Modernism: The 20 Most Interesting Features

He modernism Is a literary and aesthetic movement emerged at the end of the 19th century in different parts of the world.

This phenomenon became a cultural renewal of international scope since it influenced equally in different countries of Europe and Latin America.

Characteristics modernism

Modernism came to Spain through the Nicaraguan poet Ruben Dario After a visit to Madrid in 1892. The movement would last and would triumph in Spain until the beginning of the First World War.

As happened with naturalism, this phenomenon arose at a time when important changes took place that will have a great political and social impact, such as the industrial revolution that was in full swing.

Nevertheless, before this new panorama, the modernists maintained a position of rejection since they saw with some vulgarity to the industrial society. Reason why they tried to oppose by extolling beauty and harmony.

Generally, modernism opposed vulgarity and bad taste, which are attributed to the figure of the bourgeoisie who grew up under the umbrella of industrialization.

In this way, the modernist poets did not seek to produce a bourgeois poetry designed for mass consumption, to incline, instead, to make an elitist and idealist poetry.

These authors also brought back ideas from different religions such as Buddhism, Christianity and Greek philosophy, even some artists develop an interest in the occult, which will be identified in the symbolism.

Roughly speaking, modernism really represented the consolidation of a literature of its own which, by its quality and depth, was able to motivate reflection on a reality.

In relation to the above, I leave you some of the most important characteristics of this avant-garde as well as its main exponents:

Characteristics of Modernism

1 - Various themes

Modernism addressed different themes, on the one hand a desire for recreation of harmony in front of an inharmonious world, which led to an eagerness for fullness and perfection.

This current also began a search for roots in the crisis that produced the feelings of uprooting in the writer, who assumed the role of guide, able to show the common man the true values.

2- Refinement of shapes

This current was characterized by an ambiguous creative rebellion, a narcissistic or aristocratic refinement and a form of culturalism that transcended the geopolitical division and its borders.

3- Cultural reflex

Although many consider modernism as a purely literary movement, another great majority believes that it goes beyond letters and reflects a general mood of cultural suffocation.

Moreover, for critics of modernism, such aesthetics manifested a need for social change as a reaction against realism.

4. Antithesis of Realism

Contrary to movements such as realism , Modernism rejected daily reality, which offered the writer the possibility of fleeing the time in which he lived to be able to evoke past or better times.

In the same way he could reject the space he inhabits. This is evidenced in many of the written poems that are developed in exotic and distant places. This feature allowed the appearance of gods, nymphs, knights, old castles, perfumed gardens, swans and dragonflies, precious stones, ivory and other objects.

Broadly speaking, these additions were intended to escape a reality that the authors found hostile, a feature they shared with the Romantics. In this sense, the modernists created a colorful and sonorous language that would refer them to a utopian and ideal reality that allowed them to get out of their daily lives.

5- Reflection of the crisis of the institutions

The context of this aesthetic is involved by a universal crisis of letters and spirit that manifests itself through different institutions such as art, science, religion and politics.

6- Changes in write mode

From a field of writing and linguistics, modernism sought to use a cultured language, unlike what used to be realism with its colloquial terms.

In this sense, modernism also changed this way of conceiving writing and broke with the verse structure characteristic of the poetics of the time, which is why there is a profound aesthetic renewal of language. In this way, the free verse was used since it was not subject to rhyme or any metric.

Given these conditions, the way of writing was changed radically. In turn, were introduced words that until now were prohibited in poetry, in addition to gallicisms, archaisms and Latinisms. Also featured were the learned words and the various rhetorical figures.

7- Development of movement in different places

Some consider that modernism was a current heiress of post-Romanticism while to adapt to other arts came to be known as the art nouveau in Belgium.

In other places it was called the modern style in England, liberty in the United States, floreale in Italy or jugendstill in Germany. However, the entire area of ​​the Netherlands, in relation to Spain and Hispano-America retained the name of Artistic Modernism.

8- Relationship with Parnassianism

If it is related to other currents, Hispanic modernism is a synthesis of Parnassianism. Movement that despite being an antithesis of the Authors of romance Distanced itself from realism in the same way because it does not tolerate vulgarity or the bourgeoisie.

