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Comparative Analysis of Modernism and Postmodernism in Literature

  1. Comparative Analysis of Modernism and Postmodernism in Literature -By Nirali Dabhi
  2. Introduction Name: Nirali Dabhi Roll number: 13 Enrollment Number: 4069206420220006 Sem: 2 M.A Paper number: 110 Paper Name: History of English Literature – From 1900 to 2000 Topic: Comparative Analysis of Modernism and Postmodernism in Literature Submitted to: Smt S.B. Gardi, Department of English, M.K.B.U Email:
  3. Table of Contents 1. What is Modernism…? 2. What is Postmodernism…? 3. Characteristics of Modernism 4. Characteristics of Postmodernism 5. Writers of Modernism and Postmodernism 6. Difference Between Modernism and Postmodernism 7. Examples of Modernism in Literature 8. Examples of Postmodernism in literature
  4. What is Modernism…? ● Modernism was a movement in the arts in the first half of the twentieth century that rejected traditional values and techniques, and emphasized the importance of individual experience. ● Modernism was a movement not just in literature but also in arts, philosophy, and cinema.(Adam) ● Its spirit is best reflected in a motto coined by Ezra Pound: ‘Make it new.’ ● Aronowitz reminds us that modernism is a philosophy or ideology, a response, if you will, to the frightening" facts" of modern life.(Brodkey)
  5. What is Postmodernism…? ● Post-modernism cannot be understood by ignoring modernism.(Sheeba) ● Postmodernism is a school of thought or a movement that took place after World War II. ● Postmodernism relies on concrete experience over abstract principles, knowing always that the outcome of one's own experience will necessarily be fallible and relative, rather than certain and universal. ● Postmodern texts are marked by the mixture of times, cultures, languages, real facts and fiction, the present and the past.(Fedosova)
  6. Characteristics of Modernism ● Individualism: Modernism values individualism and subjective reality over societal events, with protagonists struggling to adapt to change. ● Experimentation: Literary modernism rejected established writing norms and allowed experimentation with form ● Absurdity: The Theatre of the Absurd reflects the idea that human existence has no grand purpose or meaning. ● Symbolism: Symbolism became a central characteristic of modernism in literature, with authors leaving blanks for the reader's imagination to fill. Modernists used symbolism in every layer of their works, with multiple valid interpretations. ● Formalism: Formalism included the use of invented or foreign language and unconventional structure.(Adam)
  7. Characteristics of Postmodernism ● Globalization and multiculturalism: huge globalization , different cultures are getting mixed. We can see the effect of this on architecture , food, music, literature, education, fashion, organizations ● New literary trends: Postmodern authors tend to use irony and black humour in their writings. They present subject-matters, even the serious ones, with the playfulness and fragmentation. ● Intertextuality: the referencing and incorporation of other texts, including popular culture, literature, and history, to create multiple layers of meaning.
  8. Writers of Modernism and Postmodernism Modernist Writers ● James Joyce ● Virginia Woolf ● T.S. Eliot ● William Faulkner ● Franz Kafka ● Samuel Beckett ● Marcel Proust ● D.H. Lawrence ● Ezra Pound ● Gertrude Stein(Adam) Postmodernist Writers ● Thomas Pynchon ● Don DeLillo ● Salman Rushdie ● Italo Calvino ● David Foster Wallace ● Jorge Luis Borges ● Kurt Vonnegut ● William S. Burroughs ● Toni Morrison ● Jeanette Winterson
  9. Difference Between Modernism and Postmodernism ● The main difference between modernism and postmodernism is that modernism is characterized by the radical break from the traditional forms of prose and verse whereas postmodernism is characterized by the self-conscious use of earlier styles and conventions. ● Modernists believe that truth is objective; postmodernists considered truth relative.(Yousef)
  10. Characteristic ● Worldview ● Use of Language ● Narrative Structure ● Role of the Author Modernism ● The world is chaotic and uncertain. ● Language should be precise and direct. ● Narrative structure should be straightforward and linear. ● The author is an objective observer who provides a clear perspective. Postmodernism ● The world is fragmented, indeterminate, and subject to constant change. ● Language is ambiguous, self- referential, and open to interpretation. ● Narrative structure is fragmented, non-linear, and often self-referential. ● The author is a participant who acknowledges their subjective perspective and the role of language in shaping meaning. ● Chat Gpt : Make a table on Difference Between Modernism and Postmodernism in literature
  11. Examples of Modernism in Literature ● James Joyce's Ulysses ● T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land ● Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises ● Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway ● Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis ● William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury
  12. Examples of Postmodernism in literature ● Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow ● Don DeLillo's White Noise ● Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children ● Italo Calvino's If on a winter's night a traveler ● Jeanette Winterson's Sexing the Cherry ● Toni Morrison's Beloved
  13. Work Cited ● Adam J. “Modernism in Literature: Definition, Characteristics, Examples, and More.” Essay Writing Service, 23 January 2023, ● Brodkey, Linda. “Modernism and the Scene(s) of Writing.” College English, vol. 49, no. 4, 1987, pp. 396–418. JSTOR, ● Fedosova, Tatyana. “Reflection of Time in Postmodern Literature.” Academic Journals, 2015, ● Nel, Hannes. “Research Article 14: Modernism – iNtgrty.” iNtgrty, 22 July 2019, modernism/.
  14. ● Sheeba. “Postmodern literature: Practices and Theory.” March 2017, literature_Practices_and_Theory. ● Yousef, Tawfiq. “Modernism, Postmodernism, and Metamodernism: A Critique.” International Journal of Language & Literature, June 2017,
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