CULTURAL CONTEXTS:  WORLD LITERATURE and HUMANITIES AND ARTS
            
                                              Monika Brown                          UNC Pembroke
         

The Greek Golden Age
Medieval Christian Europe
Early Modern Europe
Baroque and Enlightenment in Europe and America
The Romantic Age
The Age of Realism and Reform
The Modern World     


The Greek Golden Age: Greek Drama & Philosophy in Classical Athens (400s BC)


1. History,  Society, and Changes                                                                                                                                  return to top
   P.B. Shelley (1800s), "We are all Greeks"-laws/government, arts, buildings, philosophy
   popular democracy: participation of free male citizens; public activities/meetings in town square (agora);
   slavery and restricted lives for women; constructive activity:  building, art, training for combat & sports

2.  World View, Values, Heroes
         humanism:"Man is the measure of all things"(Protagoras); pride: we are like gods/gods are ideal men;    
         pride in Athens as model for the world; liberal education and philosophy for public life.
         Sophists: develop skill to argue any side;
         Socrates,Plato: search for truth beyond experience by questioning;
         Aristotle: search for truth within experience, by observation & logic
         values and heroes: qualities or behaviors admired and/or suited for literature & art:
         -individual freedom and community responsibility ("reverence" says Pericles);
         -development of all capacities, for "versatility and grace" (Pericles): physical body: combat, gymnastics,
           Olympics; mind (reason, logic, debate, measure/math), soul (music, worship, drama--related)

3. Classical Culture, Arts, and Literature
Purposes of arts: all arts are related (family of muses):  mimesis: imitation of what is best in nature; 
portrayal  of ideal human types (e.g. sculpture of youth at peak); permanent significance (vs. uniqueness)

 Greek Classicism:  Characteristics of the Arts
    1. simplicity (essentials only) and restraint (static figures)
    2. harmony, proportion, order, balance, elegance (no exaggeration, violence); conventions, artificial form



Medieval Christian Europe  (500-1450)                          
return to top
        
1. History, Society, and Changes

Europe & Middle East: after collapse of the Roman Empire, influences and conflicts come from:
        1. Catholic Church (splits into Roman & Orthodox)
        2. Germanic tribes 
        3. Islamic Arabs

Feudalism in Europe organizes political and social relations.  Each king has limited power. 
Each person has a place in a hierarchy of relationships and obligations.  Powerful landowning nobles turn over
land to vassals in exchange  for  loyalty & military support.  Serfs work land for nobles and are taken care of.
The rise of merchants, artisans,  and towns begins to undercut feudalism. Women, legally subject to men,
can work or supervise households/estates. 

Christian (Catholic) institutions have power conflicts with kings; help people please God & obtain salvation
      crusades make attempts to take back the Holy Land from "infidels" (Islamic Arabs)
      cult of saints and pilgrimages: travels to holy shrines to obtain healing, forgiveness, salvation 
      monasticism forms new religious orders of men and women who preach or retreat from public life
      universities  (Paris, Oxford, Cambridge) allow churchmen to be educated in their own countries
                                                                                                 
2. World View, Values, Heroes

Christian (Roman Catholic) world view:    
     -the universe (and all that exists) is God’s plan, ordered in meaningful ways
     -Ptolemaic astronomy  places the earth at the center of a universe of spheres
     -everything is composed of four elements (earth, air, fire, water) & subject to astrological&natural rhythms 
    St. Augustine’s ideas in The City of God (see also below, life is a journey)
   
  -spiritual, dualist ideas & values:  matter vs. spirit, soul vs body, material world vs. spiritual world, Satan vs. God
    
-the soul is superior to the body, eternal life matters more than earthly life
     -Biblical & human history are imperfect and transitory but symbolize what is heavenly and eternal 
      
