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English Literature

               English Literature in the 20-30’s of the XX c.
   The century is characterized by great diversity  of  artistic  values  &
methods. This age had a great impact on the  literary  process.  Variety  of
social, ethic & aesthetic attitudes. New achievements in science have  their
impact on literature. Literature absorbs & transforms the material of  their
    V The First World War
    V Russian Revolution
    V Freud’s psychoanalysis
    V Bergson’s philosophy of subjective idealism
    V Einstein’s theory of relativity
    V Existentialists thought
    V Economic crises 1919-1921 & consequent upheaval of social movement
    V Marxist ideology
    V Strike 1926
   All these factors lead  to  literature  of  social  problematics.  There
existed  three  trends:  critical  realism,  beginning  of  social  realism,
modernism. The writers revolutionized, changed literary  form,  as  well  as
continued the traditional forms. This inter… is  a  distinctive  feature  of
the XX c. English literature reflected Britain’s new position in  the  world
affairs. By the end of the XIX Victorian  tradition  began  to  deteriorate.
The desire to liberate art & literature from the contents of  the  Victorian
society. Thus, criticism is the dominant mood in the beginning of the XX  c.
Criticism  took  different  forms.  Some  of  them  –  modernist,  others  –
spiritual exploiters.  Artist’s  duty  was  to  reflect  truly  thoughts  of
people. Realists in the beginning of  the  XX  –  Hardy,  Galsworthy,  Shaw,
Wells, Conrad, Mansfield, Bennett, etc.
                       George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
   He introduced intellectual play in the  English  theatre.  He  was  much
influenced by Ibsen.  “In  1889  British  stage  came  into  collision  with
Norwegian giant Ibsen. He passed as a tornado  &  left  nothing  but  ruin.”
Everybody wanted to create  something  like  Ibsen.  Shaw  also  experienced
Marx’s influence especially “Das Kapital”. The society was  in  crisis.  The
article “The Quintessence of Ibsentism”. Here he underlines his belief  that
the real slavery of today is the slavery to ideas  of  goodness.  Ibsen  was
accused of being immoral. But it implies the conduct  that  doesn’t  conform
to current ideals. The spirit of is constantly outgrowing his  moral  ideals
& that is why conformity to those ideals produces results  not  less  tragic
than thoughtless violation of them. The main  effect  of  Ibsen’s  plays  on
public is that his plays stress the importance of being always  prepared  to
act immorally. He insists that  living  will,  humanistic  choice  are  more
important than abstract  law,  abstract  moral  norms.  Ibsen:  “The  Doll’s
House” let everybody refuse  to  sacrifice.  There  is  no  formula  how  to
   English drama of the passed years was centered on some imaginary  event.
Ibsen did not write about accidents, he wrote  about  “slice  of  life”(life
experience). He introduced open play – a play that has no end (if  you  show
a slice of life you obviously have open play). Shaw objected “art for  art’s
sake”. It means only money’s sake. Every  great  artist  has  a  message  to
communicate. His role is to interpret life,  to  create  mind.  All  art  is
didactic. “Heartbreak House” reflects the state of Europe before the war.
                      George Herbert Wells (1866-1946)
   A novel was also developing. In the beginning – a  time  of  crisis  for
English novel. The XIX model was not acceptable any more. The novel  of  the
past years developed to describe a social hierarchy.  In  the  beginning  of
the century the dominant belief was that the Victorian society  fell  apart.
Wells was attempting to escape the traditional novel forms.  The  novel  was
seen as a means to create future.
   His lecture – “The Contemporary Novel”.
   Wells was a very prolific writer. He wrote more than 100  books,  he  is
best known for his science fiction. He had a very definite aim  –  political
&  social.  He  was  trying  to  combine  critical   analysis   of   present
civilization to the picture what it might  be  in  future.  He  believed  in
science. But he understood that it can be dangerous because  the  power  for
destruction is huge.
   “The War of the Worlds”.  He  was  considered  utopiographer.  To  build
utopic they needed to destroy the relics of the  past  –  class  distinction
(unenlightenment). He analyzed the feelings of the present in  the  life  of
nation’s future.
   “Ann Veronica: A Modern Love Story” depicts the problem of emancipation.
The novel was written as a reaction to eugenics movement.  He  affirmed  the
need of gifted individuals to find the appropriate  patterns  &  the  choice
must not be constrained by any social restrictions.
   “Tono-Bungay” is a novel about the life of gentry in the rural  England.
It combines science fiction & realistic novel. Bladesover – a  place,  where
George Pondervo (the main  character)  grew  up.  It  becomes  a  symbol  of
dominant influence of the past models of life.  The  novel  is  episodic  in
form, doesn’t have classical structure.  Wells  was  the  first  person  who
ushered in English literature the theme of lost generation.
   “Mr. Britling Sees It Through”(1916) was called by him “the  history  of
his own concern”.  The  responsibility  of  everyone  for  the  war.  It  is
autobiographical. Tried to write about the  evolution  of  consciousness  of
his contemporaries. Concentrates on the inner life of his heroes. Fantasy  &
reality mingles here. As to the reasons of the war – he  brings  his  heroes
to the conclusion that wars are inherited in human nature. He started as  an
optimistic liberalist but as he lived on he was very much disappointed.
   “You Fools” is his last word to humanity.

                                 *    *    *
   There are many novels & poetry about war. These  writers  are  known  as
“lost generation” writers. The term was introduced by  Gertrude  Stein.  She
uses it metaphorically: old values &  beliefs  were  lost  in  the  war  but
unfortunately new moral values  were  not  formed  yet.  Majority  of  these
writers went through the war themselves.
   This was a certain tendency in poetry – Trench poetry. They wrote  about
war. Young people who served as soldiers  expressed  their  outcry:  Wilfred
Owen ”Dulce et decorum  est  pro  patria  mori”,  Siegfried  Sassoon,  Isaac
Rosenberg. Many of the poems have pacifist character. They  were  among  the
first  to  create  the  true  picture  of  trench  life.  They  gave  rather
naturalistic pictures, the imagery was very vivid  &  appalling,  scenes  of
massacre, they wrote  about  the  smell  of  the  corpses,  heavy  job,  gas
attacks, deaths of young & promising people. They created the image  of  war
as very ugly  &  senseless  deed.  Other  writers  responded  to  that  huge
   The classical example of novel about lost generation is “The Death of  a
Hero” by R. Aldington.
                        Richard Aldington (1892-1962)
   He started as a poet close to decadence, aestheticism,  he  belonged  to
imagist poets (formalism). He  published  “Old  &  New  Images”-  his  first
collection of poems. He propagated  the  doctrine  escapism  –  movement  to
escape in to the world of beauty (in Ellinism)  from  the  ugliness  of  the
world. This ideal world was shattered by the WWI. He came  from  it  another
man, he broke with imagists & continued to work in realistic trend.
   In 1929 “The Death of a Hero” was published. The novel was started after
the war but had not been completed until  15  years  later.  It’s  a  social
novel disclosing tragic consequence & reasons of war. He  made  readers  see
that the war was inevitable. But the protagonist tries to  find  the  answer
for the question – who is responsible for that? Everybody was! Everybody  is
guilty for the rivers  of  spilt  human  blood.  This  book  is  a  cry  for
redemption for the writer.
   It is a novel of big generalization.  There  are  many  autobiographical
touches in the book. He starts farther in the war to  unmask  the  hypocrisy
of the English society, respected English families. Aldington wants to  show
that this is a pack of lies that the war is a noble deed,  a  salvation.  He
tries to show that lies  started  much  earlier.  His  ideals  are  truth  &
beauty. Aldington  says  that  this  generation  was  lost  before  the  war
started. War was not the source of the tragedy but rather result of it.
   The life story of George Winterborne is given in a reverse order. We see
Winterborne family in which all relations are based on deceit & lies.  Later
we see George at school where he is supposed to  develop  into  a  strong  &
aggressive individual, the defender of imperialism. He tries to escape  from
the influence of society & turns to art in search of  his  place  under  the
sun. He moves to London  but  among  “intellectual”  people  he  found  only
hypocrisy. He is  inherently  lonely,  his  ideas  of  truth  &  beauty  are
frustrated by snobs, who pretended to be leaders of  artistic  movement.  He
sees all their cynicism. In that period of his London life  he  still  shows
his  early  tendency  to  resist  to   circumstances.   He   expresses   his
disillusionment in angry talks but  he  cannot  achieve  peace.  He  remains
   Much is said about his love because love was the only harbour for  other
“lost generation” heroes. It is not so for  G.Winterborne.  These  relations
are coloured with cynicism  (realization  of  Freud’s  ideas  of  free  love
between George’s wife & her lover). When he tried to put  these  ideas  into
practice, he faced with constant quarrels & was eventually  turned  down  by
both his women. Then the  war  starts.  He  volunteers  to  the  front.  War
becomes a period of his maturity. He finds himself side by side with  common
soldiers & this confrontation with simple people makes  him  aware  of  real
human values – those of courage, friendship, support. Nothing  can  be  more
precious than pure trust in man. Life in the trenches makes him think  about
life in general & he started to ask  questions.  How  does  it  happen  that
government finds huge amount of money to kill Germans in the war but  cannot
find  it  to  fight  poverty  in  London.  He  becomes   aware   of   social
contradiction & antagonism. He thought that social hostility  broke  through
in the outburst of hatred. He still feels very much lonely  &  isolated.  He
feels that he differs from others, he is very much of  an  individual  soul.
