An Introduction to Modernism in Literature
Characteristics of Modernism in Literature
James Joyce
James Joyce
James Joyce
Finnegans Wake
Dubliners - 1914
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Bildungsroman
Semi-autobiographical novel
Part I
T.S. Eliot
Major Works
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, 1915
The theatre of the Absurd /50’s
Waiting for Godot, 1953
Waiting for Godot, 1953
John Osborne
The features
Look Back in Anger
Osborne: major plays and novels
Thomas Dylan (1914-1953)
“Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night”
Категория: ИскусствоИскусство

An Introduction to Modernism in Literature

1. An Introduction to Modernism in Literature

2. Who????

James Joyce
T.S. Eliot
Virginia Woolf
D.H. Lawrence
Samuel Beckett
Ezra Pound
Gertrude Stein
Katherine Mansfield

3. Characteristics of Modernism in Literature

doesn’t usually make sense
different perspectives
nonlinearity of plot or sequence of things
– unexpected plots, puzzle
irony and satire (verbal irony, situational
irony, dramatic irony ) - mismatch
voices and the idea of stream of


5. James Joyce

Irish author
the oldest of 10 surviving children
boarding school,
local school, college in Dublin,
heads off to Paris, medical school,
Mother is dying - comes home, stays in Dublin,
starts to work on Portrait
in 1904, on June he meets his future wife Nora

6. James Joyce

a short-story collection Dubliners (1914)
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
starts working on Ulysses, which starts
getting published serially - in installments
Ulysses gets published in its final book
form in 1922
Finnegans Wake 1939

7. James Joyce

had long-lasting impact in literature
particularly famous for starting the
technique known as stream of


a quarter after what an unearthly hour I suppose
theyre just getting up in China now combing out
their pigtails for the day well soon have the nuns
ringing the angelus theyve nobody coming in to
spoil their sleep except an odd priest or two for his
night office or the alarmlock next door at cockshout
clattering the brain out of itself let me see if I can
doze off 1 2 3 4 5 what kind of flowers are those
they invented like the stars the wallpaper in
Lombard street was much nicer the apron he gave
me was like that something only I only wore it
twice better lower this lamp and try again so that I
can get up early

9. Finnegans Wake

experimental & unreadable !!!
lots of words from foreign languages
'riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of
shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodious
vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and
And the end of the book: 'End here. Us then.
Finn, again! Take. Bussoftlhee, mememormee! Till
thousandsthee. Lps. The keys to. Given! A way a
lone a last a long the riverrun, past Eve and
Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay,
brings us by a commodious vicus of recirculation
back to Howth Castle and Environs.'

10. Dubliners - 1914

Dubliners - 1914
a short-story collection (15 stories) about people
living in Dublin:

about childhood,
mature life,
public life,
The Dead – summary
JJ intended these short stories to be “a chapter
in the moral history of Ireland”
JJ recreated the short story, moving its action &
focus from external to internal events
the most famous stories - 'Araby' and 'The

11. epiphany

(comes from the Christian church year
commemorating the visit of the Wise Man
– January 6);
an experience of sudden and striking
indicates a sudden revelation or discovery,
usually unexpected, that allows the
protagonist or reader to see smth in a new

12. Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Bildungsroman

novel of formation, novel of education, or
coming-of-age story,
a literary genre that focuses on the
psychological and moral growth of the
protagonist from youth to adulthood and in
which, therefore, character change is extremely
Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship by
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

13. Semi-autobiographical novel

Stephen Dedalus - an alter-ego of young
abandons the idea that he needs to be
strictly realistic. He starts to get a little
more interested in representing Stephen's

14. Part I

this very young child stage is represented
in language
Once upon a time and a very good time it
was there was a moocow coming down
along the road and this moocow that was
coming down along the road met a nicens
little boy named baby tuckoo.


Part II
Sexual Awakening - his first sexual experience
with a prostitute
Part III
Religious Torment - Stephen going in for a
Part IV
Discipline – not indulging in pleasures - to be a
priest? - thinks about his name and his father his destiny as an artist
Part V
University - the diary - a dedication to his father
Old father, old artificer, stand me forever in good

16. Ulysses

June 16th
Stephen Dedalus - in Dublin, working as a
Chapter 4 - Leopold Bloom 'Mr. Leopold
Bloom ate with relish the inner organs of
beasts and fowls.'


