Modernism In Modern Literature

Powerful Essays
Modernism attempts to record the shifts and displacements of sensibility that occurred in the art and literature in the late nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries and took us beyond familiar reality. While it is believed to have started with the movements like Imagism and Symbolism, its end is disputed about. Frank Kermode uses the term “neo-modernism” to suggest its continuity in the post-war art. The modernist literature is, in most critical usage, reckoned to be the literature of what Harold Hasenburg calls “the tradition of the new”. The task of such literature is its own self-realisation which is both outside and beyond established orders, breaking away from familiar functions of language and conventions of form.
Many practitioners rejected traditional realism and experimented with both the form and the content. This has meant though, not only a radical remaking of form, but also, as Frank Kermode says, the tendency to bring it closer to chaos, thus, producing a sense of ‘formal desperation’. Indeed, Modernism would seem to be the point at which the idea of the radical and innovating arts reaches formal crisis. While some literature participated in the ideological implications of this conflict, much writing retreated into a longer-term contextualisation of the confrontation as futile and resting on debased values.
The stylistic plurality of twentieth-century art - a plurality that Andre Malraux calls the ‘imaginary museum’ of stylistic heterodoxy in The Voices of Silence, leaves it open to various interpretations by writers as well as commentators. However, disposed to the apocalyptic view of history, the most remarkable feature of the age is its pessimism and despair. The modernist writer occupied a worl...

... middle of paper ...

... of Virginia Woolf. Best American Plays. Fifth Series, 1958-
1963. Ed. John Gassner. New York: Crown Publishers, 1972. 149-201. Print.

Albee, Edward. The Zoo Story. 12 Oct 2011. PDF. 2 Feb 2014.

De La Fuente, Patricia. Edward Albee: Planned Wilderness, Living Authors Series No. 3.
Ed. Patricia De La Fuente. Edinburg, Texas: School of Humanities, Pan American
University, 1980. Print.

Heilpern, John. “Inadmissible Evidence: John Osborne’s Most Personal Play”. Oct 21
2011. Web. April 9 2014.

Kolin, C.P., and Davis, J.M. Critical Essays on Edward Albee. Massachusetts: G.K. Hall,
1986. Print.

Osborne, John. Inadmissible Evidence. London: Faber Ltd., 1965. Print.

Osborne, John. Look Back in Anger. Bombay: Oxford UP, 1994. Print.

Taylor, John Russell, ed. John Osborne: Look Back in Anger. London: Macmillan Press,
1968. Print.
Get Access