He doesn’t belong to the soldiers,  their  roughness  makes  him  feel  very
uncomfortable. He is completely lost. With all  these  problems  he  doesn’t
see any way out but to terminate his life by his own free will  (he  commits
a suicide). By all the narration Aldington makes us see  that  this  way  is
the logical ending for the person who was lost before the war started.
   It is a sarcastic book. Aldington was eager to tell the truth about  the
society openly. But it was impossible to overcome individualism, the  author
is not objective, he shows the whole range of feelings. That’s why  the  end
of the book is so bitter & hopeless. The title  itself  is  very  sarcastic.
His death is also a symbol how senseless the war is, it’s  just  a  torture.
His satire has many shades, but also a definite target & purpose.  Sometimes
it reminds Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels” because of the social  character  of
satire. “Death of a Hero” is an absolutely  disillusioned  novel.  Aldington
called  this  book  “a  jazz  novel”.  This  jazz  effect  is  achieved   by
kaleidoscopic change of contrasted images. The  novel  is  characterized  by
multitude of emotional states. The style is rather  nervous.  He  is  easily
overcome by despair & negation, carried to the very extreme. These  feelings
are the features of the lost generation people. “The Death  of  a  Hero”  is
the first big & most successful of all his works. His other novels are:
   “Colonel’s Daughter”
   “All Men Are Enemies”
    “Very Heaven”
   All are about those people who came back from the war  alive  but  still
couldn’t find their place in life. The main characters are  akin  to  George
Winterborne. The critics say that Aldington predominantly is the  writer  of
one theme & one hero,  &  that  he  just  treats  this  topic  in  different
   He also wrote some critical works on D. H. Lawrence, & other writings.
   He died in 1962.
   The word “modern” means “up-to-date”. Critics & historians  used  it  to
denote roughly the first half of the  XX  century.  The  representatives  of
this movement were  anxious  to  set  themselves  apart  from  the  previous
generations.  They  totally  rejected  their  predecessors.  The  term   was
suggested by the authors themselves. The difference between past  &  present
tradition is qualitative. Modernist writers clearly defined  the  borderline
between Victorian age & modernism: in 1910 – the death of king Edward &  the
first post-impressionist exhibition in London (Virginia Woolf),  in  1915  –
the first year of World War I (D. H. Lawrence). They had a  deep  conviction
that modern experience is a unique one. They tried to point  the  change  in
modernism. This change was – massive disillusionment, destruction  of  faith
in a number of basic social & moral principles, which  laid  the  foundation
of Western civilization. This change was to some degree intellectual as  the
result of late XIX theories & discoveries.
   Karl Marx “Das Kapital”. He shaped the imperialistic ideology, he showed
it was not the pattern of progress. He believed that the world would not  be
dominated by enlightened bourgeoisie. The struggle is inevitable.
   Charles  Darwin  “On  Origin  of  Species”(1859)  &  “The   Descent   of
Man”(1871). A human being was placed in the animal world.  The  forces  that
determine human behaviour are not of intellect & reason  but  is  determined
by the need of physical survival.
   James Frazer’s “The Golden Bough”(1890-1915) showed similarities between
primitive & civilized cultures. The primitive tribes appeared to be  not  so
savage as they seemed to be. They were just like the civilized ones.
   Nietzsche’s “Birth of Tragedy”. In this book he exposes  dark  sides  of
human psyche, glorified the belief in ancient heroic philosophers.
   Max Planck’s “Quantum Theory of  Atomic  &  Subatomic  Particles”.  This
model of discreet beats of energy behaving in apparently unpredictable  ways
seize the imagination of people so much that  they  extrapolated  it  beyond
the limits of physics. They believed that human behaviour was also  chaotic,
disorderly & unpredictable.
   Freud’s “Interpretation of Dream”. This work  created  a  new  model  of
human personality itself as a complex, multilayed & governed  by  irrational
& unconscious survival of fantasies.
   These theories were in fact not very new they were known in the XIX  but
in XIX they never destroyed the general principles & ideas.
   Modern writers after  the  WWI  found  themselves  in  so-called  “empty
world”. Their world was deprived of its stability. Nothing can be taken  for
granted.  They  didn’t  believe  that   life   they   were   living.   Being
disillusioned & contemplating the society  &  cosmos  most  of  them  looked
within themselves for the  principles  of  order.  They  turned  to  eternal
things. For that matter we see modern  literature  being  pre-occupied  with
its own self,  process  of  perception,  nature  of  consciousness.  In  its
extreme subjectivity modern literature went  parallelly  with  other  modern
arts (e.g. painting).
   The main feature – subjectivity &  self-interest.  Modernist  aesthetics
was formed under the influence of French symbolist poets :
                              Charles Baudleúr
                               Arthur Rimbaut
                                Paul Verlaine
                              Stephan Mallarmé
   Their aim was to capture the most perishable of personal  experience  in
open-ended & essentially private symbols, to express the  inexpressible,  to
express the slightest movements of the soul, or at least evoke it subtly  if
not express, create the atmosphere of the soul. The symbolist  concentration
upon single moments of individual perception.  Life  in  their  reproduction
was reduced to small fragments of experience. This fragmentation  influenced
not only composition of the work but also the character. The  character  was
disassembled in fragmentary pieces & these pieces of  human  character  were
not  held  together  by  any  theory  of  human  type,   like   a   collagé,
juxtaposition – all transitions are removed.  You  just  put  the  fragments
together. The widely used technique  “stream  of  consciousness”  takes  the
form from a fluid associations, often illogical moment  to  moment  sequence
of ideas, feelings & impressions of  a  single  mind.  Traditional  literary
forms & genres merged & overlapped. The introduction of  poetry  into  prose
became possible, imagery characteristic of poetry – into prosaic  text.  The
forms of the past were also employed but to produce the satirical effect.
   An equally important principle – “the stream of unconsciousness”  –  the
use of irrational  logic  of  dreams  &  fantasies,  denies  ordinary  logic
(“exhausted rationality”). They employed the  shadowy  structure  of  dream.
The idea “time & space” didn’t exist & the  imagination  was  only  slightly
grounded in reality but generally  it  created  new  patterns  by  combining
previous experiences, etc.
   The authors employed myth very much  as  a  kind  of  collective  dream.
Modernist’s myth was stripped  of  its  religious  &  magical  associations.
Joyce’s “Ulysses” is based on the ground of Homer’s ”Odyssey”.  Eliot  said:
“In using  the  myth,  in  manipulating  the  contentious  parallel  between
contemporaniety & antiquity Mr. Joyce is pursuing the  method  which  others
must persue after him. It is simply a way of controlling,  of  ordering,  of
giving a shape & significance to an immense panorama of futility  &  anarchy
which is contemporary history”. Myth is the way of organizing  history.  The
writers’ quest for  order  lead  to  their  preoccupation  with  the  artist
himself & with the artistic process. The imaginary character stood  for  the
author himself:
   Marsel Proust “Remembrance of the Things Past”
   Lawrence “Sons & Lovers”
   Joyce “The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man”
We can’t say that the artist became modernists’ hero.  Not  all  writers  of
that period  were  modernists.  There  was  the  co-existence  of  different
                          James Joyce (1882 – 1941)
   He was born in Ireland (Dublin). Although he spent  many  years  not  in
Ireland he is considered one of Irish  writers.  Primarily  he  wrote  about
himself, transforming his experiences in his books, & relatives & friends  –
into symbols. His works are said to be “expansive & inclusive”. Expansive  –
because he gave a very wide panorama of Dublin  life  at  the  turn  of  the
century, inclusive – because his works  seemed  to  include  all  the  human
history. These novels still are the stories & novels about life in general.
