Techniques in Revolutionary Periods of Literature

Throughout history, there has been an enormous development in the writings of prose and the art of storytelling as different movements emerge and take over. At the same time, literary techniques have also changed and developed and they have influenced the form and structure that authors employ.


Romanticism developed in the second half of the 18th century, as a reaction to the Enlightenment and against the scientific rationalization of nature that came with it. In literature, romanticism emerged out of a kind of heroic isolation of the writer and ideas around a wild and pure nature. Technique stemmed from the belief that feeling and imagination should be considered the most important aspects of poetic creation. As romanticism quickly developed, imagination and emotions were praised above reason and logic. It became a passionate and powerful movement in literature. Writers of this time would practise fast-moving and complicated plots, and allowed themselves to mix genres for the first time. The writing quickly became a lot more lyrical, straying away from traditional norms.


Literary realism stemmed from various 19th century works of French literature and extended to early 20th century writers from across the continent and beyond. Its aim was to portray life as it was, including contemporary life and society, along with the everyday experiences of that time. Realism started to influence North American literature around early 20th century with writers like Mark Twain, who were attempting to capture the essence of real American life. Techniques used to create a realist novel started to unfold, including the addition of ordinary, everyday characters studied in a great amount of depth; a plot which emphasized the normal and benign nature of real life; a setting entirely known to the writer; and a world reported in all its truths.


Modernist literature came into being in an attempt to create a literary form that strayed away from realism. Modernism revolves around the individuality of human beings, the strangeness of life and a high criticism of institutions such as religion. Modernist writing tends to distance itself from traditional storytelling and any kind of structure and might read more like a rant. Characteristics of modernism include satire and a high level of irony, which aids writers in pointing out and making fun of the faults they are writing about, which are typically governmental or religious problems. Modernism is usually written in first person.

The Beat Generation

The post-war 20th century gave birth to the "beat" generation, a literary movement that arose out of a sense of rebellion against the conservative minds of 1950's America after the war. Influenced by romanticist and modernist writers, a new kind of spontaneous technique emerged, a technique that beat writer Jack Kerouac named "spontaneous prose." This tyle was wild, fast-paced fiction that celebrated anti-conformity and anti-tradition in a supremely romantic way.

About the Author

Angeliki Coconi started writing in 1999 with the theater comedy "Loop," produced in Athens. In 2001 she wrote and produced another comedy, "Modern Cinderella." In 2006 she was awarded a Master of Science in literature from the University of Edinburgh. In 2009 Coconi obtained the Postgraduate Certificate in Screenwriting from Napier University of Edinburgh.

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