At the beginning of the 20th century, writers, artists and intellectuals attitudes were changing rapidly and people found more difficult to believe in anything, whether It was religion, philosophy, art, science, or progress. In this period an explosion of new Ideas changed man's view of himself and of the universe. In 1905, Albert Einstein published his theory of Relativity, which dealt a blow to the belief In objective reality and science. British artists and intellectuals were also deeply Influenced by Nietzsche's ideas.
A fundamental Influence on artists and Intellectuals were the new heories about the structure and working of the human mind, generally known as psychoanalysis and developed by Sigmund Freud. Freud studied new areas of the sensibility which came to be known as unconscious, a dynamic force orlglnatlng In Instinct and repressed desires. HIS theories revealed that human behaviour was In accordance with universal patterns. This gave modernists something to hold on to In the chaos and Irrationality of modern life.
The term "modernism" Indicates 20th- century literature and art, developed as a reaction against 19thcentury ideals. The ost important characteristics are: the breakdown of traditional literary genres. fragmentation of the traditional ideas of time and place, collapse of the traditional plot, a complex language, emphasis on psychological truth rather than realistic details an eclectic use of myth the adoption of free verse. The principal first-generation modernists are Eliot, Joyce and Virginia Woolf. Much of the best modernist literature in English deals with unconscious in daily life.
The most used technique to describe it is the 'stream of consciousness'. Modernism influenced different art forms, and collaboration between artists in different media was requent. The second generation modernists took part in political matters, usually against Nazism on the political left, like Orwell. THOMAS STEARNS ELIOT Life He was born in 1888 in St Louis (Missouri) into a family of English descent. He went to Harvard in and gained his MA degree. Then he went to the Sorbonne in Paris to study Bergoson's philosophy.
He continued studying philosophy in Germany but in 1914 he was obliged to leave the country because of the outbreak of World War l, and he went to Oxford. All of these influences will later be found in his works. Through he influence of his fellow American poet Ezra Pound, Eliot's first major poem "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" was published. From 191 5, money problems, his exhausting work at the bank, a general dissatisfaction with modern life brought him on the verge of a nervous breakdown and he was treated In Margate and then In a Swiss sanatorium.
During this period he finished the first draft of "The Waste Land". He submitted his manuscript to Pound who helped him give the poem Its final shape. The Waste Land came out In 1922 and made Eliot the leading modernist poet wrltlng In English. He became a director of publlshlng house. The 1930s were Important years for Eliot who in religion found a way out of nlhlllsm. HIS gradual acceptance of the Christian faith (in 1927 he was received into the Anglican Church) is reflected in literary Citic is as great as his prestige as a writer.
His social criticism is equally valuable through seldom quoted, perhaps because it is disturbing in its pitiless attack on modern society. The Waste Land It's considered the central work in the modernist tradition, it leaves late Victorian models behind. It will influence future oets. The poem is divided into five sections. It expresses the modern artist's disillusion with the modern world, the desperate need of a new tradition and the culmination of nihilism, the first phase of Eliot's career. The poet sees ruins, representing the decay of western civilization after I World War.
The images aren't logically ordered. The fragmentation of the poem reflects the fragmentation of modern culture. The central metaphor is the spiritual dryness and sterility of modern life. The waste land brings images of both modern decadence and ancient myths. The ruler of the waste land, the Fisher King, brought sterility to the land because of is impotence. The order of myth is projected on to the chaos of modern life. The lack of traditional structure is modernist, the poem follows no continuity, Eliot uses the stream. of-consciousness technique, base on free associations of human mind. Eliot uses quotations from 35 writers in six languages (even Dante). He uses the free verse, according to the poem's variety. The burial of the dead (testo) It's the first section of "the Waste Land", introduces the contrast between death and rebirth, main theme of the poem. Title stresses the sense of all-enclosing death, prevalent in the first part. April is the cruellest month cause it brings hopes destined to fail. Winter give a sense of peace to the mind, snow surrounding everything forces to forget.
But the coming of the spring in April unveil the illusion and bring back memories. Memory creates a confrontation of the past with the present, that points out Just how badly things have decayed. Spring, the season of life and rebirth, for Elliot is negative and pitiless. Contrasted images of fertility and sterility:" Lilacs out of the dead land", "Dull roots with spring rain". The landscape offers no signs of hope to the man (roots that clutch, branches grow), nature gives comfort no more (dead tree no shelter, cricket no relief, no sound of water).
Tarots reveal the future of the speaker, The "Hanged Man", sign of fertility, doesn't appear, so there's no prediction of a rebirth. London is called "unreal city', hide in the fog and the desolation. The people in the scene are described as a crowd, sighing and staring only at the ground in front of their feet. Lines echo passages of Dante's Inferno, revoking an atmosphere of damnation. Murder in the cathedral Eliot's acceptance of the Christian faith is reflect in Murder in the Cathedral, his most famous play. The play is full of action, but also deeply rooted in religion and ritual.
