The idea of Modernism is a complex one. In a general sense it brings together the various movements in the arts during the last decade of the nineteenth century and the first few decades of the twentieth century including symbolism, impressionism, post-impressionism, futurism, constructivism, imagism, vorticism, expressionism, dada and surrealism. These movements, experimental in their nature, sought to find new forms with which to represent the modern world and modern perspectives more forcefully. Other Modernist writers of a comparable stature to Joyce include T.S. Eliot, Marcel Proust, Franz Kafka, Joseph Conrad and Virginia Woolf. In the literature of Joyce, we can see the fundamental aspect of Modernist Art: namely, to seek out "the real" - that which is universal and timeless in humanity - from the apparently "unreal" detritus of modern existence, but to do so through actual experience rather than through imaginative fantasy.

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