Chapter

Modernism and beyond

Brian Hamnett

in The Historical Novel in Nineteenth-Century Europe

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199695041
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191732164 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199695041.003.0014
Modernism and beyond

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Where does the historical novel go after the last decades of the nineteenth century? What effect does the impact of Modernism have in the period from the 1890s to c.1940? What new techniques might literary Modernism bring to it? How would its themes alter under the impact of the First World War, which deeply affected the rest of fiction? How might the historical novel adapt to the focus on alienation and the subconscious, and to experimentation with narrative techniques? Then, what can be said about the purpose of the historical novel in areas beyond Europe—in Latin America, for example, and in the former colonial territories of Britain, France, or the Netherlands? In these novels the problems of colonialism and post-colonial reconstruction are evident. Once again the question of national consciousness and identity arise, as they had earlier in nineteenth-century Europe. How do we account for the flourishing of the historical novel in the later twentieth and early twenty-first centuries? Where should the historical novel go now, and what themes might it adopt, if past themes and methods will prove to be exhausted? These, of course, are all topics for further study.

Keywords: Modernism; war; style; technique; subconscious; alienation; experiment; psychology; modernity; colonialism; resistance; national consciousness; post-imperial readjustment

Chapter.  9210 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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