Chapter Eight English Literature Between the Two World Wars
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Chapter Eight English Literature Between the Two World Wars 1. An introduction of the general characteristics of the period 2. Some influential writers • William Butler Yeats (1865-1939); • Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888-1965) • Virginal Woolf; • David Herbert Lawrence (1885-1930);
3. Terms: Stream of Consciousness, Imagism and Modernism 4. Difference between Modernism and Realism
The historical background • Two world wars, an intervening介入 economic depression of great severity严重, and the austerity苛 刻,节俭 of life in Britain following the second of these wars help to explain the quality and direction of English literature in the 20th century.
• The traditional values of Western civilization, which the Victorians had only begun to question, came to be questioned seriously by a number of new writers, who saw society breaking down around them.
• Traditional literary forms were often discarded, and new ones succeeded one another with bewildering rapidity, as writers sought fresher ways of expressing what they took to be new kinds of experience, or experience seen in new ways.
The features of literature
• 1. English poetry • 2. English drama • 3. English novels
poetry • Two of the most remarkable poets of the modern period combined tradition and experiment in their work. • The Irish writer William Butler Yeats was the more traditional. • The younger poet, T. S. Eliot, born in the United States, achieved more immediate acclaim with The Waste Land (1922), the most famous poem of the early part of the century. • Both Yeats and Eliot exercised enormous influence on modern poets.
Drama • After the flowering of English comedy in the last decades of the 19th century, George Bernard Shaw , in Ireland the founding of the Abbey Theatre in Dublin in 1904 brought much lustre to a whole series of Irish play wrights including W.B.Yeats, Lady Gregory. Lennox Robinson, St. John Ervine, and Sean O’ Casey. • In the 1920s and 1930s, a rival to W. Somerset Maugham in the field of popular comedies of witty dialogue and in genious situation was Noel Coward. T.S. Eliot, was possible the most outstanding playwright.
novels • We may say that the 1920s were marked by the most mature works of the three “modernist” novelists: • D.H. Lawrence (with his Women in Love), James Joyce (with his Ulysess) and Virginia Woolf (with her Mrs. Dalloway, and To the Lighthouse). • James Joyce related his Stream of Consciousness. • D. H. Lawrence related his sense of the need for a return from the complexities, over-intellectualism, and cold materialism of modern life to the primitive; unconscious springs of vitality of the race. • Virginia Woolf was more resolute and thorough in her insistence on taking up her stand in the minds of the characters than most other novelists had been.
Some influential writers • • • •
William Butler Yeats (1865-1939); Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888-1965) Virginal Woolf; David Herbert Lawrence (1885-1930);
• William Butler Yeats(1865-1939) was born into an Anglo-Irish Protestant family in Dublin. He was awarded Nobel Prize for literature. In his
romantic poetry, he exploited ancient Irish traditions and then gradually developed a powerfully honest, profound, and rich poetic idiom, at its maturity in The Tower 《塔》 (1928) and The Winding Stair 《盘 旋的楼梯》 (1933).
His works’ characters First stage: The major themes are usually Celtic legends, local folktales, or stories of the heroic age in Irish history, Many of his early poems have a dreamy quality, expressing melancholy, passive and self-indulgent feelings. He is not only the great poet, but also the dramatist, writing verse plays in most of the cases. He wrote more than 20 plays in a stretch of 48 years.
Second stage : He disgust the bourgeois philistinism 庸俗 soured his political optimism. Later stage: in order to reflect “the deeps of the mind”, he began experimenting with techniques borrowed from the Japanese plays, such as the use of masks, of ritualized actions, and of symbolic languages together with the combination of music and dance, in a certain way, his experiments anticipated the abstract movement of modern theater.
Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888-1965) First studied at Smith Academy in his hometown, then at Harvard where he concentrated his energies on studying philosophy and logic. Then study in France, Germany and Oxford. Editor of the The Egoist and The Criterion. He rewarded the Nobel Prize and the Order of Merit in 1948.
