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Modernism, Sh.Anderson, G.Stein, S.Lewis

American modernism is an artistic and cultural movement in the United States starting at the turn of the 20th century with its core period between World War I and World War II. It was the time of economic chaos, cultural disorder and collapse, period of apocalyptic despair. Modernist literature in America dealt with such topics as racial relationships, gender roles and sexuality, to name just a few. It reached its peak in America in the 1920s up to the 1940s. Among the representative writers of the period we may find Ezra Pound, Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner.

Sh.Anderson is the father of modernism in America. He's the master of short story. Main subject-matter everyday life of small towns in America in Middle-West (symbol of provincionalism) He shows existence of small people in small towns. There was a legend that life in small towns idyllic and peaceful, but he shows it's a mistake. His characters are lonely, have a lot of problems. He focuses on their inner world and desires. They try to escape from reality but unfortunately there were no ways of changing in their life.

Winesburg, Ohio. all the characters live in the same town.

I'm a fool the author shows an inner monologue of a young man who tells the story of his life. He fell in love with a beautiful girl. To make an impression he pretended he was rich, told the wrong name and address. Girl liked him but he was afraid to confess. They couldn't continue. Narration imitates real speech of a teenager. The author saw art as a means of protest against reality.

S.Lewis Wrote about small town life. He focused on reflection of real facts. The titles became catchwords.

Main streethe attacked the narrowness, hypocrisy and cruelty of small town life. He destroyed the sentimental legend of its idyllic nature. Babbit he focused on a life story. Babbit is a typical average American, everything that surrounds him is standardised. He condemns the values of middle class America, but he doesn't suggest any other values. In 1930 he became the first American to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, "for his vigorous and graphic art of description and his ability to create, with wit and humour, new types of characters." His works are known for their insightful and critical views of American society and capitalist values. His style is at times droll, satirical, and yet sympathetic.

G.Stein she attacked the old civilization of XIX c. 1902 she went to Paris where found a lot of friends among French artists. She wanted to find a new way of looking at world. She experimented with the form of writing, she created her own English: she studied medicine and discovered that repetition is the best way of learning. It became her stylistic device. She threw away the rules of traditional grammar, experimented with the system of tenses. Present is the sum of moments of being. Increasingly, she developed her own highly idiosyncratic, playful, sometimes repetitive and sometimes humorous style.

Writers of the "Lost Generation". F.S.Fizgerald, E.Hemingway

Writers of "Lost Generation" witnessed events of WWI. People couldn't overcome psychological problems, traumas, were disappointed with American society, they rebelled against traditional values, disapproved of those innovations, felt loneliness and frustration. Lost Generation refers to a group of American literary notables who lived in Paris and other parts of Europe from the time period which saw the end of World War I to the beginning of the Great Depression. Significant members included Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound, Sherwood Anderson, Waldo Peirce, John Dos Passos, and T. S. Eliot. The coining of the phrase is traditionally attributed to Gertrude Stein and was then popularized by Ernest Hemingway in the epigraph to his novel The Sun Also Rises and his memoir A Moveable Feast. F.S.Fitzgerald is the best reporter of the spiritual history of the lost generation.

This side of Paradise described new generation of people nihilists. They found that all faith in man and in God was shaken, old traditional values were questioned, denied. Fear of poverty and worship of material success are only left. The author created a term for his period "jazz age": mood of instability, impulsiveness, hedonism desire to find escape in pleasures. His life was like the plot of his novels. Born in rich aristocratic family he had dual outlook: he hated the rich and he realised the power of the money. Corrupting effect of wealth on personality is the prime subject-matter of his novels. His collections of stories: Flappers and philosopher, Tender is the night, The Great Gatsby, The last Tycoon.

E.Hemingway The sun also rises portrait of generation of people who are without hope and ambition, just enjoy every day. These people are wounded morally and physically. Later he developed the concept of emptiness called "nada". His style: economy and controlled use of words, toughness. He is a typical masculine writer, his sentences are short, words are simple, use of colloquialisms. His favourite device is understatement. Hemingway worked out the theory of iceberg. W should look for symbolism, deep meaning.

In 1930s he began to stress the power of collectivism, humanism, heroism, which displaced his former nihilism. Characters are tough guys hunters, fishermen, bullfighters. For whom the bell tolls: his style began harder. 1950s works are weaker and began to lose confidence in his talent. The Old man and the sea main idea man may be destroyed but not defeated. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954.

Writers of the "Lost Generation".J.Dos Passos, W.Faulkner

J.Dos Passos - One man's initiation. Dos Passos is said to have mingled the naturalism of Th.Dreiser with the modernism of J.Joyce. Manhattan Transfer describes the daily life of New-Yorkers. He was influenced by the techniques of the movies. He developed the kaleidoscopic technique. His first successful novel, Three Soldiers (1921), belonged to the group of socially conscious novels of disillusionment that appeared after the war. With Manhattan Transfer (1925) his major creative period began. Intertwining accounts of a succession of unrelated characters, the novel presents a composite picture of the meaninglessness and decadence of the life of the typical early 1920s New Yorker. In his finest achievement, the trilogy U.S.A. (1937), composed of The 42nd Parallel (1930) shows how individuals are part of the history, 1919 (1932), and The Big Money (1936).

W.Faulkner was awarded the 1949 Nobel Prize for Literature. Born in the South America in a family of impoverished Southern aristocrats. He spent his life in Oxford. He used a small set of characters in all books. He disliked post-war world and believed in the value of art. Soldier's pay. He feels sympathy for patriarchal past of the South. The sound and the fury reference to Shakespeare, play Macbeth. Here tragic story of one southern family is told from 4 points of view. Experiment modernistic technique the limited point of view, each character lives in his own world, is separated from the others, past, present and future events are mixed.

Light in August. The author shows how racism affects the members of community. The central character man (half black, half white). He's rejected by all. He's unhappy. He murdered a woman. It gives a community an excuse for killing him. The author treats blacks more sympathetically than whites. Novels of last period are more realistic. Faulkner's writing is often criticized as being dense, meandering and difficult to understand due to his heavy use of such literary techniques as symbolism, allegory, multiple narrators and points of view, non-linear narrative, and especially stream of consciousness. Faulkner was known for an experimental style with meticulous attention to diction and cadence, in contrast to the minimalist understatement of his peer Ernest Hemingway.

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