English and European Modernism: literary and cultural features, themes and the break with the past
Modernism was a cultural movement that has been characterized by a true and profound cultural, artistic and literary revolution which developed during the 20th century.
Its exemplary expression is the avant-garde, which was influenced by the terrible Word Wars: Dada, Surrealism, Futurism. Freud's discoveries change the idea of man, personality is now complex: the individual is not given a priori, but is a sum of interacting stimuli and impulses.
The most important English modernist writers were: Thomas Stearns Eliot, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce and William Butler Yeats.
The breakthrough aspects with the past that characterize modernism are: the end of the character - man; the privileged description of inept characters; the impossibility of explaining reality; the importance of everyday life; the centrality of themes as fragmentation, incomprehensibility and chaos, which express the state in which man feels trapped during the twentieth century.
In fact, the consciousness of Modernism is catastrophic: artists feel in an abysmal and fragmented split, trapped in the chaos: for this reason, narrative (and artistic play too) is dominated by decomposition and chaos (as T.S. Eliot, Beckett and Joyce's works express).