The beginning of the 20th century was a time of change across the globe. Whether it was rapid growth in city populations, industrialization or global conflict, it was clear that a new and modern world was taking shape. Modernism was an artistic movement that grew out of this changing landscape of life during this time. Modernism, for the most part, represented the struggle that many had with the way that new ideas and discoveries challenged their previous lives during a time when tradition didn't seem so important anymore.
This artistic movement grew strength first in Europe in the early 20th century, eventually growing in the United States. It was fueled by domestic shifts (increase in city life, technology and wealth, for example) as well as changes on an international scale (like World War I).
As this stable structure of a strong, patriotic nation began to weaken, so did the writing of the time reflect the uncertainty of its citizens. Growth, prosperity, fear, war, death, money, materialism, psychology and disillusionment all contributed to the creation of a modern literary movement in the United States. One that was very much a reflection of the unease of a people who felt that the old rules and the old ways of living and thinking were no longer relevant.
In this video I am going to talk about modernism in american literature.
The beginning of the 20th century was a time of change across the globe whether it was rapid growth in city populations, industrialization or global conflict.
It was clear that a new and modern world was taking shape.
Modernism was an artistic movement that grew out of this changing landscape of life during this time, modernism, for the most part, represented the struggle that many had, with the way that new ideas and discoveries challenged their previous lives.
During a time when tradition didn't seem so important anymore.
This artistic movement grew strength.
First in europe, in the early 20th century, eventually growing in the united states, it was fueled by domestic shifts, increase in city life, technology and wealth, for example, as well as changes on an international scale like world war.
One as this stable structure of a strong patriotic nation began to weaken.
So did the writing of the time reflect the uncertainty of its citizens, growth, prosperity, fear, war, death, money, materialism, psychology and disillusionment all contributed to the creation of a modern literary movement in the united states, one that was very much a reflection of the unease of a people who felt that the old rules and the old ways of living and thinking were no longer relevant emergence of modernism in literature.
So, in order to truly understand literary modernism, it's important to take a look at a little u.s history around the turn of the century.
This country saw a shift as a result of industrialization.
Cities began to grow and technology suddenly had the power to change everything.
This is when realism in literature began, which in basic terms, was a literary movement that produced for the first time.
Writing that reflected the very real lives of the working class.
In that sense, literature was already beginning to change.
It was 1914, however, that marked a very important change.
Something began that ultimately sent the world into a tailspin.
It was world war, one, the first war of mass destruction, a war in which many nations saw their best and brightest young men die.
Although u.s involvement in battle was limited to just over a year, the country mobilized itself for true worldwide conflict raised money and whatever else would help supported allied powers and prepared over four million personnel for battle.
The problem with world war, one technology led to a new kind of war with advancements in weapon development.
Like widespread use of automatic weaponry, war became about mass casualties, a change that many felt was inhumane and just downright evil.
Others saw the results of world war one over nine million deaths and felt that it was further proof in the necessity of a strong national defense, armed forces, etc, divided and confused.
The only fact that was decidedly clear was that the u.s had just been catapulted into modern warfare in a very modern world, dazed from the war, many of the younger generation no longer felt patriotic content or safe.
This generation became known as the lost generation.
A youth culture emerged, one in which free expression and a deliberate break from tradition became defining characteristics, while america continued to evolve and change.
The 19th amendment gave women the right to vote and the stock market crash of 1929 changed.
Everything modernism in american literature continued to reflect varying experiences with change from 1914-1945 characteristics.
Now that you understand this complicated historical backdrop, the characteristics of literary modernism should make more sense.
Clearly, breaking from tradition was a big part of the literary movement.
This was evident in the choice to break from traditional forms.
So now literature could look like anything, even a sentence that went on for 157 words.
There was quite a bit of fragmentation as well as experimentation with point of view in writing just another way to create a unique style.
Some stories were thoughtful and self-reflective, while others had an overwhelming sense of alienation as a result of differing ways of processing the changing times, readers can see an experimentation with gender roles, an introduction of racial issues and an inclusion of pop culture in many works.
While some stories showed the wealth of the middle and upper classes through materialism and lack of limits, others illustrated the bleakness of rural life.
There was something interesting that contributed to the tone of many works of the time.
For the first time, psychology became a truly popular subject to debate, specifically sigmund freud and his new ideas.
This included the implication that we were in fact godless.
Any faith, religion or belief in a higher power was challenged by this.
Many were left feeling even more lost.
This sentiment pervades works of modern literature in the u.s authors, when considering literary modernism in this country.
It's important to take a look at a few authors and examples of their work, unique in style and voice.
Each writer serves to illustrate how they were influenced by the time period.
F, scott fitzgerald is one of those writers.
We know because of that book.
He wrote that every high scholar has to read the great gatsby.
Do you remember what that story was about a group of young, wealthy 20-somethings with too much money and too much time on their hands? What's important to remember is that this was post-world war, one and the characters live in a world of excess without a lot of limits, no structure in place, no sense of purpose, no real patriotism, no family structure, no moral guide: this is the modern world that fitzgerald creates.
