Essay on World War I and The Literary Transition Into Modernism

Essay on World War I and The Literary Transition Into Modernism

Length: 969 words (2.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

World War I and The Literary Transition Into Modernism

World War I was the culmination of many things. On the surface, it was the ultimate in international disputes. Never before had the nations of the civilized world boiled over on such an enormous level. So large was the scale of World War I that there were few countries who did not feel its effects.

On a more profound level, the human being had never before exacted such damage upon themselves in the name of warfare. Due to the absolute horror of the violence, man became shell-shocked psychologically and disillusionment filled many people. The psychological effects of this conflict would alter world views for years to come, especially as recorded in the post-war literature.

This cultural report will briefly discuss the historical circumstances of the war, its violent resolution, and the effects of its horror as felt in the literary world, specifically through modernism and Edith Wharton’s novel The Age of Innocence. The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary in June 1914 by a Serbian caused an international dispute when Serbia refused to hand over the assassin. Serbia pleaded with Russia for assistance in dealing with the Austro-Hungarians, but soon after Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. In response, Germany, the ally of the Austro-Hungarians, declared war on Russia and France in August 1914. The Germans did not stop there, as they had been massing forces for some time previous to this. They had aspirations of complete European conquest. The assassination had merely provided them the opportunity for aggression. On August 4th, 1914 the Germans invaded Belgium, prompting the British to declare war on Germany and aid the French. Austria-Hungary fi...

... middle of paper ...

...entury, a world where the youth feels they are equals with their fate. Perhaps there is logic in the timing of her novel’s publication at the tail end of the war. It is a modernist reacting in disillusionment to the violently different and modern world around her and searching for an answer.

Works Cited

Norton Anthology of American Literature. “Volume D: American Literature Between the Wars, 1914-1945” from The Norton Anthology of American Literature, 6th Edition. Online. 20 September 2004. W.W. Norton and Company, 2003.

The Smithsonian Institution. “Edith Wharton’s World.” From “Portraits of People and Places.” Online. 20 September 2004. The Smithsonian Institution, 2000.

Spartucus Educational. “Chronology of World War One” & “Casualties of World War One” from “History of World War One.” Online. 20 September 2004. Spartucus Educational, Inc., 2004.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Literary Modernism Time Period Essay

- The literary modernism time period was a movement in literature that started in the early 1890s and was very eventful. During this era there were many considerable events taking place such as The Great War (also known as “World War One”), which started in 1914. This War lasted for four years and finally ended in 1918, but its effects lasted much longer. The financial instability of Europe and death caused by this First World War gave people a sense of patriotism that unified them. It made people think of not only the society as a whole, but themselves as individuals ("Modernism.")....   [tags: the great war, post modernism, styles]

Strong Essays
1421 words (4.1 pages)

Essay on Modernism And The Modern Era

- The Romantic Period came in a time where artists and writers felt a need to reflect on the old and maintain a connection to the world around them, avoiding change as much as possible. In contrast, Modernism came around in a time where artists and writers felt that the world needed to change. The modernist view is one that focuses on the here and now, not so much on maintaining connections to older traditions and views. Although bleak, Modernism is something that, in the time that is relevant, that mankind needed....   [tags: Modernism, Postmodernism, Ezra Pound]

Strong Essays
1014 words (2.9 pages)

Modernism and New Criticism Essay

- Modernism and New Criticism The ways in which we define the importance of texts is constantly changing. We can look back and see critical theories used, such as Historical Criticism, Reader-Response Criticism and Psychoanalytic Criticism. Each of these theories offers a different way to interpret a text. However, when looking back over the texts of a specific era, shouldn’t the type of criticism we used for a book be based on that time period. Defining the Modernist Era of literature seems almost impossible, since the definition of modernism often seems to constitute anything from being “new and common” to “new and uncommon” (Barzun)....   [tags: Modernism New Criticism Literature Essays]

Strong Essays
2988 words (8.5 pages)

