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 influences:
The First World War
Bergson’s philosophy of subjective idealism
Einstein’s theory of relativity
Economic crises 1919-1921 & consequent upheaval of social movement
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 behave.
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.
Ðåôåðàò îïóáëèêîâàí: 31/01/2010