At the heart of the dichotomy between modernism and realism is the question of form. Modernist writers linked the upheavals of modernity to a crisis of representation—a sense that the established forms of representing the world and of artistic expression were no longer adequate. The modernist revolt was directed at various targets, with slight variations depending on genre. For narrative prose—as for painting—it was realist aesthetics—for poetry, it was romanticism.
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