Operatic Modernism Essay

- Operatic Modernism The profound modernist ruptures of the 20th Century questioned, displaced, and reconfigured the way humanity regards itself. Within the fine arts, literature, architecture, and music, artistic revolutions occurred at an unprecedented rate and, within the rubric of modernism, deliberately broke with the bases of Western art, culture and society. While working within the operatic institution, Strauss' Salome, Weill's Die Dreigroschenoper, and Berg's Wozzeck profoundly challenge the generic conventions of the operatic tradition....   [tags: Opera Modernism Music Essays]

Strong Essays
1461 words (4.2 pages)

Pre-Modernism Themes Showcased In Literature Essay

- The traumatic events of World War 1 made many writers re-evaluate their views of society which then translated into their works. The themes used in works by writers like Sherwood Anderson, Robert Frost, and Ernest Hemingway reveal the extent of trauma the war had on the human psyche. Loss of communication, disillusioned characters, and personal alienation are a few of the major themes that are displayed in the writings of a lot of authors during this period. This essay will examine the use of the literary modernism themes mentioned above in Robert Frost’s “Home Burial,” Sherwood Anderson’s “Hands,” and Ernest Hemingway’s “The Killers.” Robert Frost uses the loss of communication as a sign...   [tags: traumatic events, world war I]

Strong Essays
661 words (1.9 pages)

Individualism in Modernism Essay

- American Modernism was a period of time between 1900 and 1960 when new ideas in art, music, and literature emerged as America transitioned into a booming urban nation. These ideas shifted the way people thought and acted, and sparked new ways of writing. A concept very important to Literary Modernism is individualism. Individualism regards the beliefs, needs, well being, and accomplishments of a single person over those of other individuals and of society. This ties into the Modernist theme of valorization of the individual....   [tags: avant-gard trends in literature]

Strong Essays
1099 words (3.1 pages)

Essay Modernism in The Metamorphoses

- Modernism in The Metamorphoses The modernist movement in literature began around the turn of the century and createda dramatic change in the way that author's viewed their work. The new breed of writers were extremely affected by the new perception of the world and our place as human beings in it. WWII was on the verge of beginning, and the literary world was expressing their fears and attitudes toward their impending doom through their writings. Modernism has a few key themes that Franz Kafka follows throughout his piece, "The Metamorphosis." One of the most common themes among popular modernist literature are the rejection of literary tradition through experimentation...   [tags: Ovid Metamorphoses Essays]

Free Essays
526 words (1.5 pages)

Modernism Essay

- Modernism “An inclination to subjective distortion to point up the evanescence of the social world of the nineteenth century bourgeoisie.” -Barth, “Literature of Replenishment” ( Modernism was rebellion against not only the repressive principles of the Victorian era but also the emergence of the fast-changing, materialistic corporate society. The period preceding modernism held up Victorian virtues, which accepted the worldview of everything being ordered, neat, stable, and meaningful....   [tags: Literature Literary Essays]

Strong Essays
789 words (2.3 pages)

Essay on Modernism versus Modernismo

- Modernism versus Modernismo Both Modernism and Modernismo were movements around the turn of the 20th century which caused cultural upheaval and renovation in times where the society was, or needed to be, changing. Modernism took place throughout Europe and in the United States, while Modernismo was a Latin American movement. The two movements share several general characteristics, but were, without a doubt, two separate and distinct movements, and should not be confused. Therefore, it is useful to clarify the causes, characteristics, and effects of each movement, comparing their similarities and contrasting their differences....   [tags: Hispanic Literature Essays]

Strong Essays
1065 words (3 pages)

Modernism Essay

- The modernist period in British and Irish literature was one of the most important and exciting times in literary history. The term modernist stemmed from the beginning of the 20th century labelled the modern period. The modern period was a time of confusion and transitions, mostly due to the result of people returning from World War I. The modern period was an era of massive unemployment and technological changes. Freud, Jung, and Marx were redefining human identity, Assembly lines and factories were being introduced, and gender differences were starting to crumble....   [tags: European Literature]

Strong Essays
1090 words (3.1 pages)