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Modernism and Postmodernism


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    1. Modernism and Postmodernism

    2. "We have a few old mouth-to-mouth tales, we exhume from old trunks and boxes and drawers letters without salutation or signature, in which men and women who once lived and breathed are now merely initials or nicknames out of some now incomprehensible affection which sound to us like Sanskrit or Chocktaw; we see dimly people, the people in whose living blood and seed we ourselves lay dormant and waiting, in this shadowy attenuation of time possessing now heroic proportions, performing their acts of simple passion and simple violence, impervious to time and inexplicable..."- William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom!

    3. Classified: For Sale. Baby Goods. For Sale. Baby Shoes. Never Worn. --Ernest Hemmigway

    4. “Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the Sound. And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors’ eyes — a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.” –The Great Gatsby

    5. I. What is Modernism? • A movement in art and philosophy generally confined to the first half of the twentieth century, • Modernists prove what is not. They create work that deconstructs (questions/rejects) established norms (artistic conventions or established beliefs etc.) • Hemmingway does away with figurative language. • Albert Einstein does away with the constancy of time. • Pablo Picasso does away with the literalism in artwork. • Sigmund Freud does away with the concept of a unified mind.

    6. II. Postmodernism • A successor to modernism generally thought to occur during the second half of the century • Defined by an even greater breaking away from straightforward answers and internal consistency within a work of art

    7. III. Characteristics in Literature • Modernist art is experimental. Each writer means to buck an established norm. • The modernist emphasizes pluralism—the idea that many things (ethnicities, philosophies) exist at once with equal relevance, an especially important reality in America.

    8. III. Characteristics Continued C. The Modernist novel possesses a psychological dimension—in terms of how it affects the reader subconsciously or what it implies about unexplored areas of the human mind. D. The modernist work emphasizes the individual’s experience over the experience of a group (state, church etc.). Narratives often involve an individual who feels alienated within a larger group.