Collection 11,12,13 symbolism and imagism, modernism and the harlem renaissance
Unit 5 Literary Focus EssaysCollection 11: Symbolism and ImagismCollection 12: ModernismCollection 13: The Harlem Renaissance
Collection 11: Symbolism and ImagismNew Poetic Movements: Reactions to Tradition• In the face of industrialization, American symbolists rebel against the Romantics’ focus on nature as a source of solace.• Imagism brings precision and concreteness to poetry in place of prettiness and decoration.• Free verse overrides traditional poetic forms, which have set rhyme schemes and meters.
Collection 11: Symbolism and Imagism• In the early twentieth century, Americans awoke to a sense that their own national culture had come of age.• This sense was reflected in the poetry, painting, music, dance, even the new architecture of the skyscraper.• Ironically, American poets found their new inspiration in Paris rather than their homeland.• Learning from French symbolist poets, Americans were able to produce a new type of poetry.
Collection 11: Symbolism and ImagismSymbolism: The Search for a New RealitySymbolism is a form of expression in which artistsrearranged the world of appearances, seeking todepict a different, more truthful version of reality:• tried to portray emotional effects suggested by objects• eliminated “dull and meaningless” symbols• emphasized use of personal symbols to suggest ideas, emotions, and moods• argued that imagination is more reliable than reason
Collection 11: Symbolism and ImagismSymbolism: The Search for a New RealityLike the Romantics, symbolists• stressed the importance of ideas and feelings.• emphasized the independence of the individual.• made a great stand against mechanization.
Collection 11: Symbolism and ImagismSymbolism: The Search for a New Reality Unlike the Romantics, the symbolists could find no solace or spiritual renewal in nature because they believed that• science had stripped nature of its mystery• the modern world suffered increased poverty, violence, and conflict in spite of advances in science and technology
Collection 11: Symbolism and ImagismImagism: “The Exact Word”Writers Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot used symbolisttechniques as the foundation for imagism, theschool of thought that flourished from 1912-1917. • Imagists believed that poetry can be made purer by concentration on precise images alone. • They took on the role of reformers, planning to rid poetry of prettiness, sentimentality, and artificiality.• They concentrated on the power of the image to communicate feeling and thought.
Collection 11: Symbolism and ImagismImagism: “The Exact Word”The imagists issued a manifesto, or publicdeclaration:1 They proposed to use the “language of common speech.” Imagists believed poetry could be made purer2 by concentration on the precise, calling for “the exact word, not merely the decorative word.”3 They called for poetry to be “hard and clear, never blurred or indefinite.”
Collection 11: Symbolism and ImagismA New Poetic OrderEzra Pound said Walt Whitman “broke new wood”as the first American practitioner of free verse, apoetry free of rhyming and metrical patterns. • Most Americans think of imagism as the school of free verse. • The imagist movement was also an invitation to a new way of seeing and experiencing the world. Walt Whitman
Collection 11: Symbolism and ImagismA New Poetic OrderAlthough imagism was a short-lived movement, itgave rise to some of our greatest poets. T. S. Eliot Robert Frost
Collection 11: Symbolism and ImagismAsk Yourself1. Why do you think the symbolists’ focus on individualism was so appealing to American poets?2. How did the imagists change poetry?3. New generations often reject established ideas about poetry. Why do you think that is? [End of Section]
Collection 12: Modernism Characteristics of Modern American Fiction• Sense of disillusionment and a loss of faith in the American dream• Rejection of sentimentality and artificiality in favor of capturing reality• Emphasis on bold experimentation in style and form, reflecting the fragmentation of society• Interest in the individual and the inner workings of the human mind
Collection 12: ModernismBreakdown of BeliefsThe violence of World War I and the devastationof the Great Depression severely damaged theidealism of many Americans.
Collection 12: ModernismBreakdown of Beliefs • People began to distrust societal institutions. • They began to question the cultural, Puritan-based traditions that had once guided American life. • Writers responded to this period of change by breaking with literary tradition.
Collection 12: ModernismFacing RealityModernist writers believed infacing reality:• Ernest Hemingway faced the shattering realities of war.• F. Scott Fitzgerald faced the realities behind the crumbling American Dream.• William Faulkner faced the realities of an increasingly unfamiliar world.
Collection 12: ModernismFacing RealityIn his novels and short stories, ErnestHemingway deals frankly with the shatteringrealities of war.• His characters find themselves in an unpredictable, chaotic world.• His characters respond to life’s ambiguities by turning to their own sense of honor and dignity.
