Modernism Questions and Answers

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Examine the significance of Modernism in literature.

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Themes regarding alienation and individualism are key in understanding Modernism, for the movement's goal was to upend the Determinist ideas that had characterized 19th-century literature. In other words, the shock of the First World War had shown the West that there were no longer fixed truths and that the institutions on which they had previously relied—the Church and the family—could no longer insulate them from horror.

Virginia Woolf was bold enough to put a date on Modernism—December 1910—but, part of what is interesting about Modernism is that there is no agreed upon fixed date as there is with other literary and philosophical movements. Scholarship on Modernism starts as early as 1850 in places as disparate as London, Paris, and Vienna. British and American Modernism, which encompass the Modernist era in art and literature, are dated in the 1920s.

Experiments with language are also important to consider. Modernist literature had been influenced by subsidiary movements, such...

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