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Transcript of Modernism
Historical Events and Their Impacts
World War I
"World War I was one of the bloodiest and most tragic conflicts ever to occur" ("Disillusion" 706).
The military advancements of poisonous gas, machine guns, and trench warfare caused a long-lasting stalemate during most of the war ("Disillusion" 706).
The optimism that was originally in the hearts of all Americans faded after the U.S. joined the Allied forces ("Disillusion" 706).
This led to a dubious attitude towards civilization's advancements; many authors and poets used this feeling of doubt as inspiration for their works ("Disillusion" 706).
The Roaring Twenties
The economy boomed during the 1920s ("Disillusion" 707).
Prohibition made the sale of alcohol illegal. Nonetheless, this was an age of rebellion. As people ignored this law, bootlegging, the smuggling of alcohol, and speakeasies, clubs for the sale of alcohol, were established ("Disillusion 707").
This time period was known for jazz and women's suffrage ("Disillusion 707").
Authors wrote to capture modern life in their works ("Disillusion" 708).
The Great Depression
The stock market crashed in October 1929 ("Disillusion" 708).
Unemployment rates skyrocketed, leaving millions homeless and starving ("Disillusion" 708).
During this time, President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the New Deal, a collection of economic reforms, to counteract the market's crash ("Disillusion" 708).
Many people lost faith in the civilization that had brought them to that point, and feelings of uncertainty were everywhere ("Disillusion" 708).
World War II
When World War II started, America did not want to enter the battle ("Disillusion" 708).
Only after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Decemeber 7, 1941 did America abandon their isolationist stance ("Disillusion" 708).
The war officially ended after the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on two cities in Japan ("Disillusion" 708).
World War II also established a feeling of uncertainty and chaos in the America ("Disillusion" 708).
What Is Modernism?
Modernism is the style of capturing the essence of modern life and is seen thorughout literature, art, music, architecture, etc. It has also been used to express new ideas for changing aspects of civilization. This movement was influential from 1914 to 1946.
Predominant Genres: Imagism
This movement lasted from 1909-1917 ("Disillusion" 709).
Imagism was against the sentimentality of the 19th century ("Disillusion" 709).
It was known for its clear expressions, concrete images, and everyday language ("Disillusion" 710).
Many writers found inspiration in Greek and Roman classics and Chinese and Japanese poetry ("Disillusion" 710).
'Quartets Recording' by Gladys Nilsson
Doubt, isolation, distrust, and transformation were major themes in literary works ("Disillusion" 708).
Themes were usually implied and forced readers to make their own conclusions ("Disillusion" 709).
Some literature captured modern life while other works expressed little praise for civilization ("Disillusion" 708).
Works also emphasized the differences between reality and imagination ("Disillusion" 711).
"Oriental" by Stanton MacDonald-Wright
Stylistic Approach and Devices*
Climax- The high point of interest, the moment at which the conflict is resolved
Anti-climax- A disappointing, ridiculous, or trivial resolution
Point of view- The perspective from which the story is told
First-person point of view- The point of view in which the person telling the story participates in the action, uses the pronoun "I," and shares his or her own thoughts and feelings about events
Limited third-person point of view- The point of view in which the narrator relates the events of the story and conveys the thoughts of one of the characters
Blank verse- Verse consisting of unrhymed lines of iambic pentameter
Foot- basic unit of meter (usually one stressed syllable and one or more unstressed syllables)
Iamb- most common foot (one unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable)
Iambic pentameter- A line containing five iambs
Meter- the regular pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables
Pastorals- poems that deal with rural life
Narrator- the person telling the story
Imagism- A literary movement started in the 1900s that concentrated on the direct presentation of images
"Velvet Chartreuse Glazed Ceramic" by Gertrud and Otto Natzler
Stylistic Approach and Devices (cont.)
A diverse collection of literature was created as authors and poets took individual approaches to their writings ("Disillusion" 708).
Many works reflected the state of the modern world and were constructed of fragments. This was achieved by omitting expositions, transitions, resolutions, and explanations ("Disillusion" 709).
Writers wanted to reinvent the process of writing and change the way readers viewed their works; this led to many new writing methods including the stream-of-consciousness, the recreation of the natural flow of a character’s thoughts ("Disillusion" 710).
