Enlightenment, Romanticism, Realism, Modernism, and Postmodernism

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Enlightenment, Romanticism, Realism, Modernism, and Postmodernism

Literature: the enlightenment, romanticism, realism, modernism, and postmodernism…. Where does one begin? To some, those words can be as scary as the word computer is to others. This essay is designed to help you become a great literary interpreter. Getting the motivation is three fourths of the battle to getting into the heads of the artists. To begin, an outline of some of the literary movements has been provided.

The enlightenment was also called the Age of Reason. It spanned from 1660-1770. The central idea behind the enlightenment was using reason to understand nature and guide the human existence. Some of the popular writers from that time period were Voltaire
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Everyone could relate to realism because it was more realistic. Realism lasted through the mid 19th century and included writers such as Flaubert, Zola, and Dickens.

Rolling into the late 19th and early 20th century, modernistic literature became the style of writing. Modernistic thinking was a rebellion against realism, in which the literature was very abstract. The writers of that time period were experimental and used unusual techniques. There were four sub-categories of modernism: surrealism, cubism, existentialism, and dadaism. Surrealism and existentialism were the most popular of the four. Surrealism was very dreamy-like writing, such as the work done by an artist named Daly. Existentialism dealt with the belief that the human existence had free will- there were no gods and humans had control of there own philosophy. Writers such as Camus were existentialists. The final literary movement that will be discussed is postmodernism. Postmodernism was an attempt by many artists to arrive at a united, global culture. Postmodernists had optimistic views that things could get better. Instead of concentrating on the fragments of destruction, they gathered all of the fragments together and made an optimistic outlook.

Now that you have the basic idea on each of the time periods, we at Poetic Justice hope you can put to use some of your newly acquired knowledge. By knowing the literary movement in which an author is writing in,
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