 Human life is a journey (pilgrimage, labyrinth) of moral preparation for eternal life (heavenly Jerusalem);
     -human behavior has symbolic significance: virtues bring us closer to god; (deadly) sins lead us away;
         human love may serve God (caritas/charity) or be misused&lead us away(cupiditas/sensual love=sin).
         perfect marriage/friendship=Christ's selfless love of church OR broken relationship=church rejects Christ
        caritas (ideal love) of woman=adoration of the virgin OR cupiditas (sexual love)=rejection of virgin & Christ
     -religious life follows a liturgical year=journey of Christ’s life: Advent(expected), Christmas (birth),Baptism
        (drowning/rebirth), Epiphany (ministry), Lent (fasting/prayer), Easter (suffering, death, rebirth), Ascension   
     - the Christian hero or heroine demonstrates and grows in virtues during life's journey (see above)  
     - the hero of chivalry lives by the code of knightly behavior:  he is brave in battle, loyal to his superiors,
        courteous, honorable; protects the weak and women; courtly lover also gives ideal devotion to a lady
 
3.  Medieval Culture, Arts, and Literature

 purpose of medieval arts:  “The dull mind rises to truth through that which is material.”  Abbot Suger, 12th cent.
    Many(church art,plays) arts offer religious education&entertainment (dance, troubadours) for wide public;
    written literature is for the educated (who are also its patrons): clergy, nobles, merchants, city leaders;

 artistic achievements of the Christian middle ages
   literature: religious drama (Everyman), epics  (Beowulf, Song of Roland, Dante's Divine Comedy)
    verse romances (Arthurian), religious plays, framed tales (Decameron, Canterbury Tales)   
    heroic epics (pre-1100s) (Beowulf, Roland): heroic action & dialogue, loose structure, chivalry themes
    romances(1100-1500) (Marie, Malory): inner psychology, crafted structure, pursuit/loss of ideals,symbols
   other arts: Romanesque & Gothic churches, Books of Hours, Bayeux Tapestry, Gregorian Chants


characteristics of medieval literature and arts
    religious and historical/legendary subject matter; some contemporary subjects (also moral & symbolic)
    heroic and spiritual themes: courage, loyalty, journeys, pursuit of ideals (some psychological analysis)
    iconography: arts reflect the Christian world view (dualism) and have symbolic meanings (allegory):
           levels:  literal (events), allegorical (Christian life), moral (behavior/fate), anagogical (end of time)
                 Hebrew journey, Christ in wilderness----voyage of life-----sinner to saved--------final union w. Christ
                 Moses/Red Sea, Jesus Baptism---baptism, death/rebirth --purification/sins removed--washed in blood of lamb
                 Passover, Jesus’ last supper----communion,partake of sacrifice----salvation----heavenly banquet



Early Modern Europe: Renaissance, Reformation, Global Contact (1400-1650)
 
                                                                                                                                          return to top                                                                                                                                           
1. History, Society, and Changes
    decline of feudalism&growth of nation-states, cities,merchants,trade guilds;growth of trade & overseas empires 
     printing  (Gutenberg 1440s) increases  literacy and communication, especially in middle classes
      Protestant Reformation   (Luther’s 95 Theses; 1517) undermines dominance of Catholic Church  religious wars
     social impact: 60% of Britich adults are literate by 1630. Witch hunts occur, partly due to loss of Catholic rituals.

2. World View and Values
    humanism: values & studies Greek&Roman Classics, values life in this world; individualism, energy, zest for life,
    optimism, self-awareness/cultivation, pride in nation & own language, political pragmatism (Machiavelli);
     ways of knowing: rational criticism & questions, empirical/scientific study, but also respect for past authorities
   
    Protestant Christianity (in northern Europe): Protestant faith values salvation by faith & personal accountability
     (rejects Catholic salvation via saints & priests).  Calvinism/Puritanism believes God judges sinners harshly & 
      souls are in danger from worldly pleasures; powerful in Switzerland and in English Revolution.
                