Poets attracted attention with their use of interesting wordplay, unique typography, and special punctuation ("Disillusion" 711). E. E. Cummings is best known for this style.
The traditional meter of poetry was abandoned for the individualistic approach ("Disillusion" 709).
"Black Iris" by Georgia O'Keeffe
The Lost Generation:
Major Authors and Poets of the Modernist Era
F. Scott Fitzgerald
William Carlos Williams
Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961)
Thomas Wolfe (1900-1938)
Ezra Pound (1885-1972)
William Carlos Williams (1883-1963)
E. E. Cummings (1894-1962)
Robert Frost (1874-1963)
Williams grew up to be a pediatrician, but also became a poet while in practice. He thought his experiences as a doctor would shape him to be a better poet ("Prepare to Read" 726).
He spent most of his life in the United States. This was uncommon for authors of this period (Disillusion 711).
He was known for his use of informal and controversial speech ("Disillusion" 711).
HIs poetry focused on capturing the essence of modern American life, describing ordinary people with everyday language ("Prepare to Read" 726). His epic poem "Princeton" focuses on the daily lives within the New Jersey city ("Disillusion" 711).
Towards the end of his career, his last volume of "Pictures from Breughel and Other Poems" won the Pulitzer Prize ("Prepare to Read" 726).
After spending three months in jail during WWI, he studied painting in Paris; then, he moved to New York City to write poetry ("Prepare to Read" 774).
He received a degree from Harvard, and his poems were published in "Harvard Monthly" ("Prepare to Read" 774).
His playful language and distinctive grammar made his poetry unique, and even though critics attacked his work, general readers enjoyed his writings ("Anyone Lived" 777).
His work had the special ability to recognize life's ironies ("Prepare to Read" 774).
He won the Boston Fine Arts Poetry Festival Award and the Bolingren Prize in Poetry ("Prepare to Read" 774).
When he died, he became the second most famous poet behind Robert Frost ("Prepare to Read" 774).
After being denied entry into the army, Hemingway joined the Red Cross Ambulance Corps. Unfortunately, he was wounded and spent months in the hospital ("Prepare to Read" 806).
He left for Paris where he formed relations with Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound ("Disillusion" 710).
While abroad, he wrote The Sun Also Rises, a novel about the expatriates of war; Farewell to Arms is another of his well-known works and depicted the cynical aura of war ("Prepare to Read" 806).
Hemingway's simple, direct writing captured the hardships of war and his distrust of civilization ("Disillusion" 710).
He won the Nobel Prize in Literature ("Disillusion" 712).
For many years, Frost wrote poetry as he spent his life farming; his work went unpublished for ten years ("Prepare to Read" 880).
He moved to England where he met Ezra Pound ("Prepare to Read" 880).
During his time abroad, he wrote A Boy's Will and North of Boston, collections of poetry ("Prepare to Read" 880).
His pastoral poems were known to be full of meaning and have hidden themes beneath the surface ("Prepare to Read" 880).
He became the first poet to read at a presidential inauguration ("Prepare to Read" 880).
Pound influenced diversity and development in poetry and played a major role in developing Imagism ("Prepare to Read" 726).
His poetry consisted of historic and literary allusions and rendered the poetry of ancient cultures ("Prepare to Read" 726).
His work was usually difficult to understand, but inspired many other authors and poets ("Prepare to Read" 726).
His poem, "A Few Don'ts by an Imagiste," discusses the freedoms of Imagism, and similar to his other poems, his use of language was focused on producing a vivid image (Pound 729).
Wolfe was a novelist known for his exceptional energy and his long prose ("Prepare to Read" 784).
His need to experience everything in life motivated his desire to write ("Prepare to Read" 784).
At first, he tried writing plays, but had no success ("Prepare to Read" 784).
Wolfe turned to fictional writing and published his first novel in 1929 ("Prepare to Read" 784).
Look Homeward, Angel and Of Time and the River were known for being loosely based on his life.
*("Prepare to Read" 727, 785, 808, 881)
Modernism allowed writers to depict the world in the way that they saw it. Restrictions on how to write certain forms of literature were ignored as authors explored their individualistic ideas. Today, readers can see Modernism in free verse poetry and fictional novels.
By Ashley Amukamara, Lochlain Corliss, and Anabelle Howell