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DeveIopment of Literature

Given the significance of distance as a cultural isolator in earlier centuries, the historical development of
literature did not occur at an even pace across the world. The problems of creating a uniform global history of
literature are compounded by the fact that many texts have been lost over the millennia, either deliberately, by
accident, or by the total disappearance of the originating culture. Much has been written, for example, about the
destruction of the Library of Alexandria in the 3rd century BC, and the innumerable key texts which are believed to
have been lost forever to the flames.
Certain primary texts, however, may be isolated which have a qualifying role as literature's first stirrings.
Early orally transmitted tales such as the Epic of Gilgamesh (8
century BC)) or the Eve story of LiIith (16

century BC) were eventually written down. The stories in %he Bible most certainly qualify as early literature, as do
some other orally transmitted and subsequently transcribed epics such as the stories usually attributed to omer,
%he Iliad and %he Odyssey. The ndian ahabharata and other works considered in ndian literature to be "Shruti
" are among the oldest known writings. Another example is the so called Egyptian Book of the Dead which was
eventually written down in the Papyrus of Ani in approximately 250 BC but probably dates from about the 18

century BC. Egyptian literature was not included in early studies because the writings of Ancient Egypt were not
translated into European languages until the 19
century when the Rosetta stone was deciphered. n China, a
mystical collection of poems attributed to Lao Tze, the Tao te Ching was assembled.
ncient PaIestinian Literature
The great literary achievement of ancient srael is the Hebrew Scriptures also known as the Holy Scriptures
or Holy Writ or the Bible. The book refers to many events in the history of ancient srael. Such events include the
deeds of kings and the journeys of the Apostles.
The Bible of the Hebrews is said to be the world's most widely-read book. t contains a wide assortment of
literature: songs, riddles, exalted poetry, history, drama, war, biography, philosophy, and short stories all imbued
with the moral of living. Many ideas for literary works have been inspired by the Bible. For Christians, the Bible is
the Word of God. Most of their important beliefs, ceremonies, and holidays are based on it.
The life of the Hebrew prophet Jesus ended in the agony of the crucifixion by a Roman governor, but his
teachings were written down in the Greek language and became the sacred texts of the Christian church.
The teachings of Jesus were revolutionary in terms of Greek and Roman feeling, as well as the Hebrew
religious tradition.
ncient Greek Literature
Ancient Greek society placed considerable emphasis upon literature. Many authors consider the western
literary tradition to have begun with the epic poems %he Iliad and %he Odyssey, which has skillful and vivid
depictions of war and peace, honor and disgrace, love and hatred. Notable among later Greek poets was $appho,
who defined lyric poetry as a genre. A playwright named Aeschylus changed Western literature forever when he
introduced the ideas of dialogue and interacting characters to playwriting. n doing so, he essentially invented
"drama": his Oresteia trilogy of plays is seen as his crowning achievement. Other refiners of playwriting were
Sophocles and Euripides. Sophocles is credited with skillfully developing irony as a literary technique, most
famously in his play Oedipus Rex. Euripedes, conversely, used plays to challenge societal norms and moresa
hallmark of much of Western literature for the next 2,300 years and beyondand his works such as %he Bacchae
and %he %rojan Women are still notable for their ability to challenge our perceptions of propriety, gender, and war.
Aristophanes, a comic playwright, defines and shapes the idea of comedy almost as Aeschylus had shaped tragedy
as an art formAristophanes' most famous plays include the Lysistrata and %he Frogs. Philosophy entered
literature in the dialogues of Plato, who converted the give and take of Socratic questioning into written form.
Aristotle, Plato's student, wrote dozens of works on many scientific disciplines, but his greatest contribution to
literature was likely his Poetics, which lays out his understanding of drama, and thereby establishes the first criteria
for literary criticism.
ncient Roman Literature
The writers of the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire chose to avoid innovation in favor of imitating
the great Greek authors. Virgil's eneid, in many respects, emulated Homer's Iliad; Plautus, a comic playwright,
followed in the footsteps of Aristophanes; Tacitus' nnals and Germania follow essentially the same historical
approaches that Thucydides devised; Ovid and his etamorphoses explore the same Greek myths again in new
ways. Roman authors improved on the genres already established by their Greek predecessors. For example
Ovid's etamorphoses creates a form which is a clear predecessor of the stream of consciousness technique. The
Romans, in comparison with the Greeks, innovate relatively few literary styles of their own.
Satireis one of the few Roman additions to literature Horace was the first to use satire extensively as a
tool for argument.
Order was the keynote of the ancient Roman world. Most of their creative efforts went into government. A
lot of speeches were created for politics was the highest art of ancient Rome. The greatest virtue in the Roman
republic was obedience to the call of duty. For the average Roman, business was foremost. The prevailing school

