"the ache of modernism"

Modernism describes the change in thought and modes of expression that took place towards the end of the nineteenth century and into the twentieth century. Confidence in an all-powerful Creator God was breaking down, and as people saw their traditional ways of life being eroded by industrial innovation they turned away from many of the ideas and assumptions that had underpinned previous generations. Literature, music, art and architecture all reflected this shift. Indeed, Hardy himself is sometimes credited with having written the first modern novel, Jude the Obscure.