ma english literature

ma english literature

Exploring the Evolution and Impact of Modernist Literature in MA English Literature Programs

1. Introduction to Modernist Literature

The figure of the flâneur ceases to exist in modernity. The private protagonist discovers the public dimension of words, but the project of a novel as social analysis is also a dead-end due to the loss of validity of the novelistic model as criticism of reality. The literary work will not be able to achieve greater plausibility unless it is restored to the lost connection with the sphere of popular memory, eliminating all distance with the everyday world. Objective realism has come to an end. The narrative reclaims the force of the word, and only in poetry, the aggregation of the word in the hidden thought that wants to become a social thought, emerges the continuity of the word, and the word achieves absolute value. The character will only have his personal and intimate experience.

Modernism represented a radical and linguistic revolution in all literature. To give birth to a new self-sufficient language, to represent the damaged identity, and to represent speech as a phenomenon with its most profound vocation to grasp reality are the objectives of a great part of the literature of the twentieth century. Literature in a world at war expresses agony, doubts, and the violent contradictions of reality. Narrating was therefore no longer a form of poetic fiction devoid of daily problems. It was through poetry that reality was given back the right to be “denounced”. Poetry thus became the only possible truth and necessary anguish of a disarticulated reality, of a fragmented man who was now required to exhibit his anguish, and the poet would be the man charged with this task.

2. Key Characteristics and Themes of Modernist Literature

Those changes are mostly social and historical, rather than innately cultural. There was a coherent world rocked by the first age of modernism. It was largely European, not international, still less global. It was rent apart by two world wars and their consequences, and devastated by economic hardships and social change. The literature of that period reflects those traumas. But we too live in a coherent world, rent apart by an ideological war that has lasted, it would seem, for twice the first Second World War, a war fueled by weaponry that moves the molecule rather than smashes it, a world where vast groups of humans live under far worse conditions than much of the West knew even in the darkest times of two generations ago, while the comfortable surroundings of those who are much better off are still little less of a stem for the solitary walker in a dark wood than they ever were. Two generations ago, the changes that would happen, and the changes that had happened, allowed our world to be in a position to produce stunning new poems that amazed generations, poems that many of us can still bring to sight with little effort even today.

In the contemporary world of literature, the contents of the modernist label have changed. Stripped of the old aura of elitist greatness, modernism does not now just denote a list of acknowledged great writers. The idea of modernism, too, has altered, losing some of its esoteric exclusiveness. The very variety of the artists now labeled as modernists puts the notion under constant strain. Radical in their new ways a generation ago, writing in avenues that others dared not explore or could not see, modern writers have in just one generation become ‘traditional’ for being new. Modernist endurance, vitality even, comes from its central paradox. The urgency of change that surrounds us all the time seems to render the traditional poem so stale and artificial as to be nearly meaningless. And yet it remains harder to imagine a world with different words for trees and flowers and grass than the ancient poem always did imagine. The new words, whether they are for the new aircraft or the differences between the shades of the soft drink or the soap, do not require the same necessary poetic properties.

3. Influential Modernist Authors and Works

Common modern themes—writing and the nature of the artist, the act of perception and its ethical implications—should not however be held to indicate the poverty of the material upon which the early modernist drew. The most obvious forms of this material were the new physical sciences. The modernist writer could see the aesthetic which was within his gift, thus marooning the intended modern artistic structure from giving other satisfactions. No other view of approach is open to take the very avant-garde: where there is abstraction, pure substance infected with no other method or intention.

Modern literature demonstrates a strong affinity with form that the writings of earlier periods do not commonly exhibit. In the case of modern authors, therefore, it often becomes possible to examine their use of language on the larger scale as well as more conventional story pattern elements. The overwhelming impression that modern writing could be said to give is one of an arbitrary self-consciousness about the act of writing. It is also true that the pattern of attempt repeated failure is a deceptive simplicity to the modern writer after the complexity and depth of the intentions which he is later to accomplish are considered. The modern writer’s earliest pondered sentence not infrequently contains the whole work, allowing for the oversight of fluctuations and improvements. Many words, as such, have their own history of struggles expression.

4. Modernist Literature’s Influence on Contemporary Literature and Critical Theory

Although the most thoroughly documented influences of high modernist literature have been felt before the 20th century, in the earlier eras of classic mythology, harsh reality, and extreme idealism, the concepts and methodology of modernist literature continue to immigrate to contemporary thought and the contemporary pen, and sometimes dissimulate within contemporary literature in less obviously identifiable or aesthetically pleasing forms. There is validity in the hope that the influences of past experiments in man’s confrontation with radical representation change, made in the great works of modernist literature, will lead to both an understanding of each other’s struggles and a contemporary literature more reflective of the members of humanity who contribute to the bond between multiform reflections of a community and a global condition of contemporary memory.

Modernist literature, as an influential component of contemporary literature and thought, has remained an important component of a well-rounded study in English literature. From the confines of post-colonial literature to what Spariosu has called deconstructive mythopoetic literature and the contemporary experimentation of individual evolutions and fusions of literature, critical theory, and other disciplines and thought patterns, the impact of and methodology behind the fiction, drama, poetry, and criticism of the modernist era is alive and well in literature classes and academic discussion today. The modernist reflection of the impact of these resulting distortions of a previous world’s mythos upon an individual is alive and well in contemporary thought and literature. The vehicle for the reflection and the shadows of the previously reflected particles of the previously established assumed reality, literature stands as a compelling source of insight into the human soul and the juxtaposition of the contemporary against time’s evolutionary tale.

5. Conclusion: The Enduring Relevance of Modernist Literature in MA English Literature Programs

The exemplary function of modernist writers as critics and visionaries, if not interdisciplinary hybrids, who were able to amalgamate traditional literary forms, such as drama and symbolic lyricism, with photographic naturalism, stream of consciousness writing, and philosophical dialogisms that seamlessly refract impressionistic content, was ostensible. The ability of creative talent to satisfy demands for entertainment was reconsidered and included educational lessons and moral didactic aspirations, much to the self-satisfaction of public anxieties. As Walter Benjamin intimated, the angel of history, in possession of us moderns, when facing heaven, does not witness how it gathers in strata upon strata the ruins and memoirs of fallen civilizations or defunct societies. These same sensual forms are oratories, soundstages, and profile gallery portraits, crystallizing invocations or record memories attaching themselves to the totality.

In summary, modernism altered attitudes toward literary creativity during an era of unprecedented worldwide social, cultural, and artistic transformation. By contrast to the former facilitation of human expression, literary language was recast to suit the avant-garde: the coordinates of English were realigned in new configurations and reconstituted for new engagements. In doing so, modernism embarked upon logical, epistemological, and theoretical courses, and, lastly, became emblematic of the conflicting ambivalences and contestations of modern life. Therefore, studying the modernist text today engenders reflection about the state of the literary text: a bleaker revelation, which is disheartening and petrifying as well as inspiring.

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