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The period between the wars (1920–1940) was marked by: Virginia Woolf, D.H. Lawrence, and James Joyce. Woolf and Joyce permanently altered novelistic technique through the development of the stream of consciousness style of writing; Lawrence brought to the novel a fresh strain of vitality.
I. Read and translate the texts about the authors mentioned above and discuss their creative work:
1. What literary trends did they belong to?
2. What contribution to English literature did they make?
3. What major works did they create?
4. Speak about each writer's peculiar manner of writing.
5. Why is each writer considered to be great?
David Herbert Lawrence began his literary career with "The White Peacock" (1911) and "The Trespasser" (1912). Following a limited success with these novels, he stepped into the front rank of contemporary novelists with "Sons and Lovers" (1913). He led a wandering life which in Australia yielded material for "Kangaroo" (1923) and in Mexico for "The Plumed Serpent" (1926). One of his purposes was to revolutionize the modern English attitude towards sex, and in "Lady Chatterley's Lover" (1928) he threw off such restraints of convention as had hitherto kept that purpose in leash. The book was temporarily repressed on the charge of obscenity.
Coming from the working class, Lawrence was inevitably class-conscious. He was a good hater, hating principally the lust for money and the "modern" way of living.
However, his few attempts to touch upon the problem of class struggle are somewhat obscure and rather insecurely supported by psychological analysis in the Freudian manner.
The stylistic quality of Lawrence's writing is of great interest. His methods of character creation are original. He seems intimately close to his characters, and the reader is brought into immediate relation with them through the sheer urgency of his writing; the words seem hot and quivering on the page. Lawrence takes us right inside his characters. He captures, it seems, the moment of life itself, both in men and women and in the physical world of nature.
Yet, the world of his books is a somewhat lop-sided world, in which the conflict between man and woman takes disproportionate dimensions.
D.H. Lawrence's reputation has greatly varied since his death in 1930. His work undoubtedly had a great deal of influence on the writers of the 1930s, both in prose and verse, but there was at the same time a widespread feeling that he had been overrated because of the personal appeal he exercised. The usual critical opinion was that, while undoubtedly gifted, he was an artist manque. But in the 1950s Lawrence was acclaimed as a great novelist.
The best thing Lawrence wrote in novel form may be the early part of his semi-autobiographical "Sons and Lovers" (1913). It has a freshness and candour he never achieved again. At one time it was alleged that Lawrence could not create character but the best answer to the allegation is that Lawrence could create character – in "Sons and Lovers."
Are there any better drawn characters in English fiction than Mr. and Mrs. Mord? Another attractive area in Lawrence's work is the travel book, to which he gave a distinctive form. Verse, apart from a few striking poems, was something Lawrence wrote a lot of but did not do well: the most poetically effective passages in his work occur in the novels and tales. But in the "Birds, Beasts and Flowers" volume he created a new kind of poem. Lawrence is unsurpassed in another new genre created by him in "Studies, in Classic American Literature." Completely original in method and challenging in judgment these "Studies" have won applause from American critics and have influenced the way they see the history of their own literature.
Lawrence died in 1930, but he remains a living writer, not only studied as a literary classic, but avidly read. He divides opinion, as he always did. Some readers cannot stand the sultriness of his work. Others are put off him because they resent the way in which the doctrinaire of sex usurps the place of the poet of love. Eut there is quite a different side to Lawrence's work. A miner's son from the English Midlands, he knew in a way that few great English writers have done the life of the men and women who do the practical work of the world. Though like many writers of the twentieth century he was a restless traveller, and some of his best work evoke the impact on an English temperament of the exotic, of peoples and cultures remote in time or space, again and again the tone sardonic, Sharp-tongued English Midlander returns. Whatever their defects, Lawrence's books always suggest things that are living and moving and growing. It seems probable that he is one of the leading writers of the world.
James Joyce is a famous English writer of Irish descent. He was born and educated in Dublin which forms the scene of his "Dubliners" (1914), fifteen stories of Dublin life. Joyce is also the author of "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man"1 (1916) (autobiographical novel), the world-famous "Ulysses"2 (1922) and "Finnegan's Wake"3 (1939).
He is one of the first authors who introduced in literature the so-called stream of consciousness technique by which is meant an attempt to render the character's consciousness in itself as it flows from moment to moment, placing the reader, as it were, within the mind of this or that personage.
This method found its supreme expression in "Ulysses" in which it resulted in complete loss of bonds with objective reality and in utter destruction of literary form.
Joyce's formalistic experimenting had a considerable number of followers among the more reactionary modernist writers.