   He started to attend an expensive private boarding school but his father
became bankrupt & he continued his  education  at  home.  Then  he  attended
“University College”  in  Dublin.  He  read  very  much  &  began  to  write
seriously. He produced critical articles, essays but also poems &  notebooks
of epiphanies (theological term – an intense moment in  a  human  life  when
the truth of a person or some  thing  is  being  revealed).  He  studied  in
Paris, then returned to Ireland & in 1904 left it.  He  lived  in  different
places in Europe. First, he earned money by giving English lessons. In  1905
he submitted to the  publisher  his  first  version  of  the  collection  of
stories “Dubliners”. But it was repeatedly rejected & even after  acceptance
it was subjected  to  severe  censorship  for  sexual  frankness  &  use  of
obscenities & use of real names & places. This  collection  consists  of  15
stories devoted to childhood, mature life & public life. All are unified  by
the theme of person’s loneliness & hopelessness. Joyce describes  life  with
all naturalistic details. Everything suggests that life  is  dead.  All  the
stories explore the paralysis of Irish life. The  most  famous  stories  are
“Araby” & “The Dead ”. The stories are arranged in  successive  sequences  –
childhood, adolescence, mature & public life. Mood  is  gloomy,  imagery  is
dark & malignant. People are incurably lonely, their  hopes  are  doomed  to
disappointment & frustration.
   In the full form the collection was published in 1914 together with  his
autobiographical novel “The Portrait of the Artist as a  Young  Man”,  which
was to be called  “Stephen-Hero”.  This  book  explores  the  story  of  the
formation of the artist’s  consciousness.  In  criticism  it  is  called  “a
gestation of the soul”, for he tries to penetrate into people’s mind. It  is
deeply psychological work. In  form  it  is  “buildungsroman”  (German  word
meaning “educational novel”). Life is shown chronologically. The  main  hero
– Stephen Dedalus. The process of his maturing is shown in the  development.

   In the first part the language is very simple.  Then  some  glimpses  of
family life are given. The disagreement between its  members  has  political
roots. Another stage is school & college. Stephen does  not  participate  in
boys’ games. He longs for the moment when he can be  alone,  he  is  weak  &
suffering. The Jesuit college bred an aversion for  religion  in  the  young
artist.  Everything  was  repulsive  in  the  college:  sermons,  system  of
punishment, religibility + hypocrisy. It was an anguish experience.  Stephen
learnt to build a wall between him & all the rest of the humanity.
   The book has an open ending – we don’t know Stephen  will  do.  It  ends
with the decision to leave Ireland. This exile, solitude  are  the  ways  in
which Stephen opposes  to  the  oppressing  influence  of  the  society.  He
rejects what life suggests to him – his choice is  loneliness.  The  problem
of correlating  of  artists  &  society  is  solved  by  Joyce  from  highly
individualistic standpoint. The last pages express  Stephen’s  understanding
of form & time categories. “The past  is  consumed  in  the  present  &  the
present is living because it has force in the future”.  The  name  “Dedalus”
is symbolic. It is a symbol of new art which is liberated from  restrain  of
old art… He discovers & explores the possibilities of new art.  Its  aim  is
to create a new labyrinth of forms of new art.
   In 1922 ”Ulysses” was published. It started as another short  story  for
“The Dubliners” but grew into the massive novel. Joyce recreates the  action
of “Odyssey” in a single day – July 16, 1904 (it was a significant  day  for
Joyce: he decided to leave Ireland & met his future wife). Since two  plains
run parallel. The main characters are  associated  with  certain  people  in
“Odyssey” by Homer: the  main  characters  are  Stephen  Dedalus  &  Leopold
Bloom, an advertising solicitor & in a  certain  way  an  eternal  Jew  both
figuratively & literally. Minor characters are the people whom they meet  in
different places. Dedalus acts as  Telemachys  &  Leopold  Bloom  is  modern
Odyssey & his wife Molly is modern Penelope. Bloom  wanders  from  place  to
place throughout this day – butcher’s shop, post office, cemetery,  printing
house, library, pub, hotel, again pub, shop, his poor house, cheap pub…  his
adventures has nothing in common with adventures of Odyssey. They  are  down
to Earth, petty. In Bloom Joyce tried to show wandering  of  “eternal…”.  He
has unheroic adventures & finally meets Stephen who  becomes  his  spiritual
son. This is a plot.
   In  form  the  book  is  mostly  a  never-ending   stream   of   Bloom’s
consciousness (he is not an intellectual person, his  impressions  are  very
incoherent). The book has  a  very  rigid  form.  Joyce  describes  in  many
details every moment of the day: actions, feelings  &  thoughts.  But  apart
from  it  Joyce  deepens  into  human  consciousness…  he  tries  to  render
something which doesn’t depend on people’s mind, he tries to penetrate  into
human psyche, impulses which govern, move them. Each chapter corresponds  to
the certain episode in Homer’s “Odyssey” & each chapter has its  own  style.
It witnesses that Joyce was a virtuous of the  English  language.  ”Ulysses”
has 18 episodes, each of them tracing the deeds  &  the  thoughts  of  three
people during one day in Dublin. The  book  is  a  mosaic.  It  consists  of
different & not quite linked together parts. There is almost no plot.  Joyce
still puts the idea in it to describe symbolically man’s  wandering  in  the
chaos of life & floating with the stream of his thoughts.  The  humanity  is
lost & confused about all the contradictions of modern  life,  people  waist
their lives in this chaos, their existence is sensless  &  purposeless.  The
three main characters present three eternal types of human beings  –  common
person, an artist, a woman.  Bloom  stands  for  the  symbol  of  a  typical
bourgeois  person.  He  is  very  limited  &  content   with   down-to-earth
   The book caused a storm of outrage. It was banned in Britain  &  America
for more than ten years. Now it is praised for technical  experimentation  &
stylistic  brilliance.  The  book  attracted  attention  to  the  stream  of
consciousness technique. In general it evoked controversial responses.
   Even before completing “Ulysses”  Joyce  wrote  “Finnegan’s  Wake”  –  a
novel. If “Ulysses” is considered to be a daybook, “Finnegan’s  Wake”  is  a
night book. Joyce tried to present the whole human history in a dream  of  a
Dublin innkeeper Earwicker by name. The style is  appropriate  to  a  dream,
the language is shifting & changing, the words blur &  glue  together,  this
suggests the merging of images in a dream. This technique enables  Joyce  to
present history & myth as a single image. The characters stand  for  eternal
types, identified by Earwicker himself, his wife & the three children.
   The  work  masks  the  limit  of  formal  experiment  in  the  language.
“Finnegan’s  Wake”  is  considered  to  be  a  closed  book.  It   is   very
sophisticated. Joyce loses the thread of narration sometimes…  attempted  in
the sound of words, construction of a sentences, to render  the  meaning  of
what he was talking about (e.g. images of woman &  the  river  are  merging;
the rhythm – gurgling, flowing water). What unifies these two books  –  both
of them express Joyce’s positive credo: he asserts  that  life  is  eternal,
human  society  does  change  but  the  change  has  a  circular  character.
Everything is renewed, nothing can be destroyed. Joyce starts the work  with
the continuation of thoughts & the beginning of them  is  at  the  end.  Man
must believe in the city (symbol of Dublin).
                     Thomas Stearns Eliot (1889 – 1965)
   Thomas  Stearns  Eliot  is  considered   today’s   genius   in   poetry.
Quintessence: refine sensibility – the essential quality of the  poet.  “Our
civilization comprehends great  variety  &  complexity;  &  this  variety  &
complexity playing  upon  a  refined  sensibility  must  produce  various  &
complex result. The poet must become more & more comprehensive, more &  more
allusive, more indirect  in  order  to  force,  to  dislocate  if  necessary
language into his meaning” – said Eliot.  This  is  an  account  of  what  a
modern poet should do. He must be finely tuned to the world to  be  able  to
express the various & complex. The poet can distort the language, to use  it
   Extremely was influential figure  in  literary  circles.  Editor,  poet,
playwright, critic – he came from a prosperous American family,  his  father
was a rich manufacturer & his mother wrote poetry. He was brought up in  St.
Louis Missouri. He was educated in private school & attended Harvard to  get
his degree in philosophy in 1906. Then left for  Paris.  There  he  attended
lectures of Henry Bergson  –  “Subjective  Idealism  Philosophy,  Theory  of
Intuitivism”. Being in Paris he read much on  French  symbolist  poets.  The
symbolist movement was one of major influences upon his poetry. The goal  of
art is to express the unique  personal  emotional  responses  to  a  certain
moment in human life through  indefinite  illogical,  sometimes  private  in
meaning symbols. Eliot returned  to  Harvard  &  there  he  read  widely  in
Sanskrit & oriental philosophy (had a powerful influence on  him).  In  1915
he decided to give up philosophy to remain in England &  to  begin  writer’s
career. In 1916 he completed his Ph.D. theses, but never received a  degree.
He married & settled in England permanently.