of thought was virtue over pleasure, hence, scant attention was given to pleasures or discomforts of the body. All
that mattered was duty. And so the Romans carved out their empire, fulfilled their duties, lived rather barren and
plain lives and had barren and plain thoughts about life, duty, and death.

Poetry and Thought in China

Chinese civilization first developed in the Yellow River basin The lassic of Poetry is a lyric poetry
collection that stands at the beginning of the Chinese literary tradition. The fusion of ethical thought and idealized
Chou traditions associated with Confucius were recorded in the nalects by Confucius's disciples following his
death. The huang %u offers philosophical meditations in a multitude of forms, ranging from jokes and parables
to intricate philosophical arguments. During the period of the Warring States, Ssu-ma Ch'ien produced the popular
Historical Records chronicling the lives of ruling families and dynasties in a comprehensive history of China up to
the time of Emperor Wu's reign. The end of ancient China is often linked with the rise of the draconian ruler Ch'in

Anc|ent Ind|an L|terature

The ethnic, religious, and linguistic diversity of ndia's billion people has given rise to a diverse written and
oral literary tradition that evolved over 3,500 years. ndian literature includes everything which is included in the
word 'literature' in its broadest, sense: religious and mundane, epic and lyric, dramatic and didactic poetry, narrative
and scientific prose, as well as oral poetry and song.
The 'edas are the primary scriptures of Hinduism and consist of four books of sacred hymns used in religious
rituals and sacrifices. The Upanisads argue that the soul is a manifestation of a single divine essence; release
comes from understanding the basic unity between the self and the universe. Two epics that express the core
values of Hinduism are the Ramayana and the ahabharata. Dharma is the guiding principle of human conduct
and preserves the social, moral, and cosmic integrity of the universe. t refers to sacred duties and righteous
conduct, and is related to three other spheres that collectively govern an ideal life: artha (wealth, profit, and political
power); kama (love, sensuality); moksa (release, liberation). The belief that all beings are responsible for their own
actions and their own suffering is known as karma. Because Hinduism and its important texts such as the
Bhagavad-Gita were able to synthesize tenets and ideas from the other religions, it was able to triumph in ndia.

