Presentation on theme: "AP English Literature Roots of Modernism: An Introduction AP English Literature Jere Mendelsohn, M.Ed. Verdugo Hills Multimedia Magnet HS."— Presentation transcript:
AP English Literature Roots of Modernism: An Introduction AP English Literature Jere Mendelsohn, M.Ed. Verdugo Hills Multimedia Magnet HS
AP English Literature The Modern Era: Chronology Approx. 1900 through WWII WWII to present: Post-Modernism Modern Literature was a response, reaction and contributor to events of the day. Woven into politics, science, the arts, spiritual movements, sexual mores, etc..
AP English Literature The Victorian Era/Victorianism Precedes the Modern Era Named for Queen Victoria of England (1837-1901) Moderate and gradual political reforms Colonization of the “Third World” Rapid growth of industry Population expansion, especially cities
AP English Literature The Victorian Era Rise to power of industrialists and expansion of middle class In the US: Western expansion Freeing of slaves and Civil War Decimation of Native American culture Transcontinental railroad
AP English Literature The Victorian Era Gender roles; explicitly defined Men as bread winners, head of the house, protectors of women’s “virtue” Women as the weaker or fairer sex, expected to be virtuous and refined, modest, know their place, raise children and oversee the family Children: seen, but not heard; “accessories” Repressed longing, desire lead to more colorful private lives Literature: celebration of classic values, e.g. Greek and Roman references
AP English Literature Literary Foundations of the Pre-Modern Era Science: Charles Darwin, Origin of the Species (1859) Human Rights: John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (1859) Economics: Karl Marx, Das Kapital (1867) Human Psyche: Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams (1900)
AP English Literature New Era, New Conflicts Growing disillusionment with traditions Emerging roles of women, ethnic minorities, immigrants, children, workers Scientific breakthroughs; challenging of religious beliefs and superstitions Emerging independence of individuals and nations
AP English Literature New Era, New Conflicts Class struggles between working class and nouveau riche and aristocracy Formation of labor unions Declining birth rate Aggressive nationalism Mass unemployment; growing financial crisis
AP English Literature Scientific/Technological Milestones of Modern Era Longer life spans Safer food and medicine Rapid communication More easily-attainable health care Increased technology: hypodermic needle, refrigerator, steel, pasteurized milk, automobile, light bulb, airplane, etc.
AP English Literature Social Developments Shift from agrarian to urban economies Acceptance and social bigotry Rise of the worker and class conflicts Personal freedom and institutional racism Suburban expansion and urban decay Social welfare and increased avarice Greater access to media and rise of the “Cult of Celebrity” Nationalism and imperialism
AP English Literature Modern Warfare More efficient, mass killing machines Genocide Rise of dangerous movements, i.e. fascism, KKK, Nazis, etc. Immigrant-bashing World Wars I and II
AP English Literature Historic Implications The Great Depression (1928) Atomic bombs, total destruction (1945) The rise of “Superpowers” (1950s) The Cold War w/Soviet Union (1960s-70s) Globalism (1980s) Rogue states/War On Terrorism (1990s- 2000s)
AP English Literature Modern Writers: Purposes Challenge/replace Victorian beliefs/traditions Rebel against life’s emptiness based on pursuit of social status, wealth, expectations, traditional roles Expose the lies and corruption underlying Victorian ways Literature should transform readers’ minds,thereby transforming the world
AP English Literature The Modern Writer/Themes Search for meaning Search for the inner-self Search for individual place in a vast universe Search for ways to deals with the absurdities and complexities of life
AP English Literature The Modern Writer/Questions Is there anything such as true happiness? Are the pursuits of wealth, fame and power simply meaningless exercises? Why is there suffering, misery, war? Do humans have any real effect on the world, or are we victims of circumstance (existentialism)?
AP English Literature The Modern Writer/Questions Is there a God? A soul? Is salvation possible? Does happiness mean accepting irony, inconsistency, absurdity? Real answers are ambiguous; we’re often left with more questions than answers
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