Early 20th century writers were influenced by several sources.
· Industrial Revolution - It reached a high in the late 1800's, and writers began to look at the social problems that it created.
· Darwin - With Darwin came the idea that things can get better. The Darwinian idea that society could be improved gained currency. There was also another Darwinian approach that held to the survival of the fittest members of the species. People were left behind economically because they were unfit & couldn't compete. Darwin's theory also made it possible to explain the universe without reference to the supernatural. The idea that people were another species rather than a special creation increased the sense of lonliness and alienation among many.
· World War I - It resulted in the pacifism of England, France, and America, and the belligerence of Germany in the 1930's. The losses were so great that the democracies recoiled from war. Germany, on the other hand, felt betrayed and falsely punished. Hitler played to these feelings to obtain power.
· Sigmund Freud - His psychoanalytic
studies caused writers to examine the world with deeper meaning.