• Main works:
poem: 1915-1925 • Poems (many poems) 《诗集》 • Prufrock and Other Observations 《普罗夫洛 克》 • The Waste Land 《荒原》(the most famous poem, comparable to Wordsworth’s Lyrical Ballads.) • Ash Wednesday 《灰色星期三》 • Four Quartets 《四个四重奏》 Drama: Murder in the Cathedral 《大教堂谋杀案》 • The Family Reunion 《全家重聚》 • The Cocktail Party 《鸡尾酒会》 • The Confidential Clerk 《机密职员》 •
T.S. Eliot’s artistic view • Eliot’s primary goal in poetry is a search for detachment,超然，独立 or impersonality.非个人 化 In his essay tradition and the Individual Talent, 传统和个人天才Eliot writes that “the emotion of art is impersonal”, “Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality’ the progress of an artist is a continual self-sacrifice, a continual extinction 毁灭，of personality.”
Novelist--Virginia Woolf • Her contribution to the life of British letters was made both as a novelist and as a critic. She was also attempting to explore the consciousness of her characters, but she was not attempting to deal with so many types of people and situations as James Joyce was. • In her books, she laid stress on the interior flow of people’s experience in life rather than on the exterior happenings. Her use of very long sentences, difficult syntax and large vocabulary sometimes make her books hard to read. In her books she developed her own impressionistic technique for communicating the inner life of her characters.
D. H. Lawrence 1.works:The Rainbow; Women in Love; Lady Chatterley‘s Lover 2.Sons and Lovers Contents: ignorant, drunken and brutish father (Mr.Morel), the weary, frustrated mother (Mrs.Morel), the intelligent and ambitious woman, tries to find emotional fulfillment in her sons (Paul). she hopes her sons should never became miners, they will be educated to realize her ideals of success, happiness and social respect. Paul is incapable of escaping the overpowering emotional bond imposed by her mothers love. (distorted relationship)
D.H. Lawrence‘s works’ features: • (1) He interests in exploring the psychological development, he thinks life impulse is man‘s instinct. Any conscious oppression will cause distortion of the individual‘s personality (2) he makes a psychological exploration of human relationships, especially those between men and women. (3) He emphasizes that it‘s capitalist industrialization that turn man into inhuman machines. And the desires for power and money cause the alienation of human relationships. •
James Joyce 1. His works’ scene: the same setting: Ireland, especially Dublin, the same subject: the Irish people and their life 2. Works: Ulysses: an account of man‘s life during one day 3.Stream of consciousness: presents unspoken materials directly from the psyche of the characters, or make the characters tell their own inner thoughts in monologues. 4. Araby (from Dubliners): a tale of the frustrated quest for beauty theme: the child lives not with his parents but with an uncle and aunt, a symbol of that isolation and lack of proper relation between parents and children.
His works’ characters: He was one of the most prominent literary figures of the first half of the 20th century. He is regarded as the most prominent stream-ofconsciousness. He adopts a kind of mock-heroic style. The essence of the mock-heroic lies in the application of apparently inappropriate styles. He achieves this mainly by elaborating his style into parody, pastiche模仿作品, symbolic fantasy, and narration by question and answer from an omniscient narrator. Many critics think that Joyce is a great master of innovation. His radical根本 experimentation实验 ranges from “stream-of -consciousness” to his fantastic engagements with rhetoric, sentimental romance, historical stylistics, counterpoint and expressionist drama.
Some terms Stream of Consciousness Imagism Modernism
Some terms- Stream of Consciousness, Imagism and Modernism
• Stream of consciousness:
• The narrative method of capturing and representing the inner workings of a character’s mind. Generally speaking there are two levels of consciousness “the speech level” and “the pre-speech level”. The pre-speech of levels of consciousness are not censored, not rationally controlled or logically ordered.
• Modernism rose
out of skepticism and disillusion of capitalism. The appalling shock of the First world war severely destroyed people’s faith in the Victorian values; and the rise of the irrational philosophy and new science greatly incited writers to make new explorations on human natures and human relationships. The French symbolism, appearing in the late of 19th century, heralded modernism.
• After the first world war, all kinds of literary trends of modernism appeared: Expressionism, Surrealism, Futurism, Dadaism, Imagism and Stream of consciousness. • Towards the 1920s, these trends converged into a mighty torrent of modernist movement, which swept across the whole Europe and America. The major figures that were associated with this movement were Kafka, Picasso, Pound, Webern, Eliot, Joyce and Virginia Woolf. Modernism was somewhat curbed in the 1930s.
• Imagism, poetic movement that flourished in
the us and England between 1909 and 1917. The movement was led by the American poets Ezra Pound and later Amy Lowell.
