Week 4: Modernism

So a slightly different theme this week as we tackle MODERNISM.

You could look at this from the point of view of modernism as an artistic style. Or you could approach it as a branch of philosophy.

So what is Modernism and how can you find a text that will fit these ideals?

Modernism is a philosophical movement that, along with cultural trends and changes, arose from wide-scale and far-reaching transformations in Western society in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Among the factors that shaped modernism were the development of modern industrial societies and the rapid growth of cities, followed then by the horror of World War I. Modernism also rejected the certainty of Enlightenment thinking, and many modernists rejected religious belief

Historic Dimensions of Modernism (esp. in literature)
Modernism begins in the late 1800s or early 1900s, climaxing in the 1910s-30s as writers and artists throughout Europe, the USA, and beyond create and publish an enormous number of revolutionary works that are still recognized as titanic and influential, even if, a century later, their application as models grows more limited.
The great decades of Modernism parallel profound world events, particularly the two World Wars (1914-18 & 1939-45) and the Great Depression (1929-1940?).
World War 1 is often seen as a starting event of Modernism. The devastation and disillusion of Western Civilization in the great war certainly accelerated and deepened Modernist thinking. However, harbingers of Modernism may be seen in late fiction of Henry James and Joseph Conrad, poetry of Charles Baudelaire and Arthur Rimbaud, or Impressionist paintings by Manet or Monet.

A modernist Text:

Metropolis - Fritz lang (1927)

This was honestly my favourite film when i was at sixth form! Not only is it a modernist masterpiece with its incredibly futuristic cityscapes that has inspired everything from Madonna pop videos to Sci Fi classics such as Blade Runner and the Fifth Element. But the story of its making was crazy enough as the Jewish director; Fritz Lang accidentally made Hitlers favourite film! It deals with the perils of science over humanity and as such gets in to the great canon of modernist cinema! One of the most influential movies of all time. Even if it is a over 2 hour black and white silent film!


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