Naturalism is an extension of realism. It is the representation of life in a scientific manner. It is more pessimistic than realism, which can get us closer to modernism. You cannot always expect good things to come out in life. You cannot just change the direction of life. It doesn’t matter who and where you are in life because there are external forces which you may not have control over. Education you have received and the sociocultural place you are in will determine who you are.
Modernism was affected by psycho-analysis (Freud) and scientific advancements. According to Freud, you are not driven by rational thought contrary to what you might think. Reason is not in-place and some part of your brain which you are unconscious of leads you in life. There are 3 parts in brain. Superego is like a teacher or parent. It sets the rules. Ego mediates between superego and id that wants to fulfill desires. Freud suggested that id controls us. It is what causes trauma, defense mechanisms as you will push what you can’t control to the id side of brain.
Einstein’s Theory of Relativity also affected this period (only the speed of light doesn’t change). There is no absolute truth. We have different versions of reality appear in different forms to different people.
Post-expressionism expects a representation to reflect the emotion and the attitude of the artist. It cares about the emotion the art invokes.
Although writers’ works and their characters in their works were for for the society, they wanted to be left alone. This also created an inner conflict.
In the former scientific view, the World is knowable and predictable. This was replaced by the new scientific findings which suggested that not everything is predictable/knowable. This caused anxiety.
Virginia Woolf says ordinary mind on an ordinary day can be part of the literature. It could attach a work to the reality.
When we look at the Victorian era, the idea of self revolves around a stable ego, meaning the internal conflict is not there. In Modernism, this changed to problematic, unknowable, complex state of mind. The mind like everything is in flux (ever-changing).
Religion and history were replaced by mythology. For instance, due to WWI and WWII, people felt hopeless as their request for help from God were not answered. This led to decay in the faith in God. In other words, religion and God lost its meaning.
Similarly to Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung suggested that similar species have a collective unconscious. To him, it proves that individual consciousness is anything but tabula rasa, born without built-in mental content. In his archetypes theory, he says archetypes are typical modes of apprehension, and whenever we meet with uniform and regularly recurring modes of apprehension, we are dealing with an archetype, no matter whether its mythological character is recognized or not. In other words, archetypes live and function in the deeper layers of the unconscious, and they define a typical mode human of behavior. This can further prove that human mind can be anything but stable.
Study the 16th page of the slides for the upcoming class.