Division of Applied Undergraduate Studies
Modernism and Literature
Bursting from the corsets of Victorian constraint, the 20th century is said to be the century of alienation, transformation, and disintegration. Yet 20th-century writers were freed to create new forms, break conventional patterns, explore new realms for meaning and new possibilities for writing. At its beginning, writers such as Stein, Joyce, and Eliot worked against the grain of received language, embodied ideas in new ways, and dismantled conventional language. At its midpoint, two world wars, world economic depression, the Holocaust, and Hiroshima-displayed daily in film and print-destroyed our confidence that language could ever be adequate to name human experience. Yet writers such as Faulkner, O'Connor, Yeats, Stevens, Hemingway, Beckett, Ellison, Baldwin, and Morrison each find new ways to reawaken our sense of ourselves in our world.