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Modernism and Postmodernism. Comparison and contrast.

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Dominika Szymańska

on 5 June 2014

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Transcript of Modernism and Postmodernism. Comparison and contrast.

Modernism - basic information
Examples of modern authors and their works.
Basic terms and assumptions of Modernism
Basic terms and assumptions of Postmodernism
Examples of postmodern authors and their works
Postmodernism - basic information
Modernist literature appeared in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, in Europe and North America. Some philosophers made an assumption that literary modernism had its origins in the philosophy of Walter Benjamin. There was a trend of improving every aspect of life by involving science and technology into it. Modernism can be characterized by a self-conscious break with traditional styles of poetry and verse. Modernists often experimented with literary forms and expressions, following Ezra Pound's maxim to "Make it new". It was connected with the idea to overturn traditional modes of representation and express one's voice in a completely different manner than before.
Irony, playfulness, black humor. It is very common for postmodernists to treat serious subjects in a playful and humorous way.
Intertextuality. It can be seen as a reference or a parallel to another literary work, discussion over another work or the adoption of a style from another piece of writing.
Metafiction. Writing fiction about fiction.
Fabulation. A kind of a rejection of realism which emphasize the fact that literature is a created work, not bound by notions of mimesis.
Temporal distortion. Fragmentation and non-linear narratives.
Magic realism. Surrealism or hyperreality.
Maximalism. Minimalism.
Fragmentation of language, characters, plot.
Lack of a central hierarchy of values/knowledge - ambiguity and diversity.
T. S. Eliot : 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock' (1916), 'The Waste Land' (1922), 'Four Quartets' (1935-1942)
James Joyce: 'Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man' (1916), 'Ulysses' (1922)
Theory of knowledge is mainly conditioned by man and for this reason he or she contributes to the creation of his own existence
Epistemology (acquiring knowledge and its connection to reality)
Reality as something perceived by people. No facts - just interpretation of facts.
Irrationalism (F. Nietzsche's superhuman theory)
Relativism replacing objective truths in sciences and morality
Experimental method of writing, such as stream of consciousness and interior monologue
Influences of Psychoanalysis (hidden layers of human mind) - Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung
Phenomenology - emphasizing subjective experience as the source of human knowledge
Human faith in the infallibility and progress of Western civilization undermined
The vision of the disorder of the external world.
Opposing the accepted (old) beliefs and values
Jon Stone: 'The Monster at the End of This Book' (1971)
John Hawkes: 'The Lime Twig' (1961)
David Markson: 'Wittgenstein's Mistress' (1988)
It appeared in the late-20th-century (after the Second World War, especially after 1968) in the arts, architecture, and criticism that was a departure from modernism. Postmodernism includes skeptical interpretations of culture, literature, art, philosophy and history. It is often associated with deconstruction and post-structuralism. Postmodern literature is characterized by techniques like fragmentation, paradox, and questionable narrators and is often defined as a style or trend which emerged in the post–World War II era. Postmodern works are seen as a reaction against Enlightenment thinking and Modernist approaches to literature. Quite often postmodern literature parodies the modern one.
What is more, postmodern literature questions the distinction between high and low culture through the use of pastiche.
Modernism and Postmodernism in literature. Comparison and contrast.
Modernism was based on using rational, logical ways to gain knowledge, while postmodernism denied the application of logical thinking.
'Modernism attempts to construct a coherent world-view whereas postmodernism attempts to remove the difference between high and low.'
In Modernism, art and literary works were considered as unique creations of the artists. Authors were serious about the purpose of producing art and literary works.
'Postmodernism is an attempt to reconcile the intellectual vigor of modernism with the pleasurable and significant trappings of traditionalism. The postmodern touch amounts to an embrace of the familiar human sensibilities that modernism tried to sweep away.'
'For the postmodernist, modernism masked itself in a world of rationality and objectivity, thereby, placing all other perspectives in the confines of irrationality and subjectivity.'
Postmodernists tend to claim that no language can describe the complexity of reality and no theory can explain the complexities and the burden of society.
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