They placed primary reliance on the use of precise, sharp images as a means of poetic expression and stressed precision in the choice of words, freedom in the choices of subject matter and form, and the use of colloquial language. Most of the imagist poets wrote in free verse.
Difference between Modernism and Realism Modernism is a reaction against realism in many aspects (1)Modernism rejects rationalism, which is the theoretical base of Realism. (2)Modernism reflects the source of Realism, i.e. the external, objective, material world. (3)Modernism rejects almost all the traditional elements in literature
Some exercises • ( c) 1. “The Vanity Fair” is a well-known part in ______________. • A. The Holy War B. The life and Death of Mr. Badman • C. The Pilgrims Progress D. Oliver Twist • (D) 2. _______is D. H. Lawrence’s autobiographical novel. • A. The White Peacock B. The Trspasser • C. The Rainbow D. Sons and Lovers • (C) 3. ________ is the first volume of Robert Frost. . • A. Hamlet B. The Scarlet Letter • C. “A Boy’s Will” D. young Goodman Brown • (A) 4. The “iceberg” analogy is __________ style, which he had been trying hard to get. • A. Hemingway’s B. Fitzgerald’s • C. Ezra Pound’s D. Eugene o’Neill
• (C) 5. Hardy’s novels are all _______ in date. • A. Elizabethan B. Modern • C Victorian D. Classical (A) 6. Washington Irving was one of the first American writers to earn an international reputation and regarded as “Father of American _______”. • A. short stories B. drama • C. poetry C. literature • (B) 7. In 1950, Faulkner was awarded the Nobel Prize for the anti-racist __________. • A. The Sound and the Fury. B. Intruder in the Dust • C. Go Down, Moses D. Absalom, Absalom!.
• (A ) 8. The name of Browning is often associated with the term: ____________, though it is not his invention. • A. “dramatic monologue” B. “black humour” • C. “Wessex novels” D. “Lake Poets” • (C) 9. Most of Shaw’s plays are concerned with political, economic, moral, or religious problems, and, thus, can be termed as _________. • A. serious plays B. tragedy plays • C. problem plays D. comic plays • (C) 10. The impact of Darwin’s evolutionary theory on the American thought and the influence of the 19th century French literature on the American men of letters gave rise to yet another school of realism: __________. • A. critic realism B. romanticism • C. American naturalism D. modernism
• (C ) 11.In the years preceding World War I, nineteenth-century realism and _____ remained vital forces in American Literature. • A. critic realism B. romanticism • C. American naturalism D. modernism • (B ) 12. The best-selling American books in the first decades of the twentieth century were ______. • A. novels B. historical romances C. poems D. plays • (A ) 13. Although the form and direction of modern American literature had clearly begun to emerge in the first decades of the century, ______ stands as a great dividing line between the nineteenth century and contemporary America. • A. the First World War B. the Second World War • C. American Naturalism D. American Transcendentalism
• (C ) 14. The publication in 1922 of T. S. Eliot’s _______, the most significant American poem of the twentieth century, helped to establish a modern tradition of literature rich with learning and allusive thought. A. Prufrock and Other Observations B. the Sacred Wood • C. Waste Land D. Murder in the Cathedral • (B). 15. Jazz music of the American __________---the most influential art form to originate in the United States --- spread throughout the world. • A. White men B. Negro C. players D. workers • (C ) 16.Frost employed the plain speech of rural ________ and preferred the short, traditional forms of lyric and narrative. • A. New American B. American • C. New Englanders D. Puritans
• (. C ) 17. In 1952, _______portrayed an old fisherman in the Old Man and the Sea. • A. William Faulkner B. John Steinbeck • C. Ernest Hemingway D.Robert Frost • (D ) 18.In the cluster of poems Whitman called ______________ he gave America its first genuine epic poem. • A. Voices of the Night. B. the Song of Hiawatha • C. Ballads and Other Poems D. Leaves of Grass • (C ) 19. The range of __________’s poetry suggests not her limited experiences but the power of her creativity and imagination. • A. H. W. Longfellow B. Walt Whitman C. Emily Dickinson D. Robert Frost • (A ) 20. The Gilded Age had already pointed towards _______’s uneasy acceptance of the values of nineteencentury American society. • A. Mark Twain B. Walt Whitman C. H. B. Stowe D. Emily Dickinson