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This is a list of modern literary movements (movements after the Renaissance). These terms, helpful for curricula or anthologies, evolved over time to group certain writers who are often loosely related. Some of these movements (such as Dada and Beat) were defined by the members themselves, while other terms (the metaphysical poets, for example) emerged decades or centuries after the periods in question. Ordering is approximate, as there is considerable overlap.
- Romantic fiction written in the 18th and 19th centuries.
- 17th-century English royalist poets, writing primarily about courtly love, called Sons of Ben (after Ben Jonson).
- 17th-century English movement using extended conceit, often (though not always) about religion.
- 18th century literary movement based chiefly on classical ideals, satire and skepticism.
- 19th century (1800 to 1860) movement emphasizing emotion and imagination, rather than logic and scientific thought. Response to the Enlightenment.
- Fiction in which Romantic ideals are combined with an interest in the supernatural and in violence.
- A group of Romantic poets from the English Lake District who wrote about nature and the sublime.
- Distinct from European Romanticism, the American form emerged somewhat later, was based more in fiction than in poetry, and incorporated a (sometimes almost suffocating) awareness of history, particularly the darkest aspects of American history.
- 19th century, primarily English movement based ostensibly on undoing innovations by the painter Raphael. Many were both painters and poets.
- 19th-century American movement: poetry and philosophy concerned with self-reliance, independence from modern technology.
- 19th-century American movement in reaction to Transcendentalism. Finds man inherently sinful and self-destructive and nature a dark, mysterious force.
- Late-19th century movement based on a simplification of style and image and an interest in poverty and everyday concerns.
- Also late 19th century. Proponents of this movement believe heredity and environment control people.
- Principally French movement of the fin de siècle based on the structure of thought rather than poetic form or image; influential for English language poets from Edgar Allan Poe to James Merrill.
- Early-20th century fiction consisting of literary representations of quotidian thought, without authorial presence.
- Variegated movement of the early 20th century, encompassing primitivism, formal innovation, or reaction to science and technology.
- It was traditionally attributed to Gertrude Stein and was then popularized by Ernest Hemingway in the epigraph to his novel The Sun Also Rises, and his memoir A Moveable Feast. It refers to a group of American literary notables who lived in Paris and other parts of Europe from the time period which saw the end of World War I to the beginning of the Great Depression.
- Touted by its proponents as anti-art, dada focused on going against artistic norms and conventions.
First World War Poets
- British poets who documented both the idealism and the horrors of the war and the period in which it took place.
- Mexican artistic avant-garde movement. They exalted modern urban life and social revolution.
- A Mexican vanguardist group, active in the late 1920s and early 1930s; published an eponymous literary magazine which served as the group's mouthpiece and artistic vehicle from 1928-1931.
- Poetry based on description rather than theme, and on the motto, "the natural object is always the adequate symbol."
- African American poets, novelists, and thinkers, often employing elements of blues and folklore, based in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City in the 1920s.
- Originally a French movement, influenced by Surrealist painting, that uses surprising images and transitions to play off of formal expectations and depict the unconscious rather than conscious mind.
- A group of Southern American poets, based originally at Vanderbilt University, who expressly repudiated many modernist developments in favor of metrical verse and narrative. Some Southern Agrarians were also associated with the New Criticism.
- Mid-20th century poetry and prose based on seemingly arbitrary rules for the sake of added challenge.
- Postwar movement skeptical of absolutes and embracing diversity, irony, and word play.
- A self-identified group of poets, originally based at Black Mountain College, who eschewed patterned form in favor of the rhythms and inflections of the human voice.
- American movement of the 1950s and 1960s concerned with counterculture and youthful alienation.
- A literary movement in postcolonial India (Kolkata) during 1961-65 as a counter-discourse to Colonial Bengali poetry.
- Poetry that, often brutally, exposes the self as part of an aesthetic of the beauty and power of human frailty.
- Urban, gay or gay-friendly, leftist poets, writers, and painters of the 1960s.
- Literary movement in which magical elements appear in otherwise realistic circumstances. Most often associated with the Latin American literary boom of the 20th century.
- A diverse, loosely connected movement of writers from former colonies of European countries, whose work is frequently politically charged.
- This ongoing movement launched in 1969 based in Calcutta, by the Prakalpana group of Indian writers in Bengali literature, who created new forms of Prakalpana fiction, Sarbangin poetry and the philosophy of Chetanavyasism, later spreads world wide.
- Notable authors: Vattacharja Chandan, Dilip Gupta.
- A literary movement founded in the late 1960s by René Philoctète, Jean-Claude Fignolé, and Frankétienne centered around the idea that the universe is interconnected, unpredictable, and governed by chaos.
- Notable authors: Frankétienne
- A postmodern literary movement where writers use their speaking voice to present fiction, poetry, monologues, and storytelling arising in the 1980s in the urban centers of the United States. The textual origins differ and may have been written for print initially then read aloud for audiences.
- A late-20th and early 21st century movement in American poetry advocating a return to traditional accentual-syllabic verse.
- This is the lasting viral component of Spoken Word and one of the most popular forms of poetry in the 21st century. It is a new oral poetry originating in the 1980s in Austin, Texas, using the speaking voice and other theatrical elements. Practitioners write for the speaking voice instead of writing poetry for the silent printed page. The major figure is American Hedwig Gorski who began broadcasting live radio poetry with East of Eden Band during the early 1980s. Gorski, considered a post-Beat, created the term Performance Poetry to define and distinguish what she and the band did from performance art. Instead of books, poets use audio recordings and digital media along with television spawning Slam Poetry and Def Poets on television and Broadway.