What are the peculiarities in Modernist writing?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would say that one of the strongest elements of Modernist writing is the lack of coherency in voice.  Modernist thinkers were driven by the idea that the past is a collection or a jumbled assemblage of past experiences and future projections.  There is no such thing as a distinct present tense voice in the mind of the modernist.  This is because there are so many experiences that enter into the paradigm of an individual voice that to reduce them by arbitrarily cutting off time as a means to understand the present is something distinctive in the modernist voice.  I think that we can see this in the works of Joyce, where the individual voice and persona is always infused with collections of the past and from other time periods as part of the process of understanding voice.  As more is ingested in modernist writing, there is use of allusion in better understanding voice as well as stream of consciousness, interior monologues, as a means of trying to bring clear what is hopelessly obscure.