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Modernist literature

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Modernist literature

Post by manar on Wed Mar 24, 2010 6:13 pm

For modern literature, see History of modern literature.

Modernist literature is the literary expression of the tendencies of Modernism, especially High modernism.[1] Modernistic art and literature normally revolved around the idea of individualism, mistrust of institutions (government, religion), and the disbelief of any absolute truths.
Modernism as a literary movement reached its height in Europe between 1900 and the middle 1920s.[2] Modernist literature addressed aesthetic problems similar to those examined in non-literary forms of contemporaneous Modernist art, such as Modernist painting. Gertrude Stein's abstract writings, for example, have often been compared to the fragmentary and multi-perspectival Cubism of her friend Pablo Picasso.[3]
The general thematic concerns of Modernist literature are well-summarized by the sociologist Georg Simmel:

"The deepest problems of modern life derive from the claim of the individual to preserve the autonomy and individuality of his existence in the face of overwhelming social forces, of historical heritage, of external culture, and of the technique of life."[4]
The Modernist emphasis on a radical individualism can be seen in the many literary manifestos issued by various groups within the movement. The concerns expressed by Simmel above are echoed in Richard Huelsenbeck's "First German Dada Manifesto" of 1918:

"Art in its execution and direction is dependent on the time in which it lives, and artists are creatures of their epoch. The highest art will be that which in its conscious content presents the thousandfold problems of the day, the art which has been visibly shattered by the explosions of last week ... The best and most extraordinary artists will be those who every hour snatch the tatters of their bodies out of the frenzied cataract of life, who, with bleeding hands and hearts, hold fast to the intelligence of their time."
The cultural history of humanity creates a unique common history that connects previous generations with the current generation of humans. The Modernist re-contextualization of the individual within the fabric of this received social heritage can be seen in the "mythic method" which T.S. Eliot expounded in his discussion of James Joyce's Ulysses:

"In using the myth, in manipulating a continuous parallel between contemporaneity and antiquity, Mr. Joyce is pursuing a method which others must pursue after him ... It is simply a way of controlling, of ordering, of giving a shape and a significance to the immense panorama of futility and anarchy which is contemporary history."[5]

Modernist authors include Knut Hamsun (whose novel Hunger is considered to be the first modernist novel), James Joyce, Mikhail Bulgakov, T. S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein, H.D., Virginia Woolf, Marcel Proust, John Steinbeck, Dylan Thomas, D. H. Lawrence, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Ezra Pound, Mina Loy, Hugh MacDiarmid, William Faulkner, Jean Toomer, Ernest Hemingway, E. M. Forster, Rainer Maria Rilke, Franz Kafka, Robert Musil, Joseph Conrad, Andrei Bely, W. B. Yeats, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Luigi Pirandello, Katherine Mansfield, Jaroslav Hašek, Samuel Beckett, Menno ter Braak, Robert Frost, Boris Pasternak, Djuna Barnes, Patricia Highsmith, Sherwood Anderson, Mervyn Peake among others.

Characteristics of Modernity/Modernism
Formal/Stylistic characteristics



Thematic characteristics



  • Breakdown of social norms
  • Realistic embodiment of social meanings
  • Separation of meanings and senses from the context
  • Despairing individual behaviours in the face of an unmanageable future
  • Spiritual loneliness
  • Alienation
  • Frustration
  • Disillusionment
  • Rejection of history
  • Rejection of outdated social systems
  • Objection to traditional thoughts and traditional moralities
  • Objection to religious thoughts
  • Substitution of a mythical past
  • Two World Wars' effects on Humanity
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Re: Modernist literature

Post by cookie on Wed Mar 24, 2010 10:05 pm

gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood job girl thank u for the info
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Re: Modernist literature

Post by manar on Wed Mar 24, 2010 11:17 pm

Hi cookie ... thanks .. i wish i can remember this info in the exam
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Re: Modernist literature

Post by cutycho on Thu Mar 25, 2010 12:42 am

thank u
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Re: Modernist literature

Post by Thewolf on Thu Mar 25, 2010 1:04 am

thank u a lot.
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Re: Modernist literature

Post by manar on Thu Mar 25, 2010 7:52 pm

you are welcom guys
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Re: Modernist literature

Post by NANA on Thu Mar 25, 2010 9:32 pm

Thank you Manar jouliya .
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Re: Modernist literature

Post by Nacerpro on Thu Apr 01, 2010 5:28 pm

Thx a lot dear. It is really helpful.
Best wishes.
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Re: Modernist literature

Post by nabih35 on Sun May 02, 2010 5:53 pm

a good job waiting for more.thx
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Re: Modernist literature

Post by beowulf on Sun May 02, 2010 9:24 pm

good work

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Re: Modernist literature

Post by Khello on Sun May 02, 2010 9:40 pm

Hello mates; thanks Manar for your help, but I just want to explain that there are 2 kind of Modernism. Modernism as a movement which was in the 20th century exactly after 1920 - and this what you have mentioned in your writing-, and modernism in literture which was in the late 19th century.
thx

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Re: Modernist literature

Post by HOPE4EVER on Sat May 15, 2010 5:51 pm

THNX sis for these information

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Re: Modernist literature

Post by kuala on Fri May 21, 2010 2:28 am

Good job !

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Re: Modernist literature

Post by Londonhbb on Sat May 22, 2010 9:50 pm

wow what I miss here . Well done Manar
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Re: Modernist literature

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