1he Med|eva| er|od
After the fall of Rome (in roughly 476), many of the literary approaches and styles invented by the Greeks
and Romans fell out of favor in Europe. Medieval literature focused more and more on faith and faith-related
matters, in part because the works written by the Greeks had not been preserved in Europe, and therefore there
were few models of classical literature to learn from and move beyond.
Following Rome's fall, slam's spread across Asia and Africa brought with it a desire to preserve and build
upon the work of the Greeks, especially in literature. Although much had been lost to the ravages of time (and to
catastrophe, as in the burning of the Library of Alexandria), many Greek works remained extant: they were
preserved and copied carefully by Muslim scribes.
Among the innovations of Arabic literature was bn Khaldun's perspective on chronicling past eventsby
fully rejecting supernatural explanations, Khaldun essentially invented the scientific or sociological approach to
n Europe Hagiographies, or "lives of the saints ", are frequent among early medieval texts. The writings of
BedeHistoria ecclesiastica gentis nglorumand others continue the faith-based historical tradition begun by
Eusebius in the early 300s. Playwriting essentially ceased, except for the mystery plays and the passion plays that
focused heavily on conveying Christian belief to the common people. Poetry flourished in the hands of the
troubadours, whose courtly romances and chanson de geste amused and entertained the upper classes who were
their patrons. Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote works which he claimed were histories of Britain. These were highly
fanciful and included stories of Merlin the magician and King Arthur. Epic poetry continued to develop with the
addition of the mythologies of Northern Europe: Beowulf which speaks about the warring lifestyle of the Germanic
and Scandinavian groups that conquered the Roman empire and the Norse sagas have much in common with
Homer and Virgil's approaches to war and honor, while poems such as Dante's Divine omedy offer controversial
political and religious beliefs within a formal and cosmological framework that evoke's the three-in-one of the
Christian Trinity: God the Father; God the Son; and God the Holy Spirit. Geoffrey Chaucer's %he anterbury %ales
was written during a period of considerable political and religious turmoil that would eventually give rise to the
Protestant Reformation. Best known for his Decameron, Giovanni Boccaccio was one of the many medieval
writers who contributed to the revival of classical literary traditions that would come to fruition in the talian
Renaissance and later spread to other parts of Europe.
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight revives the "native" Anglo-Saxon tradition first seen in Beowulf that had
apparently been submerged between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries following the Norman Conquest.

China's MiddIe Period

The "middle period" of Chinese literature occupies a central place in that nation's cultural history; to many it
is the era during which Chinese thought and letters achieved its highest form. During China's "middle period,"
Confucianism declined in importance; Taoism and Buddhism in fact began to acquire a more important status. With
an emphasis on personal salvation, they offered an alternative to the Confucian ideals of social and ethical
collective interests.
Because of the way that it was integrated into life during this period, the T'ang Dynasty is often considered
a period when poetry flourished.
Thanks to the development of printing, the vernacular traditions emphasizing storytelling have coexisted
and evolved along with classical literature up to present times.
uropean kena|ssance L|terature
The 1400s brought Johann Gutenberg and his invention of the printing press. As a result, much about
literature in Europe was radically altered in the two centuries following Gutenberg's unveiling of the printing press in
William Caxton was the first English printer and published English language texts including Le orte
d'rthur (a collection of oral tales of the Arthurian Knights which is a forerunner of the novel) and Geoffrey
Chaucher's anterbury %ales.
The major philosophical movement of the Renaissance was humanism which advocated an emphasis on a
group subjects known as the humanities grammar, rhetoric, history, poetry, and ethics instead of the traditional
scholastic pursuit which emphasized logic, natural philosophy (science) and metaphysics.
During the Renaissance, notions of Europe's and of humankind's centrality in the world were challenged and
partially discredited by advances in scientific theory, a rediscovery of Greco-Roman culture, and the so-called
discovery of the Americas. The Renaissance reached its peak at different times in different cultures, beginning in
taly with the visual arts and, nearly two centuries later, working its way as far as England, where its achievements
are most recognized in drama. Spain's major contributions to Renaissance literature can be traced to Cervantes
and Lope de Vega. Works from the English tradition, including Paradise Lost Hamlet and Othello, question the
values of the Renaissance.
The focus on learning for learning's sake causes an outpouring of literature. Petrarch popularized the
sonnet as a poetic form; Giovanni Boccaccio's 's Decameron made romance acceptable in prose as well as
poetry; Francois Rabelais rejuvenates satire with Gargantua and Pantagruel; Michael de Montaigne single-
handedly invented the essay and used it to catalog his life and ideas. Perhaps the most controversial and important
work of the time period was a treatise published by a Polish astronomer entitled De Revolutionibus Orbium
oelestium: in it, Nicolaus Copernicus removed the Earth from its privileged position in the universe, which had far-
reaching effects, not only in science, but in literature and its approach to humanity, hierarchy, and truth.
The Renaissance presented a basic shift in values, from the religious spirit of the Middle Ages to the more
worldly concerns like commerce, science, and the arts.

