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TitleSalient Features of Modern Poetry
TagsPoetry Epistemology Modernism Narrative Philosophical Movements
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Modernism, in its broadest definition, is modern thought, character, or practice. More
specifically, the term describes the modernist movement, its set of cultural tendencies
and array of associated cultural movements, originally arising from wide-scale and far-
reaching changes to Western society in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Modernism was a revolt against the conservative values of realism.Arguably the most
paradigmatic motive of modernism is the rejection of tradition and its reprise,
incorporation, rewriting, recapitulation, revision and parody in new forms. Modernism
rejected the lingering certainty of Enlightenment thinking and also rejected the existence
of a compassionate, all-powerful Creator God in favor of the abstract, unconventional,
largely uncertain ethic brought on by modernity, initiated around the turn of century by
rapidly changing technology and further catalyzed by the horrific consequences of
World War I on the cultural psyche of artists.
In general, the term modernism encompasses the activities and output of those who felt
the "traditional" forms of art, architecture, literature, religious faith, social organization
and daily life were becoming outdated in the new economic, social, and political
conditions of an emerging fully industrialized world. The poet Ezra Pound's 1934
injunction to "Make it new!" was paradigmatic of the movement's approach towards the
obsolete. Another paradigmatic exhortation was articulated by philosopher and
composer Theodor Adorno, who, in the 1940s, challenged conventional surface
coherence and appearance of harmony typical of the rationality of Enlightenment
thinking. A salient characteristic of modernism is self-consciousness. This self-
consciousness often led to experiments with form and work that draws attention to the
processes and materials used (and to the further tendency of abstraction).
The modernist movement, at the beginning of the 20th century, marked the first time
that the term "avant-garde", with which the movement was labeled until the word
"modernism" prevailed, was used for the arts (rather than in its original military and
political context). Surrealism gained fame among the public as being the most extreme
form of modernism, or "the avant-garde of modernism
"The most important characteristic of modern world literature may be its struggle with
the failure of traditional sources of moral authority. Modern literature has inherited
skepticism not only of revelation and traditional religious standards but also of reason
and community consensus as sources of meaning.

The typical modern writer describes a state of disconnectedness in which the individual
lacks real belonging, has no ultimate purpose, and is paralyzed or controlled rather than
guided and fulfilled by external expectations. The globalization of modern literature, in
expanding the number of competing authorities and exposing readers to a baffling array
of alien perspectives, has reinforced the idea that no particular tradition can be
accepted as definitive

FORMAL CHARACTERISTICS

Free verse
Verse composed of variable, usually unrhymed lines having no fixed metrical pattern.

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