The Similarities Between Romanticism And Modernism

1777 words - 7 pages

Many may argue that the Modernist movement was a completely new and unique movement within British literature. The goal of this paper is to determine whether or not the Modernist Literary Movement was completely unique or not. The similarities found in the works of Modernist authors and poets, such as Joseph Conrad and Hilda Doolittle (H.D.), will be examined against Romanticism themes and authors such as William Wordsworth. What will be found is that Modernism is not a completely unique movement, but one that combines elements from previous literary movements.
It has been discussed by Professors and authors that Joseph Conrad, author of Heart of Darkness, was a bridge between Romanticism and Modernism. Within the “Modernism” novella, Heart of Darkness, there are many themes that can also be found in Romantic works, one of them being the Byronic Hero. The Byronic Hero is so popular that it is even used today within literature, television, and movies. Some examples from today are Walt from Breaking Bad and Dexter from the television show Dexter. According to Craig White, Professor at the University of Houston Clear Lake, “The Byronic hero is a fictional and cultural character type popular in the Romantic era and beyond. This character may appear in fiction, poetry, or history” (http://coursesite.uhcl.edu/HSH/Whitec/terms/B/ByronicHero.htm). The term became popular from the English poet Lord Byron. This “Romantic” Byronic Hero is often a darker character. According to an excerpt from “”Manfred” and Its Time the Byronic Hero,” assigned on Jacksonville University’s BlackBoard, “The Byronic Hero frequently evokes the Romantic Satan, emulation his oppositional energy, sharing a torment by unredeemable sin, and bearing an anguished heart” (683). They are often characterized as being intelligent, cunning, ruthless, arrogant, depressive, and predisposed to violence and anger. They are emotionally and intellectually tortured, traumatized, highly emotional, manipulative, self-serving, often reckless, and have self-destructive compulsions, they tend to feel loyalty, seemingly, only to themselves and their core beliefs and morals (Flemming, Web). Conrad’s character, Kurtz, is exactly what this is describing. Kurtz is a violent man and does unforgivable things. He is intelligent and tortured. He lets the natives treat him like a god and he was such an exceptional man that it was often spoken about and thought by Marlow. He was, emphasis on was, a great man who fell from his pedestal. This is the Byronic Hero that can be found in Romantic literature and in a lot of different art forms found today. So, not only is Modernism not completely new or unique, neither is literature from later times. Each new literary movement is borrowing from previous movements, as this Byronic Hero is still used today.
The Byronic Hero is a very strong argument for the fact that Modernism is not unique or completely new. Not only is it used in...

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