How do the poetry and fiction written in the decades between World War I and World War II relate?

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ecofan74 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the period between the end of World War I in 1918 and the beginning of World War II in 1939, the poetry and fiction of the period addressed many of the same concerns, although the specific emphases of some writers differed a great deal from those of other writers.  Much of the fiction of this period concerned itself with commentary on the problems inherent in society.  In James Joyce's "A Painful Case," for example, his protagonist, Mr. James Duffy, goes to extraordinary lengths to distance himself from Dublin society, as he sees nothing redeeming in it.  He does not like the way society is going.  Joyce also experimented with different ways of telling stories, employing internal monologue and stream of consciousness to a much greater extent than they had been used before.  In a somewhat different vein, Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front (1929) reflects the same disillusionment with society during World War I; unlike "A Painful Case," it confronts the senselessness of war specifically.

In the poetry of the period, poets also experimented with new ways of writing poetry.  T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land"(1922), for example, incorporates many different themes and elements into one work, something poetry most certainly did not do - at least not to the extent Eliot did.  In addition, Eliot's work also reflects a disillusionment with the society of the period.