Modern and Post-modern Literature

Topic: CultureSubculture
Sample donated:
Last updated: May 10, 2019
What happened to Great Britain’s sense of community?
Great Britain’s sense of community had disappeared and was replaced by the isolation of urban life

an attempt to make sense of the fragmented worlds

A trait of modernism
sense of alienation, loss and despair

A trait of modernism
rejection of traditional values and assumptions

A trait of modernism
elevation of the individual

Source of Anxiety for modernists

Source of Anxiety for modernists
Psychology: understanding and accepting that all minds are not “normal” and that all identities are constricted- we are all counterfeiting

Source of Anxiety for modernists
Religion: old answer doesn’t seem to fit new and uncertain times Nietzsche: “God is Dead”

“Anxiety of influence”
effect of tradition on individual writers, trying to get out of under perceived weight of the past

Type of literature modernism is a movement away from

Type of literature modernism is a movement away from

Type of literature modernism is a movement away from

What does modernism reflect?
reflects the lack of order seen in a growing urban society

What does modernism celebrate?
celebrates passion over reason

What does modernism question?
questions traditional moralities

Formal Characteristics of Modernist Literature
open and experimental form

Formal Characteristics of Modernist Literature

Formal Characteristics of Modernist Literature

Formal Characteristics of Modernist Literature

Formal Characteristics of Modernist Literature
classical allusions

Major Theme of Modernism
Breakdown of social norms

Major Theme of Modernism
Spiritual loneliness

Major Theme of Modernism

Major Theme of Modernism
frustration when reading the text

Major Theme of Modernism

Major Theme of Modernism
rejection of history

Major Theme of Modernism
objection to religious thoughts

Major Theme of Modernism
two world wars effects on humanity

Intellectual Literature
had to be different from that which pleased the masses- modernists believed that art had to be perceived as elitist and “hard” to have value

What does intellectual literature bring in?
anthropology, mythology, psychology, and science

What does intellectual literature challenge?
challenges the readers’ knowledge and expectations

“Stream of Consciousness”
attempts to recreate the thinking of characters in works, to find a literary equivalent for how minds work

James Joyce (Modernist)
Irish author who pioneered the stream of consciousness from in which a character’s thought process are given written form

Sigmund Freud (Modernist)
stated that people were complex, inconsistent, and unpredictable; driven by irrational urges that might be hidden even to themselves

Virginia Wolf
highly experimental; a narrative, frequently uneventful and common place; is seen through the warped perception of the characters; dark, depressing, and hopeless


Lawrence (Modernist)

focused on the dehumanizing effects of modernity and industrialization; often faced persecution and censorship for “inappropriate” material

takes modernism to a logical place, through extreme conclusions; dismantling literature entirely to examine its inner works

Event that undermined the Geneva Convention
Atomic bombings

Event that undermined the Geneva Convention

Event that undermined the Geneva Convention
Fire bombing of Dresden

Event that undermined the Geneva Convention
Japanese-American internet

How did the perception of language change during modernism?
-No longer seen as transparent, allowing us to “see through” to reality-Considered the way an individual constructs reality

How was the language “thick” with meaning?
Language is “thick” with multiple meanings and varied conative forces

Jacques Derrida
French philosopher who stated “there is nothing outside of the text” meaning there is nothing outside of context– In other words, until an item or concept is given a name and put into a context, it does not exist– As humans, we are trying to always understand context

Jean Paul Sartre
-French philosopher who was known for his contributions to philosophy and literature-declined the Nobel Prize for literature in 1964 because he did not want to be “institutionalized” as a public figure– In Being and Nothingness, Sartre said humans are “left alone, without excuse” and therefore responsible for their actions and can not blame them on a higher power

Samuel Beckett
author of Waiting for Godot

What did Waiting for Godot explore?
explored the absurdity of the human condition

What are the three fundamental questions that every human being must come to terms with in order to truly live?
death, human existence, and the question of God

Jacques Lacan
French psychoanalyst who first identified the “mirror” stage– Stated that as infants, humans become fascinated with their own images in mirrors– However, infants are unaware that mirrors are not everywhere– Therefore, they believe every person is a reflection of themselves, eventually creating a devastating break

Postmodern Poet
Philip Larkin

Postmodern Poet
W.H. Auden

Postmodern Poet
Stevie Smith

Postmodern Poets
Ford Maddox Ford

Postmodern Poets
Seamus Heaney

Postmodern Poets
Margaret Atwood

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