   The beginning of his literary career starts from 1910 when he wrote “The
Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”. It  was  published  in  1915  in  magazine
“Poetry”. The poem is written in  a  very  simple  style.  Then  he  made  a
collection “Prufrock & Other Observations”. This was compared with  “Lyrical
Ballads” of Wordsworth  &  Coleridge.  This  work  inaugurated  the  age  of
modernism in poetry. There  is  no  plot  in  the  story.  It’s  a  dramatic
monologue but of the new kind. It sounds like a stream of  consciousness  of
a person who walks up the  street  of  London.  The  protagonist  is  Alfred
Prufrock. He is an antiromantic hero, rather timid, self-centred.  The  tone
is very ironic, images are startlingly fresh. The title suggests  that  some
feeling should be shown to the other person. The poem starts as a dialogue:
                          Let us go out – you & I…
   Critics argue that you & I are two sides of one & the same person. Eliot
says that “YOU” is a companion of Prufrock. We should pay attention  to  the
epigraph: “The truth will remain under”. This means  that  the  speaker  can
persuade himself to talk only if this will never be heard.  It  is  his  own
dramatic  monologue.  Prufrock  is  intensely  preoccupied   with   himself.
Probably he signs his love song to himself… (though it doesn’t matter  much)

   We can understand “love-song” in ironic sense because the whole poem  is
an elaborate rationalization for not seeking  love.  Love  cannot  exist  in
this ugly senseless chaotic world. It is a  miracle,  hopeless  yearning  of
person for the vitality. The whole scene makes  us  see  that  love  is  not
possessive in this world. Repulsive attitude of the  narrator  towards  what
he sees – images of a pair of ragged claws, mermaids singing each  to  each.
                           Â ãîñòèíûõ äàìû òÿæåëî
                          Áåñåäóþò î Ìèêåëàíäæåëî.
   It means that they talk of what they pretend to know.
   The poem is full of allusions. The epigraph is  quite  important,  taken
from Dante’s “The Divine Comedy”. The end of poem is pessimistic. It is  one
of the most understandable of his poems.
   “The Waste Land” (the poem (1922) in ”Dial” & “Criteria”[GB]). The  poem
consists of 5 parts & their titles speak for themselves:
   “The Burial of the Dead”
   “A Game of Chess” – an allusion of a medieval play, where the action was
as if in two playings.
   “The Fire Sermon” – the postulates of oriental religion.
   “The Death by the Water”
   “What the Thunder Said”
   In terms of forms the poem  is  a  collage  of  fragments  of  memories,
overheard  conversations,  quotations  put  together  only  by  the  implied
present of a sensible person (= a refined  sensibility  =  a  modern  poet),
upon whom all these complexibilities & varieties of human world  are  hipped
& who staggers under the burden of them. We can say that  the  mind  of  the
poet is heavily packed with cultural tradition. A  poem  abounds  in  highly
sophisticated allusions:
       . “The Tempest”
       . Anthropological account of “Grail”(“Ãðààëü”) legend– a legend
         connected with Christianity – a cup from which Christ drank;
       . from “The Divine Comedy”;
       . alluded & used words from operas of Wagner;
       . refers to the story of crusification;
       . uses French symbolists;
       . as well as scraps of popular culture – music-hall songs, slang
         words, contemporary fashion;
   He hips everything together. This bits & pieces are set into a matrix of
flowing stream of consciousness of a man. The dramatic portrait of a  single
mind becomes the portrait of an age. Eliot provided 52 notes for “The  Waste
Land” when it was first published. The poem was opposed violently but  there
were also admirers. They said that Eliot  gave  a  definite  description  of
their age. Now terms “lost generation”,  “post-war  disillusionment”,  “jazz
age”, “waste land” are used  parallelly  For  many  contemporary  writers  &
critics  “The  Waste  Land”  was  a  definite  description   of   the   age.
Civilization was dying. Critics regarded it  as  the  disillusionment  of  a
generation. Eliot protested against that. The term “waste land” is  used  in
literature alongside with the term “lost generation”.
   He also employed the myth of dying &  reviving  king  –  what  the  poem
expresses is the need of salvation & this is expressed in 3  Sanskrit  words
(give, sympathize & control). There are many barbarisms in the poem.
   In 1925 he published another poem in the same tonality. “The Hollow Man”
develops the major themes &  images  of  “The  Waste  Land”  –  problems  of
spiritual  bareness,  the  problem  of  loss  of   faith   in   contemporary
generation. The poem is a set of recurrent symbols. The meaning  depends  on
cumulative effect of the individual images. The idea of spiritual  sterility
in the image of Hollow Man – grotesque caricature of  man,  their  behaviour
is mimicry of human activity. The poem is very short. It is easily read  but
not so easily understood. There are 5 parts in  the  poem.  Other  images  –
Death of the Kingdom. The life of the Hollow Man – is more  shadowy  &  less
real than the life beyond the  grave.  Religion  is  substituted  by  simple
rituals devoid  of  all  true  feelings  &  emotions.  The  end-of-the-world
(apocalyptic) motive is very  strong  in  the  poem.  The  picture  is  very
pessimistic. The poem ends hopelessly:
                       This is the way the world ends,
                       Not with a bang but a whimper…
    Eliot’s development after “The Waste Land”  was  in  the  direction  of
literary,  political,  religious  conservatism.  Classicist  in  literature,
royalist in politics & Anglo-Saxon in religion he  developed  more  composed
lyrical style.
   His mature masterpiece is “Four Quartets” (1944) which is based  on  the
poetic memories of certain localities  of  America  &  Britain.  This  is  a
starting point for his probing in the mystery of  time,  history,  eternity,
the meaning of life. It deals with one single question of what  significance
in our lives are ecstatic intense moments when we  seem  to  escape  time  &
glimpses of  supra-ordinary  reality  (it  resembles  Joyce’s  “Epiphanies”.
There are two epigraphs that give clues to the  answer.  The  epigraphs  are
very important.
   The first comes from Heroclitus. It contrasts the general wisdom of  the
race with moments of private individual insight. It  shows  the  dualism  of
individual existence. First of all individuality  is  apart  of  a  body  of
mankind,  located  in  history  &  tradition.  Secondly,  it  is  a   unique
personality. Each person embraces both & this predetermines the reaction  to
intense moments.
   The second is short – “The way up & the way down are one  &  the  same”.
This is another duality, two ways of apprehending the truth. The  first  one
is an active embrace of ecstatic experience (the way up), the second one  is
a passive withdrawal from experience into self (the way down).
   The poem got a reputation of a great obscurity due  to  a  philosophical
richness but at the same time it is intensely musical. He tries to  make  it
closer to music by the motives that return like the tones in  music.  It  is
not by chance that the poem is  called  “Four  Quartets”  –  4  instrumental
voices in the quartet. In his essay “The Music of Poetry” he explained  this
usage of recurrent things.
   From 1926 he experimented with poetic drama “The  Cocktail  Party”.  But
his dramas remain unpopular because drama needs plot.
   Eliot received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1949 as recognition  of
his innovations in modern poetry. He also wrote critical works  “The  Sacred
Wood”, “The Use of Poetry & the Use of Criticism”, “On  Poetry  &  Poets”  –
most influential literary documents.
                     David Herbert Lawrence (1885-1930)
   Lawrence was  very  much  influenced  by  Freud’s  conception  of  human
personality. He is considered to be a modernist  but  he  didn’t  experiment
with form. On the outside he worked within the  confines  of  English  novel
tradition but he broke from the understanding of human relations  that  were
accepted in critical realism. He was the first who touched upon the  problem
of  marrying,  the  relations  between  sexes,  he  didn’t  hush  down   the
contradictions between them. His main concern was to liberate a person  from
all the constrains which were put by the society  upon  him.  There  was  so
much taboos, hush-hush attitudes to this topic, that …
   He  is  compared  to  Eliot.  Both  started  from  similar  points  that
civilization threatens human beings, it is hostile to man.  Civilization  is
sick, it destroys  people  morally  &  bodily.  What  Lawrence  can  suggest
instead? His religion was belief in blood & flesh as being  wiser  than  the
intellect. This belief became one of his main themes. He  interpreted  human
behaviour  &  character  from  this  standpoint.  All  his   writings   were
underlined with a deep discontent with a modern world. And this fact  unites
him with other modernists. Civilization is  on  the  wrong  track.  Science,
industrialization produced a race of robots. Civilization is evil. The  only
way out – the way back – to re-awaken our emotional,  irrational  layers  of
consciousness. He was little  concerned  with  social  problems.  Lawrence’s
treatment of character is based on the assumption that 7/8 are  submerged  &
never seen. He explored the unconscious mind that was not  always  seen  but
was always present. He is  fumbling  for  the  words  to  describe  strictly
indescribable. He enjoyed popularity in his lifetime. His first works are:
   “The White Peacock” 1911
   “Sons & Lovers” 1913
   They were well received. Critics thought that there  appeared  one  more
working-class writer. His late works were received with shock  &  opposition
because of his frankness to the questions of sexuality, relations of  men  &
women. These themes suffered from late Victorian  prudishness.  He  was  the
first to describe sexual relations using common words not…
   “Sons & Lovers” is  considered  to  be  autobiographical.  Lawrence  was
brought up in miner’s family in Nottinghamshire. His mother  was  cultivated
ex-school teacher. She married beneath herself & so  she  tried  to  develop
ambitions in her  children.  The  book  centers  around  Paul  Morel  &  his
mother’s relations. His mother made  him  fatally  unable  to  love  another
woman. “There was something in his life that blocked  his  intentions.”  The
relations that he  explores  within  the  Morel  family  remind  us  of  the
relations in his own family. He must get it clear & get  away  with  it.  By
giving this story a form of a novel Lawrence tried to  liberate  himself  of
his ties with the past.  Sometimes  it  is  considered  an  illustration  of
Freud’s theory of Oedipus complex.
