Book The Modernist Novel [9781107400429] (Book 13779857),
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The Modernist Novel [9781107400429]

  • "The period 1900-1940 produced revolutionary developments in science and the arts. The rediscovery of Gregor Mendel's laws of heredity in 1900 undercut the popular notion that the values and character traits of parents blend in offspring and are transmitted directly to them. In The Interpretation of Dreams of 1900 Sigmund Freud laid the foundation for his theory of the mind as a network of unconscious processes and the residue of childhood psychosexual experience. Also in 1900, the introduction of Planck's constant to explain the spectra of radiating bodies was the first blow to classical physics, leading to a major elaboration of quantum theory by 1927. Most unsettling was the theory's indeterminacy principle, which put knowledge of subatomic events on a probabilistic basis, thereby limiting the sort of deterministic causal knowledge that classical physics had posited throughout the universe. Albert Einstein's special relativity theory of 1905 maintained that space and time are not absolute and distinctbut transform into one another. In 1908 Arnold Schoenberg composed music in no single tonal system, while in 1911 Wassily Kandinsky painted no recognizable objects. No single literary change was as revolutionary as these others. However, the sum of formal innovations in the novel was revolutionary in providing new ways of rendering how people experience personal development, courtship conventions, family relations, urban life, national identification, imperial conquest, capitalist enterprise, liberal institutions, religious faith, and artistic creativity"--
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