13 junio, 2024

Modern literature: what it is, history, characteristics, authors, works

We explain what modern literature is, its characteristics, history, literary movements, authors and representative works

The modern literature It covers the written manifestations with certain specific characteristics that have developed from the beginning of the Contemporary Age (period that began in 1793 with the French Revolution) to the present day, and not the literature that developed in the Modern Age (between the centuries fifteenth and eighteenth).

Some place the beginning of modern literature in the 17th century, in 1616, with the death of the two greatest exponents of world literature: Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra and William Shakespeare. It is then said that the works of these authors, due to their originality, laid the foundations of this literary period.



Over the centuries, the different colonizations and invasions that took place around the Mediterranean gave way to the distribution of the works of these greats and other excellent writers who demonstrated their own style of writing, ridding themselves of previous literary manifestations.

From England and Spain they spread, enthusing avid writers at each new port. The individual vision of the world began to have more strength, generating works that have become classics of world literature, also representing a historical resource to which to turn for the descriptive richness they possess.

It follows then that modern literature responds to the aesthetics and content (the themes, scope and opposition to the precedents) of literary works, rather than a particular chronology. Therefore, in each part of the planet a different beginning can be felt, in terms of the date of the production of modern literature.

According to the production context that conditioned the writers, the works resulted. The personal, economic, historical and political situations played a crucial role in the elaboration of the different texts in the different genres.

This allowed various movements to be born within this literary period, with different nuances that have given it greater life.

Movements within modern literature

literary romanticism

This literary movement developed at the end of the 18th century, having as its main banner the freedom of being in its different facets of life.

It was born to face neoclassicism and to give man the necessary tools that would allow him his political, artistic and personal emancipation, and live according to his perception of things. In addition, he rejected reason as the foundation of life and placed dreams and individual feeling as priorities in written production.

When romanticism began to give way to the structural changes in societies, it gave way to a series of currents that were considered its derivatives. These and their significance are presented below:

This literary movement was born at the beginning of the 19th century and its main premise was “art for art’s sake”.

This literary current developed between the 19th and 20th centuries. It appeared as a counterpart to learning by repetition, which he classified as indoctrination, as chains that hold the being. He also opposed objectivity, alluding that general reality is the sum of the individual perceptions of beings.

This movement was born as a counterpart to Parnassianism, it developed between the 19th and 20th centuries. He demolished all aesthetic perception related to «art for art’s sake», showing indifference to false moralisms.

He presented a free literary production, rooted in the individual, in the sensitivity of being, in the darkest corners of the human mind.

Literary realism appeared as an opposition to romanticism, it was considered crude and overloaded with personalities. In addition, he presented a disgust towards irreverence and the supposed freedom that it brought with it.

Literary realism had a purely descriptive character and was entrenched in the political positions and ideals of the left. His approach used to be extremist. He presented a clear opposition to everything that represented religion and mass domination through dogmas, considering them prisons of human conscience.

Among its most representative modes of literary expression are the psychological novel and the social novel. In these, it is carefully considered how individuals interweave realities from subjective perspectives and how these, through intricate coexistence agreements, gave way to societies and their rules.

The presence of costumbrist novels within the realist current has also been common. These follow the same precepts, only that the realities they describe are subject to well-defined environments, both spatially and culturally.

Naturalism is a consequence of realism. It appeared to give reason and voice to the pictures that appear daily in the life of societies. He described in great detail the vandalism, prostitution, homelessness, abandoned children and the complicit silence of the institutions in the face of crimes, to mention a few points.

He radically attacks religious institutions and exposes them as part of the problem with their doctrines and management of the masses. This movement is extremist, its banner is denouncing, exposing the sores of society so that they focus on curing them or let them rot.

literary modernism

Literary modernism has its roots in Latin America. It originated in the late 19th century. His main approach seeks to talk about what is lived in the historical moment, but ridding himself of any sense of belonging to a particular culture.

