The Status of Literature in the Modern Society

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Eagleton, contrary to their claim to be a ‘representative’ of humankind speaking with the voice of the people, Romantic writers existed more and more on the margins of a society which was no longer inclined to pay high wages to self-proclaimed or insinuated ‘prophets.’1 Such a passionate idealism of Romantic writers made the gap between poetic vision and social and political activity wider.At the beginning of the twentieth century, this material civilization provided an affluent and materially accessible society. Yet, it also brought on a new desolation of the spirit that cast its shadow on the industrial society in both physical and spiritual aspects. Another contributor to this desolation of spirit could be found in the ‘failure of religion’ that occurred in conjunction with the new sciences. In the Victorian age, religion, which had provided people with a mental fallback position, lost its previous unquestioned ideological dominance for the majority of people living in this time period. In other words, under these two influences of scientific development and religious/social change, much experienced ideological chaoses. Therefore, in order to put order to the chaos, artists attempted to identify their creative activities with an effective form of ideological control over societal concerns. However, we can find a discrepancy between the status of literature and art that modernists highlighted and the social value of literary and artworks in capitalist society.This essay will be devoted to analyzing the status of art and literature of the modern age. In other words, how did artists build up the position of themselves and that of art in society? Then, it will address the discrepancy between the status of literature and art that modernists, especially high modernists, highlighted, and the actual social demand. It will conclude with a discussion of the significance of literature and art in modern society.In the late nineteenth century, the organization of social and cultural life in Britain shifted severely as a result of increased social mobility with the introduction of the middle class, technical complexity with the advent of complicated machinery, and social diversity as the result of increased colonialization.