Modernism is a current which defines everything that is new in matters of art, literature or music. The main focus of our interest is modernist literature which is a subdivision of modernism and begins during the early stages of the 20th century, being seen in opposition to the traditional values promoted until the first World War. Many branches develop during this period (psychology, philosophy, political institutions etc.) and the realism of the earlier times is now rejected and replaced by the idea that everything is relative. Things take a new shift and the absolute truths vanish, leaving room for multiple interpretations and personalized opinions which are presented now, in writing.
But how can one define something that has no clear conclusion? An element of this sort cannot have a finality, therefore, it is understood according to one’s personal background and experience. Modernist literature will always raise serious issues concerning the purpose and form of literature, questioning its former aspects. What are the reasons for writing a novel and what should a novel consist of?
For example, the notion of “novel” becomes ambiguous in the mind of Virginia Woolf, who declared after writing “Mrs. Dalloway” that “I’m glad to be quit this time of writing a novel, and hope never to be accused of it again.”
Next to Virginia Woolf which is believed to be one of the greatest modern authors, the faithful readers come across names like James Joyce, D.H. Lawrence, Henry James, Ernest Hemingway, or as in the case of the Romanian literature: Camil Petrescu, George Calinescu etc. These are the main symbols of the modernist era which changed the course of literature in a significant manner. However, the balance seems to hang in favor of the British literature which has brought to surface some of the icons of modernism: James Joyce, Virginia...