Modernistic literature is the expression of the modern era (1901-45). It tends to revolve around themes of individuality, the randomness of life, mistrust of government and religion and the disbelief in absolute truth.
Influences of modern literature The three thinkers who influence the Modern Era and Modern literature the most are probably Charles Darwin (1809-1882), Karl Marx (1818-1883) and Sigmund Freud. This is not to say that Modern authors were ardent evolutionists, or Marxists or even practitioners of Freudian psychology; rather, these thinkers simply fuelled and framed the perspectives and debates that formulated so much Modern art and literature. Today, Freud's specific theories are largely dismissed as unscientific. Still, these ideas had a profound influence on art and literature as much as on our common, daily perceptions/conceptions of existence and reality:
Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889) was a poet, dwelling chiefly on his spiritual relations with god, his poetry only became recognized in 1918 when he became published in Robert Bridges edition. The late publication effectively made the difficulties of his work anticipate modern poetry, and so he made a major influence on later writers.
James Joyce (1882-1941) was an Irish novelist, short story novel writer, poet and playwright born in Dublin.
Joyce wrote several volumes and an autobiographical novel which follows his life from infancy to his first departure for Paris. Joyce subsequently wrote an unsuccessful play published in 1918 and furthermore a slight volume of verses. These were amid the beginnings of his two great works to come, Ulysses and Finnegan’s Wake. These both occupied the remainder of his life.
WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS
(13 June 1885- 28 January 1939)
William Butler Yeats was one of the foremost figures of 20th century literature. In 1923 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for what the Nobel Committee described as "inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation."
YEATS WAS INTERESTED MAINLY IN THE LIKES OF:
mysticism, spiritualism, occultism and astrology
In 1916, Yeats quite suddenly decided that he didn't want to write pretty poems anymore - he wanted to write realistic poems: poems as urgent and as uncluttered as a newspaper article. He even wrote a poem about his decision: "A Coat". So some characteristics of Modernism in Yeats include: Demotic language (not poetic language) Political subject matter Ugliness and violence, where these are appropriate to the subject matter (no attempt to make everything aesthetically pleasing in a poeticised vision of loveliness).
HAD I the heavens' embroidered cloths, Enwrought with golden and silver light, The blue and the dim and the dark cloths Of night and light and the half-light, I would spread the cloths under your feet: But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
MODERNIST Yeats POEM:
THE SECOND COMING
TURNING and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity
During the interwar period, Woolf was a significant figure in London literary society and a member of the Bloomsbury Group. Her most famous works include the novels Mrs Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927) and Orlando (1928), and the book-length essay A Room of One's Own (1929), with its famous dictum, "A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction."
The term Postmodern literature is used to describe certain characteristics of post–World War II literature, relying heavily, for example, on fragmentation, paradox, questionable narrators.
Unifying features often coincide with Jean-François Lyotard's concept of the "metanarrative" and "little narrative", Jacques Derrida's concept of "play", and Jean Baudrillard's "simulacra." For example, instead of the modernist quest for meaning in a chaotic world, the postmodern author eschews, often playfully, the possibility of meaning, and the postmodern novel is often a parody of this quest.
Jean Francois Lyotard
Lyotard's work is characterised by a persistent opposition to universals, he is fiercely critical of many of the 'universalist' claims of the Enlightenment, and several of his works serve to undermine the fundamental principles that generate these broad claims.
Lyotard was a frequent writer on aesthetic matters. He was, despite his reputation as a postmodernist, a great promoter of modernist art. Lyotard saw 'postmodernism' as a latent tendency within thought throughout time and not a narrowly-limited historical period. He favoured the startling and perplexing works of the high modernist avant-garde. In them he found a demonstration of the limits of our conceptuality, a valuable lesson for anyone too imbued with Enlightenment confidence. Lyotard has written extensively also on few contemporary artists of his choice: Valerio Adami, Daniel Buren, Marcel Duchamp, Bracha Ettinger and Barnett Newman, as well as on Paul Cézanne and Wassily Kandinsky
Kurt Vonnegut is a well known Post modernist author, with his works winning fame after they were published in 1969. The classic combines science fiction elements with an analysis of human condition. The novel is based on Kurt Vonnegut's own experience in World War II. Slaughterhouse Five treats one of the most horrific massacres in European history, the firebombing of Dresden.
Kurt Vonnegut wrote plays, essays and short fiction. But it was his novels that became classics of the American counterculture, making him a literary idol, particularly to students in the 1960s and ’70s. Dog-eared paperback copies of his books could be found in the back pockets of blue jeans and in dorm rooms on campuses throughout the United States.
Kurt Vonnegut used humour to tackle the basic questions of human existence:
and JOKES, he also wrote about the banalities of consumer culture, eg,
the destruction of the environment.
Atonement by Ian McEwan employs several characteristics of postmodernism in its narrative techniques that foreground the conflict between differing perceptions of truth and the elusiveness of memory.
Recent film adaption starring Kiera Knightly.
Atonement and its Characteristics of Postmodernism
Atonement questions not only authorial authority but also the consciousness of the mind, which distorts truth and history, and ardently illustrates "how easy it was to get everything wrong, completely wrong". The structure of the narrative foregrounds the conflict between the different perceptions of truth, facts and beliefs, and truth and illusion, and reflects on a smaller scale the similarly written, similarly constructed history of the Second World War.
Louis de bernierres
Postmodernism is hard to define, because it is a concept that appears in a wide variety of disciplines or areas of study, including art, architecture, music, film, literature, sociology, communications, fashion, and technology. It's hard to locate it temporally or historically, because it's not clear exactly when postmodernism begins. Perhaps the easiest way to start thinking about postmodernism is by thinking about modernism. (at the beginning)
Louis de Bernières, who lives in Norfolk, published his first novel in 1990 and was selected by Granta magazine as one of the twenty Best of Young British Novelists in 1993.
De Bernières' most famous book is his fourth, Captain Corelli's Mandolin, in which the hero is an Italian soldier who is part of the occupying force on a Greek island during the Second World War.
In 2001, the book was turned into a film. De Bernières strongly disapproved of the film version, commenting, "It would be impossible for a parent to be happy about its baby's ears being put on backwards." He does however state that it has redeeming qualities, and particularly likes the soundtrack.