English Literature I
Definition of Modernism and Critical Approach
June 13 th 20101. Introduction
We may better understand what exactly is modernism (focusing literature) if we take a look at the possible vernacular definitions or registered in a dictionary of what is modern, what makes modernism and what led us to modernity. It is wide known that whatever allow us to call something modern is still part of a ongoing process nowadays, so in order to try to define it we must take it into account.
Modernism – noun
1. modern character, tendencies, or values; adherence to or sympathy with what is modern.
2. a modern usage or characteristic.
3. a deliberate philosophical and practical estrangement or divergence from the past in the arts and literature occurring especially in the course of the 20th century and taking form in any of various innovative movements and styles.
Modern – adjective
1. of or pertaining to present and recent time; not ancient or remote: modern city life.
2. characteristic of present and recent time; contemporary; not antiquated or obsolete: modern viewpoints.
3. of or pertaining to the historical period following the Middle Ages: modern European history.
4. of, pertaining to, or characteristic of contemporary styles of art, literature, music, etc., that reject traditionally accepted or sanctioned forms and emphasize individual experimentation and sensibility.
The etymology of these words already gives us a couple of very good hints on what it is supposed to mean too. From the Latin modus, a noun, it is a manner or method of doing something; also from the Latin modo, an adverb, for something that occurred recently or just now. In a broad sense these terms describe the activities and lives of people who felt that the traditional art, literature, social values etc were now outdated, old fashioned for the new reality emerging, this industrialized
Bibliography: University Press, 2008. ISBN 0231132557 (3) Modanizumu: Modernist Fiction from Japan, 1913-1938, William J. Tyler. University of Hawaii Press, 2008. ISBN 0824832426 Online: