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Herrick on Modernism Characteristics questioning received truths of Christian tradition elevating rationality over other sources of truth seeking solutions to social problems by means of scientific method viewing the universe as governed by inviolable physical laws .
The concept of the avant-garde is that of a loosely organized oppositional force and challenge to the dominant artistic culture. (Note that this assumes a model of progress as part of the inner development of the arts and culture. 3. Modernism is generally used as a way of referring to an aesthetic approach dominant in European and American art and literature in the Twentieth Century.the built in source of contradiction or critique that moves art forward. This links the concept of modernity to the concept of modernism as it was articulated by Greenberg.) 2. The "project of Modernity" can be thought of as the development of science. The principles of formalism and the autonomy of art are key features of modernism. philosophy and art. each according to its own inner logic. . The avant-garde is often thought of as part of the "inner logic of modernism" .Three Key Concepts 1.
technology and the planned management of social change. More generally. .General Definitions Modernism a term typically associated with the twentieth-century reaction against realism and romanticism within the arts. Modernity refers to a period extending from the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries (in the case of Europe) to the mid to late twentieth century characterized by the growth and strengthening of a specific set of social practices and ways of doing things. it is often used to refer to a twentieth-century belief in the virtues of science. It is often associated with capitalism and notions such as progress.
Enlightenment approach retains. and thus the possibility of understanding human experience as. in some sense. On this account. 2. Modern European society emerged from the 18th Century with an Enlightenment optimism based on the apparent success of science & technology in explaining various natural phenomena in rational & mechanical terms and in utilizing aspects of "Nature" for the purposes of "Man". 3. mind and body. for the most part. . the history of "Man" becomes the story of how human beings came to increase their freedom from the natural world and the material constraints associated with it by the exercise of their innate capacity to think logically in the pursuit of truth and knowledge. The experience of human beings on earth becomes the basis for a grand teleological concept of History [Hegel]. This modern. distinct from natural events. vestiges of a Christian world view which assumes a separation of "Man" and "nature".History & the Influence of Modern Science 1.
and in absolute and clear-cut dichotomies between right and wrong. seeing the world as being governed by God's will. belief in a single way of looking at the world. good and bad.A Working Definition Modernism is a cultural movement which rebelled against Victorian mores emphasis on nationalism & cultural absolutism. placing humans over and outside of nature. and hero and villain. . and that each person and thing in this world had a specific use.
cash-based economies. According to Victorians. the "civilized" were those from industrialized nations. the "savage" were those from agrarian or hunter-gatherer tribes. "pagan" or "totemistic" traditions.A Working Definition Modernism is a cultural movement which rebelled against Victorian mores seeing the world as neatly divided between "civilized" and "savage" peoples. . and patriarchal societies. and matriarchal (or at least "unmanly" societies). barter-based economies. Protestant Christian traditions.
uncategorizable persons . argued for multiple ways of looking at the world. and blurred the Victorian dichotomies by presenting antiheroes. Modernists rebelled against Victorian ideals emphasized humanism over nationalism. and argued for cultural relativism.In contrast. emphasized the ways in which humans were part of and responsible to nature.
Modernists argued that no thing or person was born for a specific use. Modernists presented the Victorian "civilized" as greedy and warmongering (instead of being industrialized nations and cash-based economies). they found or made their own meaning in the world. instead. Challenging the Victorian dichotomy between "civilized" and "savage. and as enemies of freedom and self-realization (instead of good patriarchs)." Modernists reversed the values associated with each kind of culture. . as hypocrites (rather than Christians). which led them to challenge the Victorian assumption that there was meaning and purpose behind world events. Instead.In contrast. Modernists challenged the idea that God played an active role in the world.
together with an increasing value placed on the individual. This "objectivity". detachment and objectivity. as thinkers. In doing so it shifts its emphasis (via the French philosopher Rene Descartes) toward the notion of an a priori conscious ego--a thinker or cogito--that observes the world and historical events from a position of rationality.Modern Philosophy Modern philosophy liberates itself (to a large extent) from the Aristotelian world view. With this freedom and centrality comes a strong measure of responsibility and the duty to protect and increase the autonomy of every rational human being. Thus. puts the human being ("Man") at the center of History and knowledge. The universe is rationally ordered because God is rational. [Kant] . are linked to pure rationality--a transcendental order. by objectively-empirically and scientifically--studying the order concealed in Nature we are studying the ways of God the Mathematician. We are rational beings because the universe is rational. Rationalism: We.
Its favored techniques of juxtaposition and multiple point of view challenge the reader to reestablish a coherence of meaning from fragmentary forms... or traditional meter. Modernist writing is predominantly cosmopolitan.. Modernist literature is characterized chiefly by a rejection of 19th century traditions and of their consensus between author and reader: conventions of realism . Modernist writers tended to see themselves as an avant-garde disengaged from bourgeois values.Literary Characteristics "a general term applied retrospectively to the wide range of experimental & avant-garde trends in the literature (and other arts) of the early 20th century.. and disturbed their readers by adopting complex and difficult new forms and styles. along with an awareness of new anthropological and psychological theories." . and often expresses a sense of urban cultural dislocation..
World War II . the technologization of the workforce under multinational capitalism. Martin Luther King.Tension between the Soviet Union and the United States under the strain of a nuclear buildup offsets the psychological effects of the post-War economic prosperity. Malcolm X). Viet Nam. Robert Kennedy.General Critique Late Modernism: Social turmoil. political assassinations (JFK. and the breakdown of religious belief leads to a kind of nihilism and anxiety about the future. . Cold War .Negative effects of the war are offset temporarily by the economic prosperity & postwar reconstruction which takes place during the µ50s. Domestic tensions: Civil Rights Movement. Women¶s Movement. increasing nuclear threat. Environmentalism.
universalizing grand narratives that aspire to completeness. . the distinction between "high" and "low" culture. the teleological approach to history. the importance of truth and abstract reason. This involves a radical critique and often uncritical rejection of: objectivity. and authority. the a priori subject as the source of meaning.General Critique All aspects of the Enlightenment project of modernity are called into question. authenticity.
inauthenticity signifier vs. authenticity vs. postmodernism rejects what he calls "the depth model" and its binary oppositions: essence vs. latent vs. manifest content. . signified.General Critique According to Frederic Jameson. appearance.
There are no origins or fixed references. reason.e. mediating system and not as the acts of a pure. model or form of representation. nonmaterial consciousness with direct access to reality. Thus. "there is no outside-the-text" [Derrida]. there is no point outside of some conceptual frame-work. All discourse is an intertextual play of signifiers on a level surface without depth and without a foundation.General Critique Thought. . & observation come to be seen as dependent on language as a structural. i.
i. creative subjects. This presupposes a unique individuality .General Critique The alienation of the subject is replaced by a sense of "free-floating and impersonal" fragmentation.that generates his or her own style according to a personal vision. what is it that an artist does? . This signals the "death of the subject". and nothing new is possible. autonomous subject is looked upon as ideological.a private identity or self (subject) . This individualism is put into question in High (or Late) Modernism. This presents us with a problem: If there are no individual. the end of Individualism. Modernism valorizes personal style.e. The concept of the individual.
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