In literature, our century is seen to have reacted violently against the axioms and assumptions of its predecessors. The high hopes of social commentators as diverse as Macaulay and Marx have foundered as modern man confronts the bleak certitude of his abandonment. Disillusionment and despair are seen as the trademark of modern literature. This book attempts to chart this major movement in certain key texts of modern European literature. Patrick Reilly is author of "Jonathan Swift - the Brave Desponder" and "Goerge Orwell - the Age's Adversary".