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A working definition of Modernism was the rejection of Victorian ways Victorian culture emphasized nationalism and cultural absolutism Victorians placed humans over and outside of nature They believed in a single way of looking at the world and in absolute and clear-cut dichotomies between right and wrong good and bad and hero and villain Further they saw the world as being governed by Gods will and that each person and thing in this world had a specific use Finally they saw the world as neatly divided between civilized and savage peoples According to Victorians the civilized were those from industrialized nations cash-based economies Protestant Christian traditions and patriarchal societies the savage were those from agrarian or hunter-gatherer tribes barter-based economies pagan or totemistic traditions and matriarchal or at least unmanly societies Modernists rebelled against Victorian ideals Blaming Victorianism for such evils as slavery racism and imperialism--and later for World War I--Modernists emphasized humanism over nationalism and argued for cultural relativism Modernists emphasized the ways in which humans were part of and responsible to nature They argued for multiple ways of looking at the world and blurred the Victorian dichotomies by presenting antiheroes uncategorisable persons and anti-art movements like Dada Further they challenged the idea that God played an active role in the world which led them to challenge the Victorian assumption that there was meaning and purpose behind world events Instead Modernists argued that no thing or person was born for a specific use instead they found or made their own meaning in the world Challenging the Victorian dichotomy between civilized and savage Modernists reversed the values associated with each kind of culture Modernists presented the Victorian civilized as greedy and warmongering instead of being industrialized nations and cash-based economies as hypocrites rather than Christians and as enemies of freedom and self-realization instead of good patriarchs Those that the Victorians had dismissed and subjugated as savages the Modernists saw as being the truly civilized--responsible
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