Notes on Two Modernist Movements
Definition of Modernism:
[n] practices typical of contemporary life or thought
[n] genre of art and literature that makes a self-conscious break with previous genres
[n] the quality of being current or of the present; a shopping mall would instill a spirit of modernity into this village
A working definition of Modernism was the rejection of Victorian ways. Victorian culture emphasized nationalism and cultural absolutism. Victorians placed humans over and outside of nature. They believed in a single way of looking at the world, and in absolute and clear-cut dichotomies between right and wrong, good and bad, and hero and villain. Further, they saw the world as being governed by God's will, and that each person and thing in this world had a specific use. Finally, they saw the world as neatly divided between civilized and savage peoples. According to Victorians, the civilized were those from industrialized nations, cash-based economies, Protestant Christian traditions, and patriarchal societies; the savage were those from agrarian or hunter-gatherer tribes, barter-based economies, pagan or totemistic traditions, and matriarchal (or at least unmanly societies).
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