   We consider Lawrence a modernist not because of his innovations in  form
&  style  but  by  his  attitude  to  human  beings  (human   behaviour   is
biologically determined). “Blood & flesh being wiser than intellect”.
   Lawrence is a very prolific writer but his books were uneven in  quality
– 15 novels & volumes of short stories. The best of them are:
   “The Rainbow”(was also condemned as obscene one)
   “Women in Love” 1920
   “Kangaroo” 1923
   “The Plumed Serpent” 1926
   “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” (1929) was subjected to  obscenity  trial.  It
was banned for oscine vocabulary till 1960. “His urgency in seeking out  the
deepest core of  his  characters’  being  lead  him  to  employ  a  language
overfraught  with  portentous   vocabulary   –   repeatedly,   ineffectually
gesturing at dark, mystic, passionate, but ultimately  vague  &  ungraspable
emotions.” Critics considered this work to be his greatest one.
   Sexual aspect wasn’t the only one though very important. It was  a  part
of his concept of personal development.
                             American Modernism.
   It appeared in the first decade of  the  XX  when  the  group  of  poets
appeared in the USA who tried to bring modernists’ ideas.  The  most  active
of these poets were Ezra Pound & Thomas Eliot.  American  modernism  doesn’t
mean geographical terms.  Many  American  writers  created  their  works  in
Europe (mainly in Paris). Ezra Pound  said:  “Paris  is  a  lab  of  ideas”.
   Ezra Pound
   Gertrude Stein
   John Dos Passos
             Ernest Hemingway
   Partially     William Faulkner
             Francis Scott Fitzgerald
                          Ezra Pound (1885 – 1972)
   A famous poet, publicist & translator. He studied in the  University  of
Pennsylvania (studied Roman languages). But he had a very brief career as  a
teacher & in 1908 he left for Europe. He walked all the way  from  Gibraltar
to Venice where the first  collection  of  his  poems  appeared  –  “A  Hume
Spento”. During 2 years from 1908 he gained his popularity. His  collections
   “Canzoni” – songs
   “Ripostes” – leisure
   “Lustra” – light
The poems impressed the readers by the original form, new  expressiveness  &
metrical  faction.  He  is  the  founder  of   imagist’s   school   (opposed
traditional Victorian verse). The poets’ aim was to be precise  &  clear  in
word usage. They did not accept thematic limitations, were  responsible  for
exploding the traditional form, tried to find form to substitute  it.  There
was a trend in imagism – wordism – the model for the  XXth  century  poetry.
Its features:
    V Mechanistism
    V Technisism
    V Specific rhyme
Much attention was paid to the metaphorical images. These  ideas  influenced
young poets like Robert Frost, Thomas Eliot, and W. Butler.
   Pound edited magazine “Little Review”  where  new  names  &  works  were
introduced. It is believed that he revolutionized English versification.  He
tried to capture the intonation of monological  speech.  His  poems  have  a
peculiar form of masques. His poetry is dressed in  the  bright  clothes  of
Latin, Greek, Japanese, Anglo-Saxon, etc poets.
   Translations are the best part of his legacy. They were also  thoroughly
polished masques. He  developed  interest  Japanese  poetry.  He  liked  the
Japanese way of presenting the most abstract idea through a concrete  image.
So he introduced idiomatic poetry when any nation could be rendered  through
the combination of concrete images. This  principle  was  employed  in  “The
Cantos” epic poem, which he started in 1925 & continued  almost  up  to  the
end of his life. He called it “íåèñ÷åðïàåìûé ñâîä  ñòèõîòâîðíûõ  ôîðì”.  The
synthesis  of  his  ideas  of  works,  autobiography,  aesthetic  &   poetic
principles & reflection of the urgent &  poetic  issues.  “The  Cantos”  are
uneven  in  quality.  Some  fragments  are  difficult  to   understand.   To
facilitate the process of reading “The Index of Cantos”  was  published.  In
1925 Pound moved to Italy & became interested in politics  &  economics.  He
devoted much time & effort to discuss economics & politics.
   “What Is Money For?”
He supported the fascist regime. After the war he was arrested & charged  in
prison, but was considered to have  mental  disease  &  spent  22  years  in
mental hospital. In late 50’s he was let free  &  went  to  Italy  where  he
died. But he continued to write even in hospital. “The Cantos of  Pizza”  is
a very painful reevaluation of the things passed. The famous critic  Malison
said: “He chose a wrong position above the society &  that’s  the  problem”.
He was the poet who transformed  the  form  of  English  verse  –  thus  his
achievement was great.
                         Gertrude Stein (1874-1946)
   Gertrude Stein is remembered because of her influence on the writers  to
come, not for her  works.  She  doesn’t  enter  anthologies  of  English  or
American literature. She was  born  in  USA,  her  childhood  was  spent  in
Europe. She studied psychology in Harvard. Her teacher  was  William  James.
She  conducted  several  experiments  on  automatic  writing  but  she   was
interested only from psychological point  of  view.  However,  she  did  not
become a psychologist yet this influenced her writing. In  1903’s  she  left
for Paris & remained there almost all her life. In 1909  she  published  the
novel “The Three Lives”. It consists of three parts describing the lives  of
three women. The work was unnoticed in that time.  But  that  time  she  got
acquainted  with  famous  artists:  Picasso,  Matisse.  New  tendencies   in
painting (cubism, abstractionism) impressed her very much.
   Abstraction tendencies dominated in her artistic works. She claimed that
only Spanish & American writers were able to  realize  abstract  notions  in
literature. This abstraction must be  expressed  by  the  deformity  of  the
form. She was  the  only  representative  of  literary  abstractionism.  Her
desire was to get rid of the content of words (of the meaning) so  that  she
could be able to concentrate on the plastic properties  of  the  language  &
its syntax. She was going to capture inner  &  outer  reality  in  the  most
precise & objective form.
   Literature must not awake any  associations:  associative  emotions  are
invalid. Everything that is the result of emotions cannot  be  the  gist  of
literary work, cannot be material for prose & poetry. They must  consist  in
the precise rendering  of  internal  &  external  reality.  The  words  must
express the reality directly, she tried to devoid them of any  meaning.  But
she forgot that the painter & the  writer  use  different  media  for  their
arts. But if colours have no meaning the words  obviously  possess  it.  She
wanted to create pure literature by using pure words, no one else  tried  to
do that before. She emptied the words of the thought &  created  almost  her
private language  & that was the extreme. It showed how far one could go  in
violating the language.
   Another novelty – the new concept of time. She tried  a  new  method  of
narration – “continuous present”. Instead of the  narration  she  creates  a
composition where a story is  presented  as  if  happening  at  the  present
moment, not as a consequent unfolding of the theme as we  perceive  reading.
She did acknowledge that  such  a  category  as  time  in  literature  would
transform into continuous perception of the present moment. So she tried  to
put this theory into practice in her book “The Making of Americans”.
   In “The Making of America” describing the history of the Gestland family
she tries at the same time to give a picture of American history. She  tried
to describe individual & general simultaneously. And that  resulted  in  the
style, which was very awkward. She also tried to use the technique that  she
borrowed from cinematography, like in a  film  each  next  shot  presents  a
slight variation from the previous one. Each  next  sentence  differed  from
the previous  one  only  insignificantly  (regularly-repeated  phrases,  key
words). It may look ridiculous, stupid, but many modern  writers  took  this
repetition from her.
