[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|]]MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|


[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----Just peruse the first couple paragraphs of a few different books on modernism, and you’ll already be privy to the range of difficulties involved with defining the term. Some authors seek to define modernism in terms of what it is not, like in the case of Peter Child’s Modernism, which attempts to clarify the term by holding it between romance and realism on one end, and postmodernism on the other. “If the idea that identity exists through difference is taken as a starting point, then modernism can begin to be understood in terms of possible distinctions from other literary forms,” writes Child (2). Or take, as another example, Vassiliki Kolocotroni’s rather prolix introduction to Modernism: An Anthology of Sources and Documents, whose very first sentence reads “Modernism is not a movement”—which of course is a response to the number of times it’s been thought of exactly as such. Or, furthermore, David Ayers’ introduction to Modernism: A Short Introduction, which concerns itself with what should belong to the term, but maybe won’t exactly fit in every anthology: “A study of modernism might quite properly seek to spread its efforts across the literature, theatre, music and art of the first half of the twentieth century in Europe, America and beyond” (IX). For our purposes, this quote from Ayers nicely highlights the manifold relationship between stretches of time, and variations of art and place which all seek to be held by the term. Or, finally, turn to Pericles Lewis’ The Cambridge Introduction to Modernism for our most comprehensive definition, and see just how many shifts and layers have to get accounted for before the image is clear:]]Just peruse the first couple paragraphs of a few different books on modernism, and you’ll already be privy to the range of difficulties involved with defining the term. Some authors seek to define modernism in terms of what it is not, like in the case of Peter Child’s Modernism, which attempts to clarify the term by holding it between romance and realism on one end, and postmodernism on the other. “If the idea that identity exists through difference is taken as a starting point, then modernism can begin to be understood in terms of possible distinctions from other literary forms,” writes Child (2). Or take, as another example, Vassiliki Kolocotroni’s rather prolix introduction to Modernism: An Anthology of Sources and Documents, whose very first sentence reads “Modernism is not a movement”—which of course is a response to the number of times it’s been thought of exactly as such. Or, furthermore, David Ayers’ introduction to Modernism: A Short Introduction, which concerns itself with what should belong to the term, but maybe won’t exactly fit in every anthology: “A study of modernism might quite properly seek to spread its efforts across the literature, theatre, music and art of the first half of the twentieth century in Europe, America and beyond” (IX). For our purposes, this quote from Ayers nicely highlights the manifold relationship between stretches of time, and variations of art and place which all seek to be held by the term. Or, finally, turn to Pericles Lewis’ The Cambridge Introduction to Modernism for our most comprehensive definition, and see just how many shifts and layers have to get accounted for before the image is clear:
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----“The term modernism, in its literary sense, became current in English shortly after the First World War to describe new experimental literature…Since then it has continually expanded in scope. The expression now encompasses a wide variety of movements in modern art and literature…In its broadest sense, modernism has become the label for an entire tendency in literature and the arts, sometimes indeed for a whole period in cultural history, stretching as far back as the middle of the nineteenth century and continuing at least until the middle of the twentieth century."]]“The term modernism, in its literary sense, became current in English shortly after the First World War to describe new experimental literature…Since then it has continually expanded in scope. The expression now encompasses a wide variety of movements in modern art and literature…In its broadest sense, modernism has become the label for an entire tendency in literature and the arts, sometimes indeed for a whole period in cultural history, stretching as far back as the middle of the nineteenth century and continuing at least until the middle of the twentieth century."

Whether or not that’s made things any less ambiguous, one thing that might be said about modernism, is that the reason its simple definition doesn’t exist, is because modernism seeks to hold together evolving schools of art, thought, and culture, whose roots stretch back to the middle of the 19th Century, and are arguably (depending on how you chose to feel about postmodernism) still quite present. Let’s return to Vassiliki Kolocotroni’s Modernism: An Anthology of Sources and Documents and just look at some of the names, titles, time periods, and ‘movements’ (though we know how he feels about that term), that his book tries to bring together. Thinker wise, we are led through Karl Marx and Friedrich Engles The Communist Manifesto (1848) to Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection (1859), to Friedrich Nietzsche’s Human, All Too Human (1878), all the way to W.E.B. Du Bois The Souls of Black Folk (1903), and that’s just to name a few. These thinkers, spanning from the middle 19th Century to the early 20th, can be thought of as the upheaval that provided new ways for thinking about the present (modern) moment, especially insofar as they turned away from Enlightenment-era thinking: notions of an all-powerful God, rationality, etc. With their template, artists not only had a new way of thinking about the world, but a new way of thinking that prided itself on turning away past notions. As such, we see in literature a turning away from Victorian Era notions about realism and form. Notable poets such as Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot emerge; as well as notable artists, such as Henry James, Virginia Woolf, and James Joyce, to name a few. Also worth mentioning is the cultural climate/moment modernism saw. Industrialization and World War I were highly influential and extremely unlike anything the world had seen before. In conjunction with new ways of thinking, were new modes of expression; the two combining anew so that artists and thinkers might find truer-feeling ways to represent their present…dare I say condition.

