Why did Modernism effect huge changes in literature in a shorter time compared to other literary movements?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Disillusionment with civilization after World War I saw a burgeoning rebellion against European culture as corrupt, effete, and artificial. This rebellion manifested itself in some radical reactions such as nihilism and a repudiation of all systems of belief as hypocritical. But perhaps the greatest contribution to the fast changes in literature is the fact that with so many scientific discoveries altering how people perceived the world, the literary world needed to transform itself quickly lest it seem anachronistic. Often after a new scientific discovery, there were new ways of interpreting the world through literature; however, these new ways were just as soon questioned and discarded. So, therefore, literary movements were altered constantly and modernists were constantly looking to new perspectives as they did not want to commit to any particular one. In the effort to be original and innovative, these perspectives became more and more subjective. Thus, art became very individualistic and unique, exemplified in works like Virginia Woolf's and those of James Joyce and T.S.Eliot.

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