Modernism and Its Historians: Hemingway Notes Essay

Hemingway Notes Modernism: (and Postmodernism) is an artistic movement in response to the discontinuities, illogicalities, and fragmentation of culture and society in the present day. It refers to the tendency to experiment in radical new techniques, themes, moods, and structures. Atonalism in music, surrealism in painting*, vers libre in poetry, functionalism in architecture (Frank Lloyd Write) etc.

It marks a change in they way we experience the world and how we perceive it. It is an attempt to create a language for the times.Modernism is a lose term and is not limited to a specific time period. *Surrealism- a view that stems from and reflects the disruptions of war and tries to reconstitute the familiar, recognizable objects of everyday life into illogical dream-like images—brings out subconscious and a sense of the absurd Modern Hero- appears very unheroic- traditional heroes all stood for something, embodied timeless virtues of western civilization: courage, honesty, love, responsibility, even God. They are heroic because they assert these qualities.Modern Hero, or Anti-Hero, seems always to be trying to discover himself, Instead of acting as a moral spokesman of his society, he is presented as alone and aloof, frustrated instead of fulfilled, uncertain instead of affirmative, cowardly instead of brave. His opponent is not the force of evil and darkness but rather the reader or himself. So modern hero doesn’t embody western values, he often rebels against them and exposes faults of society.

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Reader embodies values of society.Existentialism: a 20th-century movement in philosophy In contrast to most previous philosophical systems, which maintain that an a priori essence precedes or transcends the individual existence of people or of objects, the existentialist conclude that existence precedes essence. The significance of this for human beings is that the concept that a man has an essential self is shown to be an illusion. A man’s self is nothing except what he has become; at any given moment, it is the sum of the life he has shaped until then.The “nothing” he begins with is thus the source of man’s freedom, for at each moment it is man’s will that can choose how to act or not to act. However, each such decision affects the future doubly: a man is or should be responsible for the consequences of his actions… Man’s mind cannot discern any meaning for this existence in the universe; when he abandon’s his illusions [religion], he finds himself horrified by the absurdity of the human condition By what standards then should man make decisions?It is this responsibility that accounts for his dread and anguish Modern man is often overwhelmed y the choices and stymied into inaction or paralysis Nihilism: an extreme form of 19century revolutionism, (Russia 1850’s) It aimed at anarchy and the complete overthrow of the state, law, order, and all institutions, with the idea of reforming the old world anew.

The code was 1) annihilate the idea of God or there can be no freedom, 2) annihilate the idea of right, which is only might, 3) annihilate civilization, property, marriage, morality and justice, 4) let your own happiness be your only law. Nada: a series of significant absences. The lack of a viable transcendent source of power and authority; spiritual sustenance, moral justification for action (meaninglessness of any action) and the impossibility of deliverance from this situation. Nothingness OblivionHow do Hemingway characters confront nada? Sleep Imposing a “code” or discipline to give order and dignity to chaos and confusion of the world, (Code Hero) Drinking Money doesn’t help Grace under pressure, control Style: Dialogue (iceberg) “the immense power of the unsaid. ” Minimalism Symbolism: important in Hemingway’s work but “he has employed it with characteristic restraint…Hemingway belongs ‘with Poe and Hawthorne and Melville: the haunted and nocturnal writers, the men who dealt in images that were symbols of an inner world. ’”


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