By now, it is clear that the term 'Modernism' is not a precise label but instead a way of referring to the efforts of many individuals across the arts who tried to move away from established modes of representation. In fine art this required a reappraisal of the basic elements of painting (line, colour and shape), plus its conceptual underpinnings concerning two-dimensional perspective. In literature the push to new forms necessitated a reconsideration of the fundamentals of imaginative writing: theme, character, narration, plot, the representation of time and space, imagery and, above all, language. For example, the representation of time is fundamental to the working of fiction and, because Modernist writers favoured intensity of experience, it has often been commented upon how the typical unit of time for the Modernist novel was the day (Ulysses, Mrs Dalloway) whereas for the realist novel it was the year (Emma, Under the Greenwood Tree).
Taking into account the diversity of changes wrought upon literature by the Modernists, I have divided the key areas and aspects of the many stylistic and thematic shifts into four sections. Overall, the chapter considers texts by twelve authors who represent, on