As we move towards the turn of the twentieth century, we also witness the slow but consistent ideological and material collapse of the great empires. By the end of the First World War, Britain was no longer in a position to deny the pressures that had been mounting for some time in the commonwealth. At home, the stagnant ideologies of biological determinism were also slowly grinding to a halt as the theories of Lombroso and Nordau waned in the popular consciousness. Modernism had won the day. Of equal import as the practical demands that Britain’s foreign endeavors were placing on the Kingdom, the horrors of the First World War left a visceral emptiness towards the supposed glorious empirical pursuits that had slaughtered a generation in Europe. This change helped to usher in the new voice of modernity with the subsequent catchphrase “make it new.” As such, the newness sought by the early moderns marked a fundamental shift in the individual’s relationship with his/her social surroundings. Rather than broiled in suffocating and ultimately murderous traditions of nationhood, the “experience of Modernism was, and to some degree remains … obscure. It was an art that frequently began in sensation and outrage, or else displacement and exile” (Bradbury and McFarlane 1991: 11).
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