Modernist Period in English Literature
The modernist period in English literature began in 1914 with the onset of World War I and extended through 1965. It is a literary period that reflects the nation's wartime experiences (World War I and World War II), the emerging British talent of the 1920s, and the economic depression of the 1930s. Toward the end of the period, literature and art demonstrated the nation's growing uncertainty, which became especially pronounced after World War II; this uncertainty would give way to hostility and protest in the postmodernist period.
During the early years of the modernist period, the foremost writers were English novelists E. M. Forster Joseph Conrad Ford Madox Ford Virginia Woolf and Somerset Maugham. One of the major accomplishments of this period came from Ireland with the publication of James Joyce's Ulysses, a work that continues to be respected as a masterpiece of twentieth-century literature. In the 1920s and 1930s, the novels of D. H. Lawrence and Evelyn Waugh were harshly critical of modern society, an attitude shared by many English men and women of the day. In the 1930s and 1940s, novelists such as Greene wrote traditional fiction that was well-crafted enough both to stand up to innovative fiction of the day and to gain a wide and loyal audience.
Many writers of this period (Greene included) were born at the turn of the century, near the end of the Victorian era. These writers were reared in an...
(The entire section is 695 words.)