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Alfred Appel Jr. writes about Jazz Modernism
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Joseph Conrad challenges the very tenents of civilization


















[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----SUMMED UP LESS IN BELLETRISTIC TERMS (THANK GOD!):]]SUMMED UP LESS IN BELLETRISTIC TERMS (THANK GOD!):
  • [[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----Modernism was a cultural movement that exerted change on almost every aspect of predominately western society including literature, art, philosophy, science, and architecture. The movement gained momentum towards the end of the 19th century, and thus is highly reflective of the anxieties and speculations that were being felt as the world began to rapidly change.]]Modernism was a cultural movement that exerted change on almost every aspect of predominately western society including literature, art, philosophy, science, and architecture. The movement gained momentum towards the end of the 19th century, and thus is highly reflective of the anxieties and speculations that were being felt as the world began to rapidly change.
  • [[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----Modernism came about at the eve of the Industrial Revolution and can be seen as largely a cultural reaction to the new modernizing world. The Industrial Revolution had completely reshaped the city, urbanization had developed. In England the proportion of people living in cities with populations greater than 10,000 had jumped from 21% to 62%. Along with the Industrial Revolution during the 19th century had also come a period of empire building by European powers. England, France, Germany, Prussia, Belgium all scrambled to be the first to bring “progress” and “modernization” to the underdeveloped parts of the world. Imperialism changed the way people viewed the world, and for the first time the idea of globalization began to emerge. It was under these conditions that the altogether new social movement of modernism began to take shape.]]Modernism came about at the eve of the Industrial Revolution and can be seen as largely a cultural reaction to the new modernizing world. The Industrial Revolution had completely reshaped the city, urbanization had developed. In England the proportion of people living in cities// with populations greater than 10,000 had jumped from 21% to 62%. Along with the Industrial Revolution during the 19th century had also come a period of empire building by European powers. England, France, Germany, Prussia, Belgium all scrambled to be the first to bring “progress” and “modernization” to the underdeveloped parts of the world. Imperialism changed the way people viewed the world, and for the first time the idea of globalization began to emerge. It was under these conditions that the altogether new social movement of modernism began to take shape.
  • [[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----Modernism was largely seeking to make sense of this new industrialized, globalized world. The very aesthetic landscape of the earth had changed so much from the beginning of the 1800's to 1890 when the modernist movement began to spread. Movements like impressionism, the Dada movement or Surrealism challenged the traditional idea of aesthetics. Radically different than the realism artists that had proceeded them modernist artist didn't seek to simply capture the world they saw but to recreate it within the image of the chaos of the new modern word. The movement itself is highly diverse and spans much of what we consider to be culture however it has a few consistent unifying themes.]]Modernism was largely seeking to make sense of this new industrialized, globalized world. The very aesthetic landscape of the earth had changed so much from the beginning of the 1800's to 1890 when the modernist movement began to spread. Movements like impressionism, the Dada movement or Surrealism challenged the traditional idea of aesthetics. Radically different than the realism artists that had proceeded them modernist artist didn't seek to simply capture the world they saw but to recreate it within the image of the chaos of the new modern word. The movement itself is highly diverse and spans much of what we consider to be culture// however it has a few consistent unifying themes.
  • [[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----Modernists work is unified in its desire to recreate the space that was once the old world into something new and radically different. This recreation took place in Art with the challenging of realism. In music it can be seen in Jazz and Joseph Conrad delved deep within the human consciousness seeking to ask questions that would reveal the truth about human “progress”. In his Heart of Darkness, Conrad challenges the very tenents of civilization as being as being something that could only be described in his character Kurtz's last words, “the horror, the horror”. And in science we see it especially in Darwin's reinvention of man, as he redefined the world he lived in with his Origin of the Species.]]Modernists work is unified in its desire to recreate the space that was once the old world into something new and radically different. This recreation took place in Art with the challenging of realism. In music it can be seen in Jazz and Bebop completely rejecting traditional rythms and sounds, creating a fully new music style that was largely based on improvisation. Jazz music's improvised style depicted the modernist value of re-creation; it actively recreated itself every time it was performed. One great example of this idea of creation and re-creation exists in the music of Duke Ellington. Duke Ellington's Connection to Modernism In literature authors like Joseph Conrad delved deep within the human consciousness seeking to ask questions that would reveal the truth about human “progress”. In his Heart of Darkness, Conrad challenges the very tenents of civilization as being as being something that could only be described in his character Kurtz's last words, “the horror, the horror”. And in science we see it especially in Darwin's reinvention of man, as he redefined the world he lived in with his Origin of the Species//.
  • [[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----Modernism is also unified by being a cultural movement that is highly geographic. It questioned the distinctions between “high” and “low” art and questioned even more where the realm of art end or begins (seen especially in avant-gard art). If we were to ask where then is the geography of modernism we could answer that it lies somewhere in T.S. Elliot's The Waste Land, in the surreal landscapes of Max Ernst and Andre Breton, in Joyce's Dublin, it lies within the very questions of interpretation. Modernism can be found where the real world ends and the chaos of imagination and the human mind begins.]]Modernism is also unified by being a cultural movement that is highly geographic. It questioned the distinctions between “high” and “low” art and questioned even more where the realm of art end or begins (seen especially in avant-gard art). If we were to ask where then is the geography of modernism we could answer that it lies somewhere in T.S. Elliot's The Waste Land, in the surreal landscapes of Max Ernst and Andre Breton, in Joyce's Dublin, it lies within the very questions of interpretation. Modernism can be found where the real world ends and the chaos of imagination and the human mind begins.
Video: Birth of the Modern