Collection 12: ModernismFacing RealityF. Scott Fitzgerald captures glittering life of theJazz Age—the booming decade between WorldWar I and the Great Depression.• Novels such as The Great Gatsby showcase beautiful and wealthy The Granger Collection, New York characters . . . who are also unhappy.• Materialism and the pursuit of pleasure, according to Fitzgerald, were rampant.
Collection 12: ModernismThe Great Gatsby• Wealth and pleasure have become the point of living for many.• Portrays the height of the “Jazz Age.”• Gatsby believes in the American Dream, but it no longer exists.
Collection 12: ModernismFacing RealityWilliam Faulkner used a bold new style todescribe an increasingly unfamiliar world.• He experimented with multiple points of view, disjointed sentences, and complex sentences.• Many of his books employ a stream-of-consciousness narrative technique.
Collection 12: ModernismStream of Consciousness Narrative Technique • Reflects interest in the study of the unconscious mind, made popular by Sigmund Freud. • Attempts to reflect the chaotic and sometimes confusing activities of the human psyche. Sigmund Freud
Collection 12: ModernismModernist writers believed in facing reality byprobing the uncertainties of the modern world. Ernest F. Scott William Hemingway Fitzgerald Faulkner The Granger Collection, New York Bare-bones truth Dazzling style Stream of consciousness
Collection 12: ModernismAsk Yourself1. How did world events lead to disillusionment with traditional beliefs and values?2. Explain how the work of one of the writers described above addresses the uncertainties of the modern world. [End of Section]
Collection 13: The Harlem Renaissance Influences on American Culture• African American talent in music, writing, and art was introduced to mainstream America.• Autobiographies provided firsthand accounts of the black experience.• Dialects of African American vernacular speech enriched the English language.• African Americans were recognized and celebrated for contributions to American culture.
Collection 13: The Harlem RenaissanceHarlem Comes to Life• After World War I, large numbers of African Americans of all ages and walks of life migrated to northern cities.• Artists, singers, writers, musicians, and other professionals congregated in Harlem, New York. Harlem
Collection 13: The Harlem RenaissanceHarlem Comes to LifeNew York City’s Harlem neighborhood was the centerof an explosion of African American poetry, prose,music, dance, drama, and art after WWI.Mainstream America was developing a new respectfor African American contributions to art and culture.
Collection 13: The Harlem RenaissanceJazz AgeThis new appreciation for black artistic talentgrew with the music echoing from New Orleans,Memphis, and Chicago.• Blues and jazz became popular music.• An all-black Broadway show opened.• African art influences modernist painters.
Collection 13: The Harlem RenaissanceJazz—music with roots in African rhythms,European harmonies, American gospel sounds, andthe work songs of plantation workers.• Gained popularity in the 1920s • Some jazz clubs, such as Harlem’s Cotton Club, had racist policies • Famous jazz musicians: Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Ethel WatersLouis Armstrong performing
Collection 13: The Harlem RenaissanceThe African American Voice• Harlem Renaissance artists focused on African American experiences• Rhythm of poetry was based on spirituals and jazz; poetic lyrics based on blues and street talk.• Prominent poets: James Weldon Johnson, Claude McKay, Langston Hughes, and Countee Cullen Langston Hughes
Collection 13: The Harlem RenaissanceThe African American Voice• Writers Claude McKay and Countee Cullen continued to write in standard English.• Other important Harlem writers, such as Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston, drew on the African oral tradition.• Common dialect, the blues, folk tales, spirituals, and work songs inspired their works.
Collection 13: The Harlem RenaissanceAfrican American Autobiography• Autobiography became the preferred genre for some African American writers.• Tradition began with slave narratives, including narratives by Olaudah Equiano, Harriet Jacobs, and Frederick Douglass.• In the years following the Harlem Renaissance, autobiography became more and more popular.
Collection 13: The Harlem RenaissanceDecline of the Harlem RenaissanceBy the early 1930s, the Great Depression haddepleted the funds that supported AfricanAmerican writers, institutions, and publications.But, the foundation was laid for future writers to make their feelings part of the American experience.
Collection 13: The Harlem RenaissanceAsk Yourself1. How did the Harlem Renaissance help African Americans become more accepted in American society?2. What are some themes and characteristics of the Harlem Renaissance? [End of Section]