The 1920's Modernism in English narrative

Topics: Modernism, Modernist literature, Ezra Pound Pages: 3 (673 words) Published: May 7, 2014

Main writers from this period

Oscar Wilde
Joseph Conrad
W.B. Yeats
Henry James
Arnold Bennett
John Galsworthy
H.G. Wells

Modernism first came to England at the end of 19th century in the work of Oscar Wilde, the early W.B. Yeats and Joseph Conrad and later, Henry James. But in the first decade and a half of the century there is a reaction against the avant-garde movement and there is a return to a more realistic and traditional kind of writing (Arnold Bennett, John Galsworthy and H.G. Wells). In 1914 the situation is about to change again for two reasons:

Ezra Pound decided to make London the centre of a new avant garde and started promoting the work of modernist writers such as James Joyce or Joseph Conrad.

The First World War. At the beginning of WWI it seemed it was going to frustrate Ezra Pound's plans. During the war people weren't interested in artistic matters and many poets and British artists fought in the war and many of them died. But WWI created a climate of opinion receptive to artistic revolution, because the war was a shock for British people, they were amazed by the brutality and they were not used to it. They thought they had to reject the values and ideals that had led to WWI and look for new ones. They believed a change was needed in all areas of life (poetry, literature, sculpture, painting...) The 1920's witnessed the appearance of these main modernist novels:

Ulysses (James Joyce)
Mrs. Dalloway (Virginia Woolf)
A Passage to India (E.M. Foster)
Women in Love (D.H. Lawrence)

Modernist fiction is experimental or innovatory in form. It is concerned with the consciousness but also with the unconscious and subconscious workings of the human mind, so modernist writers were very influence by Freud and the development of psychology. Modernist writers believe that with this they are being more realistic than realistic writers, and they believed that realistic writers were giving a false vision of...
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