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After a less fertile interregnum, we come to the period of Renaissance and the Independence era. Two trends are witnessed during this period almost simultaneously, The absorption of western ideas and a patriotic rediscovery of the past.

Historians devide the modern period as follows:
  1. 1850-1920: the period of cultural awakening
  2. 1920-50: the period of great political struggle and also a reaction to it in the form of social realism
  3. 1950-70: the period of disillusionment and experimentation
  4. 1970 onwards: the transitional period of political uncertainties.

The great writers of cultural awakening are B.M.Srikantaiah (1884-1946) and M.Govind Pai (1883-1963). Srikantaiah's Inglis Gitagalu (songs from English, 1921) marks a turning point in verse composition. The poets of stature who followed are K.V.Puttappa (b. 1904) whose Ramayanadarsam has been acknowledged as a modern classic and D.R.Bendre (1896), a great lyricist, both of them havwe won the Jnanpith Award.

Two novelist who won the same award are Masti Venkatesh Iyengar (1891-1986) and K. Sivaram Karanth (b.1902). Karanth's Chomana Dudi presents the tragic plight of the Harijan in contemporary society and his Marali Mannige (back to the soil) is an outstanding regional language novel that has been translated into many languages. Masti is considered as the father of Kannada short story.

Among the modern dramatists, the tall figures are Adya Rangacharya and T.P.Kailasam. One notable features as far as modern Kannada literature is concerned is that there are quite a few writers who have made a mark in more than one field: A.N.Krishna Rao (poet and novelist), V.K.Gokak (poet and novelist), Gopalakrishna Adiga (poet and essayist) and R.S.Mugali (poet and historian) are writers of repute.

Kannada is flourishing in almost all branches of literature, and modernity is noticeable in various phases: Pragatishila, Navodaya and Navya. The most important writers of the contemporary period are P.Lankesh, Girish Karnad, Chandrasekhar Kombar and U.R.Anantha Murthy.

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