The term modernism
was coined in the late 19th
century as a reaction to the realism
of the first half of that century. James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, and Franz Kafka are a few of the main proponents
of this style, which is characterized by a pessimistic outlook at a crumbling social order. Most modernists
ignored the world around them and instead concentrated on creating beautifully disturbing prose and
poetry. As a result, much of the modernist canon was read only by intellectuals.