Modernism Outline

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The Moderns 1914-1939
The American Dream: Pursuit of a Promise
Modernism called for bold experimentation and wholesale rejection of traditional themes and styles. America is considered a land of new Eden: a land of beauty, bounty, and unlimited promise. The American Dream is based on optimism, opportunity, progress. A Crack in a the World: Breakdown of Beliefs and Traditions

The center of literary life had shifted from New England and spread across America. Two new theories, Marxism and psychoanalysis, combined to influence previous beliefs and values. Marxism and the Challenge to Free Enterprise

Marx’s socialist beliefs conflicted with the American system of capitalism and free enterprise. Freud and the Unconscious Mind
Sigmund Freud called for a new understanding of human sexuality and the role it played in our unconcious thoughts. Stream of Consciousness: abandoned chronology and attempted to imitate the moment-by-moment flow of a character’s perceptions and memories. At Home and Abroad: The Jazz Age

The Prohibition brought forth the bootlegger, the speak-easy, the cocktail, the short-skirted flapper, the new rhythms of jazz, and the gangster. Women gained independence and the right of vote, Americans started to move away to countries like France, countering with the idea of the American Dream. Grace Under Pressure: The New American Hero

Ernest Hemingway reduced the flamboyance of literary language to the bare bones of the truth it must express. The Hemingway hero is a man of action, a warrior, and a tough competitor; his quality is that at the mysterious center of creation, there lay nothing at all. Hemingway believed that snatching up the rare, rich, good moments of life offers those moments to elude us. Modern Voices in Poetry: A Dazzling Period of Experimentation Poets entered the period of experimentation: they were inspired by other artists around the world, exploring the artistic life of Europe and observing modernist works. Imagist and...
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