GoIden ge of Japanese CuIture
Although Japanese poetry, drama, literature and other writings of the Golden Age elaborate on a wide
range of philosophical, aesthetic, religious, and political topics, and while literature and culture have flourished in
Japan for over a thousand years, many misconceptions about Japanese literature persist. One of the earliest
monuments of Japanese literature, the an'yoshu (The Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves), appears to have
been intended as an anthology of poetry anthologies. The Kokinshu combines great poems of the past with great
poems of the present; it also integrates short poems into longer narrative sequences, thereby becoming more than
a mere collection of poems. Murasaki Shikibu's %ale of Genji, arguably the first significant novel in world literature,
was written in the early eleventh century. Not only did the %ale of the Heike help to create the samurai ideal, it has
served as an inspiration for more writers in more genres than any other single work of Japanese literature.
Although Shintoism, the native religion emphasizing the protective powers of supernaturalism, enjoyed widespread
popularity, Buddhism began to play an increasingly important role in premodern Japan, most notably in the arenas
of literature and drama. No (translated as "talent" or "skill"), Japan's classical theater, is a serious and stylized art
form that is produced without most of the artifices of Western theater such as props and scenery.

The ge of Reason/ge of EnIightenment
The Enlightenment advocated reason as a means to establishing an authoritative system of aesthetics,
ethics, government, and even religion, which would allow human beings to obtain objective truth about reality.
Enlightenment thinkers argued that reason could free humankind from superstition and religious authoritarianism
that had brought suffering and death to millions in religious wars. The intellectual leaders of the Enlightenment
regarded themselves as a courageous elite who would lead the world into progress from a long period of doubtful
tradition and ecclesiastical tyranny, which had resulted in the bloody Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) and the English
Civil War (1642-1651).