Many readers know william faulkner because of his novels, the sound and the fury and, as I lay dying and while the content of fitzgerald's stories makes them quintessentially modern, it is faulkner's, unique, experimental style that makes him an icon of modern literature.
He approached writing like music, an art in which sound and rhythm were just as important as words.
Faulkner is also often associated with stream of consciousness, writing and those long long sentences that go on for paragraphs.
Finally, hemingway is one of those writers whose style and content very much reflect the sentiment of this lost generation.
Although it appears to be simple writing.
Hemingway's work demonstrates a deliberate break from the flowery language and drawn out narratives of the 19th century.
Unlike faulkner, he wrote without complication again just another choice that made him unique and it's clear in novels like a farewell to arms, and the sun also rises that he struggled with both the war and the post-war experience as an american.
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From 1914-1945, modernism in American literature reflected the unease of those grappling with a changed post-war world. This world, characterized by a growing youth culture, became the backdrop in which many writers like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway portrayed this lost generation.What was the modernist period 1910 to 1945? ›
The Modernist Period (1910–45) Advances in science and technology in Western countries rapidly intensified at the start of the 20th century and brought about a sense of unprecedented progress. The devastation of World War I and the Great Depression also caused widespread suffering in Europe and the United States.What was the modernism period in American literature? ›
Modernism is a period in literary history which started around the early 1900s and continued until the early 1940s. Modernist writers in general rebelled against clear-cut storytelling and formulaic verse from the 19th century.Who were the authors in the modernist period 1910 to 1945? ›
Writers covered include: Countee Cullen, E. E. Cummings, John Dos Passos, T. S. Eliot, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sigmund Freud, Robert Frost, Ernest Hemingway, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Sinclair Lewis, Eugene O'Neill, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, and more.How did World War 1 affect modernism? ›
The disillusionment that grew out of the war contributed to the emergence of modernism, a genre that broke with traditional ways of writing, discarded romantic views of nature and focused on the interior world of characters.What is modern period 1914 to 1945? ›
Modernism is a movement in literature from 1914-1945 that is characterized by a rejection of the traditional forms of writing in favor of bold experimentation in both poetry and prose.What is the postmodern period 1945? ›
Post Modern Era 1945-Present. The term was applied to a whole host of movements, many in art, music, and literature, that reacted against modernism, and are typically marked by revival of traditional elements and techniques.What were the main influences of modernism in American literature? ›
Influenced by worldwide industrialization and the first World War, literary modernism was an emotional and experimental style of prose and poetry that occurred in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century literature.What are the main features of American modernism? ›
American modernist literature was a dominant trend in American literature between World War I and World War II. The modernist era highlighted innovation in the form and language of poetry and prose, as well as addressing numerous contemporary topics, such as race relations, gender and the human condition.Who are 5 modernist writers? ›
Modernism, spanning the first half of the twentieth century, was the era of James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Gertrude Stein, William Faulkner, and other heavyweights who made it their business to revolutionize literature.
Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman are thought to be the mother and father of the movement because they had the most direct influence on early Modernists. Some time after their deaths, the Imagist poets began to gain importance.Who is the father of modernist literature? ›
Rubén Darío was a Nicaraguan poet who inspired modernismo (or modernism), a Spanish language literary movement.How did World War 1 affect modern literature? ›
One of the most heavily impacted cultural arenas to be touched by the war was literature. Literature during the Great War often reflects upon and bitingly criticizes the horrors of war, as well as the changes society was undergoing and provides a drastic transition between pre and post war work.How did World War 1 change American literature? ›
After the War, a general sense of purposelessness and defeat led to a movement both in modernism and in anti-authoritarianism and nihilism in literature and in art. A sense of separation between the artist and writer and the general public was created during this time.Was modernism during ww1? ›
World War I was one of the chief triggers for modernism, primarily because of the level of destruction seen in World War I, as well as the way the line between civilians and soldiers was blurred. In previous wars, large battles took place on battlefields, which helped insulate civilians from the worst of the fighting.What is modernist period? ›
Modernism is a period in literary history which started around the early 1900s and continued until the early 1940s. Modernist writers in general rebelled against clear-cut storytelling and formulaic verse from the 19th century.What was happening during the modernist period? ›
In literature, visual art, architecture, dance, and music, Modernism was a break with the past and the concurrent search for new forms of expression. Modernism fostered a period of experimentation in the arts from the late 19th to the mid-20th century, particularly in the years following World War I.What was the early modernist movement of the 1910s and 20s? ›
Modernism (1910 - 1940)
Modernism was a literary and artistic movement that was centered around a deviation from every norm it could think of paired with radical experimentation. Everything from subject to writing style was experimented with. Traditional religious, political, and social views were also challenged.
Although modernism would be short-lived, from 1900 to 1930, we are still reeling from its influences sixty-five years later.