Literary Time Period Review Notes from Poetry Presentations

Time Period Review
from Poetry Unit
The Renaissance (1485-1660)
 Means “rebirth”
 Began writing about feelings instead of God
 HUMANISM - Rebirth in Latin & Greek Lit.
And attempting to have their work reflect that
tradition & combine it w/the Bible. Answers Q’s
about “the good life.”
 Printing Press invented
 The Reformation of the church
 Sonnets = wooing/impressing a lady
 Chivalrous Renaissance Man
The Restoration & 18th Century (1660-1800)
 Age of enlightenment & intellectual movement
 Neoclassical Writing (imitation of the old Latin
Rise & introduction of the novel
Age of reason / rationalism & deism
“Debtor’s prison”
Birth of Modern, English prose
Writers used wit, cynicism, & satire to expose moral
corruption & excessive indulgences
Theaters reopened
Romantic Period (1798-1832)
 Materialism & used satire to ridicule it
 Apocalyptic political vision – everything is seen as falling
Neoclassism = admiration of Greek culture
Writers focused on lyrical ballads
Revolutionary Age = went from agricultural society to
industrial nation w/large & restless working class in
Writers responded to social & economic upheaval –
namely the government ignoring the problems of the
Romanticism – valued imagination, intuition /emotion,
idealism, inspiration, individuality, & nature (Remember
Rajesh’s 5 I’s).
Victorian Period (1832-1901)
 Fighting for one’s individual rights (minorities, women’s, &
right to vote, etc.)
Industrial Revolution had a significant influence
Serious problems = economic depression, frequent
unemployment, devastating living + working conditions,
unsanitary housing conditions, lots of disease.
Literature was often CENSURED
Writers continued to ask questions, raised doubts, protested
codes of decorum (how to act), social class hierarchy, &
authority. Often mocked those against them.
Expectations of women as housekeepers, mothers, submissive
to husbands.
“Typical Victorian Housewives” began to challenge that image.
Adulterous women were considered “dirty” or “fallen from
Twentieth Century (1901-2000)
 Strongly influenced by Victorian Period’s social and
intellectual changes (for ex: Darwin, Karl Marx, Sigmund
Literature reflected disillusionment with society (society
in ruins, traditional beliefs & morals challenged due to
effects of WWI & II).
Experimentation in the Arts – challenged traditional
values of beauty & order.
Political concerns were prominent.
Themes of human suffering, loss of freedom (due to
totalitarian government), problems of personal identity,
effects of cultural domination (expectations), & racism.
Radical new thinking.
Modernism (1902-1945) = lit. of exhaustion
 “The Lost Generation” was part of this – a group of post-
WWI writers who were against the WWI values.
Generation born btwn/ 1883-1900
Believed pre-war values no longer applied in the “new society”
Disillusioned/pessimistic/Realism - believed they were living in
a hopelessly, materialistic, + emotionally barren society.
Displeased w/American social values, sexual + aesthetic
conventions, + established morality. Expatriates w/diff. POV’s.
Criticized American culture through themes of self-exile
(actually fled to Montparnasse, Paris), indulgence, spiritual
Also known as the “Génération au Feu” or the “1914 Generation”
Phrase coined by Gertrude Stein who said to Hemingway, “You
are all a lost generation.”
Modernism (1902-1945)
 Modernist writers split in their approaches to this time period –
some were optimistic + creative, creating something new, out of
nothing (Gertrude Stein, John Dos Passos) – while others,
focused on the decay + destruction of society (T.S. Eliot).
Emphasized the importance of the artist/writer/individual
+subjective experience.
Experimented with the literary form (stream of consciousness,
All agreed Modernist work should be demanding + challenging –
often make allusions to advances in psychology (Darwin, Marx,
Other themes: human suffering, loss of freedom, prob’s of
personal identity, effects of cultural domination, gender equality,
& racism.
World changing events: Holocaust, U.S. Stock Market
crashes, Ireland civil war, Spanish civil war, WWII, segregation,
women’s right to vote, Hiroshima…etc.
Post-Modernism (1946-present day)
= Lit. of replenishment
 A reaction to modernism.
 Questions hierarchy (govt.) & objective knowledge,
embraces complexity, contradiction, ambiguity, and
Style of writing = free, open, not subject to any set rules
or forms (nonconformity)
Often written to reflect one’s thought process (stream of
consciousness, metacognition), often abstract (hard to
understand) instead of concrete.
Simulacrum – reality as a pastiche (spectacle) instead of
a genuine experience.
Themes: (a) Tries to reconstruct the idea of realityreality as an objective vs. subjective thing. Reality =
dictated by us, not we dictated by it, (b) instability of
meaning, (c) existentialism.
Post-Modernism (1946-present day)
 World Changing Events: political and social changes
Woman’s Suffrage, Civil Rights movement, Gandhi is
assassinated, MLK Jr., Chernobyl’s nuclear disaster in
Ukraine, Fall of Berlin Wall, Nelson Mandela elected in S.
 Common Q’s: Why did such a traumatic thing happen to
us? What have we done to deserve any of this?