The legacy of the Enlightenment has been of enormous consequence for the modern world. The general
decline of the church, the growth of secular humanism and political and economic liberalism, the belief in progress,
and the development of science are among its fruits.
n literature, neoclassiscim came closer to voicing the eighteenth century's fascination with reason and
scientific law. The verbal media of poetry, drama, prose, and exposition were commonly used to convey the new
philosophic principles. Reflecting the common disdain for irrational customs and outworn institutions were such
masterpieces of satire as andide (1759), by the French man of letters, Francois-Marie Arouet, better known as
Voltaire (1694-1778). Another famous satirist, England's Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), ridiculed the pettiness of
human concerns in Gulliver's %ravels (1726).
The novel became a major literary vehicle in this period. t caught on first in France during the preceding
century and was then popularized in England. Robinson rusoe (1719), by Daniel Defoe (1659-1731), is often
called the first modern English novel. The straight prose of the novel satisfied a prevailing demand for clarity and
simplicity; but the tendency in this period to focus on middle-class values, heroic struggle, and sentimental love
foreshadowed the coming romantic movement. Writing along these lines Samuel Richardson (1689-1761)
produced Pamela (1740-1741), the story of a virtuous servant-girl, and Henry Fielding (1707-1754) wrote the
equally famous %om Jones (1749), the rollicking tale of a young man's deep pleasures and superficial regrets.
Each novel, in its own way, defined a natural human morality.
n both France and England, women found a uniquely promising outlet for their long-ignored talents in the
romantic novel, with its accent on personal feminine concerns and domestic problems. Two among the multitude of
able French women novelists were Madame de Graffigny (1695-1758), whose Lettres D'Une Peruvienne (1730)
became a best-seller, and Madame de Tencin (1682-1749), who wrote %he Siege of alais, a historical novel of
love and danger. n England, Fanny Burney (1753-1840) was universally acclaimed after publication of her first
novel, Eveline (1778), about "a young lady's entrance into the world." Aphra Behn (1640-1689) was an early
playwright whose novel, Oroonoko (1688), was a plea for the natural person.
The Romantic ge (EarIy Nineteenth Century)
After the American and French revolutions, faith in social institutions declined considerably; no longer were
systems that were organized around hierarchy and the separation of classes considered superior. As
manufacturing and industrialization developed, resulting in a decline in the agricultural economy, a "middle class"
began to emerge in England and other parts of Europe. As the middle class rose to ascendancy in the nineteenth
century, new approaches to science, biology, class, and race began to shake middle-class society's values.
magination was seen as a way for the soul to link with the eternal. The new thematic emphases of poetrybelief
in the virtues of nature, the "primitive," and the past.
Nourished by the political and social aspirations of the middle class, nationalism and colonialism came to
dominate the nineteenth century in EuropeThe basic aims of romanticism were various: a return to nature and to
belief in the goodness ofhumanity, the rediscovery of the artist as a supremely individual creator, the development
ofnationalistic pride, and the exaltation of the senses and emotions over reason and intellect.
Poems such as Coleridge's Rime of the ncient arinere show a respect for nature and a loathing of
things of human invention.
Sir Walter Scott wrote the novel Ivanhoe which like so many other works of the period has a Medieval
theme. t borrowed freely from Robin Hood in both plot and character. t was in prose where the French would
shine, with authors such as Victor Hugo (Les iserables). Dumas authored %he %hree usketeers a work that
combined many elements of the Romantic Movement. t had a nationalist theme, a bewitching evil woman, a
yearning for a chivalric age, and a disdain for the modern.
The movement developed the splintering of fiction writing into genres and the rise of speculative fiction.
There was a romantic tendency toward the exploration of folk traditions and old legends. n 1802, Sir Walter Scott
published instrelsy of the Scottish Border. Amelia Opie, another romantic, was publishing poetry in the early
19th century and was an active anti-war campaigner. Anne Bannerman (1765-1829) reworked legends of King
Arthur and Merlin. William Blake worked in words and pictures to share his visions and mysticism. n 1807, Thomas
Moore published Irish elodies. Lord Byron produced many influential poems during this period. n 1808, Goethe
published part one of Faust. n 1810, Sir Walter Scott published Lady of the Lake. Percy Shelley published a gothic
novel: Zastroi and a gothic novella: St. Irvyne in 1811.
Along with all the other genres born in the 19th century came the genre of Children's literature.
Romantic literature is also dominated by poetry. The triumvirate of Keats, Shelley, and Byron are still well-
known. The poetry of Keats is sentimental, that of Shelley intense, and Byron displays a mastery of sardonic wit.
"The Gothic," is also a prominent and distinctive element in the writings of the Romantic Age. The mode
had originated in novels of the mid-eighteenth century that, in radical opposition to the Enlightenment ideals of
order, decorum, and rational control, had opened to literary exploration the realm of nightmarish terror, violence,
aberrant psychological states, and sexual rapacity. n the first Gothic novel, Horace Walpole's %he astle of
Otranto (1764), the ominous hero-villain had embodied aspects of Satan and the fallen archangel in Milton's
Paradise Lost. Literary Gothicism also produced enduring classics that featured such demonic, driven, and

imaginatively compelling protagonists as Byron's Manfred, Frankenstein's Creature in Mary Shelley's novel,
Heathcliff in Emily Bront's Wuthering Heights, and, in America, Captain Ahab in Melville's oby-Dick.
n Germany, the Sturm und Drang school, with its obsessive interest in medievalism, preparedthe way for
romanticism. Major German writers associated with romanticism include G. E. Lessing, J. G. Herder, Friedrich
Hlderlin, Schiller, and particularlyGoethe, who had a mystic feeling for nature and for Germany's medieval past.
The credo of French romanticism was set forth by Victor Hugo in the preface to his dramaromwell (1828)
and in his play Hernani (1830). The French romantics included Chateaubriand,Alexandre Dumas pre, Alphonse
de Lamartine, Alfred de Vigny, Alfred de Musset, andGeorge Sand. Other leading romantic figures were Giacomo
Leopardi and AlessandroManzoni in taly, and Aleksandr Pushkin and Mikhail Lermontov in Russia.
n the United States, romanticism had philosophic expression in transcendentalism, notably inthe works of
Emerson and Thoreau. Poets such as Poe, Whittier, and Longfellow all producedworks in the romantic vein. Walt
Whitman in particular expressed pride in his individual selfand the democratic spirit. The works of James Fenimore
Cooper reflected the romanticinterest in the historical past, whereas the symbolic novels of Hawthorne and Melville
emphasized the movement's concern with transcendent reality.