   Another side the so-called portraits in literature were created  on  the
basis  of  rhythmic  principle.  Every  person  has  his  own  rhythm  &  in
portraying a person’s life she tried to combine  &  match  these  rhythms  –
literary expressionism. The result of this  was  simplification  of  syntax,
foregrounding of the verbs,  minimal  punctuation  &  omission  of  nouns  &
adjectives. “Tender Buttons” is a collection  of  poems,  examples  of  this
technique. The reaction was  not  unanimous.  They  accused  the  style  for
deintellectualization. For example, Malcolm Kowly  said  that  “reading  her
style annoys us…”. Stein’s  experiments  are  not  so  important  by  itself
because they warned other artists against taking the same route.  Her  works
are fruitless &  senseless  –  they  distract  the  communication.  But  her
experiments are noticeable in  Hemingway’s  syntax,  Faulkner’s  “continuous
present” (=past does exist in the present), Sherwood  Anderson’s  principles
of cinematography. Her significance – she was the first English  writer  who
expressed those tendencies which were the distinctive features of the avant-
garde movement.
                        John Doss Passos (1896-1970)
   He was born in Chicago. He lived a long life  but  his  most  productive
period was in the 20-30’s of the XXth century. He reflected the  progressive
ideas of the time, produced the epic of American life within  the  framework
of a literary experiments. He graduated from  Harvard.  In  1916-17  studied
architecture in Spain & this background can be felt in his  works  in  their
architecture. Participated in the war & after that he began  to  write.  His
first book –  “One  Man’s  Initiation”(1920).  It  was  the  first  book  in
American literature, which treats the war topic. It  is  a  lost  generation
book because it was motivated by post-was disillusionment that young  people
experienced. The pathos is clearly  antiwar.  It  is  autobiographical.  The
pacifist motives are very strong here. The style doesn’t  differ  much  from
that  of  his  mature  works.  Dos  Passos  chose  the  fragmentary  way  of
organization of material, which is to his mind, more  expressive.  The  book
is in the form of interior monologue – to express more precisely  the  crash
of a young American world in the war.
   He continued the same technique in  “Three  Soldiers”.  He  attacks  the
corruption of the world, socialist  motives  become  more  explicit  in  his
work. Here he experiments with writing technique – plot. The lives of  three
young people – Americans – are in the  focus  of  his  attention.  At  first
their lives are connected, they met each other on the same boat but this  is
the only point where their fates are close. As they arrive in  Europe  their
ways diverge. Each one follows his own path.  The  plot  decenters,  follows
the life of each of three heroes. All of them are ruined at  the  war,  feel
lost, disillusioned. It is a typical lost generation novel  written  in  the
modernist technique. John Andrews is a painter, he  dreams  to  express  his
protest against the war by artistic means. Both J. Andrews in the book &  J.
D. Passos fear capitalist tyranny & revolutionary enthusiasm.  Antibourgeois
pathos is rather strong.
   These tendencies  increase  in  his  next  works.  “Manhattan  Transfer”
(novel) is a kaleidoscope of  numerous  episodes,  names,  dates  where  the
reader can hardly find the characters. It consists of  independent  stories,
which are all mixed. The only similar feature is the place & the  time.  Dos
Passos considered that such composition will enable him to show the  reality
objectively, a stream of  New  York  life.  Characters  represent  different
social layers. The author introduces clips from  newspapers,  some  glimpses
of  literature,  which  are  not  connected  with  the  novel.  It  produces
disorder. But it was his intention – city is  a  chaos;  life  is  a  chaos.
Reaction to the  novel  was  contradictory.  Some  thought  that  it  was  a
collectivist novel. Dos Passos was not in the individual lives, troubles  or
joys. A collectivist writer was  interested  in  social  relations  but  the
paradox was that social relations were abstract from  his  work.  He  didn’t
dispose social. His attitude to  the  events  is  not  clear.  The  lack  of
objective conclusions was intentional but  the  writer  can’t  do  that.  He
tried to produce such works where the generalization should be.
   He was popular in 20-30’s in Soviet Union, unfortunately his  popularity
was short-lived for political reasons. As soon as he began  to  criticize  &
warn against totalitarianism he fell out of  grace.  He  lived  through  the
economic crises of 1929 & this found its expression in the novel “USA”.
   Dos Passos wrote “USA” – a big epic where  he  paid  more  attention  to
generalization. He wrote it for 20 years. It consists of 3 novels:  “The  42
Parallel”, “1919”, “The Big Money”. Dos Passos  tried  to  be  more  precise
with the composition, developed a scheme of it. It is a big panoramic  work.
The real hero is American society, the country.  It  is  shown  against  the
social background of the nation. It  is  an  epic  of  American  life.   The
structure is very logical  &  coherent.  Each  chapter  falls  into  several
parts, which are made up of  for  components  &  the  combination  of  these
components is very different. These four components are:
    V novel - the portraits of literary characters
    V biographies of historical personalities
    V news-reel, i.e. news of the day
    V camera obscure (eye) – inner monologue of the author
Each  piece  has  a  title  &  a  number.  The  biographies  of   historical
personality were intended to create the historical background, dedicated  to
famous people of political,  social,  scientific,  artistic  activities.  It
included the stories about the outstanding people.
   News of the day was to documentarize the specific  moments  in  the  USA
history to create the historical  colouring  &  objective  picture  of  that
epoch. It included popular songs, headlines from papers. Here  they  try  to
follow the stream of consciousness of the newspaper reader.
   Camera obscure were to show the author’s attitude to life, to  bring  an
individual lyrical touch to the story,  personal  meditations  upon  certain
subjects, reminiscences of the things passed, expression of  author’s  ideas
upon various aspects of life. It gave a picture of the  author’s  evaluation
for 30 years.
   Novels are fictions. The portraits of literary characters were imaginary
literary heroes. There were 11 of them – typical representatives of all  the
layers of the American society. The central characters  John  Wool  McHouse.
The author tries to  trace  his  relations  with  other  characters  but  it
doesn’t mean that he knows all of them.
   From the unique combination of these  elements  the  unique  picture  of
American life springs up. The general mood is that  of  confusion,  tension,
tumult,  frustration  of  hopes,  feeling  that  the  present  is   ugly   &
intolerable. People are too fussy about their daily routine.  In  this  work
he showed how life was lived on the national scale.
   Dos Passos was concerned with the history of the country primarily.  The
writer must be an architect of history. His work was a  literary  conclusion
– different elements were  assembled.  The  work  is  considered  to  be  an
achievement  in  the  American  literature.  The   author   tried   to   use
cinematographic principles in writing: close up, precision in  details,  the
art of assembly. He also used the technique of montage or juxtaposition.  In
his later works he perfected this technique & achieved quite  a  success  in
it. Later he became a radical writer. He was a  passionate  individualist  &
individual freedom was most important to him.
                    Francis Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940)
   He belongs to the lost generation but he gave his own name to it – “jazz
age”. Jazz was representative of the general atmosphere of the years  –  the
feeling of instability in life. Age of transition of social values.  To  his
mind jazz beat ideally expressed  that  feeling  of  hopeless  despair  with
which his young men & women tried to experience the every passing moment  of
their lives, their age. There  is  a  recurrent  “capre  diem”(ëîâè  ìîìåíò)
theme in his novels. His heroes indulge & overindulge.  Jazz  age  expresses
instability & changebility of life present in mind of many people who  tried
to flee from the feeling of being lost,  for  they  no  longer  believed  in
life, so they tried to live it to their full. Fitzgerald was not  very  rich
but was educated in Princeton. He dropped out of it because of  poor  health
& poor performance, he didn’t get  to  front  though  he  enlisted.  He  was
painfully aware of the difference between himself & rich  students.  He  had
hatred for the rich. The main topic of his work –  money  &  its  corruptive
influence. For him money & wealth were social categories.  He  regarded  the
rich to be another race, whose habits & moral principles differ  very  much.
He looked into the phenomenon of being rich. For him a rich  person  is  one
for whom everything is permitted & they lack human qualities,  he  tried  to
penetrate to the very heart of the matter. So, money & wealth for  him  were
not economic categories but social phenomena. He regarded  rich  as  another
race, alien kind of people whose habits, moral principles,  views  were  not
as the  habits  of  the  ordinary  people.  They  are  the  people  to  whom
everything is permitted & consequently they  lack  certain  human  qualities
that of pity, compassion, and sympathy.  In  his  works  Fitzgerald  striped
this world of this mysterious veil.  He  tried  to  penetrate  to  the  very
depths exploring the ethics of  the  rich  world.  Wealth  has  dehumanizing
impact on human personality. He  had  a  feeling  that  something  awful  is
coming. “All the stories that come to my head have touch  of  disaster”.  He
produced the collection of short stories “All the Sad Young Men”, “Tales  of
the Jazz Age”. They are permeated with appocaliptical   feeling  of  tragedy
of American life. Fitzgerald was not the only one who treated this  topic  –
Theodore Dreiser in “American Tragedy” did the same.
