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Modernism & “The Metamorphosis” Reactions to a changing world.

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Presentation on theme: "Modernism & “The Metamorphosis” Reactions to a changing world."— Presentation transcript:

1 Modernism & “The Metamorphosis” Reactions to a changing world

2 Modernism Basics NOT a synonym for “Contemporary” Early 20 th century literary movement “In love with the new” Questions humanity’s humanity Reaction to WWI and its widespread destruction Rebellion against Realism Industry and technology: friend or foe? Reinvention of the world Breakdown of traditional beliefs Art: freedom or prison?

3 Social Change Industrial Revolution provided new technology which in turn provided new opportunities Middle and lower classes gained power; upper classes lost power Communism: best idea ever, or global threat to personal liberty? WWI: massive slaughter, led people to question the wisdom of world leadership and order

4 Breakdown of Traditional Beliefs Traditional virtues like reason, order, religion, obedience—questioned. Darwin’s theory of evolution Freud’s theories of the unconscious mind Einstein’s theories of relativity, harnessing the power of the atom Freedom of thought or breakdown of society as it had been known for centuries?

5 The Modern Artist/Search for the “New” Total break from past forms, constant search for new ideas Liberation = alienation… Feelings of hostility for “the masses” was shown in the art they created Banded together in “movements” “New” = anything that challenged the public’s expectations of art Search for new forms led to fragmentation, producing many different forms and styles

6 Modernist Literature and Art “Nude Descending a Staircase” – Marcel Duchamp Where’s the nude? Where’s the staircase? This painting was wholly controversial when first exhibited in 1913— people argued tirelessly over whether or not it truly was “art.”

7 “Fountain” / “Bicycle Wheel”– Marcel Duchamp “Readymades” : Art or Trash?

8 “The Treachery of Images” – Rene Magritte “This is not a pipe.”

9 “The Scream” – Edvard Munch Originally titled “The Scream of Nature” Expression of angst— German for “anxiety” The pain and confusion of mere existence Have you ever felt like this?

10 Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” Originally written in German by a Czech Jew named Franz Kafka Gregor Samsa wakes up one morning and finds his outward appearance has been transformed into that of a horrible, tremendous, hideous bug. Shunned by his family and co-workers and left without any other options, he eventually allows himself to perish and is thrown away with the trash. Commentary on the fragile nature of human life and the strained relationships we have with family and friends Kafka himself had a strained relationship with his father and had trouble making friends and relating to others

11 Reading Strategies – Modern Literature Visualize. Modernists rely heavily on imagery. Try to notice what is Modern and “new” in the writing. What makes it original and distinctive? Be alert to anything that challenges your expectations, and remember, the Modern artist’s main goal is to be surprising. Be patient. Patience will be rewarded— sometimes only after repeat readings. Question the writer’s view of the world: is it optimistic or pessimistic?

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