What You Know About Modern Age of English Literature?

Do you know? Modern literature uncovers the perspectives of today’s society. Well, Literature defines different aspects of people’s thoughts through poems, dramas, etc. Actually, the modern period has started in the early of the 20th century from 1900 to 1961. In this period, literature has witnessed the industrialization, rapid social changes, and development in sciences and social sciences. According to modernists, they found growing estrangement mismatched with Victorian morality, convention, and optimism. Also, new thoughts in philosophy, psychology, and political theory uncover the new means of expression. So, before going deep in the modern period of literature, let have some key points to grab a better understanding of it:

modern age of english literature

Some insights on modern literature:

Hence, during the period of the second half of the 19th century and the starting decades of the 20th century, people have noticed enormously advancement in both natural and social sciences. Due to the rapid progress, great profit has shown in material wealth. However, the situation got changed when capitalism came into limelight. It also shows the contradictions between social and private ownership affect economic conditions.

Thus, the Modern Age in English Literature also touched the Victorian age. Moreover, the main motto of modern literature reflects the opposition to general thinking about the life and issues shared by the Victorian writers. In other words, the modern age is totally opposite of the Victorian age.

Well, if you talk about World War I and II, you found chaos in society and literature. Also, It likewise defines anti-war literature and absurd theatre. Moreover, it reflects thoughts over sciences and psychology to show the impact of colonialism.

Furthermore, it is important to understand the Victorian age for collecting information about the modern age of literature. Consequently, when the Victorian age came to end, writers felt the need for changes in the modes of literature. Furthermore, science and arts influence modern literature.

General characteristics of the modern age of literature

Anxiety and interrogation:

basically, the 20th century is also named as the age of anxiety and interrogation. In this era, people’s faith in religion and believes. Also, the rapid changes found moral, social, moral, economic, and political scenario. Furthermore, it reflects rational thinking means freedom of thoughts and actions.

Art for Life’s sake:

So, in this age of literature, the doctrine of art for art’s sake was rejected whereas art for life’s sake was recognized. Also, it unveils the role of realism that focuses on the issues of real life. Hence, the efforts of writers Shaw, H.G. Wells, and Kipling are unforgettable in this era.

Developing interest in people belongs to poor and working classes:

Well, the early phase of the 20th century ends the predominance of middle-class people. Additionally, it also posed a great challenge to social conscience and reflected in drama. Therefore, it is the age in which people’s interests bend towards the poor and working classes.

Psychology and literature:

Thus, new researches on psychology influenced modern literature. In this period, the rational view of sex relations is discussed. And, This new age describes the rationalization of emotional needs and sexual behavior.

Repercussions of social and economic situations on literature:

Undoubtedly, the modern age of literature shows the influence of social and economic changes. In the 20th century, modern literature reflects the changes brought by rapid industrial development on social conditions. Likewise, It shows the role of money in human relationships. And, writers have raised the voice against poverty and the influence of Marxism on literature.

Influence of the two world wars:

So, the modern age of literature shows the impact of the two world wars. After world wars, depression and unemployment have emerged. Due to this, a large number of anti-war books were written reflecting the emptiness and futility of the war.

Impact of cinema and radio:

Hence, Modern literature has shown the impact of cinema and radio. Actually, they boosted the connection of people with literature. Due to the invention of a locomotive, the telegraph, and inexpensive intercommunication, an intellectual revolution has resulted. So, this makes literature a part of human life.

Difference between Victorian age and Modern age

Now, there are some points that you need to read for understanding the evaluation of the modern age. Also, many things have changed from the Victorian age to the modern age. Moreover, people can observe the changes in ideas, vision, and the way of seeing social issues.

Changes in thoughts and emotions

Victorians regarded as hypocritical and their ideals as stupid and mean. They believe in the longevity of 19th-century institutions both secular and spiritual. They never raise questions and thought that their family life, the British Empire, and the religious values would last endlessly. Writers of the modern age raised questions on everything and know that things will change. Their values are not limited to family persons as they reflect the prominence of sex in relationships. Thus, modernism in literature seeks fresh vision to look at different things with fresh techniques.

Age of Machine

Without any doubt, machinery influences the modern age and people’s life. Mix response over the influence of modern age shared by the readers and writers. They also show the indications of materialism in people’s life as a result of machinery consequences. The advent of machinery raises the standard of living and confers untold blessings on mankind. But, at the same time, it also uplifted stress and tensions. In the 20th century, activities of humans are not controlled by their mood and impulse; they followed the time and worked under a definite schedule.

Influence the people of poor classes

The modern literature influences the poor class people who were educated by the state. For them, publishers reprinted the complete series of their publications in a very affordable range. The modern literature shows full of adventures and experiments and acts as an age of discovery and transition. It shows the new ideas of the modern man’s mind.

