the modern age 1901 1999 n.
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The Modern Age (1901-1999). Modern Age History and Literature is generally divided into two main categories:. Early Twentieth Century (1901-1950). Late Twentieth Century (1951-2000). Early Twentieth Century (1901-1950).

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modern age history and literature is generally divided into two main categories
Modern Age History and Literature is generally divided into two main categories:

Early Twentieth



Late Twentieth Century


early twentieth century 1901 1950
Early Twentieth Century (1901-1950)
  • Influences from the late 19th century (the Victorian Age) continued to affect 20th century thinking:
    • Charles Darwin – His theories of natural selection and survival affected views of science, religion, social classes, and even doctrines of racial superiority
    • Karl Marx – Advocated the abolition of private property and traced economic injustices to “the capitalist system of ownership.”
    • Sigmund Freud – Believed that motives of human behavior are NOT found in the rational, conscious mind but in the irrational, sexually driven unconscious.

Early Twentieth Century (1901-1950) Cont’d.

  • The Great War: “A War to End All Wars”
    • The heroic idea of war was harshly met with realities of new technology in WWI
    • 60,000 young British men were killed or wounded on the first day of the Battle of Somme
    • 300,000 were killed, wounded, or frozen to death at the Battle of Ypres
    • The devastating losses of the war resulted in a cynical attitude toward government, national honor, and glory.

Early Twentieth Century (1901-1950) Cont.d.

III. Rise and Effects of World War II

  • Worldwide economic depression led to the rise of dictators (Italy, Germany, Russia)
  • Britain perseveres and is successful only after the U.S. and Soviet Union enter the war
  • Post-World War II Britain is transformed into a welfarestate—government provides medical care and other basic benefits for its citizens

Late Twentieth Century (1951-2000)

  • Britain loses status as world power
    • British Empire loses several “colonies” to independence
    • British industry declines and Britain loses economic and political status in the world

Effects Upon Literature

  • Much of the literature (especially following WWII) is dark and pessimistic
    • More dark comedy and satire are written
    • Many works portray a civilization in ruins (dystopia); traditional beliefs and morals are challenged

Effects Upon Literature Cont’d.

  • A shift from Romanticism and the ideal to Impressionism and Modernism
    • Impressionism – Focus on experience
    • Modernism – Focuses on the inner self; personal perception are more valid than socially-determined norms.