What is Modernism?
What is the first feature of modernism that is generally acknowledged? Most of us will agree that a modernist work is perceived as difficult, and that its difficulty is associated with unfamiliarity and difference. D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930), who might himself be classified a modernist writer, expressed this feeling of the pleasure and pain of difficulty.
" ... to read a really new novel will always hurt, to some extent. There will always be resistance. The same with new pictures, new music. You may judge of their reality by the fact that they do arouse a certain resistance, and compel, at length, a certain acquiescence."
All works that can be accommodated under the umbrella of modernism - or, as we'll see, schools of modernisms - share a relationship to the modern world which is peculiarly new and exceptional to any other previous cultural and historical condition.