   His finest achievement is the novel “The Great Gatsby” which showed  the
contrast between material wealth & the  spiritual  poverty  of  the  heroes.
Concerning this work in Soviet  criticism  the  term  “ïîýçèÿ  îòðèöàòåëüíûõ
âåëè÷èí” was used. It means that he tried  to  show  people  who  were  real
characters, strong individuals, but this all is  directed  not  to  a  right
channel – to make one’s life to the top, to get something from life,  strive
for the world success. For Gatsby wealth is not the  purpose  but  means  to
have everything  that  money  can  give,  a  key  to  personal  happiness  =
relations between Jay Gatsby & Daisy whom he loves.  In  youth  he  suffered
feeling of inferiority, for she was the daughter of rich parents & he was  a
poor soldier. He seeks to get money by bootlegging but it  turned  out  that
happiness could not be achieved even with money because Daisy  had  changed,
she  is  very  deaf  &  blind  spiritually,  feeling  of  all-permissiveness
increased in her. She doesn’t  stop  short  in  the  fraud  (car  accident).
Gatsby was killed,  Daisy  departed,  fled  with  her  husband  without  any
remorse. Gatsby’s tragedy lies in the fact that he hoped to find  happiness,
sympathy, love in the world where these feelings don’t  exist.  The  tragedy
is that money changes people &  money  changed  him  &  Daisy  &  he  didn’t
understand this tragedy couldn’t foresee it.
   Was he a positive or a negative character for the author?  He  possesses
good moral qualities but he is not the paragon of moral beauty, he  obtained
his wealth by not clear ways. It’s clear that he  is  a  tragic  person.  He
wastes his talent for money. Very often he is  compared  to  Clyde  Griffite
(Dreiser’s). But Gatsby is a personality.
   Fitzgerald’s own story  in  a  way  repeats  Gatsby’s  story:  he  lived
bohemian life, gradually writing became an obligation. He appeared to  be  a
hostage of his own success. He also had drinking problems, & his  wife  whom
he loved very deeply had some mental problems.
   The other works are “This Side of Paradise”, “Tender is the Night”, “The
Last Typcoon”, “The Beautiful & the Damned”  where  he  developed  the  same
topic. Fitzgerald also had a dilemma & he had to choose to write  for  money
that ruined his health. He died in 1940.
                        William Faulkner (1897-1962)
   A unique personality born in small town of Oxford (Mississippi) he  grew
up in an impoverished southern aristocratic family & it had  impact  on  him
(the spirit of the South). His education was not  systematic.  He  inherited
the tragic  confrontation  of  white  &  black.  In  1925  he  mat  Sherwood
Anderson, dropped out of the university. He  tried  his  hand  in  different
areas. After an unsuccessful attempt to become a pilot (was wounded  in  the
WWI), he did  different  odd  jobs,  worked  in  a  bank,  had  a  published
collection of poems. He wrote a couple of books  imitating  lost  generation
novels. He produces novels “Soldier’s Pay”, “Mosquitoes”.  Though  published
they were not welcomed by critics. Their words were rather  hush:  “Faulkner
has no voice of his own, he has nothing to say.” So he decided to  write  in
a unique style, did not bother himself with any literary tradition.  If  you
don’t like it – it is your problem. All his life  he  lived  in  that  small
town &it became a  background  for  most  of  his  books.  It  is  known  as
“Yoknapatawpha County”
   But he found writing to be a pleasure for him. In  1929  he  wrote  “The
Sound & the Fury”, “Sartoris”. This year was a turning  point  for  him.  He
wrote as he pleased disregarding traditions. His  perspective  was  to  make
things clear to himself. He began to write about the  things  that  he  knew
firsthand. Both these novels  look  into  the  decay  of  south’s  families.
Faulkner mercifully exposes the degradation of the South.  There  are  moral
reasons for this: here the topic of slavery springs  up,  topic  of  incest,
moral impurity of people living there, their sins. At the same time one  can
feel Faulkner’s anxiety even hatred  about  the  civilization,  contemporary
life. The civilization did only harm. The alternative is a  patriarchal  way
of living. Much as he scorned the past he still longed for those times.
   He needn’t invent anything – “The  Sound  &  the  Fury”  is  taken  from
Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”. He alluded to the words that  Macbeth  said  before
his death:
                 Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
                 That struts & frets his hour upon the stage,
                 And then is heard no more. It is a tale
                 Told by an idiot, full of sound & fury,
                 Signifying nothing.
   It seems that the same feeling of confusion is familiar to Faulkner. The
story is about the decay of the Compson’s  family.  The  novel  consists  of
four  parts.  The  first  is  told  by  Benjamin  Compson  who  is  mentally
handicapped. He is that very idiot who tells the story of life’s  confusion.
Events are given as fragments of his perception  as  if  through  the  stain
glass. He doesn’t know what’s going on, he is subconsciously  aware  of  the
conflict in the family. Everything is blurred, mixed, no chronology. We  can
indicate time by the hints the characters drop now & then.  He  uses  device
of interrelated temporal plains. The second part is told by Quentin.  He  is
a romantic type of a person who feels deeply & suffers deeply.   He  is  too
fragile, too frail. He  cannot  cope  with  the  harsh  world  (committed  a
suicide). The third  –  by  Jason  Compson.  He  is  practical,  persistent,
knowing what he waits from life, a tenacious man.  The  fourth  is  told  by
Faulkner himself. He tries to be objective,  was  to  put  everything  their
places. Everything is centred round their sister Caddy.  Use  of  subjective
viewpoint, inner monologue, stream of consciousness –  achieved  a  striking
effect – highly  individual  characters  become  universal  types:  Bengy  –
childish perception, Quentin – adolescent consciousness, Jason –  pragmatic.
All of them are contrasted to authors representation of things  –  combining
particular & general. The degradation of one family is  the  symbol  of  the
decline of the  South  in  general.  He  shows  that  the  family  gradually
collapses, people are driven to death & despair. Life is chaos  of  sound  &
fury. Another message was that Faulkner himself didn’t put up with  darkness
& gloom. Positive note is present in the book. His intentions  are  realized
in the fourth part.
   The following works treated the same topic.  In  1945  he  produced  the
chronological  supplement  to  the  work  “Light   in   August”,   “Absalom!
Absalom!”, “The Sanctuary”, “ As I Lay Dying”.
   The decline of the South, race conflict & the constant  overlap  of  the
past & the present, loss of human values are the  themes  of  his  works.  A
line of descendants of formerly rich South families. The values of the  past
generation became corrupted  in  the  modern  world.  Atmosphere  of  doomed
despair. He got a Nobel prize in 1950.  The  values  for  him  are  courage,
honour, pride, hope, sympathy, self-sacrifice, compassion.
   In 30’s his style changed. These works are easy to  read.  He  turns  to
another topic – the trilogy “The Hamlet”,  “The  Town”,  “The  Mansion”.  He
thought he had spotted a disease  in  American  society  called  “snopecism”
(from Flem Snopes – the main character of one of the parts of the  trilogy).
Snopecism is evil, the product of capitalist civilization, lust  for  money,
put on the pedestal of American society. Money dominates American  life.  It
is people’s God. The trilogy is written in a realistic key.  It  deals  with
the snopes – former poor white people. Flem is the first in the rank who  by
cunning, corruption, bribe, general unscrupulousness elevated himself  to  a
ruling financial class. It is shown how this lust for money  leads  Flem  to
come over his friends, family to power.  Faulkner  shows  that  a  collision
with Snopes ruins people, especially if they are not of his kind. He  is  to
blame for many deaths. He didn’t do it with his own hands but he drove  them
to such circumstances. He  is  not  human.  Makes  him  socially  dangerous.
People fall victims of his thirst for money. The character who opposes  Flem
is his stepdaughter Linda. Faulkner makes her a communist (probably  he  saw
no other force in the society  that  could  oppose  snopecism  as  a  social
   The change in Faulkner’s outlook resulted in the structure of the novel.
Chain of associations is not so unruly as previously.
   Faulkner is also  famous  for  his  short  stories  collected  into  two
   “Knight’s Gambit”
   “Collected Stories”
   Their theme is decline & deterioration o South. Here we  meet  the  same
heroes or allusions to the characters &  events  of  earlier  novels.  Every
book is interrelated. “The Bear” is a perfect example of  Faulkner’s  style.