Read more: 136 Literary Research Topics – To Gauge in the Literature

The literary history of the modern age of the English literature

1. Literary movements:

The end of the First World War has raised all kinds of literary movements or trends. Some of them are cubism, futurism, surrealism, expressionism, surrealism, symbolism, imagism, a stream of consciousness, and Dadaism. Let’s understand its impact on a different form of literature:

2. Modern poetry:

The modern English poetry has shown the opposition of Victorianism. It reflects the revolution against conservative thoughts. The modern age of English literature also affects the art of modern poetry. Writers’ thoughts and technological changes are also visible in modern poems and dramas. Some features of modern poetry are discussed below:

  • It shows the opposition to romantic and Victorian poetry.
  • It doesn’t support religious faith and disappearance from the writer’s imagination.
  • Modern poetry doesn’t reflect regular rhyming pattern.
  • Writers show the juxtaposition of thoughts.
  • It uses irony, metaphors, and free verse.

For getting the instances of modernization, read the poem “The Waste Land” of T.S. Eliot. It reflects movements totally against romanticism and Victorianism. Here, you have to understand the movements in modern poetry, Imagism and Symbolism:

Imagism: This literary movement started in the early 20th century and was active for 10 years. In this movement, the imagists rejected the emotions of Victorian and romantic poetry. Instead of decorative words, they use exact words and define thoughts in a common language. Ezra Pound was the leader of imagists.

Symbolism: It first began in France and described things with the help of symbols. The beauty of day to day life was also expressed by the symbolists. Their creation is not limited to any specific topic, concern, or rhythm. After the publication of the poem “The Waste Land,” the symbolists’ poetry came into existence.

modern literature

3. Modern novels

For modern novels, the starting three decades of the 20th century were remembered as golden years. The technique of the stream of consciousness became the best technique for novelists in the 20th century. Modern man prefers to read the novel as it describes the real experience. It is the only form of literature that meets the needs of the modern age. Some characteristics of modern novels are:

  • It’s based on realism and opposes idealism.
  • It follows the Sigmund Freud theories that reflect the hidden inner motives of people’s actions.
  • Modern English novel shows the development of psychology.
  • It also unveils modern scientific discoveries and new technologies.
  • The 20th-century novelists consider the stream of consciousness as the best technique to express their ideas.

4. Modern English drama:

Now, the two most famous dramatists at the end of the 19th century were Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw. They also kept the foundation of modern dramas.

Modern literature: Artistic characteristics


basically, modernism shows the scientific and technological revolution in the writer’s thoughts. It defines people’s emotions and problems in a more real way. Furthermore, it divides into two categories realism and radicalism. Well, the modern age of the English literature initiated at the early start of the 20th century and at the end of the Victorian age. Its fundamentals show contractions of the Victorians’ perspectives.

Basic features of modernism:

  • It shows a strong barrier to traditional values against political, social, and religious views.
  • In modernism, all things are relative as no such thing defines absolute truth.
  • The most prominent characteristic of modernism is celebrating the inner strength to appreciate the championship of the individual. Well, four literary ‘isms’ express this inner strength are subjectivism, impressionism, expressionism, and surrealism.
  • According to modernism, life is unordered.
  • It doesn’t show any connection with history or institutions. It originated from the corruption and frustrations of people after the war.

Prominent contributors of Modern literature:

  • Novelist John Galsworthy (14 August 1867- 31 January 1933)
  • Playwright George Bernard Shaw (26 July 1856 – 2 November 1950)
  • Irish novelist James Joyce (2 February 1882 -13 January 1941)
  • Poet Thomas Stearns Eliot (26 September 1888 – 4 January 1965)
  • Writer David Herbert Lawrence (11 September 1885 – 2 March 1930)
  • Irish Poet William Butler Yeats (13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939)

Well, to understand the evolution of English literature, you need to go through the work of famous poets and writers. Thus, their work helps you to understand visions and thoughts demonstrating the changes in society.  For better understanding, let’s some discussion over the work of D. H. Lawrence.

Writer David Herbert Lawrence (11 September 1885 – 2 March 1930)

Basically, he was born at a mining village in Nottinghamshire. And, his father didn’t have a great educational background but his mother was once a school teacher.

So, his major work in the field of literature:

  • Women in Love
  • The Rainbow
  • Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Some facts about D. H. Lawrence

  • His writing expressed a reaction against the mechanical civilization. According to him, the bourgeois industrialization or civilization puts adverse effects on the relationship between man and the environment.
  • He felt that when the mechanical world controls people. Hence, they become the source of something that could destroy both humankind and earth.
  • His masterpiece “Son and Lovers” is an autobiographical novel. And. it reveals the strong connection of an ambitious woman with coal miner Walter Morel.
  • He was the first novelist who introduces psychology in his work. Also, he described the psychological experience of human life and human relationship.
  • Lawrence’s work shares about realism with the combined effect of dramatic scenes and authoritative commentary. Also, his writings beautifully described the simplicity and directness of working-class people.


So, modern literature uncovers the different aspects of writers and poets’ vision. And, their writing shows the different ways of people’s living and presents more realistic. Well, the more you read, the better you will understand the modern age of English literature. In case, you need assistance for USA assignment help or have any queries, don’t hesitate to ask. Our writers are available round the clock to offer requisite help to all students.