DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-N033-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved May 24, 2024, from

3. Major manifestations

The major literary and artistic movements most often cited as major manifestations of modernism include Post-Impressionism, Fauvism, Cubism, Expressionism, Futurism, Symbolism, Imagism, Vorticism, Dadaism and Surrealism. But such a list will be regarded as necessarily incomplete, and by definition it omits many modernist developments in architecture, philosophy, social science, psychology and the natural sciences – all areas sustained by and manifesting the values discussed above. But a catalogue of movements has the advantage of demonstrating one more value of modernism, that of reflexivity: the characteristic of self-awareness and of conscious programmatic direction. We have been regarding modernism as a historical period in high culture and therefore as what Astradur Eysteinsson (1990) calls a ‘cultural force’, but to the extent that each of the movements contained in modernism was aware of its newness and its cohesiveness (that is, of being avant-garde) it can be viewed as an ‘aesthetic project’, the self-conscious endeavour of a group of innovators to further certain values and achieve recognition.

Citing this article:
Vargish, Thomas. Major manifestations. Modernism, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-N033-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
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