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This is a list of modern literary movements: that is, movements after the Renaissance. These terms, helpful for curricula or anthologies, evolved over time to group writers who are often loosely related. Some of these movements (such as Dada and Beat) were defined by the members themselves, while other terms (the metaphysical poets, for example) emerged decades or centuries after the periods in question. Ordering is approximate, as there is considerable overlap.

These are movements either drawn from or influential for literature in the English language.

Amatory fiction

Cavalier Poets

Metaphysical poets

The Augustans


  • 1800 to 1860 century movement emphasizing emotion and imagination, rather than logic and scientific thought. Response to the Enlightenment.

Gothic novel

Lake Poets

American Romanticism

  • Distinct from European Romanticism, the American form emerged somewhat later, was based more in fiction than in poetry, and incorporated a (sometimes almost suffocating) awareness of history, particularly the darkest aspects of American history.



Dark romanticism




Stream of consciousness

  • Early-20th century fiction consisting of literary representations of quotidian thought, without authorial presence.


The Lost Generation


First World War Poets

  • Poets who documented both the idealism and the horrors of the war and the period in which it took place.


Los Contemporáneos


Harlem Renaissance


  • Originally a French movement, influenced by Surrealist painting, that uses surprising images and transitions to play off of formal expectations and depict the unconscious rather than conscious mind.

Southern Agrarians


  • Mid-20th century poetry and prose based on seemingly arbitrary rules for the sake of added challenge.


Black Mountain Poets

Beat poets

Hungryalist Poets

Confessional poetry

  • Poetry that, often brutally, exposes the self as part of an aesthetic of the beauty and power of human frailty.

New York School

Magical Realism


Prakalpana Movement

  • This ongoing movement launched in 1969 based in Calcutta, by the Prakalpana group of Indian writers in Bengali literature, who created new forms of Prakalpana fiction, Sarbangin poetry and the philosophy of Chetanavyasism, later spreads world wide.


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