About This Chapter
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.'
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.
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.
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.
Earning College Credit
Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 2,000 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.
To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page
Transferring credit to the school of your choice
Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.
Other chapters within the English 101: English Literature course
- Introduction to English Literature
- Literary Terms and Analysis
- Old and Middle English Literature
- The Renaissance in English Literature
- 17th and 18th Century English Literature
- Romantic Prose in English Literature
- Romantic Poetry in English Literature
- Victorian Literature
- Turn-of-the-Century Literature
- Nonfiction in English Literature
- Analyzing English Literature
- Writing Literary Analysis Essays
- Required Assignments for English 101
- Studying for English 101