    Renaissance hero (Renaissance Man; Castiglione The Courtier): is multitalented & self-developing in Christian &
    humanist virtues: attractive, dignified and honorable, well educated, good in sports and fighting and politics,   
    cultivates art&music; energetic,stoical, practices "golden mean”; Michelangelo, David: strong, confident, assertive

3.  Renaissance Culture, Arts, and Literature

purposes of Renaissance arts (Christian & Humanist): to teach, delight& move, to reflect&beautify human nature;
most artists are educated, noble or middle class.  Patrons of arts are nobles, churches, merchants, and universities.

 artistic achievements vary with culture: 
           Italy--visual arts (Giotto early; Leonardo, Michelangelo, Botticelli); poetry (Petrarch); polyphonic music
           Britain--literature: Shakespeare, Marlowe Dr. Faustus, John Donne, Milton Paradise Lost; polyphonic music
            Spain–drama, novel: Cervantes Don Quixote      Northern Europeans: visual arts (Grunewald, Durer, Breughel)

 
characteristics of Renaissance literature and arts:
         themes: human pride, ambition; time, death & uncertainty of life; love & carpe diem; pastoral (ideal nature)
         content: religious subjects, classical subjects (including pastoral), portraits/character studies, idealized love   
          form: naturalism/realism, perspective, proportion, engage with spectator, imagination (esp. in North)
          national language for literature, individualistic artistic styles
         classical and original imagery, metaphors; classical allusions
         adapt Classical models: horizontal/man-centered/earthbound vs. vertical/god-centered of Gothic



 
Baroque and Enlightenment in Europe and America (1600-1750)        return to top   

1. History, Society, and Changes

powerful nations
and imperialism: 100 years of religious wars end in Peace of Westphalia (1648);
powerful kings built absolutism; capitalists and craft guilds looked beyond Europe for discovery and global commerce

Louis XIV (1600s): France was dominant in Europe, militarily&culturally (royalty spoke French); Louis XIV,
who reigned for 72 years, was absolutist ruler in France ("l'etat, c'est moi).  He called himself the "sun king"
and promoted himself and France by encouraging ceremony, rituals, and arts; built Versailles palace.

enlightened despots (1700s): divine-right kings, promoted culture: Frederick the Great/Prussia, Maria Theresa/Austria,
Peter&Catherine Great/Russia; limited monarchies in Britain&Netherlands promoted trade 

2. World View, Values, Heroes           

Protestantism (Lutheran, Puritan, etc):  individual grace & responsibility (vs church authority over salvation)

Catholic Reformation (Counter-reformation): suppresses Protestant reforms, uses Inquistion; affirms salvation thru saints&priests;
promotes spiritual passion for God (Teresa of Avila), missionary work of Jesuits

Enlightenment (18th c): period in European culture when scientific methods were applied to social & political life

philosophes  Enlightenment writers who studied society scientifically & wrote informative, critical, satirical texts;
hey valued reason, science, education, and study of the past as means to improve human life and society

--faith in science and the scientific revolution 17th-18th century  observations, instruments, math (Newton)
transform view of universe, human body, self , human relationship to world& God; potential to improve life

--faith in reason
and faith in progress of human society; some promote reforms or show the limits of reason  

--rational religions: opposed to authority of a central church and to religious rituals and superstitions
   deism:  God set the universe in motion, like a clock; natural laws, not God’s providence, determine events  
 
  Optimism: creator is good, evil is needed for good to exist, this is "best of all possible worlds"(Leibnitz, Pope)

personal choices
: certainties of the past are replaced by contrasts, tensions, and the need to choose for oneself
religious&intellectual choice: between types of Christianity, between Christian/spiritual & Classical/rational
political theory choices: between divine-right monarchy or constitutional government
                    

Enlightenment heroes:  live by reason and moderation: accept social positions & fill them responsibly, make wise 
choices, show moderation & self-control; control their energy and feelings (vs. passion: anger, lust, pride)

puritan or capitalist ethic valued in Northern Europe: hard work, moral behavior, religious piety, particulars of life