The ge of ReaIism NaturaIism and $ymboIism
Realism was a literary movement in the last half of the 19th century in which writers opposed much of what
the Romantics had stood for. The words "realism" and "realistic" refer to any work at any time that attempts to
present life as it really exists.
The age of Realism values the surface details, the everyday life, and the common conduct of middle class
individuals. They do this with the purpose of creating the illusion of reality.
The Realists explore the ethical choices made by common middle class individuals and the effects and
consequences these ethical choices have on the lives of their middle class heroes. They question the existence, or
at least the importance of, God and discount the beliefs of organized Christian religions. They focused on ethical
choices and morality in the life of middle class individuals, often without supporting Christian beliefs.
Although realism is not limited to any one century or group of writers, it is most often associated with the
literary movement in 19th-century France, specifically with the French novelists Flaubert and Balzac. George Eliot
introduced realism into England, and William Dean Howells introduced it into the United States. n the drama,
realism is most closely associated with bsen's social plays. Later writers felt that realism laid too much emphasis on
external reality. Many, notably Henry James, turned to a psychological realism that closely examined the complex
workings of the mind. Other realist writers are Ambrose Bierce, Kate Chopin, Stephen Crane, Theodore Dreiser,
W.E.B. Dubois, Mary Wilkins Freeman, Hamlin Garland, Jack London, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Emily Bronte,
Oscar Wilde, and John Steinbeck.

The last half of the 19
century brought two thinkers, Darwin and Marx, who heavily influenced literary
views and values.
Charles Darwin applied the scientific method to biology and detailed his laws of natural selection, survival of
the fittest, slow speciation, the evolution of all biological life, and the essential unity of all living things
through evolutionary descent. n his Origin of Species (published in 1859), he stated that species change over
time as a result of the action of natural selection (individual members of a species survive if they are better
adapted to their environment; over time, species as a whole change as a result of the reproduction of
"better adapted" individuals within the species). The public interpreted this idea of natural selection to suggest that
human races and classes survive and prosper to the extent that they are "fit" to survive.
Karl Marx in his ommunist anifesto (published in 1848,) stated that history is the story of the control
by various classes of the economic means of production and that as long as the upper classes hold the reins of
power over the means of economic production the poor will grow less and less powerful and will be crushed
under the heels of those who do control the means of production.
These views and others gave rise in the last two decades of the 19th century to the school of literature
called the Naturalists. Whereas the Realists portrayed middle class characters in their work, the Naturalists
portrayed the lives of working class individuals and believed that members of the working class were controlled,
oppressed, and brutalized by the societies in which they lived. Whereas the Realists explored the ethical choices of
middle class characters, the Naturalists believed that their working class characters struggled just to remain alive in
a way similar to the way Darwin saw animals struggling for survival in the physical world. Whereas the Realists
focused on ethical choices and morality in the contemporary life of middle class individuals, often without supporting
Christian beliefs, the Naturalist often portrayed working class individuals as animals struggling against an inhuman
and unsympathetic universe where they competed for scarce resources in the same way as animals do.

Symbolism was in large part a reaction against Naturalism and Realism, movements which attempted to
capture reality in its particularity. Symbolist movement poetry has been said by some to begin with the influential
series of poems Les Fleurs du al (The Flowers of Evil) by Charles Baudelaire, although work by poets such as

