My concept of Modernism in Literature

Essay by SuseUniversity, Bachelor's June 2005

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        The movement known as "Modernism" began in the first decade of the 20th century and was a reaction against all aspects of Victorianism. Literary interest shifted from the external to the internal, to the psychology and motivation of characters and their roots in deeply shared experience, influenced by the theories of Sigmund Freud and Carl Gustaw Jung. Joseph Conrad, D. H. Lawrence, E. M. Forster among others, explored mind and feeling in fiction still largely conventional in narrative and dialogue. Virginia Woolf and James Joyce, however, experimented with the "stream of consciousness" to express a character's thoughts more directly. Poetry broke even more with the past, replacing traditional prosody with "free verse" and favoring the shorter poem with sharp, concrete imagery. This period was marked by a more colloquial and relaxed use of language. New styles allowed the reader a more open and less directed approach to the text. Scenes and topics once banned from literature were now.

Admitted, with taboo words appearing in print and a more explicit presentation of sexuality and human differences.

What is more, the 20th century is above all, in art and in literature, the century of the individual. Main concern of the comparatively new science of psychology is personality. The psychology of personality development describes an evolution within the lifetime of a person. A whole series of tensions are created between the "known" and the new, the static and the dynamic. The tension between the idea of freedom and the idea of responsibility. Culture and personality interact, and help shape and explain each other. In Modernism, there is reflected the modern view of man, an understanding of his motives, of the forces, which shape him, and of the values, images and meanings, which are both his interpretations of experience and the shapers of his...