Yet, "Dubliners" (his first great book, "Dubliners" is a collection of stories, each dealing with life in Dublin) represent the before-stream-of-consciousness period of Joyce's creative work. They are written in a frank and factual way, and the author of "Ulysses" is made recognizable here only by his deep interest in psychological matters.
Most of the stories depict a cheerless life of lonely, unhappy people of Dublin. The theme of hopelessness and frustration of best human aspirations runs more or less through all of them as a kind of leitmotiv.
"A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" was a revision of an unpublished book, "Stephen Него," а fictionalized autobiography of Joyce's formative years. As with "Dubliners," this story is a small-scale model not just of Dublin, but of all human life, indeed of all history and geography. The creation of such a microcosm continued to be one of Joyce's major objectives throughout his career.
Joyce had no questions about own genius and that his proper medium was fiction. He made these decisions early in his life and never deviate from them.
In his two great master novels, "Ulysses"2 and "Finnegan's Wake"3 (1939), Joyce broke completely with traditions of the Victorian novel. "Ulysses" unfolds on a single day in 1904 in the life of three people: Leopold Bloom, an Irish Jew; his wife, Molly; and Stephen Dedalus, the hero of "A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man."4 In this book Joyce further developed the stream-of-conciousness technique of moving into and recording the thought processes of characters as they went through the affairs of daily life. Each incident corresponds to an incident in Homer's "Odyssey," so that the immediate becomes historical and universal. Joyce felt that Ulysses was the most complete man ever depicted and he compares Bloom to him.
His final work, "Finnegan's Wake," takes its departure from an old folktale of the corpse that returns to life at a wake when whiskey is poured on him. The wake becomes an awakening. Weaving in and out of history, literature, and languages, Joyce creates a dense tapestry that continues to puzzle scholars. Often he creates new words or combines parts of words in a new way. Publication of Joyce's works was fraught with difficulties. The publication of "Dubliners" was held up for years because both Irish and English publishers had changed or eliminated words and phrases without his permission. "Ulysses" was banned in both the United States and England when published, and it took nine years before an American court lifted the ban. England soon followed suit.
1. "A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man" – «Портрет художника в юности»
2. "Ulysses" – «Улисс»
3. "Finnegan's Wake" – «Поминки по Финнегану»
Virginia Woolf, like Joyce, and unlike Lawrence, was an aesthete. She does not seek to judge life, only to depict it. Objections have been raised that depiction without judgment is impossible, because human life cannot exist without moral decisions. But this is only to say that the characters must be shown as judging, not that the author has to be.
In Woolf s novels, plot has become only a minor element. Woolf s novels are basically a series of interior monologues, or inner soliloquies. Although she was a bold stylistic pioneer, Woolf was never popular with reading public. But she exerted a major influence on the writers that followed. There is a constant stream of publications devoted to the doings of her literary circle. "To the Lighthouse" (1930) is agreed to be her best novel because of the effective depiction of "Mr. and Mrs. Ramsay," no doubt based on her own parents. "The Waves" (1931), the most experimental of her novels, is more effective in quotation than as a whole; the best things in it are short prose-poems, Virginia Woolf‘s songs of solitude. The critics who admire Mrs. Woolf s work are divided about her rank among writers. It seems best to regard her as occasionally great but very uneven.
«Orlando» is one of the poorest novels by V. Woolf. While «Orlando» (1928) may lack the subtle internal lyricism of "Mrs. Dalloway," or the brilliant artistic revelations of "To the Lighthouse," it manages to expose, Woolf ‘s specific shortcomings as a writer. By rejecting classical techniques. Woolf simply could not transcend the traditional understanding of human nature (something that her 'colleague and contemporary, James Joyce, was able to do). Be that as it may, the writer's admirers will find this book interesting, and they are numerous indeed. Another master of 20th century world literature, Garcia Marquez, once said: "It's strange that not a single critic ever discovered the influence Virginia Woolf has had on me, an influence that truly exists. She has an atsonishingly keen perception of the world, and most importantly, a keen perception of time, and this is precisely what helped me write."
II. Read and reproduce the jokes:
1. Critic: The poets of today put plenty of fire into their verses.
Poet: The trouble with some of them is that they do not put enough of their verses into the fire.
2. Old man: Why are you looking so bad, dear boy?
Young poet: Brown does not know who Shakespeare was.
Old man: Well, how does that concern you?
Young poet: I have been thinking that one day I too may be forgotten.
3. Critic: Which are the two best novels of the year, sir?
Novelist: I am sorry, I can't tell, for I have published only one of my novels this year.
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