3.  Baroque and Enlightenment  Culture, Arts, Literature                                

characteristics of Baroque and Enlightenment Arts
1. public functions: adorn buildings&serve patrons: church, monarchs, towns, merchants/guilds, families
2. audience-focused: instruct in social values, satirize, entertain&emotionally move thru senses& reason
3. grand subjects&spaces: Bible, saints, Classical myth, AND ordinary life, nature, towns, objects

4. Classical genres& forms: epic, pastoral, tragedy, comedy, satire; visual arts with unity, perspective


Baroque Style
  ( Caravaggio, Descent from the Cross; also Rembrandt, Bach music)
1. theatricality and emotion: plots of spectacle & drama;
characters in moments of crisis or decision,  pain or ecstasy, showing emotions & sensuality; psychological
depth & insight into why crisis occurs
2. contrast, complexity, and ingenuity: energy and formals design, light and shadow (chiaroscuro),
realist details and symbolism; elaborate designs and imagery, inventiveness, humor and play    

 Enlightenment Styles
1. informative, critical, satiric (Swift, Hogarth) scientific, Encyclopedias, history, philosophy
2. realist novels (Defoe, Richardson, Fielding) & paintings focus on ordinary, material life & details
3. rococo style (lighter & more elaborate than Baroque): Fragonard, Watteau, German churches 

4. neoclassical style ( Wren, St. Martin in the Fields, London; also Mozart, Haydn; David, Jefferson)


 
The Romantic Age (1770-1840)                                 return to top                                                                                
            
The Romantic Age in Europe and the U.S. was time of revolutions, upheavals in the political and economic order  and in
values and ways of viewing the world.  Romantics resisted established authority and supported  social reforms
and social justice.   They distrusted what the Enlightenment valued (as did Voltaire earlier):  reason  and moderation,
stable societies and universal humanity rooted in Classical ideals.  
The Romantics embraced what the Enlightenment
overlooked or distrusted: national identity and heritage, individualism, emotions, imagination, change, spirituality.  
Romantic literature and the arts embraced and promoted these new values and transformed traditional art forms.     

   

1. History, Society, and Changes

political revolutions:  American and French Revolutions, Napoleonic wars, changed the political order ;
      from 1820 to 1848 many European revolutions let to weakened monarchies, increased nationalism.
economic and social revolutions:  middle class promotes reform; steam  power brings industrial revolution,
      harsh labor conditions, worker riots; workplace moves beyond the home, enclosure of public lands;
      workers move from country to cities
improved lives:  communication, literacy, education, living conditions
                   
2. World View , Ideas, Values, and Heroes 
    individual freedom (an enlightenment idea), individualism, and social justice for all
        reject conventions, authority, industrialism, oppression, rationalism, Christianity;
       demand rights and social justice for all:  end slave trade, extend education, political rights, protection
   
  the romantic spirit: embrace the self, emotions, intuition, imagination, senses; ecstasy, longing, melancholy
            romantic philosophy:  new sources of knowledge, beyond reason:  intuition/revelation (Kant, Rousseau),      
                        emotion, imagination, experience; dialectical thinking/criticism of ideas, contradictions (Hegel);
           romantic irony: self-awareness promotes individual growth, yet brings disappointment, self-doubt, futility
           sense of time, change, & memory: progress brings change & loss; preserve personal memories
            nationalism, nation building, preserve national history& memory; historicism (values  relative)
      
  the natural world as organic whole: not mechanistic, but alive, evolving, like a growing plant; picturesque or sublime;
        nature as a spiritual and moral influence (vs cities); some pantheism: belief God is in all life;  leads to evolution
 
  the romantic hero: emotional, imaginative, reflective; genius/superior; active, striving, open to experience, irrational    
           individualist, defies convention, rebel; risk-taker; complex, contradictory, divided self; dreamer, brooding 
           
