Currently, I am doing a unit on Modernism at university and thought I should share my preliminary issues with Modernist literature. Perhaps others have wisdom into my thoughts!
My first foray into Modernist literature was at the age of 17, being dragged through Mrs Dalloway by an English teacher who was both uninspiring and exhibited astonishing favouritism to certain people in the class. Thus, everything we said was wrong (unless we were one of two favourites- I certainly was not!) and she skipped over what I can now see as the point of it all.
The way I understand it, Modernism is designed to be deliberately obtuse. The whole point of it is to throw the English language on it’s head and break all the rules. Symbolism, sexuality and broken taboos were the thing to do. This was utterly lost on my teacher, who picked up on ONE symbol and ripped it to shreds.
Thus, modernism was destroyed for me. My feelings on Virginia Woolf have been formed on my own. I don’t like the woman and I really don’t like her work, so you can imagine my apprehension at doing a unit entirely devoted to Modernist literature and to the woman herself.
So here I find myself again reading Mrs Dalloway. I do hope to have my mind changed in some way about Modernist literature as a whole. I have a great professor this time who definitely knows her stuff, so fingers crossed!
Do you like modernist literature? How do you find it to read? Do you hate Virginia Woolf as much as me?