Modernism Essay examples

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Modernism

Modernism is defined in Merriam-Webster's Dictionary as "a self-conscious break with the past and a search for new forms of expression." While this explanation does relate what modernism means, the intricacies of the term go much deeper. Modernism began around 1890 and waned around 1922. Virginia Wolf once wrote, "In or about December, 1910, human character changed." (Hurt and Wilkie 1443). D.H. Lawrence wrote a similar statement about 1915: "It was 1915 the old world ended." (Hurt and Wilkie 1444). The importance of the exact dates of the Modernist period are not so relevant as the fact that new ideas were implemented in the era. Ideas that had never before been approached in the world of literature suddenly began emerging
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Stepping outside of the box, they wrote what they perceived in their own minds to be reality. The readers in turn were given a new form of literature that was not written on the basis of beliefs that earlier had seemed indisputable. Not only were old belief systems disregarded, they were openly opposed. Even more surprising, the new thoughts were acceptable, and in turn provided an alternative route for thinking that had not formerly been considered.

Anti-Realism is another feature of Modernism. This element included the use of myth and allusion in writing. Description was a prominent feature in literature before the Modernist period; writers had set the scene using an exactness that left little room for a reader's imagination. With Modernism emerged the allusion, which meant that only certain aspects of the setting or scene were revealed. This provided freedom for the reader to think about what the author was presenting through the text. The work was created through the inner feelings and workings of the characters and the symbols hidden in the plot and setting. The way themes and points of view were selected went against the earlier convention also. Sigmund Freud's Interpretation of Dreams in 1899 opened the door to previously undiscovered value in the human unconscious. This led to a whole new emphasis of individualism in both the writer and the reader, who were given free reign to explore not only who a character was

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