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Ch 10: Modernism in English Literature

About This Chapter

Watch video lessons on the major writers of Literary Modernism, including Virginia Woolf, T.S. Eliot, James Joyce and more. Each lesson is accompanied by a short multiple-choice quiz you can use to check your understanding of these literature topics.

Modernism

Did you know that World War I prompted a literary movement? Literary Modernism was influenced by the destruction that resulted from WWI and the growth of modern industrialization. Because the world was greatly changing, modernist writers aimed to create a 'new art' for the 'new world.' The results were literary works not entirely based in realism, but rather based in distorted versions of reality, similar to the cubist paintings of Picasso.

In these lessons, you'll discover some of the main characteristics found in modernist works, such as nonlinear plot lines, the use of irony and satire, the stream of consciousness style, and allusions to other literary works. These techniques can make modernist literature difficult to decipher. But with these characteristics and techniques, a multitude of highly influential literary works were created that caused modern literature to progress.

So who are the modernist writers? You may have heard of T.S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf and James Joyce. Other essential modernist poets and authors include D.H. Lawrence, Samuel Beckett, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein and Wyndham Lewis. Poems like Eliot's 'The Wasteland' and novels like Joyce's 'Ulysses' and Woolf's 'Mrs. Dalloway' are among the most significant works of literary modernism, all of which showcase the unique and progressive characteristics of this literary movement.

So check out these lessons for more in-depth looks into Literary Modernism, as well as detailed looks into the lives, works and styles of important and significant modernist writers. Thanks for watching!

14 Lessons in Chapter 10: Modernism in English Literature
Overview of Literary Modernism: Authors, Context, and Style

1. Overview of Literary Modernism: Authors, Context, and Style

This video provides an introduction to the literary movement known as Modernism. Encompassing such writers as James Joyce, T.S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf, Modernism developed out of a sense that the art forms of the late nineteenth-century were inadequate to describe the condition of Europe after World War I.

Introduction to T.S. Eliot: Author Background, Works, and Style

2. Introduction to T.S. Eliot: Author Background, Works, and Style

This video introduces T.S. Eliot and his major works. It outlines his early life and move to England, and traces his stylistic evolution over his most famous and significant poems.

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock: Overview and Analysis

3. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock: Overview and Analysis

This video introduces T.S. Eliot's poem, 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.' It outlines the general setup of the poem, its enigmatic lead character and its stylistic characteristics. It also highlights key passages.

The Waste Land: Structure and Style Explained

4. The Waste Land: Structure and Style Explained

As an introduction to T.S. Eliot's landmark poem, 'The Waste Land,' this lesson will outline some of the key Modernist features of the work. We'll address nonlinearity, irony and juxtaposition, voice, and allusions. Through taking a look at each of these features, we'll try to understand why 'The Waste Land' is as strange as it is important.

Introduction to Virginia Woolf: Life and Works

5. Introduction to Virginia Woolf: Life and Works

This lesson introduces Virginia Woolf's life and works. We'll cover her involvement with the Bloomsbury Group and the evolution of her experimental style across works like Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, and the Waves.

Mrs. Dalloway: Analysis of Characters and Style

6. Mrs. Dalloway: Analysis of Characters and Style

This lesson outlines the characters, major plot points and style of Virginia Woolf's 1925 novel 'Mrs. Dalloway.' We'll discuss how free indirect discourse informs both the style and substance of the novel, and how memory and interpretation are valued more highly than relaying concrete events.

To the Lighthouse:  Overview of Style and Plot

7. To the Lighthouse: Overview of Style and Plot

An overview of the plot, characters, and stylistic innovations in Virginia Woolf's 'To the Lighthouse.' We'll talk about Woolf's use of voices and perspectives of multiple characters and her fluid sense of time within the novel.

Introduction to James Joyce: Life and Evolution of Style

8. Introduction to James Joyce: Life and Evolution of Style

In this lesson, we'll get familiar with James Joyce's life and works. We'll trace how his biography influences his major novels and how his style changes over time.

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: Character & Epiphany

9. Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: Character & Epiphany

This lesson outlines the plot of Joyce's novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, while focusing on the development of protagonist Stephen Dedalus according to the expectations of the Bildungsroman genre. Additionally, we'll take a look at stylistic elements such as voice and epiphany.

Ulysses: Structure, Style, and Characters

10. Ulysses: Structure, Style, and Characters

For James Joyce's masterpiece, we'll look at the differences between protagonists Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom, understand what Homer's Odyssey has to do with the structure, and talk about the novel's ever-shifting style.

Introduction to Samuel Beckett: Life, Plays, and Novels

11. Introduction to Samuel Beckett: Life, Plays, and Novels

This video will introduce the late modernist author and playwright Samuel Beckett. A close friend of James Joyce, Beckett's works typically portray a meaningless, absurd existence. This is epitomized in his most famous work, 'Waiting for Godot.'

Waiting for Godot:  Plot, Characters, and Style

12. Waiting for Godot: Plot, Characters, and Style

In this lesson, we'll explore Samuel Beckett's groundbreaking play, Waiting for Godot. We'll look at its main characters, Vladimir and Estragon, and hear an example of their circular, sometimes nonsensical banter. We'll also briefly discuss the play's legacy in modern theater.

Introduction to D.H. Lawrence: His Works and Controversy

13. Introduction to D.H. Lawrence: His Works and Controversy

In this video, we'll introduce D.H. Lawrence's life and works. We'll dig a little deeper into his controversial portrayals of sexuality and explore the social politics at play in his life and in his fiction.

Even More Modernists: Pound, Stein, and Mansfield

14. Even More Modernists: Pound, Stein, and Mansfield

In this lesson, explore a few major figures in modernist literature who helped define the 20th century, including Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, and Katherine Mansfield. Test your understanding of these figures with a brief quiz.

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