3.  Romantic Culture, Arts, and Literature 
Artists expect an expanding public to appreciate their insights, overcome difficulties, share feelings, question
beliefs; arts are supported by: governments, museums, libraries; mass prints, engravings, etchings, lithographs.
Shelley:  “Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.”         

expressive purpose  arts express the individual artist's  imagination, emotion, and experience of life
        Wordsworth: “Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings . . .emotion recollected in tranquility.”
        C.D.Friedrich"the painter should not paint merely what he sees before him, but also what he sees within him"

romantic aesthetics:  rejection of classical beauty,  ideal harmony,  conventional forms, "academic" rules, elevated style;
       embrace sublime (Burke) awe-inspiring, grand, mysterious and picturesque (Gilpin, 1790s):  reality beautified (for surprise, pleasure)

romantic subjects and themes
     the natural world: realities and details transformed by the artist's vision, imagination, emotions, symbols
     the romantic hero  (see above) e.g. Faust, Frankenstein, Prometheus; the Byronic hero-intelligent, arrogant, flawed, exiled
    
artist as hero: the artist has access to the transcendent, unique yet typical, religious visionary (idealism, neoplatonism)
     romantic journey or quest:  life experiences bring personal growth, transformation (initiation, Bildungsroman)  
    
romantic themes:  history, myth, revolution, social victims; nature, simple, primitive life, folklore, medieval, exotic;
         the gothic, mystery, evil, death, supernatural; dreams, inner life, erotic, visions, madness                  
    
 organic form (vs conventions): form naturally arises from subjects; genres are blended; "unity in multeity," originality
     reality is modified to reveal subjectivity, emotions, moods, atmosphere, mystery, wonder, vitality, energy     
          in visual arts, through movement, depth, blurring of outlines; music: energy, contrasts, emotions 
     language of poems is natural; images are taken from nature; allusions to national traditions (also classical)

    literal meaning and surface reveal symbolism and suggest of deeper meanings (sometimes vague or complex)


The Age of Realism and Reform  (1848-1890)                       return to top
                   

1. Historical and Social Environment (see also NAWL intro E. 1071-83)
political change: In Europe, revolutions and national unification, monarchies allow more representative government,
men's right to vote expands.  In U.S. Civil War ends slavery, expands vote, West movement, vs. Native Americans.
Social/economic changes:  Western middle class men increase in power, economic and political and cultural. 
Quality of life improves by technology, hygiene, reforms.  Western imperialism and colonization disrupts Asia & Africa.

2. World View and Values and Heroes

the scientific world view: discoveries about geology, evolution (Darwin 1859), & role of heredity & environment;
critical study of the Bible; crisis of faith but also hope that science and technology improve quality of life

middle class values triumph: status consciousness and aspiration;  individualism, success, hard work, delayed
ratification; materialism, possessions; practical; sentimental; duty to family/society; restraining desire&sex;
sympathy for/fear of lower classes;  liberalism & reform as public values: use government to reduce suffering;
free public education; free speech/press; extend both rights & duties to wider groups; democratic/socialist ideals 

social critique and reform (Marx & Engels Communist Manifesto 1848, Flaubert, Dickens): writers criticize
middle class arrogance & materialism, and urge improved conditions & rights for the poor, the powerless, women

middle class hero  embodies middle class values: self-made man, hard-working, aspiring to rise and make money, 
--practical, successful but responsible, accepts and makes the best of life
--angel in the house as ideal woman:  chastity, married love, cares for family, accepts constraints,“separate spheres”
--idealist or romantic individual in conflict with society: disappointed by life, frustrated by social codes, resists &
  criticizes middle/lower class (narrow, dull etc); related are: Bildungsroman hero by experience seeks an identity
   and role in life;  the hero of spiritual autobiography has crisis of faith, conversion

