Literary modernism

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Literary modernism, or modernist literature, has its origins in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, mainly in Europe and North America. Some philosophers, like Georg Lukacs, theorized that literary modernism had its origins in the philosophy of Walter Benjamin. Modernism is characterized by a self-conscious break with traditional styles of poetry and verse.


  • Any writing, of course, requires some interpretation as part of our efforts to evaluate, refine, extend, or appreciate its achievement or to provide special background that readers outside the author’s culture or historical period may require. But certain authors – in literature, the twentieth-century modernists are among the best examples – present themselves as so immediately and intrinsically “difficult” as to require special interpretative efforts even for those well equipped to understand them.
    • Gary Gutting, "Introduction: Michel Foucault: A User’s Manual" in The Cambridge Companion to Foucault (2nd ed., 2005)

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