9- Linking to Symbolism

Modernism was also related to symbolism since it takes the concept that the world is a mystery to be deciphered and that art has the purpose of suggesting that we reveal it.

At the same time, the emotions are revalued and the importance of"not saying"is emphasized and it is suggested from analogies, allegories and symbols, taken from Greek mythology, from European Middle Ages or from Scandinavian legends.

10- Multidisciplinary current

Modernism manifests itself through different disciplines not only literature or poetry. Decorative arts, ceramics, painting, sculpture, drawing and architecture were also evident.

Due to the importance of industrialization at the time, the processes of artisan production were gradually overcome by the modalities of mass production.

11- Nationalist sentiment

A sense of patriotism is evident in this movement, for example, in the poets most representative of the current, as it is the case of Rubén Darío of Nicaragua where he perceived the rejection to the bourgeois world.

While in the work of José Martí de Cuba. On the contrary, there was a rejection of Spanish imperialism and a search for Latin American communion, showing an affinity for the ideas of the liberator Simon Bolivar.

12- Interest in exotic cultures

This feature is observable in some of the most important modernist works written at the time. In them the affinity for the exotic and the recreation of the environment of India or the oriental culture is present. Also they emphasize the appearances of the pre-Columbian civilizations.

13- Value of the term modernirmo

At first, the origin of the nickname of"modernists"was a pejorative way of referring to the followers of the current. However in 1890, Rubén Dario's banner of movement, followed by another artist assumed that name with pride, aware that he led a literary revolution.

From that moment the term modernism was losing its contemptuous value until being known as it is today.

14- Predominance of nostalgia

In keeping with Romanticism, modernism dominates the themes of a melancholic tone and vitality, in addition to the presence of elements such as autumn, twilight, night, mythology and sensualism.

Love is shown as something idealized just like women, that is why issues such as impossible love appear regularly but with certain differences from the romantic ideal. There is a contrast between deep love and intense eroticism.

15- Meeting with the loneliness

Some of the themes that were of importance to the modernists were the characteristic uneasiness of romanticism, a distaste for life and deep sadness, along with the aforementioned melancholy. In this sense, the authors sought solitude and rejected society.

16- Rebellious character

They are nonconformist artists, because they consider that the past is not useful, that is why they were looking for an art that would answer their questions and meet their needs. They also required an expression that responded to the internal novelty that man lived for his society. .

17- Great amount of prolific writers

Modernism is the first of the movements that has a large number of writers in America, many of which were of great international importance while others were reduced to their national scope.

Some of the most prominent authors who participated in this aesthetic and published in the first half of the 1880s, considered at present as fully modernist authors were: José Martí, Manuel Gutiérrez, Amado Nervo, and Guillermo Valencia. And among others: Julián del Casal, Colombian José Asunción Silva, Salvador Díaz and the Spaniards Salvador Rueda and Juan Ramón Jiménez.

Together, they shared that ability to travel to different countries for different labor as well as diplomatic reasons, or to expand their knowledge and meet other writers.

18- Inclination for the aristocratic and change in the role of the writer

During this stage, it is also common in artists to feel a desire to be different and aristocratic.

An example of this is the devotion that the modernists felt towards cities like Paris. However, American issues were also relevant, especially indigenous issues and the defense of their communities and the Hispanic as a historical background.

On the other hand, there is a search for roots in the crisis that produced a feeling of uprooting in the writer, who took on the role of revealing true values ​​in society.

19-"Art for art"

Its motto or primordial idea was"the art by the art", which was summed up in creating beauty without other intention.

The way to look for it was through very plastic images and an approach to the arts with a predominance in the texts of the adjectivation, predominance of color and images related to each of the senses.

In the same way it was a question of finding a kind of rhythm with the use of rhetorical figures like the alliteration, that is to say, the repetition of one or several sounds within a same word. Or with others such as synesthesia, based on attributing a feeling to a meaning that is not the corresponding one.

20- Search for freedom

Broadly speaking, modernists struggled against traditions, always seeking novelty and freedom both in the forms of their texts and in their contents.

Likewise, modernism shared with other movements that experimental character and the speed with which its proposals replaced the one of the previous aesthetic movements.


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