The dawning of a new century marked a distinct change in the style and subjects of literature. Rural, agrarian lifestyles were fast becoming a thing of the past as industrialization made factory work the norm, and many people began to feel isolated despite living in big cities. Writers who identified as “modernists” reflected this new sense of isolation and displacement in their works. The entire Western world was also deeply affected by the devastation of World Wars I and II, and writers responded by evaluating humanity's seemingly boundless inhumanity. Women and minority voices became more prominent in the 1930s and beyond, further expanding the canon. The Beat Generation began in the late 1940s and writers reflected the growing trend of anti-conformist thought. By centuries end, Generation X writers were inspired by the fall of the Berlin Wall and the decline of imperialism but were often seen as cynical and self-serving.
The material, intellectual and social advancements of this century, has led to literary pieces made in the 21st century. There will no doubt be lasting effects from the twentieth century that will surely have a direct influence on the political, social and interpersonal relationships that develop from now on.
The use of the label "Celtic fringe" as applied to non-English, or traditionally non-English-speaking, territories to marginalise these cultures is now analysed as a colonial attitude, and literatures of Ireland, Scotland and Wales may be studied through the methodology of postcolonialism. But a legacy of Britishness also survives around the world: a shared history of British presence and cultural influence in the Commonwealth of Nations has produced a substantial body of writing in many languages, known as Commonwealth literature.
The year 1922 marked a significant changed in the relationship between Britain and Ireland, with the setting up of the Irish Free State in the...