- Cam Writt
Updated: May 7, 2019
Between 1900 and 1940, a literary movement known as modernism flourished in the western world. Despite the genius of this era’s authors, their decision to call the movement “modern” was one that did not age well, and can largely be blamed on the popularity of opium at the time. Modernism replaced the writing style of realism, which had been popular in the 1800s. The object of realism was to tell stories as accurately as possible. In contrast, modernists wrote with the goal of giving the reader heartburn, and writers often completed their final drafts on hotel towels (many typewriters suffered because of this).
A classic trademark of modernist work was the use of words as punctuation. This created lengthy monologues known as streams-of-consciousness; which would later be dammed and used to power Christmas lights. Stylistically, some authors would repeat particular words as something they called "insistence", but their spouses called "nagging". Today, these literary devices are considered experimental genius, as well as a pain in the ass. Modernism came to an unfortunate end in 1940 when President Roosevelt passed a bill that increased literacy among Americans.