Valdis Ķikāns

Modernism as the third literary type, along side with Romanticism and Realism, is constituted of several literary trends: Symbolism, Expressionism, Impressionism, Surrealism, Existentialism, etc.

Modernist paradigm, having overtaken much from the previous literature concerning the formation of literary image: symbols, expressivness, dream logic, transposes these elements for the sake of expressing, grounding and framing its doctrine.

From the aspect of content, all Modernist trends since the end of the 19th century are characterized to a greater or lesser extent by denial of reality, nihilism, that manifests itself in the form of deconstructing the preceding cultural awareness and cultural memory. In philosophy it is conveyed by F. Nietzsche, O. Spengler, in literature – from J. Joyce’s Ulysses via J. P. Sartre’s Nausea to K. Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse No.5.

It can be stated that Existentialism is the basic trend of Modernist content or conceptuality, while such trends as Symbolism, Expressionism, Impressionism, Surrealism are formal trends of Modernism (certainly, entailing definite content nuances). A Huge amount of theoretical literature has been written about them as formal categories; as to the content, nihilism has been singled out without providing an appropriate term: Existentialist form with its own conceptuality.

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