Difference Between Modernism and Postmodernism

Main Difference – Modernism vs Postmodernism

Modernism and postmodernism are two literary movements that took place in the late 19th and 20th century. Modernism is the deliberate break from the traditional form of poetry and prose that took place in the late 19th and early 20th century. Postmodernism, a movement that began in the mid 20th century, is often described as a reaction against modernism. The main difference between modernism and postmodernism is that modernism is characterized by the radical break from the traditional forms of prose and verse whereas postmodernism is characterized by the self-conscious use of earlier styles and conventions.

What is Modernism

Modernism is a movement in literature that took place during late 19th and early 20th centuries, mainly in North America and Europe. Modernism marks a strong and deliberate break from the traditional styles of prose and poetry. The horrors of the First World War and the changing ideas about reality developed by prominent figures such as Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx, etc. illustrated the need for the prevailing assumptions about the society to be reassessed.

Modernists experimented with new forms and styles. Irony, satire, stream-of-consciousness, interior monologue, use of multiple points-of-view, and comparison were popular literary techniques in the modernist literature. Championship of the individual and celebration of inner strength, alienation, loss, and despair were common themes of the movement. The idea of reality underwent a major change during this movement. The reality was seen as a constructed fiction since modernists believed that the reality is created in the act of perceiving it; basically, they believed that the world is what we say it is.

D.H. Lawrence, Virginia Wolf, James Joyce, W.B Yeast, Sylvia Plath, F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, and Ernest Hemingway are some notable modernist authors. James Joyce’s Ulysses, Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying and Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land are some notable literary works that epitomize modernism.

Difference Between Modernism and Postmodernism (in Literature)

James Joyce

What is Postmodernism

Postmodernism was a reaction against modernism, brought about by the disillusionment followed by the Second world war. Postmodernism is characterized by the deliberate use of earlier styles and conventions, a mixing of different artistic styles and media, and a general distrust of theories. It can be seen as a radical break from modernism when we look at some unique features of postmodernism. Some of these features include,

Irony and parody: Postmodernism works are often characterized by irony and satire. They demonstrate playful, mischievous vibe and a love of satirical humor.

Pastiche: Copying ideas and styles from various authors and combining them to make a new style.

Metafiction: Making the readers aware that of the fictional nature of the text they are reading.

Intertextuality: Acknowledging other texts and referring to them in a text.

Faction: Mixing of actual events and fictional events without mentioning what is real and what is fictional.

Paranoia: The distrust in the system and even the distrust of the self.

Some notable writers in postmodernism include  Vladimir Nabokov,  Umberto Eco, John Hawkes,  Richard Kalich, Giannina Braschi, Kurt Vonnegut, William Gaddis,  John Barth, Jean Rhys, Donald Barthelme, E.L. Doctorow,  Don DeLillo, Ana Lydia Vega, Jachym Topol and Paul Auster.

Main Difference - Modernism vs Postmodernism (in Literature)

Vladimir Nabokov

Difference Between Modernism and Postmodernism

Definition

Modernism is a late 19th century and early 20th-century style, or movement that aims to depart significantly from classical and traditional forms.

Postmodernism is a  late 20th-century style and concept which represents a departure from modernism and is characterized by the deliberate use of earlier styles and conventions, a mixing of different styles and forms, and a general distrust of theories.

Time Frame

Modernism was prevalent from late 19th century and early 20th-century style.

Postmodernism was prevalent from the mid-twentieth century.    

War

Modernism was influenced by first world war.

Postmodernism was influenced by the second world war.

Rational and Logical Thinking

Modernism was based on using rational and logical means to gain knowledge since it rejected realism.

Postmodernism was based on an unscientific, irrational thought process, and it rejected logical thinking.

Earlier Styles

Modernism rejected the conventional styles of prose and poetry.

Postmodernism deliberately uses a mixture of conventional styles.Difference Between Modernism and Postmodernism - Comparison Summary

Image Courtesy:

by Giuseppe Pino (Mondadori Publishers) – (Public Domain) via

“Revolutionary Joyce Better Contrast” by from  (Public Domain) via

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.


Related pages


marxism and literary criticismhow was the renaissance different from the middle agesmulticellular and unicellular organisms examplesunit of permeability of free spacenouns and pronouns exampleslife cycle of angiosperms and gymnospermspermittivity of free space unitswhat is the difference between pitch and tonedefinition of atomic orbitalgolden vs labradormetric ton meaningwhat is the difference between a gene and an allelewhat is the definition of isotonic solutioncrossing over genetics definitionrotational motion definition physicsromantic snugglingdefinition regular polygonhow do you spell aestheticiandifference between endosperm and embryodamped and undamped natural frequencyformaldehyde structural formuladefine aliphaticpolarised wavewhat is the difference between cartoons and animerough endoplasmic reticulum functionproperties of conductors and insulatorsthermal diffusivity unitsthiamine b12what is the difference between emphysema and copdastrophysics vs astronomystructural formula of hexanechloroplast wikipediasn1 rxnis heavy whipping cream the same as heavy creamnitrite vs nitratenpn symboltotipotentdifference between a protagonist and an antagonistandroid lollipop 5.1.1 featuresschlerenchymadefine tensile strenghtbisexual vs pansexualmetaphor and simile differencedefinition sardonicallyaction linking verbstyrene and polystyreneadvantages of unicameralismcereals and pulsesdefinition of monozygotic twinsdefine reciprocatingwhat are some examples of a heterogeneous mixturepure kanchi pattu sareesnonmetallic mineralis cream the same as whipping creamwhat is pathos in literaturedifference between ac and dc cableswhat is difference between embassy and consulateirradiation vs radiationfinite and infinite verbsthe function of rough endoplasmic reticulumaesthetics vs estheticsexamples of pathos in literaturecold blooded animals for kidskinds adjectivesdifference between formative and summativedifference between pity and compassiondifferences between bryophytes and pteridophytescorrect spelling of madammeaning of adverbialdefinition of deoxyribose sugardifference between fair and farefractional vs simple distillationhow is a simile different from a metaphorcalculate equilibrium price and quantity in economicsdifference between fungal and bacterial infectionwhat is the difference between ascorbic acid and vitamin cwhat is ionizing and nonionizing radiationexhalation processdefinition of kinematicblank verse definition