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Modern Period in English Literature

Aug 30,21

The world is evolving every minute and literature is the best tool to relive those changes. Whether it be a change in the mindset of people or innovation, literature gives us a chance to understand humanity and society. The modern period in English literature is one of the significant phases. The history of English literature began with the Old English Period and was translated through the Middle English Period, Romantic Period, Victorian Age, Georgian Period, Modern Period and the Postmodern Period.

Many students get scared when they get to know that they have to study Modern English Literature. One of the main reasons that GoAssignmentHelp literature assignment help experts have found is that students think it would be lengthy and boring. But, we are sure that after reading this article, you would be intrigued to read more about the Modern Period in English Literature.

The Modern Period in English Literature – Quick Introduction

The modern period in English literature begins with the 20th century. Its approximate time period is considered between 1890-1950. The 1890s were the end of the 1800s, the turn of the century. This period also saw some major changes in the world such as the invention of the automobile, World War I, World War II, and The Great Depression. All these incidents had a major impact on literature. The human race completely changed due to all of the stress and all of the innovation which is reflected in modern literature.

Some of the poets started reflecting this change in the world through their work even before the 1980s and were known as post-romantic poets. For instance, William Butler Yeats was one of them. These poets were known as modernist poets although they were writing before the 1980s. Some of the poets of the modern English literature period continued writing even after World War II, that is after 1950. E. E. Cummings, TS Eliot were amongst them. They were still known as modernist poets.

Important things you must note about the Modern Period in English Literature

  • The Modern Period in English Literature started because of significant improvements in the social sciences and natural sciences. Industrialisation was increasing rapidly, leading to a bigger difference between aristocrats and clergy.
  • The Victorian period was highly opposed by writers and poets because of its mean and superficial ideals. What was considered righteous at that time was no more the same for people of the Modern English period. The Victorian period was seen as hypocritical.
  • One of the major changes that happened in the Modern Period was that people started thinking critically. Earlier, during the Victorian age, people used to accept what the Church said. But in the modern age, they started raising questions. The writers reflected the same by questioning the ideas and beliefs of the previous era.

Modern Period in English Literature - Modernist Timeline

Major Characteristics of the Modernist Era in English Literature

#1 Purposeful shift from traditional styles

The literature of the modern age reflected the changes in technology and industrialisation. This period saw the invention of bombs and how technology can be used for destruction. Therefore, people started thinking differently about life and death.

#2 Stream of subconsciousness

If you read any of the literature from the modern age, you will find that at some points the characters speak their thoughts out loud. There were no conversations, no interferences but just disorganised thought processes of characters displayed wonderfully by the writers.

#3 Interior monologue

Interior monologue is a literary device that was quite common in the modern era. It allows the readers to observe the inner thoughts of the characters. The writings of the modern era in English literature started focusing on the inner feelings of the common man and not on the rich or elite people.

#4 Multiple perspectives

Another noteworthy change in the writings of the modern era was that the perspective of the writers was different from the past. They used to write more realistically. The ideas were explained in how an individual would think in their head and come to conclusions. The language was not orderly, clean and simple. It was complex and chaotic.

#5 Ambiguous Endings

How do you want a story to end? Most of us would probably want everything sorted out by the end. Every character is happy and has got what they wanted. But, the writings of the modern era literature did not happen that way. There were open endings for most of the stories. This was done to reflect the reality of that era.

A Modernist Writer

The revolution in the modern period in English literature was brought by some strong writers and poets. This period witnessed Walt Whitman’s free verse, Oscar Wilde’s prose poetry, Robert Browning’s subversion of the poetic self, and Emily Dickinson’s compressed poetry. The modernist writers were fearless. They disrupted the traditional notions of order, sequence and unity. They used to describe their characters through impressions, emotions, and successive ideas rather than using a narrator’s interpretation. Their writing used to represent the confused, stressed and depressed human beings of that time.

At those times, some of the common themes included breaking down social norms such as voting rights for women, divorces, Nazism, communism. The themes included alienation where the character used to feel like an outsider in his/her own culture. The writings were also based on existentialism or individualism which described that every individual is responsible for making up their life and we live in a world that is chaotic and meaningless.

The modern era also saw the rise of imagism where the writers and poets rejected the ideas and emotions of Victorian and romantic poetry. They never used decorative words like the Victorian writers and poets. Instead, they used exact words and thoughts to express their thoughts. The modernist writers also started using symbolism in their writings where they described things with the help of symbols.

The novelists of the 20th century used realism rather than idealism in their work. This is why the literature of the modern era meets the needs of the readers much better. They are more real and relatable. The novel writers also included the inner motives of the characters in the stories and showed how the psychology of people has changed over time. The stream of consciousness is, of course, one of their best writing techniques.

Art in the Modern Period of English Literature

The modern era also witnessed the work of some great artists like Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. This was the first time when native American, South American and African art forms were discovered by the western world. These art forms were based on the concept of minimalism where the artists used fewer colours or images. So, simplicity in art became a trend in the modern English literature era as a critique of the materialism and greed of western culture.

Looking for assignment help in English Literature?

The modern period of English literature saw some drastic changes in the readers as well as the writers. The writers of this period are still acknowledged and appreciated. It is indeed an interesting topic to read. What do you think? If you need more information about the modern period of English literature or if you need assignment help in English literature, connect with GoAssignmentHelp experts. We have the best team of academic writers, editors and proofreaders who can help you create a unique, error-free English literature assignment in no time.

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