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Historical Background 1901-1910 – Edward VII 1902 – End of The Anglo-Boer War 1910-1936 – George V 1914-1918 – First World War 1916 – Dublin, Easter Rising.

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Presentation on theme: "Historical Background 1901-1910 – Edward VII 1902 – End of The Anglo-Boer War 1910-1936 – George V 1914-1918 – First World War 1916 – Dublin, Easter Rising."— Presentation transcript:

1 Historical Background – Edward VII 1902 – End of The Anglo-Boer War – George V – First World War 1916 – Dublin, Easter Rising 1917 – Revolution in Russia 1918 – Vote for Women over 30 years of age in G.B – Treatise of Versailles – Society of Nations 1921 – Irish Free State, Ulster (Northern Ireland) belongs to the U.K – Mussolini in Italy 1928 – Vote for Women in G. B – Stock Market Crash and Great Depression 1933 – Hitler in Germany – Civil War in Spain 1936 – Edward VIII succeeds George V, but then abdicated in favour of his brother, who became king as George VI – Second World War – Holocaust 1945 – Hiroshima 1952 – Elizabeth II

2 What is Modernism? I do not think that any previous age produced work which was, in its own time, as shatteringly and bewildering new as that of the Cubists, the Dadaists, the Surrealists, and Picasso has been in ours. And I am quite sure that this is true….of poetry…I do not see how anyone can doubt that modern poetry is not only a greater novelty than any other new poetry but new in a new way, almost in a new dimension C.S. Lewis, De Descriptione Temporum, 1954

3 What is Modernism? Modernist art is […] reckoned to be the art of what Harold Rosenberg calls the tradition of the new. It is experimental, formally complex, elliptical, contains of decreation as well as creation, and tends to associate notions of the artist s freedom from realism, materialism, traditional genre and form, with notions of cultural apocalypse and disaster. … We can dispute about when it starts (French Symbolism, decadence; the break-up of naturalism) and whether it has ended (Kermode distinguishes paleo- modernism from neo-modernism and hence a degree of continuity through the postwar art). We can regard it as a timebound concept (say 1890 to 1930) or a timeless one (including Sterne, Donne, Villon, Ronsard). The best focus remains a body of major writers (James, Conrad, Proust, Mann, Gide, Kafka, Svevo, Joyce, Musil, Faulkner in fiction, Strindberg, Pirandello, Wedekind, Brecht in drama; Mallarmé, Yeats, Eliot, Pound, Rilke, Apollinaire, Stevens in poetry) whose works are aesthetically radical, contain striking technical innovation, emphasize spatial or fugal as opposed to chronological form, tend towards ironic modes, and involve a certain dehumanization of art Malcolm Bradbury, A Dictionary of Modern Critical Terms

4 Modernism: features in common with other movements Bohemia active in Paris from the 1830s The artist as a futurist was active throughout romantic thought Aesthetic of experimentalism common to Naturalism 1880 The idea of the multiplicity of consciousness (Pater 1870) Response of the imagination to an urbanized world (Baudelaire: unreal city, imagination produces the sensation of newness) Desecration of established conventions, witty image and anguish (Sterne, Donne, Villon)

5 Dating Modernism For Frank Kermode the 1890s are forerunners of modernism. Modernism: Annus Mirabilis: Eliots The Waste Land, Joyces Ulysses For others (Stephen Spender, Graham Hough) period of enhanced intensity between 1910 and WW1

6 Dating Modernism2 On or about December 1910 human nature changed… All human relations shifted – those between masters and servants, husbands and wives, parents and children. And when human relations change there is at the same time a change in religion, conduct, politics, and literature V. Woolf, Mr Bennett and Mrs Brown, 1924 It was in 1915 the old world ended D.H. Lawrence, Kangaroo, 1923

7 Flaubert on style What strikes me as beautiful, what I should like to do, is a book about nothing, a book without external attachments, which would hold together by itself through the internal force of its style….a book which would have practically no subject, or at least one in which the subject would be almost invisible, if that is possible. Flaubert, Letter to Louise Colet, January 16, 1852

8 Key features of Modernism Radical aesthetics Technical experimentation Spatial or rhythmic rather than chronological form Self-conscious reflexiveness Scepticism towards the idea of a centred human subject Inquiry into the uncertainty of reality Focus on the city Championing as well as fear of technology

9 Key-features of Modernism2 Anti-representationalism in painting Atonalism in music Vers libre in poetry Stream-of-consciousness in novel

10 Modernism The sequence of Modernism […] is a very various sequence running through different subversions of the realist impulse: Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Cubism, Vorticism, Futurism, Expressionism, Dada, Surrealism. They are not all movements of the same kind […] but one feature that links the movements at the centre of sensibility we are discerning is that they tend to see history or human life not as a sequence, or history not as an evolving logic […] Modernist works frequently tend to be ordered, then, not on the sequence of historical time or the evolving sequence of character, from history or story, as in realism and naturalism; they tend to work spatially or through layers of consciousness, working towards a logic of metaphor or form


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