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MODERNISM

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Ashley Cardona

on 14 March 2014

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Transcript of MODERNISM

MODERNISM
what is it?
Scientific Rationalism
Belief that reason and science could determine all truth

Inevitability of scientific progress

Downplays the importance of emotions

Modernism rejects these ideas.
Industrialization
Rapid expansion of industry

Migration from rural to urban

Population explosion in cities

Increased pollution

Dehumanizing nature of industrial work

Modernism seeks respite from these.
The Great War
First truly modern, mechanized war

Desolation of trench warfare

More civilians died than soldiers

An entire generation of men lost

Machine guns, tanks, barbed wire, mustard gas,

Honor and glory of war no longer applies.
MODERNISM IS ESSENTIALLY AN ARTISTIC REACTION TO:
Unconventional Conventions
Make it new! --Ezra Pound's credo
No realistic representations
Alternate spiritualities, religions, myths
Play with time and memory
Portrayal of an inner vision
Use of dislocated dream imagery
Mistrust of social institutions
Unflinching portrayal of alienation
Literature as a puzzle to be solved
Rejection of chronological order
Multiple speakers
Free-verse and non-standard meter
Unreliable narrators
Self-aware literature (meta)
Stream-of-consciousness
Fragments and unfinished scenes
Awareness/embrace of the ambiguity of language
Lack of unity, despite seeking it
Literary Trends
Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori
Championed the individual, the solitary artist, the human capacity for creativity and imagination.

Primarily an ideological and artistic reaction against the enlightenment, which valued reason and science over emotion and passion.
Named for Queen Victoria, this era is marked by ideas of expansion and social progress-- and all the trappings that go with it (proper etiquette, manners, and such).

Literature saw an increase in the idealized notions of men and women, or what it meant to be "civilised" or properly "English."

Often characterized as stuffy and prudish (that's not necessarily accurate)
Victorian Era
Following the Victorian era, modern writers, thinkers, and artists sought to break from "proper" artistic and social conventions

There was no longer a sense that collective social values meant anything or were necessarily good to have.

There was a deep feeling of instability and uncertainty, both socially and personally.
Modernism
an artistic, philosophical, and literary movement
Romanticism
(1780-1830)
(1837-1901)
(1900-1950)
“Modernist literature is characterized chiefly by a rejection of 19th-century traditions and of their consensus between author and reader” (Baldick 159).
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares(2) we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest(3) began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots(4)
Of tired, outstripped(5) Five-Nines(6) that dropped behind.
Gas!(7) Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets(8) just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime(9) . . .
Dim, through the misty panes(10) and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering,(11) choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud(12)
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest(13)
To children ardent(14) for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.(15)
INTELLECTUAL GIANTS
FREUD
Subconscious mind
Id, Ego, and Superego
Significance of dreams
NIETZSCHE
"God is dead."
No absolute morality.
Recognize the realities of the world.
Ubermensch or "superman" -- concept of human potential
Will to power (our ambition)
MARX
Class struggle

Dialectical materialism

Alienation as a result of class and capitalism

Communist Manifesto
DE SAUSSURE
Language is relative.

There is no direct link between words and the concepts or objects they signify.
Clock vs. Subjective time
Elan Vital: the creative force
Importance of intuition
Concept of Multiplicity
INFLUENCES ON
MODERNIST LITERATURE
Heavily influenced by advances in science, psychology, philosophy, and art.

"Modernism" emcompasses ideaologies from a number of different disciplines.
BERGSON
surrealism
dadaism
expressionism
imagism
cubism
Thisis a eally cool adaptation of "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." It's not the entire poem, but it is most of it.
To call some modernist works "experimental" is rather an understatement.

James Joyce's work,
Finnegan's Wake
, is often regarded as the final expression of modernist literature.

Nothing else could possibly be done with image and syntax and sound that he hadn't done in this work.
THE WASTELAND
april is the cruellest month...
shantih shantih shantih
Extensive use of allusion
Multiple narrators
Merging high intellectualism and sensuous language
Use of fragmentation, pastiche, and juxtaposition to illustrate themes
Desolation and isolation of modern life
THE FOUR QUARTETS
Spiritual existence/consciousness

Time: relationship of the present to the past

Structured in 5 parts like a sonata

None of the fragmentation or collage-like qualities of Eliot’s earlier poetry

Elegant measured lyricism and a new awareness of language: puns & wordplay
Effects of time on culture
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
In my beginning is my end.
T. S. Eliot
All of those traits
show up in his work.
ALL. OF. THEM.
the alienated individual
high intellectual refernces
dullness of daily life
insecurity of identity
musings on time
1890ish-1950ish
NOTICE
HOW
IT'S
SORT OF
A
PATTERN?
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