It illustrates his concerns. Faulkner had  a  reputation  of  a  writer  for
                         Eugene O’Neill (1888-1953)
   He laid the foundation forAmerican drama. He comes form actor’s  family,
education was not systematic, he did different odd jobs  –  gold  digger  in
Gonduras, sailor, journalist, etc. This enriched him with knowledge of  life
firsthand. He developed interest for drama when he treated his  tuberculosis
in sanatorium. He read Ibsen. Then after he  took  a  course  in  theory  of
drama in Harvard. 1914  is  his  literary  debut  “Thirst  &  Other  One-Act
Plays”. From 1919 O’Neill collaborated with  Provincetown  players  company.
They staged his first works, & with this company his success is  associated.
He worked with them up to 1924. The plays of this period:
   “The Emperor Jones”
   “The Hairy Ape”
   “All God’s Chillun Got Wings” (chillun = children)
   These plays voiced his protest against racism & exploitation. His  plays
differed from typical Broadway production. They are  very  experimental.  On
the one hand, they are realistic dramas, showing  the  life  of  people  who
never before were the subject of writers’ interest. On the other  hand,  his
plays exhibit his  search  for  the  adequate  form  to  treat  this  topic.
Traditional realism is combined with the elements  of  expressionist  drama,
touch of Ibsen’s influence; innovative approach to the use of  the  elements
of classical drama &  biblical  motives.  [Ibsen  introduced  the  drama  of
ideas, where not the events were important but ideas that were  discussed  &
disclosed by these events. He is very close to Chekhov]
   “The Hairy Ape” is a story of a  young  proletariat  Robert  Smith  whom
everybody calls Jank. He was offended by a daughter  of  a  certain  man  of
property & so he is expressed his …to such a degree that he was put to  jail
where he absorbed certain socialistic ideas. But  when  he  is  released  he
tries to find his “áðàòüåâ ïî äóõó” he is taken for provocateur. He is  very
much shocked and baffled so he goes to the zoo where he lets an ape  out  of
the cage. Eventually this ape kills him & he dies in the ape’s cage.
   His remarks to the play are very important & he pays great attention  to
the setting. First scene shows the worker’s dwelling. It must remind a  cage
by O’Neill. Then the scene shifts to a stove-hall is shown. There must be  a
flame: the fire symbolizes the hell of capitalists  exploitation.  The  next
scene shows the fashionable hotel – the  paradise  of  the  rich.  The  last
scene is also an ape cage. It finishes the cycle.
   The naturalistic symbolism conveys the idea of inhumanity of exploiters,
shifts the accents from the conditions,  turning  man  to  a  beast  to  the
biological characteristics.
   In his work of 30-40’s experiment takes to realism.
   “The Great God Brown”
   “Lazarus Laughed”
   “Strange Interlude”
   He resorted to various techniques of modern  theatre  –  psychoanalysis,
inner monologue, mask theatre.
   His masterpiece is trilogy “Mourning Becomes Electra”. Here he  develops
classical notion of the tragic & transfers it to American soil of the  civil
war period. He takes an eternal conflict & puts it to America. Histories  of
O’Neill’s  characters  are  compared  to  the  lives  of  Electra,  Orestas,
Clitemnestra. But the environment is different.
   Later he intended to write a saga about wealthy people. It  materialized
in two plays:
   “A Touch of the Poet”
   “More Stately Mansions”
   O’Neill showed how several generations of  American  families  gradually
lose their values, their destines mingle. Individual lives  become  part  of
national history.
   The plays crowning his career are “A Moon for  the  Misbegotten”,  “Long
Day’s Journey into Night”. The latter is the most autobiographical.
                       Tennessee Williams (1911-1983)
   He is a southerner born in Columbus, Missouri, where his grandfather was
the Episcopal clergyman. When he was 12 his  father  who  was  a  travelling
salesman moved with his family to St. Louis, & both he &  his  sister  found
it impossible to settle down to the city life.  He  entered  college  during
the Depression & left after a couple of years to take a clerical  job  in  a
shoe company. He stayed there for two years, spending the evenings  writing.
He entered the University of Iowa in 1938 & completed  his  course,  at  the
same time holding a large number of part-time jobs of  great  diversity.  He
received a Rockefeller Fellowship in 1940 for his play “Battle of Angels”  &
he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1948 & 1955.
   In 1940 he started journey around the country & ended it up in New York.
There he wrote poetry & short stories. 1945 – his first success  “The  Glass
Menagerie”. Autobiographical elements are very strong in the play.  Williams
managed to create a special lyrical atmosphere of the Wickfield  family.  It
consists of three people – mother, crippled daughter &  son.  Each  of  them
lives in his or her own glass  menagerie  i.e.  imaginary  world  which  has
nothing to do with reality. They fear the reality, its  hoarse  &  repulsive
jungle for they cannot adjust to the law of  these  jungles.  Main  idea  is
that kindness & good feelings  are  doomed  in  clash  with  reality.  These
people are too fragile, too sensitive.
   The play introduced features of new plastic theatre. The  principles  of
this theatre Williams formulated in the afterward  to  the  play  “Note  for
Reproduction”. It is characterized by tense  emotional  atmosphere,  certain
romanticism,  masterly  music  &  light  effects,  attention  is  given   to
cinography & attraction of expressive means of other arts. In stage  remarks
Williams is scrupulous about details for they  bear  important  meaning.  he
calculated to produce certain effect on the audience.
   His second play “A Streetcar Named Desire” gained him  a  reputation  of
leading stage writer & Pulitzer  Prize.  In  this  play  there  is  a  clash
between realism & imagination; physical forces, brutishness &  helplessness;
sexual drive &thirst for poetic love; naked ugly truth & illusion, world  of
fantasy. The main character is Blanche du Beau. The action  takes  place  in
New Orleans in  French  quarters  (it  is  often  compared  to  the  “Cherry
Orchard” by  Chekhov).  Blanche  visits  her  sister’s  family  after  their
parents died & the family estate is sold.  Blanche  wears  old  ridiculously
looking dresses as a symbol of the world she lives  in.  Blanche  meets  her
sister’s brute of a husband Stan. Her sister gets out  of  the  way  to  the
hospital to give birth to a baby. Blanche and Stan  detest  each  other.  He
hates a woman who lives in Ivory tower &  she  hates  his  brutishness.  She
denies & longs for him at the same  time.  In  the  end  he  is  taken  into
lunatic asylum.
   Williams plays with human subconsciuosness. But he finds that  the  core
of the conflict  is  not  inherent  in  the  struggle  between  masculine  &
feminine but a complex interrelation of  personal  circumstances:  social  &
   Tennessee Williams’ human type is  an  outcast,  lonely,  constantly  in
search of a relative soul with whom to share a  burden  of  loneliness.  But
life is such that the outsider is doomed to defeat. The  only  salvation  is
love (but even this is questionable). Broken & lost people who are not  able
to defend themselves & their dreams can find love that  will  help  them  to
   Williams is a prolific writer, he also wrote 2 collections of poems.  He
combined poetry & realism & this unique combination  singles  him  out  from
other writers.
   “Camino Real” is an allegoric drama,  very  experimental.  “This  is  my
conception of contemporary world in which I live,” he  said.  The  scene  is
divided into two parts:
    V fashionable hotel in which people are bored & degraded
    V slums in which people are weak, humiliated, apathetic
   The town is in terror, free thoughts are persecuted, people  are  killed
in the streets, brainwashing is actively underway. All problems  are  solved
by an old gypsy woman who provides a  certain  entertainment.  The  city  is
called Camino Real[re’a:l], that is the way of hope  &  dream.  It  ends  to
sound real[ri:al], that is the way of reality, dead end of civilization.
   Killroy is an ordinary American who  feels  that  atmosphere  of  social
hysteria & he tries to make sense in  life.  Old  literary  characters  (Don
Quixote, Byron) come to rescue him.  The  play  has  an  optimistic  ending:
Killroy finally finds the way out of the city to terra  incognita.  Williams
idealized past, his future is uncertain. His past is good but  dead,  &  the
present is abhorrent.
   His other plays “Baby  Doll”,  “Cat  on  a  Hot  Tin  Roof”,  “Something
Unspoken”, “Suddenly Last Summer”, “Sweet Bird of Youth”,  “The  Milk  Train
Doesn’t Stop Here Any More”, “The Night of the Iguana”, etc.
                               Post Modernism.
   Post modernism can be regarded in two aspects:
    V as a literary trend
    V as a phenomenon which doesn’t belong exclusively to  literature  –  a
      certain mentality of post industrial age.
   Post modernism appeared after the second WW. In  50’s,  especially  60’s
new type  of  fiction,  new  writing  emerged,  drastically  different  from
previous writers. The idea that permeated  this  works:  there  is  need  to
reevaluate old values, the values that lead Western  civilization  (idea  of
emancipation, enlightenment). But the WWII showed that  the  belief  that  a
human is a reasonable  creature  who  can  build  a  reasonable  society  is

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