Gerard de Nerval and Arthur Rimbaud were also highly significant in this respect. Symbolism represents an
outgrowth of the more gothic and darker sides of Romanticism. But where Romanticism was impetuous and
rebellious, Symbolism was static and hieratic. The works of Edgar Allan Poe, whom Baudelaire translated into
French, were a significant influence and the source of many stock tropes and images.
$ymboIism, as a type and movement in poetry, emphasized non-structured "internalized" poetry that
describe thoughts and feelings in disconnected ways and places logic, formal structure, and descriptive reality in the
back seat. nfluences on the Symbolist poets included the dark, introspective romanticism of William Blake and
Edgar Allan Poe, as well as the Parnassianism of Thophile Gautier and Charles Leconte de Lisle. Charles
Baudelaire is often perceived as the foremost precursor of Symbolist poetry. Symbolist poetry influenced the 20th
century "modernist" poets such as Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot, as well as the movements of French Surrealism and
Symbolism's cult of the static and hieratic adapted less well to narrative fiction than it did to poetry. Joris-
Karl Huysmans' 1884 novel rebours (English title: Against the Grain) contained many themes which became
associated with the Symbolist esthetic. This novel in which very little happens is a catalogue of the tastes and inner
life of Des Esseintes, an eccentric, reclusive antihero. The novel was imitated by Oscar Wilde in several passages
of %he Picture of Dorian Gray.

The Modern Period

The rapid advance in science and technology, two devastating almost-global wars: World War (1914-
1918) and World War (1941-1945), the rise in power and influence of international corporations,
interconnectedness across the globe: cultural exchanges, transportation, communication, mass (or popular) culture
from the West (with "West" being considered Europe and North America), the "Westernization" of many formerly
traditional societies and nations and a resulting change in their values caused a shift in human values. These
"modern" values include a belief in the desirability of industrialization, individual political rights, democracy, mass
literacy and education, private ownership of the means of production, the scientific method, public institutions like
those in the West, middle class Western value systems, a disbelief inor at least a questioning ofthe existence of
God, and the emancipation of women.
Modernists believe the world is created in the act of perceiving it; that is, the world is what we say it is.
They do not subscribe to absolute truth. All things are relative. They feel no connection with history or institutions;
their experience is that of alienation, loss, and despair. Modernists champion the individual and celebrate inner
strength. They believe life is unordered and concern themselves with the sub-conscious.
The writers have tried to explore the inner life and subconscious of humankind in an attempt to explain his
behavior. To present the inner world of humankind, writers have has to use new approaches and techniques. One
of these is the stream-of-consciousness where thoughts, feelings and observations that flow through the individual's
mind are recreated. They used images ("word pictures") and symbols as typical and frequent literary techniques.
They also used colloquial language rather than formal language. Form, style, and technique thus become as
important as content or substance. Often, the intention of writers in the Modern period is to change the way readers
see the world and to change our understanding of what language is and does.
Modernist Poetry
Modernist poetry is a mode of writing characterised by technical innovation in the mode of versification
(sometimes referred to as free verse) and by the dislocation of the '' of the poet as a means of subverting the notion
of an unproblematic poetic 'self' directly addressing an equally unproblematic ideal reader or audience. The
dislocation of the authorial presence is achieved through the application of such techniques as collage, found
poetry, visual poetry, the juxtaposition of apparently unconnected materials, etc. These techniques are used not for
their own sake but to open up questions in the mind of the reader.
Modernist poetry in English is often viewed as an American phenomenon in origin, with leading exponents
including Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, William Carlos Williams, H. D., and Louis Zukofsky and, but there were a
number of important British modernist poets, including David Jones, Hugh MacDiarmid, Mina Loy, and Basil

Modernist prose
The Modernist form of prose began from the styles of writing popular in the mid to late 19th century: The
nonsense books of Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll were one influence. Another was the dark gothic brooding of
Mary Shelley Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poe and Dostovevski. These tendencies toward rebellious nonsense and
morose introspection were, to some extent, reactions against the science and positivism of the Victorian mindset. At
the same time, however, science continued to influence writers to adopt a spirit of experimentalism. n 1902,
Joseph Conrad published Heart of Darkness, which threw representations of civilised society into sharp contrast
with representations of the jungle and played both of them in relation to the human heart and soul.
Some of the most popular modernist writers are: James Joyce - Ulysses, completely abandons generally
accepted notions of plot, setting, and characters. Ford Madox Ford - %he Good Soldier examines the negative

effect of war. Virginia Woolf - %o the Lighthouse strays from conventional forms, focusing on stream of
consciousness. Stevie Smith - Novel on Yellow Paper parodies conventionality. Aldous Huxley Brave New
World protests against the dangers and nature of modern society. D.H. Lawrence - His novels reflected on the
dehumanizing effect of modern society. T.S. Eliot - %he Wasteland is associated with London and emphasizes the
emptiness of ndustrialism. Ernest Hemingway - %he Sun lso Rises chronicles the meaningless lives of the Lost
Generation. Farewell to rms narrates the tale of an ambulance driver searching for meaning in WW. F. Scott
Fitzgerald %he Great Gatsby shows through its protagonist, Jay Gatsby, the corruption of the American Dream.