Modernist Writers
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----Amy Lowell]]Amy Lowell
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----Claude Debussy]]Claude Debussy
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----D. H. Lawrence]]D. H. Lawrence
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----Dylan Thomas]]Dylan Thomas
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----E. E. Cummings]]E. E. Cummings
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----Ernest Hemingway]]Ernest Hemingway
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----Ezra Pound]]Ezra Pound
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----F. Scott Fitzgerald]]F. Scott Fitzgerald
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----Franz Kafka]]Franz Kafka
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----Gertrude Stein]]Gertrude Stein
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----James Joyce]]James Joyce
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----John Steinbeck]]John Steinbeck
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----Joseph Conrad]]Joseph Conrad
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----Katherine Anne Porter]]Katherine Anne Porter
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----Katherine Mansfield]]Katherine Mansfield
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----Marcel Proust]]Marcel Proust
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----Marianne Moore]]Marianne Moore
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----Robert Frost]]Robert Frost
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----T. S. Eliot]]T. S. Eliot
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----Thornton Wilder]]Thornton Wilder
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----Virginia Woolf]]Virginia Woolf
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----W. B. Yeats]]W. B. Yeats
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----Wallace Stevens]]Wallace Stevens
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----William Faulkner]]William Faulkner
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----Williams Carlos Williams]]Williams Carlos Williams
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----(http://www.library.yale.edu/beinecke/orient/intro.htm)]](http://www.library.yale.edu/beinecke/orient/intro.htm)
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----Modernist Musicians/Composers]]Modernist Musicians/Composers
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----Aaron Copland]]Aaron Copland
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----Arnold Schönberg]]Arnold Schönberg
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----Benjamin Britten]]Benjamin Britten
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----Charles Ives]]Charles Ives
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----Duke Ellington]]Duke Ellington
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----Igor Stravinsky]]Igor Stravinsky
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----Johanna Beyer]]Johanna Beyer
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----John Cage]]John Cage
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----Louis Armstrong]]Louis Armstrong
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----Richard Wagner]]Richard Wagner
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----Postmodernist Musicians/Composers]]Postmodernist Musicians/Composers
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----Bradley Joseph]]Bradley Joseph
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----Henryk Górecki]]Henryk Górecki
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----John Coltrane]]John Coltrane
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----Lou Harrison]]Lou Harrison
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----Michael Nyman]]Michael Nyman
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----Phillip Glass]]Phillip Glass
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----Steve Reich]]Steve Reich
[[#MODERNISM |ˈmädərˌnizəm|-----Terry Riley (http://www.newmusicclassics.com/schoenberg_meaning.html)]] Terry Riley (http://www.newmusicclassics.com/schoenberg_meaning.html)