The Modernist Movement in the History of British Literature Essay

The Modernist Movement in the History of British Literature Essay

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“Suicide Solution”
            As a direct result of an artistic rebellion against the edicts of the Romantic Era, the aristocratic hypocrisy of the Victorian Age, and of the horrors of both World War I and World War II, the Modernist movement in the arts was inevitable. Roughly beginning at the close of the 19th century through as late as 1965, Modernism came to the forefront in literature (Rahn).  Defined by the technological changes in the social, political and cultural climate brought about by the aforementioned wars, the discoveries of the Industrial Age, and new schools of psychological theories, Modernism is characterized by themes concerning alienation and disconnection and a loss of the traditional values of its predecessor. Literature of Modernism shifted focus from religious ideologies and social manners to that of science and technology (“British Literary History Chart”).  This shift allowed and even challenged writers to entertain ideas in their individual works to consider things once considered politically incorrect, such as, themes centered on death that ultimately leads to suicide, an unthinkable topic, not to mention a religious taboo in the previous age (Rahn).  Both Henrick Ibsen’s play, Hedda Gabler, and Franz Kafka’s novella, The Metamorphosis, fit into the Modernism time period and schema of literature. Surprisingly, however, because its first publication date is 1818, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein can also be categorized as a work of Modernism due to its scientific focus and both Victor and the creature’s sense of disconnection and alienation from their surrounding world.  The delineating characteristics of Modernism are evident in these works and although brought about by differing circumstances, self-infli...


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...ch character’s only viable solution to make sense and bring order into a world gone mad.

Works Cited
“British Literary History Chart.”  Pearson Education, 2010. Web 25 April, 2014.
Norseng, Mary Kay.  “Suicide and Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler: (the seen and the unseen, sight and site, in the theater of the mind).  Scandinavian Studies, Spring 99, Vol. 7.1, Issue 1, p 1-40. Web 23 April, 2014.
The Norton Anthology of World Literature.  Volume 2.  New York:  W. W. Norton and Company, 2013.
O’Connor, Ciaran.  A Consideration of Kafka’s Metamorphosis as a Metaphor for Existential Anxiety about Ageing.”  Existential Analysis, 23.1, January, 2012, p. 56.  Web.  24 April, 2014.
Rahn, Josh.  “Modernism.”  The Literature Network.  Web.  25 April, 2014.
Teisch, Jessica. “ Franz Kafka.”  Bookmarks, Issue 19.  Nov./Dec. 2005:  32-36.  SIRS Renaissance.  Web.  24 April, 2014.

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