[PDF Notes] Following were the social factors which influenced the shaping of the literature of modern period

Following were the social factors which influenced the shaping of the literature of modern period:

(1) The end of rural England, and the increasing urbanisation of the country.

(2) Emergence of new psychological theories presented a new concept of human behaviour. Freud emphasised the power of the unconscious to affect conduct. Intellectual convictions, he pointed out, were rationalisations of emotional needs.

Human beings are not as rational as they are supposed to be; their conduct is not guided and controlled by the conscious, rather it is at the mercy of the forces lying buried deep within the unconscious.

(3) As a result of the teaching of modern psychology, man is no longer considered as self responsible or rational in his behaviour.

(4) The rise of the scientific spirit and rationalism led to a questioning of accepted social beliefs, conventions and traditions. In matters of religion it gave rise to skepticism and agnosticism.

(5) Sexual renunciation has ceased to be a theme of literature, interest in sex-perversion has grown, and there is a free and frank discussion of sex. Victorian taboos on sex are no longer operative. There is a breakup of the old authoritarian patter n in family relationships, the assessment of the relative roles of the sexes has changed, woman has come to her own, and the notion of mate superiority has suffered a serious blow.

(6) The First World War strained the authoritarian pattern of family relationships and increased tensions and frustrations. The reaction of the post-war world has been to suspect all manifestations of authority. It may be called an era of revolt against authority. Political and religious skepticism, general disillusionment, cynicism, irony, etc., have become the order of the day.

(7) Despite the revival efforts for Christianity even in the orthodox forms, as in the works of T.S. Eliot and Graham Greene, the 20th century under the impact of science and rationalism has witnessed a gradual weakening of religious faith. Religious controversies no longer exercise any significant influence on public issues. Moral and ethical values are no longer regarded as absolute.

(8) The First World-War resulted in the search for a “system” or “pattern” in Politics and Economy. Consequently, Marxism and the concept of economic planning emerged.

(9) A phenomenal rise in literacy and increasing number of cheap and commercial literature (including books, magazines etc.,) has changed the taste of common people. There has been an increase in vulgarity, brutality and careens. Human relationships have been coarsened and cheapened; man has become incapable of finer and subtler emotional responses.

(10) Vigorous experiments are being made in the field of music and other fine arts and literature, but this is a symptom of the break-done of cultural continuity rather than of cultural vigor.

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