Walter Benjamin or Theodor Adorno)? Chime in. Don't forget to read past the break for that summary list from MIT.
Here are two lists I've taken from a handout by Sarah Brouillette provided for a Spring 2008 course on modernism at MIT (source):
- Early 20th-century aesthetic movement (esp. 1910-30): TS Eliot, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, Marcel Proust, Franz Kafka, etc.
- Rejected Victorian notions of art: its purposes, its formal features, and its relationship to its audience
- Emphasizes individual experience and perception (impressionism); concern with how the world is experienced (rather than what the world is). Think stream-of-consciousness writing.
- Movement away from fixed narrative points of view, like omniscient “all seeing, all knowing” narrators.
- Interest in blurring the boundaries between poetry and prose: less obviously distinct than they once were
- Interest in fragmentation and collage
- An emphasis on self-reflexivity: the work of art draws attention to itself as a work of art
- Blurring of the boundaries between popular art forms (photography, advertising, later film) and 'high art’ categories
Characteristics of Modernity
- I have a stable and coherent self who is rational and universal
- I know the world through reason and rationality
- I produce objective truth or "science” that isn’t constrained by me
- This truth is what leads to progress and improvement
- Reason, truth, and “the good” are synonymous
- Science is the best application of my rationality: it is neutral and objective and unbiased
- Language is how rationality is expressed and its discoveries communicated; it is “transparent” and can objectively represent the reality or the world (think photography)
- There is no difference between objects in the world and the words used to name them in language
- These premises stand behind and support EVERYTHING: democracy, law, ethics, and aesthetics