Romanticism, Modernism, Postmodernism
Since the Romantic period, the artist and the critic have become increasingly interrelated as notions of the world, history, and art have come into conflict with notions of the individual and of his meaning and purpose. The Romantics were the first in the modern world to give a sense of having become aware of the problem of defining themselves both as individuals in their own right and as phenomena of and in a world that was clearly different from that of preceding ages. In their reactions to this evolving awareness, they created forms of art that were new in many senses, but, more important, they began to draw attention to the ways in which they themselves related to their art, and to the ontological status of that art in a world whose definitions of reality were changing as they came under closer and closer scrutiny. It was inevitable, perhaps, that a succeeding age should attempt to go even further than the Romantics and lay bare every aspect of its art, its world, and its individuality; such was the attempt of the so-called modernists of the early twentieth century. Just as the impetus generated by the Romantics developed and then lost its force as Romanticism gave way to modernism, so the impetus of modernism has now lost its force, and the question of what follows modernism has naturally arisen. In these essays, critics and artists are engaged in exploring how individual artists and critics in both the past and the present have attempted to deal with the impelling problems of art, nature, and their own being in a world that offers such a plethora of alternative meanings and constructions. These explorations seem to show that postmodernism, Romanticism, and modernism, unwieldy though they may be, are necessary and vital concepts.
Contributors: James M. Heath, Robert Lance Snyder, Michael R. Richards, Rolf Breuer, Florence K. Riddle, L. J. Swingle, Donald R. Riccomini, Ihab Hassan, Julia Kristeva, Wallace Martin, Matei Calinescu, Marjorie Perloff, and Charles Russell.
About the editor:
Harry R. Garvin was John P. Crozer Professor of English at Bucknell University.
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