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Classicism Romanticism Modernism


Modernism was largely brought about by the convergence of several factors: ... Modernism saw the rise of the individual genius, one who repudiated the mass ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Classicism Romanticism Modernism

JOURNAL ENTRY 16 What is modern
fiction? Assume the stories chosen illustrate all
tehre is to know about Modern Fiction. From what
youve read so far this year, what is your
subjective definition of modern fiction (at
this point)? List some characteristics of modern
fiction. What are some modern themes present in
the stories?
JACKSON POLLOCK Lavender Mist (1950)
  • A comprehensive but vague term for a movement (or
    tendency) which began to get under way in the
    closing years of the 19th c.

PIET MONDRIAN Composition 10 (1939-1942)
Persistence of Memory Salvador Dali
Tenets of Modernism
  • Challenged tradition and the status quo
  • Fascination with the new, the modern, the
  • Focus on form and stylistic experimentation
  • Exploration of perception and representation
  • Critique of mimesis or realism in how we
    represent the world

The Treachery of Images (1929)
  • Modernism was largely brought about by the
    convergence of several factors
  • The devastation caused in Europe after World War
    I, when the most enlightened and advanced nations
    on the earth came together to kill each other in
    staggering numbers.

  • The wholesale urbanization and industrialization
    that took place during the nineteenth century.
  • The fragmentation of belief in the unified
    individual that occurred as the result of the
    work of several scientists and philosophers.

Karl Marx
  • Asserted that human moral, cultural, and
    religious values were caused not by any inherent
    sense of good or evil but by the requirements of
    a particular system.

Charles Darwin
  • Discovered that the evolution of species was the
    result of natural selection and competition
    rather than through any special act of purposeful

Sigmund Freud
  • Asserted that most elements of the human
    personality were the result of various
    psycho-sexual traumas experienced in infancy and
    early childhood and stored in the subconscious

Albert Einstein
  • Discovered that even most of the physical
    properties in the universe (time, space, size,
    weight, density, gravity, etc.) were relative.

Aesthetic Characteristics of Modernism
  • Abandonment of traditional rules for creating
    art, music, and literature
  • Fragmented representations of time, meaning, and
    human nature
  • Sense of loss, alienation, abandonment, and
  • Attempts to find new kinds of truth in the
    absence of any traditional way to ground meaning
    or significance

MARC CHAGALL I and the Village (1911)
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VINCENT VAN GOGH The Starry Night (1889)
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PABLO PICASSO Self-Portrait with Palette (1906)
MARCEL DUCHAMP Nude Descending a Staircase, No.
2 (1912)
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EDVARD MUNCH Evening on Karl Johan (1892)
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The Lovers II René Magritte
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The avant-garde ("first wave") movements that
emerged in the late nineteenth and early
twentieth centuries (such as symbolism, cubism,
futurism, Dada, and surrealism) accelerated the
break with the past, and following the horrors of
the Great War, modernism emerged as a new
aesthetic philosophy.
The Red Wheelbarrow so much
depends upon a red wheel barrow glazed
with rain water beside the
white chickens. William Carlos Williams
Futurism exhorted writers and artists to
celebrate the new and to abandon the attitudes
and values of the past. Dadaism dada,
babytalk in French for hobbyhorse nonsense
collages of street debris as art and poems
composed of random syllables or words pulled out
of a paper bag, or of several unrelated passages
read aloud simultaneously. A number of Paris
Dadaists became Surrealists. Cubism presents
an experience as fragmented elements rearranged
to form a new synthesis, or whole.
Modern Fiction
  • The second and third decades of the 20th century,
    the heyday of what is sometimes called High
    Modernism, was a watershed for the development of
    European and American fiction, and we still live
    with its consequences.
  • Writers, impelled by a sense of mounting
    historical crisis as well as by a desire to
    renovate and transform the inherited conventions
    of the 19th-century novel, undertook a bold
    renegotiation of the formal and thematic terms of
    the novel

Modern Fiction
  • No longer certain that art had a didactic
    function, writers questioned the moral and
    artistic purposes of literature. Culture no
    longer provided a set of shared beliefs but
    instead was fragmented and individualized.
    Language itself was seen as an unreliable medium,
    with an uncertain relationship to reality the
    very notion of clear, straightforward
    communication between people was brought into

Thats not it at all, thats not what I meant at
T.S. Eliot
Influenced by the work of Sigmund Freud, authors
made the interior their stage. Unlike the
realists, who had created broad social portraits,
the modernists emphasized the individual and the
subjectivity of perception. To this end,
modernist writers such as Eliot, Joyce, Woolf,
Yeats, Pound, Stein, and Lawrence experimented
with new uses of language and imagery and new
narrative structures. Modernist novelists
employed stream-of-consciousness narration,
multiple points of view, and fragmented,
nonsequential plots.
The first and last line of James Joyces
Finnegans Wake
riverrun, past Eve and Adams, from swerve of
shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius
vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and
Some final thoughts…
Modernism saw the rise of the individual genius,
one who repudiated the mass culture of the cinema
and the rise of consumerism. These brilliant
writers, however, alienated from the world,
further estranged themselves from understanding,
rapt in aesthete elitism with little social
concern, with little sense or care except for the
reception of the educated audience. Bohemian,
shut off from the bourgeoisie and the masses,
Eliots self-professed obscurantism was indeed
to be perhaps the last gasp of so-called high
art before the blurring of distinctions in