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MODERNISM, JAMES JOYCE



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MODERNISM


The beginning of the 20th century was a period of extensive literary experiment in fact some of the greatest authors introduced new techniques into literature, as a result of the contemporary socio-political situation. The Modern novelist has his own beliefs, which may not be shared by other people and also he is  not sure that it is the outward action which reveals the significant fact about his character and he is not convinced that the public gesture provided by society (even by language) can ever achieve real communication between individuals.

In this period there is a new concept of time as continuous flow rather than as a series of separate points. In this way the new narrative texture moves backward and forward with freedom, trying to capture the sense of time as it actually operates in the human awareness of it.

There is also a new view of consciousness deriving in general way from the work of Freud and Jung. The individual consciousness  is the product of the individual's unique history. The past exists in the present, determining the nature of the present response, so in this way there is loneliness and lack of communication among people.



JAMES JOYCE


Joyce is considered one of the most important English Modernists and one of the most important ures in the European culture because he summarizes a whole cultural tradition but at the same time he destroys it. He is the best innovator of the literary technique of the 20th century.

He was born in Dublin in 1882, in his life is travelled a lot in France, Italy and Switzerland, where he died in 1941.

His work can be divided in two periods. The first period is characterised by a realistic technique and the use of everyday language. In the second period instead the language changes and there is a rejection of logical sequences and conventional syntax. Joyce focuses his attention on the mental processes of human mind and he uses both the speech level, which can be communicated either orally or in writing and the pre-speech level, that has no communicative basis and is not rationally controlled or logically ordered.



We can see this in his masterpiece "Ulysses", published in 1922. It is a complex work inspired by the Odyssey of Homer. The episodes, the scenes and the facts are constructed with more or less clear parallelism regarding the Homeric epic. Here he destroys the traditional co-ordinated of time and space and introduces an inable stylistic complexity. Joyce narrates the events of one day in order to be able to follow the innermost thoughts of his characters, without any selection, to include all the details, even the most trivial. The narrative technique which Joyce adopted was the stream of consciousness which enabled him to trace the interior monologue of the characters that disregards logical transition, formal syntax and conventional punctuation so as to reflect the apparently disconnected and chaotic sequence of thoughts. He wants to give instances of how a single event contains all the events of its kind, how all history is recapitulated in the happening of one day. The language used is rich in puns, connotation, contrasts, paradoxes and symbols. He makes use of conventional sentences that refer to reality of world and not conventional sentences that refer to the inner world and to the mind of a character. Characteristics of the not conventional sentences are elisions of subject and auxiliary verb, repetitions, inversions if word order, grammar mistakes and also these sentences are of one-word and are not finished.






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