With the spread of Western colonialism from Europe and North America to Asia, Africa, and South America
also came the spread of its by-product; Western modernism. Though early criticisms were leveled at former
colonial subjects who wrote in the colonizer's language since such writing was considered to reflect "impoverished"
experiences, more recent evaluations point to the ways that the writings of former colonial subjects have enriched
European languages. Though social-realist movements varied considerably within Chinese, ndian, and Soviet
contexts, in general, they denounced the bourgeois and colonialist values expounded in Western art and literature.
Though English-language literatures are well known outside ndia, literatures in regional languages such as
Kannada, Urdu, Sindhi, Bengali, Hindi, and Tamil represent other aspects of ndian life. The literary traditions of the
diverse countries that the West calls "the Middle East" reflect the multiple histories and cultural traditions of the
region. n addition to experiences of Western colonialism in Africa, African writers also address issues related to
the slave trade and to the African diaspora. The generally political nature of magical realism in South American
writing was often missed by earlier generations of Western readers, who were too amazed by the imaginative
creativity of magical realism.

PostModernism in Literature
Postmodernism indicates a reaction against modernism in the wake of the Second World War (with its
disrespect for human rights, just confirmed in the Geneva Convention, through the atomic bombings of Hiroshima
and Nagasaki, the Holocaust, the bombing of Dresden, the fire-bombing of Tokyo, and Japanese American
internment). t could also imply a reaction to significant post-war events: the beginning of the Cold War, the civil
rights movement in the United States and France, postcolonialism (Postcolonial literature), and the rise of the
personal computer (Cyberpunk fiction and Hypertext fiction).
Postmodernism is the name given to the period of literary criticism that is now in full bloom. Postmodernism
came about as a reaction to the established modernist era, which itself was a reaction to the established tenets of
the nineteenth century and before. What sets Postmodernism apart from its predecessor is the reaction of its
practitioners to the rational, scientific, and historical aspects of the modern age. For postmodernists this took the
guise of being self-conscious, experimental, and ironic. The postmodernist is concerned with imprecision and
unreliability of language and with epistemology, the study of what knowledge is.
Whereas Modernism places faith in the ideas, values, beliefs, culture, and norms of the West,
Postmodernism rejects Western values and beliefs as only a small part of the human experience and often rejects
such ideas, beliefs, culture, and norms.
Whereas Modernism attempts to reveal profound truths of experience and life, Postmodernism is suspicious
of being "profound" because such ideas are based on one particular Western value systems.
Whereas Modernism attempts to find depth and interior meaning beneath the surface of objects and events,
Postmodernism prefers to dwell on the exterior image and avoids drawing conclusions or suggesting underlying
meanings associated with the interior of objects and events.
Whereas Modernism focused on central themes and a united vision in a particular piece of literature,
Postmodernism sees human experience as unstable, internally contradictory, ambiguous, inconclusive,
indeterminate, unfinished, fragmented, discontinuous, "jagged," with no one specific reality possible. Therefore, it
focuses on a vision of a contradictory, fragmented, ambiguous, indeterminate, unfinished, "jagged" world.
Whereas Modern authors guide and control the reader's response to their work, the Postmodern writer
creates an "open" work in which the reader must supply his own connections, work out alternative meanings, and
provide his own (unguided) interpretation.
Some of the primary and more prominent themes of Postmodern text involves Enlightenment, Progress, Colonialism,
Christianity, Humanism, Romanticism (a reaction to enlightenment/progress), Communism, Globalization, and