Literary modernism has its origins in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, mainly in Europe and North America. Modernism is characterized by a break with traditional styles of poetry and verse. Modernists experimented with literary form and expression. Ezra Pound's maxim was "Make it new". The horrors of the First World War had an effect. Thinkers such as Sigmund Freud and Karl Marx were influential.
Modernist literature was at its height from 1900 to 1940, and featured such authors as Knut Hamsun, Vladimir Nabokov, T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, Franz Kafka, Joseph Conrad, Virginia Woolf, Andrei Bely, W.B. Yeats, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound, D.H. Lawrence, Katherine Mansfield, Gertrude Stein, Samuel Beckett, Menno ter Braak, Marcel Proust, Thomas Mann, Mikhail Bulgakov, Robert Frost and Boris Pasternak.