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Modernism

stream of consciousness
James Joyce
 Modernism is a rather vague term which is
used to apply to the works of poets, novelists,
painters, musicians between 1910 and the early
years after the World War II.
 “Mr. Bennet and Mrs. Brown” by Virginia
Woolf: “ human character changed”
 Edwardians: Wells, Galsworthy, Bennet
 Georgians: Forster, Lawrence, Joyce, Eliot
 The term includes various trends or
schools:
 Imagism,
 expressionism,
 dadaism,
 stream of consciousness,
 existentialism, etc.
 This is the departure from the
conventional criteria and values
of the Victorian Age. This
departure was prepared for by
the aesthetic movement during
the later decades of the 19th
century, and sped up by the
Word War I.
 Though England had won the war,
many intellectuals were disillusioned
with the conditions of their living.
 They were much influenced by
Sigmund Freud (1859-1936)
 Alienation and loneliness are the
basic themes of modernism.
Characteristics of Modernism(1)
 From the writing techniques:
 1. Complexity and obscurity
 2. The use of symbols
 3. The use of allusions:
 4. The use of irony;
Characteristics of Modernism(2)
 From the content:
 1. Modernism marks a strong and
conscious break with the past;
 2. –emphasizing on the need to move
away from the public to private; from
objective to subjective
 - elevates the individual, the inner being
over the social being;
 --prefers the subconscious to the self-
conscious;
 3. –emphasizing the psychic time over the
chronological time;
 past, present and future are one and
exist at the same time

 4. –rejecting realism: throwing away


rationalism; casting away all traditional
elements in literature, e.g. plot, character,
chronological time and narration etc. thus
anti-novel…
Stream of consciousness

 The stream of consciousness


technique takes a reader inside a
character’s mind to reveal
perceptions, thought, and feelings on
a conscious or pre-conscious level.
 This technique suggests the flow of
thought as well as its content;
hence, complete sentences may give
way to fragments as the character’s
mind makes rapid associations free
of conventional logic or transitions.
 The most representative work is
James Joyce’s Ulysses.
James Joyce
 James Joyce was an Irish novelist
who revolutionized the methods of
depicting characters and developing
a plot in modern fiction. His
astonishing way of constructing a
novel, his frank portrayal of human
nature, and his complete command
of English have made him one of the
most outstanding writers of the 20th
Century.
 Many critics judge that he is second
only to Shakespeare in his mastery
of the English language.
 Joyce was deeply influenced by
Ireland and wrote all his books about
Dublin. But Joyce lived in voluntary
exile nearly all his adult life.
Artistic Views
 Joyce believed that there are three
stages of literature. The first and
simplest stage is produced in the
"lyrical" form, which expresses a
moment of emotion experienced by
the artist; the writer only speaks
about himself.
 The literature progresses into the
second, "narrative" form, which is
more complex and no longer purely
personal. The writer tells about
others as well as himself.

 The third, "dramatic" form is the
highest, most perfect stage. The
artist no longer expresses his own
personality, but creates his works
objectively, like God, to let his
characters live their own lives, in
scenes where the writer is invisible.
 The artist must rise to the position of
god-like objectivity.

 Joyce believed that the last stage
required exile from the ordinary
world which is dominated by
Philistines.
 His rebellion and self-imposed exile,
seen in this light, were due to what
he considered aesthetic necessity.
Major works
1. Three novels: A Portrait of the Artist
as a Young Man (1916)
Ulysses: (1922)
Finnegans Wake (1939)
2. A collection of short stories:
Dubliners (1914)
3. Two volumes of poetry

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