18. T.S. Eliot

American, born in St. Louis, went to
Harvard, spent some time in Boston
become a British citizen later on in life
lived in London from 1914 onward


20. Major Works

The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock, 1915 - a
meditative monologue presumably of J. Alfred
1919 - critical essays 'Tradition in the Individual
Talent' - a controversial claim that poetry needs to be
impersonal. You need to be able to interpret it
without knowing anything about the author and his
'The Waste Land.' 1922 - the most famous work of
'The Hollow Men,' a follow-up to 'The Waste Land.'


in 1927 he converts to Anglicanism - his
poetry and his plays after that start to be
more religiously focused
a poem 'Ash Wednesday,' 1930
a play 'Murder in the Cathedral,' 1935
final masterpiece 'Four Quartets,' published
from 1936 through 1942 - four poems
'Burnt Norton,' 'East Coker,' 'The Dry
Salvages' and 'Little Gidding.'


culmination of his career - the Nobel Prize
in Literature in 1948
In 1957, he's 68, gets married to his 32year-old secretary, Esme Valerie Fletcher
He dies in 1965
'Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats' got
turned into the Andrew Lloyd Weber
musical 'Cats.'

23. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, 1915

first big break poem
American poem (Boston?)
theme of being old
Plot - What happens in this poem is we follow around
the speaker or narrator as he wanders around town.
He also wanders through his memories.
a non-linear plot; just his thoughts as he goes
describe unremarkable life
mood and tone of regret


Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells

25. Style

this poem is written in free verse, it doesn't
have any set length or set rhyme scheme.
has half-rhymes and internal rhymes even
though there's no real structure
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea



the latter end of Modernism and right up into
the pioneer and genius of theater of the absurd
born in Dublin in 1906 on Friday the 13th (Good
a disciple, secretary, & friend of James Joyce
(helped him research and transcribe Finnegan's
started out writing prose (Murphy in 1938, later
- trilogy: Molloy, Malone Dies and The
Unnameable )
a hero of the French Resistance during World
War II


When World II ends, 1) he starts writing in
French, 2) he makes a conscious decision that
he's going to be way more minimalist and
weird than he was prior to World War II. He
makes this conscious decision to not be like
Theater of the Absurd in the 50s and 60s in
theater, a bizarre form of minimalism, bizarre
characters and situations with usually fairly
minimal sets.
It is largely a blank stage; there's basically just a
tree and a mound of dirt.



31. The theatre of the Absurd /50’s

Influence of Camus and Sartre (existentialism)
After 2 world wars, in a world with no religion, with no
belief - Man is lost
pessimistic view of man’s existence - man is lost and
senseless, absurd, useless.
no purpose at all in man’s life, totally absurd
The absurdity of human conditions is the main theme of
the plays and the dramatists express that life has no
significance and that no activity is more or less valuable
than another.
A BIG existential question - WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF



Happy Days premieres in 1961 (the characters
bizarre setups, meant to be showcases for
random, weird dialogues between people that
dance around the question of meaninglessness
and whether there's meaning in things.
Winnie and Willie. Winnie is buried in the ground
and Willie is asleep)



36. Waiting for Godot, 1953

First written in French and performed in Paris En
Attendant Godot (1953) (written in a foreign
language to maintain the language as simple
and detached as possible)
Then translated (by Beckett himself) into English
(1954) and performed in London
Waiting for Godot (1955)

37. Waiting for Godot, 1953

The British Royal National Theater took a poll on which
English language play is the most significant of the 20th
Century- Waiting for Godot!!
two tramps, Estragon and Vladimir (Didi, Gogo)
no purpose or reason for their existence; they are in an
absurd universe
Beckett creates a world in which there is no heroism, no
society, no superhuman agency. We are all stateless
tramps, on a road to nowhere.
impact that Waiting for Godot had on English theater
and culture in the mid-1950s !!!!!!!!


General situation of B’s plays:
All of his characters ARE TRAPPED by a
situation from which they can not escape
(buried in earth, in dustbins)


It is pervaded by a grotesque humour (irony
about everything because everything is equally
It may be considered a Tragi-comedy
Tragedy= they would like to commit suicide to
put an end to their absurd, desperate situation
Comedy= There is no tragic end, they fail, they
cannot escape their existential situation
Its tone is tragic and desperate.


The new era in theater began precisely on the
evening of May 11, 1956, in a small West End
On that night, Look Back in Anger, written by
John Osborne, was first performed, turning point
in postwar British theatre.
The work is noted for two artistic forces - anger
and absurdity.


42. John Osborne

Born on December 12, 1929, in London
a boarding school education at Belmont College in
He returned to London, became involved in the theatre
when he took a job tutoring a touring company of young
Osborne went on to serve as actor-manager for a string
of repertory companies and soon decided to try his hand
at playwriting

43.  AYM

leading member of a movement called AYM,
who were disgusted with the British class system
(The nation was about to embark on a colonial
war against Egypt to retain ownership of the
Suez Canal that would result, in October 1956,
in humiliation. The great empire would be blown
away by what Prime Minister Harold Macmillan
called “the winds of change.”)


