The modern period in English literature began in the 20th century and lasted till 1965. This period saw an abrupt break away from the old ways of interacting with the world. While in all the previous periods, experimentation and individualism were highly discouraged, yet the onset of the modern period bought both these things back, and they went on to become virtues. As told by coursework writing services, this beginning of modernism gave a lot of cultural shocks to the society; the major blows of the modern age were World War I and II.
The First World War began in the year 1914 and lasted till 1919 while the second one began in 1939 to end in 1945 and the aftermath of these wars was highly traumatic for everyone. The horrors of these wars were evident to everyone from personal lives to businesses and livelihoods. Feelings of uncertainty were common, and no one knew where the world was heading to. This gave rise to a new way of thinking and writing, and modern writers became the center of attention.
Important Things To Know About The Modern Age Of English Literature:
Advancements in social science and natural sciences began in the latter half of the 19th century and early decades of the 20th century. This period saw a rise in material wealth along with rapid development and industrialization. The difference between aristocrats and clergy increased even more. The literature of the modern age started with the initiation of the 20th century. The prominent feature of the literature during the modern age was that it opposed the general attitude towards life as shown in Victorian literature.
People started to see the Victorian age as a hypocritical time that was all superficial and only showed ideals. The hypocrisy of the Victorian period generated a rebellious attitude in the writers of modern literature. Things that were considered beautiful and honorable during the Victorian age were now considered ugly by the writers of the modern period. Sense of questioning was absent in the mind of the people from the Victorian age, and people in modern times began to question everything.
Writers of the modern age refuted the ideas and beliefs of the previous era and this was the time when man began to probe and question the beliefs. George Bernard Shaw attacked the old superstitious religious beliefs as well as the superstitions of science. He was the one who led to the interrogative habits in the mid of modern people. Shaw openly challenged the voice of those who were ruling the country, and religious authority. He provoked the people to come up with questions about morality and religion.
Changes In English Literature:
The English literature also went through some major changes during modern times; the art took a new shape and was renewed by the aspiring writers to revitalize the readers with fresh content. Modern world people were more into independence; they no longer wanted to be restricted by authority and the modern writers came up with a fresh point of view to suit the conventional audience who wanted to talk about newer and better things such as the stream of consciousness, surrealism, futurism, and expression along with symbolism and imagism.
In the period of the second half of the 19th century and the starting decades of the 20th century, people were more focused on the advancements in both natural and social sciences. With rapid progress, great profit has shown in material wealth and as capitalism came to the limelight, economic conditions also took a turn. All this was included in the literature and it took a break from the old tradition. The main motto of modern literature reflects the opposition to general thinking about the life and issues shared by the Victorian writers. General characteristics of the modern age of literature include:
- Anxiety and interrogation
- Art for Life’s sake
- Developing interest in people belonging to poor and working classes
- Psychology and literature
- Repercussions of social and economic situations on literature:
- Influence of the two world wars
- Impact of cinema and radio
With a shift in times, people could observe the changes in ideas, vision, and the way of seeing social issues. Writers of the modern age raised questions on everything and knew that things were changing. As it was the age of machines that raised the standard of living and bought about a lot of changes in the way people lived and eared, it also changed the way people thought and perceived their lives and relationships. On the other hand, it also introduced them to stress and tensions, and people were no longer controlled by their moods or impulse but time and schedules. It would not be wrong to say that modernism in literature sought a fresh vision to look at different things with fresh techniques.