Many modernist works try to assess the impact of the past on the present. Compare Lu Xun’s approach and/or conclusions in “The Diary of a Madman” to those of another modernist writer, for example Akhmatova in “Requiem,” Neruda in “I’m Explaining A Few Things, or Senghor in “Prayer to the Masks.”
At the turn of the century, the world was quickly modernizing and thus industrial settings became a major literary focus. As a result, the twentieth century sees a shift from romantic poetry about the natural landscape to writing about the treacherous streets of the modern city. Examine this trend through a close reading of Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” Neruda’s “Walking Around,” and Senghor’s “To New York.”