What is the modernism movement ?

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Modernism Movement

  • Ortecia Guity
  • Aaliyah Carson
  • Bri-Jae Scarbrough
  • Winsinslow

What is the modernism movement ?

  • Modernism is characterized as a revolutionary force
  • In science Einstein was reassessing time, space, and our relationship to these concepts
  • In global politics two world wars was bracketed decades of intense technological advances in the mass killing of soldiers and civilians
  • In visual arts surrealism, futurism, abstraction, and cubism overthrew most accepted traditional ideas about pictorial representation.
  • Cubo-Futurism
  • Semi-Abstract
  • Surrealism

Techniques of modernism

  • experimentation,
  • anti-realism,
  • individualism
  • intellectual
  • verbal cleverness
  • Juxtaposition,
  • irony, comparisons,
  • satire

Themes of modernism

  • The breaking down of social norms,
  • rejection of standard social ideas ,traditional thoughts and expectations,
  • objection to religion
  • anger towards the effects of the world wars
  • the rejection of the truth
  • rejection of history,
  • social systems
  • sense of loneliness
  • Reject Romanticism and Victorian Literature

Wallace Stevens

  • Wallace Stevens (1879-1955)
    • attended Harvard University as an undergrad from 1879 to 1900
    • due to shortages of family funds he had to withdraw from the university
    • once out of Harvard he worked as a journalist for the New York Evening Post
    • his father counseled him to study law so he graduated from New York School of Law in 1904 and practiced law in New York city until 1916
    • moved to Connecticut where he became vice president of a health insurance company

Notable works

    • Harmonium (1930)
    • Ideas of Order (1935)
    • The Man with the Blue Guitar (1942)
    • Collected Poems (1954)

The Snow Man  by Wallace Stevens

Snowman Analysis

  • overview: man realizes that he must
  • the snowman symbolizes the “mind of winter”
  • “mind of winter” is an extended metaphor of a mind that holds nothing
  • diction and imagery cause a gloomy/miserable tone
  • repetition of nothing
  • theme: the relation between imagination and reality

T.S Elliot

  • born September 26, 1888, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.—died January 4, 1965, London, England
  • T.S. Eliot was an American-English poet, playwright and literary critic
  • He won the Nobel Prize in 1948.
  • His first masterpiece was "The Love Song of J. Alfred Purfrock,"
  • a leader of the modernist movement in poetry in such works as The Waste Land (1922) and Four Quartets(1943)

Notable Works

  • The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock— 1915
  • Gerontion (1920),
  • The Waste Land (1922),
  • The Hollow Men (1925),
  • Ash Wednesday (1930),
  • Four Quartets (1945)

THE HIPPOPOTAMUS by: T.S. Eliot (1920)

Figurative Language

  • Tone
  • Biblical allusion
  • Symbolism

E.E Cummings

  • American poet, painter, essayist, author, and playwright
  • Produced 2,900 poems, two autobiographical novels, four plays and several essays
  • Also produced numerous drawings and paintings (an artist)
  • Wife and daughter (the effect of an affair)
  • Born on October 14, 1894 Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Died of Hemorrhage at age 67
  • Religion: Unitarian

Notable Works

Anyone lived in a pretty how town   by E. E. Cummings

Poetry Analysis

  • Notes
  • Anyone is a generalized term for joyous townspeople
  • No one is the woman referred to in the poem, so… anyone is in love with no one
  • Overall message: mankind is selfish and only cares for the living (disregards the dead)
  • Literary Devices
  • Metaphors
  • Symbolism
  • Couplet (rhyme used in two consecutive lines)
  • Repitition
  • Form
  • Quatrain (stanza of four lines)

Hilda Doolittle

  • Born: September 10, 1886 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
  • An American poet, she attended University of Pennsylvania
  • Known for her association with the early imagist movement.
  • Work later developed into a more female centric version of modernism
  • Married once, but had a number of heterosexual and lesbian affairs.
  • She had an interest in Greek literature and her poetry often borrowed from Greek mythology

Notable Work

  • "Sea Rose"
  • "Garden"
  • "Mid-day"
  • "Hermes of the Ways"
  • "The Helmsman"
  • "Helen"

Helen By: Hilda Doolittle

Analysis of Helen

  • Literary Devices
  • Allusion
  • Imagery
  • Repetition
  • Irony
  • Symbolism
  • Tone
  • Compare and Contrast
  • Form
  • End-stopped

Writing Prompts

  • Wallace Stevens constantly implanted aesthetic philosophy, dealing with the nature of beauty and art, in his poetry. In the following poems he discusses the conditions of winter. Read both poems carefully. Then write an essay in which you compare and contrast the two of them and analyze the relation between them.
  • The following poem is taken from Harmonium, a collection of poems written by the American poet Wallace Stevens. Read the poem carefully. Then write a well organized essay in which you analyze how he communicates his opinion about the power of imagination.
  • Write a well organize essay in which you analyze the literary techniques the author uses to characterize winter.

Quiz Questions

  • 1. Which of the following was not a key element of modernist poetry?
  • experimentation
  • anti-realism
  • realism
  • individualism
  • 2. What ideas did the modernist movement borrow from Romanticism?
  • an urban setting
  • willingness to break taboos
  • artist-centered view and retreat into irrationalism
  • stress on the cerebral
  • 3. What theme does Steven’s, “The Snowman” embody?
  • the misery of winter
  • the importance of a snowman
  • the relationship between imagination and reality
  • speech of nature

Quiz Questions

  • 1. What group of poets was Hilda Doolittle apart of before Modernism?
  • a. Harlem Renassaince
  • b. Realistic
  • c. Romanticism
  • d. Imagist
  • What was the tone of the poem “Helen”
  • a. Depressed
  • b. Happy
  • c. Unforgiving
  • d. Aposrtophe


  • http://curiosity.discovery.com/question/what-is-modernism
  • http://www.poemhunter.com/hilda-doolittle/
  • http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/g_l/hd/hd.htm
  • http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/156
  • http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/e-e-cummings
  • http://www.internal.org/e_e_cummings
  • http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/wallace-stevens
  • http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/s_z/stevens/bio.htm
  • http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1948/eliot-bio.html
  • http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/a_f/eliot/eliot.htm

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