3.  Realist Culture, Arts, and Literature: 

mid-19th century culture: wide publics mean diverse culture. Middle class and governments reject fine arts, or support
sentimental& heroic painting & sculpture, Neo-Gothic or neo-Roman architecture. Realism shapes novels & poems
(Dickens, Tolstoy, Flaubert), painting (Courbet, Millet), photography. Music is Romantic: Bizet, Wagner, Verdi.
 “The truth of infinite value [about the arts]... is realism--the doctrine that all truth and beauty are to be attained by a
humble and faithful study of nature, and not by substituting vague forms, bred  by imagination on the mists of feeling,
 in place of definite, substantial reality.  The thorough acceptance of this doctrine would remold our life.”
   --British novelist George Eliot, 1854

mimetic purpose:   The function of realism (versus Romantic self-expression) is to give viewers/readers  information
and  insight into real experience, like history or biography.  Thus subject matter is more important than formal art.
 (naturalism, late 19th c, exposes lowest life). 

realist subjects and themes
*ordinary individuals (esp. rural) in contemporary society; naturalism-low, city
*individual psychology.& experiences,  especially middle class & workers; good & bad traits shown, ordinary
life taken seriously and related to history

artistic form serves subjects, truth to life, accessibility to a wide public 
1.accessible forms: novels, stories, dramatic monologues, genre scenes, towns. 
 2. objectivity (like reporter), but also sympathy with suffering, criticism of  middle class;
    omniscient narrators, often intrusive narrators [naturalism: scientific analysis of characters/situations]   
3. minute particulars, often incorporating accurate representation of actual places and events
4. symbolism that suggests social/historical & universal themes  [naturalism: heredity & environment]   

after 1865:  impressionist painting (Monet, Renoir):  fleeting sensations in nature, effect of color, light, soft 
symbolism & aestheticism  (Baudelaire, Wilde) exceptional, myth, dreams, subjectivity, art for art's sake



The Modern World (1890-2000s)                                                             return to top

1. Historical and Social Environment:  The modern experience of life.
Poet Paul Valery (1920s) "The affairs of men remain a terrible uncertainty.  We think of what has disappeared,
we are almost destroyed by what has been destroyed; we do not know what will be born."
-worldwide conflicts, anarchy, suffering, exile World War I (trench&chemical war);  Depression;fascist/communist
 police states; World War II, Holocaust, atom bomb, Cold War, regional conflicts/civil wars, drugs, violent crime;
-end of colonialism brings cultural conflicts but also international cooperation, global economy
--life & work are complex: urbanization, modernization bring benefits&problems in environment, health, communic'n;
--weakening of Western middle class institutions (family, job, community) & values by advances&conflicts from lower
  classes, women, minorities, labor, new nations; changing relationships bring  freedom, responsibility,  flexibility

2.  Ideas, World View, Values  
novelist Virginia Woolf:  "[In 1910] human character changed.  All human relations shifted. . .  between masters  and
servants, husbands and wives, parents and children [bringing] ... change in religion, conduct, politics and literature.” 
-scientific knowledge reveals complexity and uncertainty about world and reality: complex natural laws discovered
(quantum theory, energy, light, time, relativity-Einstein, DNA) but reason/science limits (Heisenberg uncertainty)

complex view of human nature: self, reason, individuality, and identity are complex and involve conflicts
    -each mind creates its reality; consciousness blends memory/present, real/fantasy, senses/intuition (Bergson)
        -human behavior and motivation is conditioned (Pavlov); or unconscious, irrational, and in a state of conflict
      (Freud-psychoanalysis of desire, repression, sublimation; Jung-myths&archetypes); or nerve impulses(brain)
    -language shapes and distorts perception (Wittgenstein, structuralism, Saussure);
    -each person's race, gender, class & related power, myths & social ideologies influence perception&experiences;
    -the primitive & savage underlie Western “civilization” and find expression in individuals and in history 

