What is Contemporary Literature?

Contemporary literature is that which is lived today, from the time of now, so it receives this name and does not have a finished definition. This phenomenon happens all over the world, but contemporaneity comprises a very diverse set of characteristics grouped from previous literary schools.

This reveals its main characteristic: there is a multiplicity of trends that will innovate poetry and prose. Although it can take any characteristic of any previous school, there are more similarities with the modernist movement by breaking with the traditional.

Contemporary literature no longer has a feeling of search like modernity, but is a representation of the existential crisis of postmodern man, without having a specific final objective.

Historical context: when did contemporary literature begin?

The works from the end of the 20th century and the first half of the 21st century, which we are now experiencing, are part of contemporary literature. In a world view, many historians consider that it began after the First and Second World Wars.

The transition from one literary school to another occurs due to changes in daily life at a certain time. Thus, contemporary literature is a reflection of the events of its time, marked by periods of technological and industrial development and crises in the political and social environment.

Characteristics of contemporary literature

Due to the succession of impacting events, it is remarkable why this period is a mixture of characteristics, as we said before.

Now, let’s list the main characteristics of contemporary literature to be clearer:

  • Eclecticism: a mixture of aesthetic trends
  • Possibility of mixing erudite art with popular art
  • Historical Prose, marked by social and urban themes
  • Intimate poetry such as visual, concrete and marginal
  • Daily themes that can regain regionalism
  • Social engagement and militancy marks
  • Experimentalism
  • Innovative techniques in graphic resources, assemblies and collages.
  • They can have texts in reduced format, such as minicontos, mini chronicles and frasal poems
  • Intertextuality and metalanguage

What are the contemporary trends?

As we are talking about a movement we are experiencing, there is no way to close all the characteristics, but to point out and indicate the trends that should continue.

So, we can say that nowadays we see two trends in contemporary literature:

Literary styles called traditional conteporary, marked by authors of reformulated post-modernist characteristics, with traces of romanticism:

  • Regionalist
  • Intimate
  • Urban-social
  • Memorialist
  • Experimental and metalinguistic

And the literary styles called alternative conteporary, marked by authors who want to break with as much as possible, marked by dictatorship and with emphasis on poetry:

  • Concretism: poetry that has no form or defined verses, read in any direction.
  • Process poem: marked by Décio Pignatari and Luiz Ângelo Pinto – they created the semiotic poem or code that is usually visual and similar to Dadaism.
  • Social poetry: they leave the pattern of concrete and lyrical, imposing themes of social interest, such as the Cold War and Neocapitalism. After the military coup, it is considered a style of resistance.
  • Marginal poetry: goes against the culture of Brazil at the time of the military dictatorship, with the objective of expressing all the daily violence suffered by opponents of the system. It goes against the conservatism of society and feeds on irony, sarcasm, slang and humor.