to the texture of the poem.
It includes allusions to myths, rituals, religion, history (both past and present)
This makes the poem a real "waste land" or quagmire through which an inspiring reader must go through it to understand the essence of the meaning of the poem.

T.S. Eliot in this poem uses new techniques. He presents a quick image in a cinematic fashion. These images are taken from both past and present life. They include wide range variety of socio-cultural experiences, secular and religious
common to individual and collective life from ancient times down to the present. The Waste Land is a startling poem which broke new ground in English poetry when it was published and engages the reader's amazement.

T.S.Eliot's poems such as: Prufrock and The Waste Land departed radically from the techniques and the subject matters of the pre 1st WW poetry. Eliot's poetry along with his critical works helped to reshape the modernist literature. He won the Noble Price for literature in 1948.

The Waste Land is a poem which epitomises or symbolises the chaotic life of both individual and society in the 20 th century. Thematically, it reflects the desalusion meant and despair of the post 1st WW generation.
The world T.S Eliot depicts in the poem is the one in which faith, in the orderly divine events and rationally organized universe, is absent.

There is sterility and 'waste' everywhere, these have replaced traditional order and fertility.
Thus, the major theme of the poem is religious (spiritual).

The poem is not a reflexion of the poet's inner despair but a panoramic view of the spiritual emptyness that has over taken the modern world.
The modern world waits in distress, the coming of regeneration and renewal.
The holy grail legends and the vegetation needs, referred to in the poem, serve to inhence Eliot's major themes: the quest for spiritual regeneration and moral renewal.

Closely related to the religious theme of The Waste Land, is Eliot's concern with the socio-cultural environment of the 1 st WW western countries.

The 1920's generation attempted to destroy the vestiges of the Western civilization through the iconoclastic behaviour and attack on puritanismof the Victorian era and the exentric behaviour and desir to shock.
Indeed, western societies have exhausted replacements in magic, science, witchcraft, alcohol and drugs. However, the majority felt that despair was the only response to their universe.

Another major theme is the poet's view of the notions of the purposes of art.
The poem brings the reader face to face with the artist dilema of how to find an adequate poetic form and expression to convey his inner experiences. It show that the modern pot must be aware of the contraditions, perplexities, conflicts, fragmentation of his society so that he can no longer rely on the traditional methos of writing poetry.
The poet today is forced to recreate his own personal needs through his wide variety of symbols that we must draw the cultural heritage.


To be continued...
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Re: Modernism

Post by EmilySo on Thu Nov 03, 2011 12:51 am

Hello Sassy, Smile You did a great job..but I did not get the meaning of "sterility"...what I understood is T.S Eliot wanted this poetry to reflect the great new difficult problems of the age, the problem ;above all; of the fragmenting of emotion,experiance and society after the1st WW. SO, Sassy up to now is OK [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] When you became free, we carry on the rest of analyzing.Take your time my dear..........God bless you.
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Re: Modernism

Post by sassy86 on Fri Nov 04, 2011 4:10 pm

You're welcome my dear EmilySo! I'm glad that you got most of the meaning of the article!

As for the sterility, you need to know about few myths and legends, notably the Holy Grail. In the Fisher King legend, the land is sterile and reduced to a barren wasteland. So, in order to restore it, a knight is sent to solve a given prophecy and hence heal the king. In the same way, the poem The Waste Land deals with the theme of sterility (religious sterility and emptiness of the Western civilization after the 2 nd World War). So T.S Eliot will borrow this legend and other fragments of Western tradition(the legends and myths) to convey this meaning of wandering knight who would be searching for regeneration and truth, but all what this knight can see is the debris of civilizations. This religious theme is in fact recurrent in literature and not only in modernism: there are repeated allusions, in the Bible or even Koran, to people who abandoned God, so God abandoned them and punished their lands and souls by an intolerable sterility. Anyway, i'll look in my documents and re-explore that wonderful poem and post as soon as i can.
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Re: Modernism

Post by sabine on Fri Nov 04, 2011 6:43 pm

God bless you my sweety sassy! It's perfectly explained evrything is clear for this part.
We're waiting for the next part.
you are always the best sister

I can no other answer make, but, thanks, and thanks. ~William Shakespeare
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Re: Modernism

Post by sassy86 on Mon Nov 07, 2011 11:19 am

Saha Eidek my sweet Sabine and wonderland and Hadiya and EmilySo [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

@Sabine you're welcome my dear. I think you'll study modernism this year in M1 with Mr Benamzal, he's really great at it and he adores The Waste Land. So we'll have a good time revising it Smile I'll try to post as soon as possible. For now i'm a bit busy preparing 5 lessons for next week... Good luck my dear and see you soon
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Re: Modernism

Post by EmilySo on Mon Nov 07, 2011 7:47 pm

Thank you Sassy, you too Saha eidak and Sabine. I wish to you the best. Very Happy [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] Well, Sassy take your time in preparation...good luck. By the way, I'm waiting for the news from you and Sabine..OK. To every one uses this forum: HAPPY EID.........HAPPY KHAROOOOOUF [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
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Re: Modernism

Post by sabine on Thu Nov 10, 2011 2:43 pm

@ sassy : HAPPY AID (enven if it is late lol) .May God bless you and help you dear sister. Indeed, we will deal with modernism with Mr Benamzal,he's great at it. Your post was of a great help for me. Thank you darling
good luck
@ EmilySo: Happy aid for you,too mate
I wish you the best
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