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The Moderns

1900-1950
Historical Context

Modernism • Charles Darwin (survival of the fittest) • Karl Marx (money and class structure control a nation) • Technological “progress” • Rise of the youth culture • WWI and WWII • Harlem Renaissance .

Modernism ● Historians have ● Post-Industrial described the period Revolution era.” . (moved between the two World from an agrarian nation Wars as a “traumatic to an urban nation) coming of age.

Landscape. Courtesy Southeby’s John Marin. 1951. Flood Disaster. Individuals of traditional themes seemed spiritually empty and subjects and disillusioned. • Movement occurred in literature. painting. Modernism Thomas Hart Benton. . • Wholesale rejection music. arts. 1951.

Modernism • Pursued and challenged the promise of the American Dream. • The American Dream was dead (not real) .

Modernism • Interest in the inner workings of the human mind: Stream of Consciousness • Rejection of the ideal Romantic hero as infallible • Focused on the alienation of the individual in modern society • End of innocence .

Modernism ● Modernist writers responded to the social and political upheaval of the war ● Embraced non traditional syntax and forms ● Challenged tradition ● Move beyond Realism to introduce such concepts as disjointed timelines .

Arthur Miller ● Born in New York City in 1915 to upper-middle class ● Great Depression changed family economics ● Unable to attend college until he earned money by working in a warehouse .

● Attended the University Arthur Miller of Michigan ● Won several awards for his plays ● Pursued a career in theater .

Arthur Miller ● After writing the Death of a Salesman (Miller’s play in 1949) Congress started hearings to identify Communists ● Miller was called to testify before the committee about association with the Communist Party .

Arthur Miller ● Admitted he attended a few meetings ● Refused to name others involved in the meetings ● Miller was cited for contempt of Congress--later overturned ● Inspired Miller to write The Crucible .