Modernism Disillusion, Defiance & Discontent 1914-1946 Happening in the US: Marked by 2 world wars, prosperity, and worldwide depression A period of artistic experimentation and lasting literary achievement Feeling of optimism before WWI WWI – struggle between Allies and Central Powers, machine guns US involvement started with the German sinking of the British Lusitania – Americans were on board Prosperity and Depression Prohibition – led to bootlegging, speakeasies, law breaking, and warfare among gangs Economy began to boom after 1921 Entertainment: Radio – then jazz, music, movies – movie palaces, the Charleston 1929 – Great Depression President Franklin D. Roosevelt initiated the New Deal – ended the Depression World War II Began with the German invasion of Poland Isolation – dominant mood in US after the fall of France US joined Allies after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941 Atomic bombing of 2 Japanese cities ended war Now peace and the atomic age!!! What is Modernism? Modernists experimented with a variety of new approaches and techniques. Common purpose: to capture the essence of modern life in the both the form and content of their work In literature – used fragments, omitted expositions, transitions, resolutions, and explanations In poetry – abandoned traditional forms and meters for FREE VERSE Themes – implied, created a sense of uncertainty, and forced readers to draw their own conclusions. Who were the Modernists? Gertrude Stein Ezra Pound T.S. Eliot Ernest Hemingway F. Scott Fitzgerald William Faulkner John Steinbeck Sinclair Lewis Known as the expatriates: These writers were unhappy after the war and many settled in Paris where they were influenced by Gertrude Stein. The Expatriates Expatriate = an exile “Lost generation” – Stein’s term Saw very little in their civilization to praise or even accept Very pessimistic Imagism Poetic movement of Modernism (1909-1917) Led by H.D. (Hilda Doolittle) and Ezra Pound Rebelled against sentimentality of 19th century poets Used harsh, clear expressions, concrete images, and everyday language Imagists believed that imagery alone could carry poem’s emotion and message. Symbolism a form of poetic expression in which the writer violently rearranges the world of appearances in order to seek a different, more truthful version of reality tried to portray the emotional effects suggested by objects Stream of Consciousness More writers began using this between the world wars. Recreates the natural flow of a character’s thoughts; imitates the moment-by-moment flow of a character’s perceptions and memories. Landmark novel – James Joyce’s Ulysses Also used by William Faulkner and Katherine Anne Porter Poetry E.E. Cummings – wordplay, unique typography, special punctuation William Carlos Williams – sought meaning in American sights and sounds and used informal, conversational speech Wallace Stevens – elegant poetry that explored the relationship between reality and fiction Marianne Moore – lines measured by syllable counts, quotations, and quotations Harlem Renaissance 1920s – 1930s Began in 1921 with Countee Cullen’s “I Have a Rendezvous with Life (with apologies to Alan Seeger)” A time of artistic, musical, and literary creativity for African Americans Centered in the Harlem district of NYC Produced great works of literature, the new musical forms of jazz and the blues, and opened the door for later African American writers Harlem Renaissance The American Dream 1. America is the new Eden: a land of beauty, bounty, and unlimited promise. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, reflects both the promise and the disappointment of this idea. The American Dream 2. Optimism, justified by the everexpanding opportunity and abundance that people expect of the U.S., embodies the American belief in progress and the “pursuit of happiness.” The American Dream 2. The importance and ultimate triumph of the individual – an independent, self-reliant person – comprises the 3rd element. “Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist.” –R. W. Emerson The New American Hero Introduced by Ernest Hemingway, he was a man of action, a warrior, a tough competitor. He has a code of honor, courage, and endurance. Hero shows “grace under pressure.” However, he’s completely disillusioned. He believes unbeatable odds are ranged against us all, so he recognizes and snatches up the rare, good, rich moments that life offers. Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby Voices of Modernism “In a real dark night of the soul it is always three o’clock in the morning.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald “No more war, no more plague, only the dazed silence that follows the ceasing of the heavy guns.” – Katherine Ann Porter “Everything is the same and everything is different.” – Gertrude Stein Any questions???