Tuesday, 4 February 2014

MODERNISM



Developments in literary Modernism still resonate with writers today. So what is Modernism? 

The term Modernism describes a European cultural movement which influenced thinking in theology, sciences and the arts in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As a result of advances (the industrial revolution, Darwin, Einstein, Planck, Freud, WW1) a cultural crisis occurred. Modernism challenged traditional attitudes proposing that only through the arts (painting, sculpture, poetry, drama, prose) could this cultural crisis be expressed and addressed.

Modernism in literature relates to both form and content.

Narrative time is one aspect viewed from a different perspective by Modernist writers. Frank Kermode discusses time using the Greek terms, chronos (an undirected continuous flow of events), and kairos (particular moments allocated import because of their relevance to the end). 

Modernist writers seldom perceived time as a progression of noteworthy steps leading to a momentous conclusion, but favoured kairos where single moments gain prominence because of distinctive insights gained in those moments.  Considered in this way, the traditional dramatic arc of a story recedes in importance, and the story becomes a series of scenes where content is less important than style, and the whole is seen as an object of beauty rather than an act of communication. 

Another notable feature of Modernist novels is the reduced prominence of the authorial voice.
Characters are presented in several ways: through their responses to the world; revealing how other characters see them; an internal monologue that includes thoughts about the past and the future. A further development of interior monologue is stream of consciousness - the most well known example being Ullysses by James Joyce. Interpretation of meaning is left  up to the reader. 

The question arises then – is Modernism relevant today? I think if you consider how admired and influential Hemingway, Joyce, Woolf, Elliot, Beckett and Nabokov are, to name a few, the answer is yes. Even if most writers still follow traditional structure, if we are to believe Harold Bloom, the American literary critic, writers discover their artistic impetus by reading earlier writers, and start by emulating them in order to cultivate a voice of their own. If this is the case, then Modernism has bequeathed today’s writers a rich legacy. 

Writing Update 

I have to be honest, I’m not writing a supernatural mash-up, well, I am, but it’s a romantic supernatural mash-up! I’m nearly half-way through with the speed editing of the first few chapters a distant memory - and I’m back to the slog; but as I’m re-writing/editing chapter by chapter, it’s a more tolerable slog. And most important, I’m still enjoying the process.

I constantly mull over the traditional vs self/indie publishing question, as well as wondering about PR/marketing options as I’ve one novel doing the rounds of agents/publishers. I've described the book as commercial women’s fiction (not chick lit or romcom) and wonder why we have to categorize books - it's a two stranded story about people experiencing loss, love and obsession!
And in the meantime, I realize the best decision is to keep writing. So I’m focussing on my particular twist on the eternal triangle - there are no new plots - only new ways to present them! 

Today’s Haiku  
he’s keen can’t take his
eyes off the swing of her hair –
he’ll buy what she sells  

Useful Links:
For more information about Moderism:
An informative post on scene breaks:

Join me on Twitter at: teagankearney@modhaiku 

Thank you for visiting my blog (I love when people leave comments), and to all story lovers out there, good reading, and to those of you who write, good writing.

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Apart from writing, I'm compiling a bucket list of places I'd like to  visit...from Iceland to Hawaii and onwards....
         

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