For this current, man becomes a universal subject that makes all the knowledge that has been his own. This literary trend sought to break with the aesthetics imposed by romanticism and everything that derived from it. The thought revolution was the frank north to follow.

literary avant-garde

The literary avant-garde also appeared as a counterpart to modernism and pointed towards innovation starting from being as a creator of realities. In addition, it poses the dream as a world of infinite possibilities as far as literary production is concerned.

The literary avant-garde seeks to renew society from its foundations, put an end to dogmas, with impositions, and bets on the individual by and for himself, as the very core of things, the reason for existence.

In his speech, he points to freedom of expression and the disorder of the usual parameters with which the system has subjected individuals.

The impact of the avant-garde was such that it led to a series of alternative literary movements around the world. The ease of communication at the beginning of the 20th century and the advances in transportation increased the diffusion of ideas throughout the entire plane, generating an unparalleled creative effervescence.

Below are the resulting vanguards:

In itself, this literary current did not derive from the avant-garde, but was a cause of the avant-garde, gave way to its consolidation. This ideal was opposed by the avant-garde, although they acknowledged having obtained from this movement the expressiveness and richness of their discourses.

This literary movement, belonging to the 20th century, has as its premise the restructuring of reality as we know it, in order to provide solutions to men from all the series of knots and ties that societies have imposed.

He proposed the link between letters and the rest of the arts, alluding to sounds, colors and movements. He sought to amalgamate the perspectives to achieve the greatest possible manifestation —the most reliable— of the most internal thoughts of the being, such as his phobias and anxieties.

Literary cubism, born in the 20th century, poses the impossible, the union of antagonistic proposals, the creation of improbable textual structures that make the reader question reality.

This tendency bets on the perception of the subconscious, on how things happen behind the particular eyes of each individual.

Futurism seeks to break with the past and worship the innovative. The machine —and everything that implies wild leaps of reality in pursuit of the advanced— is the center of attention and worship.

His lyrics place special emphasis on nationalism and movement, he talks about the new and the future, never what has already happened, what backwards means.

Literary ultraism is aimed at staunch opposition to modernist proposals. Plates the use of free verse and is directly linked to creationism and dadaism, giving being creative omnipotence through letters.

Literary Dada arose as a product of the First World War. He was too much opposed to the bourgeoisie and how apathetic it is in the face of social realities.

His speech is absurd and illogical, tinged with inconclusive endings that leave the reader uncertain. It presents a marked use of sounds and words out of order, which are presumed to make sense to whoever creates them, and the meaning is given by what each person wants to understand.

In literary creationism man takes the place of God. The writer is all-powerful and the word is the beginning and the end of realities.

Literary surrealism is derived from Dadaism and is based on the studies of Sigmund Freud. Through the letters, the intimacies of the human subconscious and the entire reality of dream spaces are exposed.

This tendency has turned out to be one of the most picturesque in terms of themes, as well as one of the ones that most exposes the writer, for revealing the facets of his interior.

Features of modern literature

escape from reality

It is presented as an escape from reality for readers, a kind of literary safe-conduct that allows, from time to time, to abstract from the discomforts that occur outside.

The subject is not due to a single culture

The subject belongs to the whole and not to a fragment of the whole. This denotes its universality and the rupture of the imposed cultural schemes that have reigned since long ago.

Defend freedom of expression

The language of the lyrical sender can be presented without submitting or subjugating to any reality, neither previous nor present. Therefore, it defends uniqueness, which makes the subject an indivisible being with unique properties, a whole within the whole.

Exposes social realities in a stark way

Social criticism is one of its strengths, as is opposition to everything that represents religious and indoctrinating elements. It is an anarchic current par excellence, it breaks with the previous to give way to innovations, to evolution.

Seeks to change realities from the individual himself

It seeks to change realities, as well as show subjectivity and its influence on the social level. It exposes how society does not make individuals, but individuals shape societies. The subject is the center of the theme, he recreates the realities.

It is different from Modern Age and literary modernism

Should not…

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