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Background and Context to Literature for Our Time

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Collin Hill

Background and Context: Literature For Our Time Literature- representative novels, novellas, poems short stories and plays. th st ‘Our Time’- the 20 and 21 centuries Genre- French word that means type (novel) The first half of this course covers (roughly) the period 1900-1950 This period is sometimes called the ‘modernist period’ in literary history. Literature from 1900-1950 is sometimes called ‘modernist literature’ What is Modernism? A temporal or historical category Modernist literature is literature produced in the western world (and sometimes beyond) between about 1900-1950 Scholars debated that actual dates of modernism and there is much disagreement about it’s boundaries and nature: 1880-1970 Modernism is a convenient term to refer to writing produced during the first half of the 20hcentury Many characteristics of modernism predate 1900 and many of its characteristics are present in contemporary literature: its boundaries are porous and arbitrary A revolutionary response to the cultural conditions of the Victorian World (19 thcentury) th 19 Century age of European supremacy (colonizing) 19 thCentury age of patriarchy 19 thCentury age of morals/social codes th 19 Century age of sexual repression 19 thCentury age of domination of the natural world 19 thCentury age of reason and logic th 19 Century age of unlettered capitalism 19 thCentury age of protestant Christianity 19 thCentury age of optimism and progress th 20 Century age of waning European supremacy (questioning) 20 thCentury age of growing challenge to traditional gender roles 20 thCentury age of increasing moral relativism th 20 Century age of increasing sexual liberation 20 thCentury age of increasing conflict with nature th 20 Century age of seeking new ways of apprehending and understanding the world 20 thCentury age of politica
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