Modernism was the dominant aesthetic movement of the earlier twentieth century. It is often considered to be a thorough critique and repudiation of Romanticism in general and Victorianism in particular. Now that Modernism is no longer modern, however, we are able to evaluate the ideas and artistic expression of the Modernists from a distance. We can see that Modernism included modified elements of characteristics which are associated with the Romanticism they professed to find so revolting. First, Modernist poets were as inclined as Wordsworth or Shelley to see themselves in detachment from and criticism of their society.W. B.Yeats, the Irish poet who called himself the ‘last Romantic’ and who we might also describe as the first Modernist, located himself, literally and metaphorically, in a solitary tower (Thoor Ballylee), set apart from ordinary human existence. Similarly, T. S. Eliot, whether in the guise of Prufrock in his ‘Love Song’ or Tiresias in The Waste Land, is a lonely commentator on the mores of his age. The Romantic motifs of solitude and loneliness persist in Modernist poetry in the distinctively twentieth-century condition of alienation.
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