Angry Young Man
• term applied to a group of English writers of the
1950s whose heroes share certain rebellious and
critical attitudes toward society.
• became current with the production of John
Osborne's play Look Back in Anger (1956).
• playwrights - John Osborne and Arnold Wesker
• the novelists - Kingsley Amis, John Braine, John
Wain, and Alan Sillitoe.


Colin Wilson: The Outsider;
Kingsley Amis: Lucky Jim;
Allan Sillitoe: Loneliness of the Long
Distance Runner
Stan Barstow: A Kind of Loving
David Storey: This Sporting Life
Keith Waterhouse

46. The features

fiercely critical of the established order
working class families, lower, middle families
frustration of the younger generation who
rejected their parents’ middle class values and
wanted to expose their unfair situation
write about ugliness and sordidness of life and
expose the hypocrisy of the genteel class
Written in ordinary, sometimes dirty language,
direct/real language of the working class

47. Look Back in Anger

Look Back in Anger
Osborne's protagonist, Jimmy Porter,
captured the angry and rebellious nature
of the postwar generation, a dispossessed
lot who were clearly unhappy with things
as they were in the decades following
World War II. Jimmy Porter came to
represent an entire generation of "angry
young men."

48. anti-hero

working class origin
boorish rather than well behaved
rudely angry rather than angry
philistine rather than arty
rise of a working class man into the upper
middle class
hurdles of education, upbringing and



A tall, thin young man about 25.
A mixture of sincerity and cheerful malice,
of tenderness and cruelty,
restless, importunate, full of pride,
a combination which
alienates the sensitive and the insensitive alike.
Jim hates: Sundays
Sunday ironing
Pretentionus editorials
Sycophantic, pusillanimous people
Jim loves:
Tall, slim, delicate, with surprising reservation in her eyes
“I was wrong! I don’t want to be saint. I want to be a lost cause.
I want to be corrupt and futile“

51. Osborne: major plays and novels

The Entertainer, 1957 - comic Archie Rice;
Luther, 1961;
Inadmissible Evidence, 1964;
A Patriot for Me, 1965
Autobiography: A Better Class of Person.


Beckett and Osborne, absurdity and anger,
created the biggest shock in the British
theater since George Bernard Shaw and
opened the way for new talent.
Perhaps the greatest participant in this new,
liberated theatrical era is Harold Pinter
(b. 1930), a dramatist who artfully
combines the energies of anger and



Pinter’s breakthrough play was The Caretaker ,
set in a seedy lodging house with three main
characters, two brothers and an outsider, a
The dialogue in the play is reminiscent of
Beckett, but Pinter also demonstrates a unique
use of silence. Pinter’s art is found in implication,
particularly the implications created in his
silences. His is an art of the eloquently unsaid.



the wittiest dramatist to work on the
British stage since Ben Jonson
first major play was Rosencrantz and
Guildenstern Are Dead , first performed in
The action revolves, with dazzlingly clever
dialogue and scenic paradox, around the
most famous work of literature in the
English language, Hamlet.

57. Thomas Dylan (1914-1953)


• Born in Wales in 1914.
• A neurotic, sickly child who shied away from
school and preferred reading on his own; read all of
D. H. Lawrence’s poetry, impressed by Lawrence’s
descriptions of a vivid natural world.
•His first book, Eighteen Poems, published when he
was twenty.
•Thomas did not sympathize with T. S. Eliot and W.
H. Auden’s thematic concerns with social and
intellectual issues, and his writing, with its intense
lyricism and highly charged emotion, has more in
common with the Romantic tradition.


first visited America in January 1950, at the age
of thirty-five
His reading tours of the US, which did much to
popularize the poetry reading as new medium
for the art, were famous and notorious
flamboyantly theatrical, a heavy drinker,
engaged in roaring disputes in public, and read
his work aloud with tremendous depth of feeling
He became a legendary figure, both for his work
and the boisterousness of his life. Tragically, he
died from alcoholism at the age of 39 after a
particularly long drinking bout in New York City
in 1953.


Twenty-Five Poems (1936)
The Map of Love (1939)
Deathe and Entrances (1946)
Collected Poems (1953)

61. “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night”

The speaker might be the author himself.
The “speaker” of the poem is a really upset son,
who is trying to tell his father to fight against
death and never give up.
The poem is a conversation or a monologue in
which the speaker, who might be Thomas
himself, communicates to us about his thoughts
and feelings about death.


The poet who currently carries the
standard of British verse is the Nobel
Prize-winning Seamus Heaney (b.1939).
an early bestselling collection – North,
which means, in the context of post-1969
British life, Northern Ireland.
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