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Literature for Our Time.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Collin Hill

Literature for Our Time 2012-09-13 -the first half of this course covers roughly the period from 1900-1950 -Modernist period in literary history -a temporal or historical category, western world mainly, scholars debate actual dates -Modernism produced during first half of 20th century -characteristics predate 1900, boundaries are porous and arbitrary What is it?: -revolutionary response to cultural condition of Victorian world (19th century) -19th century and age of European supremacy -> age of waning European supremacy, colonial powers losing their influence and responsible for English literature -revolutionary -19th century an age of patriarchy -> early 20th age of growing challenge to traditional gender roles -age of morals and social codes -> age of increasing moral relativism -writers challenging these morals -age of sexual repression -> age of increasing sexual liberation -age of domination of natural world, "divine chain of being" -> an age of increasing conflict with nature, contrary to beliefs of man trying to dominate nature -age of reason and logic, "I think therefore I am" -> an age if seeking new ways, apprehending and understanding the world -an age of unfettered capitalism, no limitations, do whatever with moving nation forward -> age of political upheaval and revolution, marked clash of political values and ideals -age of protestant Christianity, Victorian age of unchallenged ideas -> an age in which "God is dead" (or dying) -an age of optimism and progress -> age of shattered confidence and pessimism Cultural response to defining early 20th century catastrophes: The Great War (1914-1918) -10,000,000+ killed -showed devastating power of tech -achieved nothing positive -generation wiped, devastated,
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