Sunday, 26 April 2015

Modernism and Postmodernism

Modernism and Postmodernism:

Modernism: Modernism refers to the new styles and trends in European literature, art and culture in the early decades of twentieth century, especially after world war-I. It emerged showing distrust of the values of Enlightenment and rationalism which were at the centre of European civilization   since Renaissance and found man isolated, alienated, and irrational in an empty and meaningless universe. To express the fragmented, isolated, irrational and absurd nature of life and experience, literature became fragmented, dislocated and self-reflexive, departing from the standard ways of representing characters and violating the traditional syntax and coherence of narrative language by the use of stream of consciousness and other innovative modes of narration.

Postmodernism: The term refers to new trends in literature and culture in the western countries after world war-II. It developed both as a continuation of and reaction against Modernism. It breaks out of the elitist image of High Modernism and creates a centreless, depthless, non-hierarchical, non-stable and hybrid world where different cultures and their codes intersect with each other making a kind of carnival. In literature, its parallel movements like Poststructuralism and its associated theories like Reader-response theory, New Historicism, Cultural Materialism, Feminism reject all sorts of authority, hierarchy  and centrality and speak of the importance of marginal and heterogeneity.

Difference between Modernism and Postmodernism: Firstly, Modernism is a search for a new centre by various modernist writers and artists after the destruction of the values of Enlightenment and rationalism which were at the centre of western thought. The Postmodernist writers, on the other hand, like to stay in a centreless and non-hierarchical world.
                Secondly, Modernism led to create an elitist image of literature and made a clear distinction between high and low culture. But Postmodernism broke out of the elitist image of Modernism and erased the distinction between high culture and low culture.
                Thirdly, Modernism is often characterised by alienation and isolation. But Terry Eagleton describes that living in a Postmodern world is like “alienating from alienation.” It is living with the awareness of the their which crept in our private places through mass media.

                Lastly, Modernism can be described as a sort of attempt to create a sort of order out chaos. On the other hand, Postmodernism is a complete surrender to the world of chaos.

No comments:

Post a Comment