- List of literary movements
This is a list of modern literary movements: that is, movements after the
Renaissance. These terms, helpful for curricula or anthologies, evolved over time to group writers who are often loosely related. Some of these movements (such as Dada and Beat) were defined by the members themselves, while other terms (the metaphysical poets, for example) emerged decades or centuries after the periods in question. Ordering is approximate, as there is considerable overlap.
These are movements either drawn from or influential for
literaturein the English language. Amatory fiction
*Romantic fiction written in the 17th century and 18th century, primarily written by women.
Eliza Haywood, Delarivier Manley Metaphysical poets
*17th century English movement using extended
conceit, often (though not always) about religion.
John Donne, George Herbert, Andrew Marvell Romanticism
*18th to 19th century movement emphasizing emotion and imagination, rather than logic and scientific thought. Response to the Enlightenment.
Victor Hugo, Lord Byron Gothic novel
*Fiction in which Romantic ideals are combined with an interest in the
supernaturaland in violence.
Ann Radcliffe, Bram Stoker Lake Poets
*A group of Romantic poets from the English
Lake Districtwho wrote about natureand the sublime.
William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge
*Distinct from European Romanticism, the American form emerged somewhat later, was based more in fiction than in poetry, and incorporated a (sometimes almost suffocating) awareness of
history, particularly the darkest aspects of American history.
Washington Irving, Nathaniel Hawthorne Pre-Raphaelitism
*19th century, primarily English movement based ostensibly on undoing innovations by the painter
Raphael. Many were both painters and poets.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Christina Rossetti Transcendentalism
*19th century American movement: poetry and
philosophyconcerned with self-reliance, independence from modern technology.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau Dark romanticism
*19th century American movement in reaction to Transcendentalism. Finds man inherently sinful and self-destructive and nature a dark, mysterious force.
Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, George Lippard
*Late-19th century movement based on a simplification of style and image and an interest in poverty and everyday concerns.
Gustave Flaubert, Stendhal, Honoré de Balzac, Leo Tolstoy, Frank Norris Symbolism
*Principally French movement of the
fin de sièclebased on the structure of thought rather than poetic form or image; influential for English language poets from Edgar Allan Poeto James Merrill.
Stéphane Mallarmé, Arthur Rimbaud, Paul Valéry
Stream of consciousness
*Early-20th century fiction consisting of literary representations of quotidian thought, without authorial presence.
Virginia Woolf, James Joyce Modernism
*Variegated movement of the early 20th century, encompassing
primitivism, formal innovation, or reaction to scienceand technology.
T. S. Eliot, H.D. The Lost Generation
*It was traditionally attributed to
Gertrude Steinand was then popularized by Ernest Hemingwayin the epigraphto his novel " The Sun Also Rises", and his memoir " A Moveable Feast". It refers to a group of American literarynotables who lived in Paris and other parts of Europefrom the time period which saw the end of World War Ito the beginning of the Great Depression.
F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, Waldo Pierce Dada
*Touted by its proponents as anti-art, dada focused on going against artistic norms and conventions.
Guillaume Apollinaire, Kurt Schwitters
First World War Poets
*Poets who documented both the idealism and the horrors of the war and the period in which it took place.
Siegfried Sassoon, Rupert Brooke Los Contemporáneos
Mexicanvanguardist group, active in the late twenties and early thirties; published an eponymous literary magazinewhich served as the group's mouthpieceand artistic vehicule from 1928-31. Imagism
*Poetry based on description rather than theme, and on the motto, "the natural object is always the adequate symbol."
Ezra Pound, Elizabeth Bishop, Richard Aldington Harlem Renaissance
*African American poets, novelists, and thinkers, often employing elements of
bluesand folklore, based in the Harlemneighborhood of New York Cityin the 1920s.
Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston Surrealism
*Originally a French movement, influenced by Surrealist painting, that uses surprising images and transitions to play off of formal expectations and depict the unconscious rather than
Jean Cocteau, Dylan Thomas Southern Agrarians
*A group of Southern American poets, based originally at
Vanderbilt University, who expressly repudiated many modernist developments in favor of metrical verse and narrative. Some Southern Agrarians were also associated with the New Criticism.
John Crowe Ransom, Robert Penn Warren Oulipo
*Mid-20th century poetry and prose based on seemingly arbitrary rules for the sake of added challenge.
Raymond Queneau, Walter Abish Postmodernism
*Postwar movement skeptical of absolutes and embracing diversity,
irony, and word play.
Jorge Luis Borges, Thomas Pynchon, Alasdair Gray Black Mountain Poets
*A self-identified group of poets, originally based at
Black Mountain College, who eschewed patterned form in favor of the rhythms and inflections of the human voice.
Charles Olson, Denise Levertov Hungryalist Poets
* A literary movement in postcolonial India during 1961-65 as a counter-discourse to Colonial Bengali poetry.
** Notable poets:
Chattopadhyay Shakti, Malay Roychoudhury, Binoy Majumdar Confessional poetry
*Poetry that, often brutally, exposes the self as part of an aesthetic of the beauty and power of human frailty.
Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath New York School
*Urban, gay or gay-friendly,
leftistpoets, writers, and painters of the 1960s.
Frank O'Hara, John Ashbery Magical Realism
*Literary movement in which magical elements appear in otherwise realistic circumstances. Most often associated with the
Latin American literary boom of the 20th century.
Gabriel García Márquez, Octavio Paz, Günter Grass, Julio Cortázar Postcolonialism
*A diverse, loosely connected movement of writers from former
coloniesof European countries, whose work is frequently politically charged.
Jamaica Kincaid, V. S. Naipaul, Derek Walcott, Salman Rushdie, Wole Soyinka
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