The Modern Literary Period, which began in the 1900s and ended through the 1950s, was greatly influenced by the First World War and The Great Depression that followed it. These events influenced writers’ outlook on things, it filled them with feelings of disillusionment and emptiness which are ultimately reflected on their works. Modern Literature often uses elements that represent the problems of their society during those troubling times.
In Modern Literature, authors tried to steer away from traditional ideas and styles, and mainly tried to focus on bold and experimental styles of writing. Literature in this period had a sense of disillusionment and loss of faith in the American Dream. Literature now expressed more interest in the workings of the human mind. During the Postwar Period, writers developed two new writing trends, Marxism and psychoanalysis. Through psychoanalysis, writers also developed a new style of writing called stream of consciousness. This style’s purpose is to “abandon chronology and attempted to imitate the moment-by-moment flow of a character’s perceptions and memories” (ed. Thomas F. Hisrch, 2000, 530)
Because of the war, many old ideas of an “Edenic Land”, optimism for the future and faith in being an individual weren’t as relevant and used as they were before. Post War Writers were more skeptical than they had been before and drifted from New England which had been the center of American literary life. Disillusionment was a major theme seen in many of the novels written in this time.
During the 1920s, a group called Writers of the Lost Generation started getting abundant attention. The term, “the Lost Generation”, was created by Gertrude Stein who used ...
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...ism. ed. Carolyn Riley, Vol. 3 Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1975. 231-243.
“Ernest Hemingway.” Contemporary Literary Criticism. ed. Carolyn Riley, Vol. 8 Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1975. 282-293.
Gerogiannis, Nicholas. “Ernest Hemingway.” Dictionary of Literary Biography: Writers in Paris 1920-1939. ed. Karen Lane Wood, Vol. 4 Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1980. 187-211.
“Ernest Hemingway.” Magill’s Survey of American Literature: Third Printing. ed. Frank Magill, Vol.3 New York: Marshall Cavendish Corp., 1991. 897-904.
Thomas F. Hirsch, ed. “The Moderns: 1900-1950.” Elements of Literature Fifth Course: Literature of the United States. Austin: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 2000. 523-536, 650-651.
“The Lost Generation: American Writers of the 1920s.” Montgomery College, March 27, 2010. http://www.montgomerycollege.edu/Departments/hpolscrv/jbolhofer.html
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