doubts & pessimism; alienation, anxiety, despair;& loss of certainty in religion, culture, society, relationships
     disillusion w. Western middle-class values, social order, Christianity, belief in progress; pessimism abt humanity  
        --Nietsche: "god is dead,"Apollo culture also has Dionysus(ecstasy/death); no certain meaning, morals
         –Western culture brings total war, Holocaust, totalitarian oppression
     alienation: life is absurd;; anxiety  that each must find own meaning and identity;  despair when the search fails

quests for meaning, values, heroes fragmentation, multiplicity, pluralism, and conflict (-isms)
    -political/economic capitalism, Communism, Fascism; - philosophical existentialism, postmodernism, pluralism
    -social/cultural nationalism, ethnic identity, cultural myths and traditions
    -religious/mythic:fundamentalism, cults, new age; leap of faith(Kjerkegaard); collective myth(Jung),private myth
   - modern hero/rebel: vs oppression, conventions, moral codes (Nietsche superman);
     promotes freedom, diversity; artist as hero
   -existentialist hero as creator of meaning: by actions, politics, art, heritage, myth, fantasy,decision, honesty,love
   -modern anti-hero: victim, outsider; oppressed, alienated, faces absurd; identity conflict/complex, relationships fail
   - postmodern anti-hero: lacks self-knowledge, resists identity, embraces diversity/play, vs oppression

3. Modern Culture, Arts, Literature    novelist Franz Kafka"The terror of art [is] that the dream reveals the reality.”
a. modern culture and achievements: arts become international, influences cross cultures; popular culture & some
   artists adapt romanticism, realism, naturalism (e.g. socialist realism, docudrama, sentimental art, folk art);
   after 1960, mass entertainment for mass public & youth counterculture: sex, violence, postmodernism (diverse)

b. modernism in arts and literature: “cult of the new”, surprising, difficult, shocking
 1. purpose of arts is innovation and expression: "Make it new" (Pound):  arts are "avant garde," look ahead, transform
     their time and themselves; arts are privileged & elitist; arts reject& displace materialism, middle class values, conventional art;
     arts challenge, surprise, shock audience: we make connections, ask questions, construct meaning, learn, question 
2.  content and themes: express or resist modern experiences and world view OR abstraction-form/medium as content
    -sexuality/taboos, oppression & suffering, crises in human relationships; alienation, isolation, artist as outsider,
    -individual psychology, dreams, myths (journey/initiation, death/rebirth); culture/generation conflicts & revivals
    -content of art abstracts from experience OR is nonobjective/nonrepresentational 
3.  form is the cult of the new: formal experimentation and originality is least as important as content;
    arts embrace: complexity, ambiguity, irony, multiplicity, uniqueness, pre-modern and non-western features
    arts reject: social realism, artistic unity, traditional forms and genres, abstractions, connections/explanations     
     new  modes: complexity, psych analysis, myth, minimalism, absurd, mixed modes (surrealism, magic realism)
     new structure: suited to modern world: disunity/instability, non-chronogical, time shifts, fragmented, unresolved
     modern characterization: inconsistencies and irrationality OK; stream of consciousness or direct speech only

c.  postmodernism in culture, arts and literature:
   -context:  post-industrial capitalism, globalization/mixing of cultures, races,  images, capital, products, information explosion
                   
media age: hyper-reality--media images seem more powerful than the "real";  images and texts with no prior "original".
                   "As seen on TV" and "as seen on MTV" are more powerful than unmediated experience
   -content:  absurd, pop culture, experiments with media, "medium is the message"
                   
postmodern anti-hero: lacks self-knowledge; has fragmented/divided self, unstable identity; embraces diversity/play, vs oppression    
   -purpose: suspicion and rejection of western "master narratives" local narratives, ironic deconstruction of master narratives:
                    counter-myths of origin;
play, self-awareness, self-reflective
   -formal featureshi/low culture blur, mixed media and genres, loose/process/unstable plots