Modernism | William A. Johnsen

This literature criticism consists of approximately 23 pages of analysis & critique of Modernism.
This section contains 6,708 words
(approx. 23 pages at 300 words per page)
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SOURCE: "Toward a Redefinition of Modernism," in Boundary 2, Vol. 2, No. 3, Spring, 1974, pp. 539-54.

In the following essay, Johnsen suggests a new definition of Modernism based on the rejection of such "binary oppositions" as order and chaos.

Deux dangers ne cessent
de menacer le monde:
l'ordre et le desordre.

—P. Valéry

Students of modern literature of whatever period have always justly admired the emerging artist's compulsion to be modern, to make it new. Western civilization's obsessive use of the adjectives "modern" and "new" to describe its current cultural artifacts has never been more prevalent than in what we call, appropriately, the Modern Century. Yet these adjectives also create a climate of relentless avantgardism that makes heavy demands on both emerging and pre-existing art. If our task as modern scholars is to do more than merchandize the newest sensibilities, we must investigate that compulsion to be...

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This section contains 6,708 words
(approx. 23 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the William A. Johnsen
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Literature Criticism Series
William A. Johnsen from Literature Criticism Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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