Modernism’s Rejection of Tradition through Literary Experimentation in James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway

Abdalhadi Nimer Abdalqader Abu Jweid


This paper examines literary experimentation in James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway (1925). Modernism’s rejection of pre-modern tradition lies in literary experimentation. Before embarking on answering the question, I will introduce modern literary experimentation to derive the idea home. The core conceptual appropriation of modern literary experimentation with the novels’ narrative structure which had emphasized the genuine artistic quality which corresponds to modernism’s departing point from pre-modernism. This departure is the artist experimentation with the main narrative components of the novels. Therefore, modernism has offered a technical narrative analysis of this experimentation in literature, especially the novel. Artistic experimentation yields the necessity of exposing pre-modernism’s literary decline and its possible amendment. Modern fiction relies on literary imitation of previous literary works in an almost similar manner. Modern fictional authors did not compose innovative literary forms so that they could not produce any literary genuineness. Such literary imitation has culminated in literary decline which limits the artistic creativity of fiction. In modernism, the proper agent to confront literary decline is the creative experimentation with fictional techniques to avoid such literary decline.



Experimentation; Fiction; Modernism; Narrative Structure, Stream of Consciousness

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