Eliot managed to invest a medieval story of violence with highly ethical problems: the struggle within man between what the lay says and what his conscience tells him is right; the place of spiritual values in a materialistic world. The language is only apparently simple, because Eliot often plays on the etymology of his words, for example in "The Church Shall Be Open" there's a repeated use of words of Latin origin. Plot Thomas Becket has come back to England after a self-imposed exile, because of his disagreement with King Henry II.
He opposes the him, relying on the authority (he is Archbishop), when he tries to impose itself on the Church. After some days the King's knights order to Becket to open the Cathedral's doors, and they kill him, and the play church shall be open, even to our enemies (testo) This Becket's dramatic speech is a perfect combination of action and energy, on the one hand, and deep religious thinking, on the other. Becket gives orders like a natural leader, he also shouts his final command. He also talks the language of the man of the church and the martyr.
As in the Greek drama, in the Murder in the Cathedral the presence of a chorus commenting on the events is important: the most dramatic instance of its use by Eliot is when, after Becket's murder, the chorus declares that the whole world is polluted and men and animals and everything else in the land are defiled by blood. : a set of objects, a situation, a chain of events which shall be the formula of that particular emotion such that, when the external facts which must erminate in sensory experience are given, it is immediately evoked.
ELIOT & MONTALE: both poets write between the two WW and describe strong scenes of desolate waste land. The places are the American desert for Eliot and the rugged Liguria coast for Montale; both are waste land of the spirit as well. Eliot uses literary echoes from Dante, Shakespeare and Indian religious epic; while Montale gives a more domestic, intimate feeling, though the close of his poems is tragic as well "in questo seguitare una muraglia I I che ha in cima cocci aguzzi di bottiglia". " THE MODERN NOVEL The technological revolution was preceded by the transition novels.
The main authors ( Henry James, Conrad), having grown during the 19th century are still in part traditional, as regards their writing technique. They rejected the realism of the late 19th century novel to concentrate on man as a psychological being. They began to experiment with new narrative structures and techniques. ( flash back, time shift). David Herbert Lawrence was the first novelist to fell the influence of psychoanalysis and psychology. The contrast between his parents is the core of SONS AND LOVERS : escription on an oedipal situation and description of life in Northern England. 910,1920: modernist movement in art and literature. This new fiction reflected the lack of faith in traditional values, progress, war, science, a faith sometimes substituted by myths. (Odisseo for Joyce etc). The greatest change to the traditional way to order reality was the breakdown of time divisions. Philosophers begin to see time as a continuous flux in which consciousness identifies significant moments. The most important philosopher in this field was Henri Bergson (French). The modernists eeded a new way to tell a story: the flow of consciousness, that tries to reproduce the flow of human thought.
William James (US) coined the definition. This style is difficult, presents images and ideas with no rational order. First generation modernists: Joyce and Woolf Joyce gets the inspiration from his background (Ireland) for his first work, "Dubliners", which deals about the "paralysis", the inability to overcome the mental frustration of the Irish capital. Ulysses is based on the Odyssey structure, but tells the story of a simple man, Leopold Bloom, and highlights the absence of heroism, ideals, love and rust in the modern world.
Joyce uses a lot the "stream of consciousness" technique in the book. Second generation modernists: Unlike the first generation modernists, who had been educated in the Victorian society, these writers were all born at the Having to live in a world with no values was not a painful discovery as it had been for the 1st generation, but rather a frightful reality. 2nd generation writers didn't adopt a nihilistic attitude or experimental techniques, preferring more traditional forms and les obscure language.
They believed in writers' political and social influence. Life Lawrence was born in 1885 at Eastwood, a village in Nottinghamshire in English industrial Midlands. His father was a miner. The tensions in his marriage and their effect on him were important to his later development as a man and writer. Lawrence escaped from his background of industrial poverty through education. He won a scholarship to high School and then went to Nottingham university college. In 1910 Lawrence's mother died.
In 1911 he published his first novel (The white peacock) followed by The trespassers based on his teaching experience. He met and fell in love with Frieda . David and Frieda Ran away together in 1912 going first to Germany and then to Italy where he completed Sons and Lovers and wrote poetry. He began work on a major novel (The sisters) . In 1919 Lawrence and Frieda left England and started a life of self imposed exile. He visited and life in Ceylon in 1922 , from there he moved to Australia and then to Mexico . In 1925 he moved to England then Italy and France.
He died in Vence in 1930. Several of Lawrence's novels were banned by the censors. The greatest scandal was caused by Lady Chatterley's Lover because of the description of sexual intercourse. Themes in the novels: Lawrence's novels reflect the fundamental issues of modern life: -relationship between man and woman -contrast between men who follow natural instincts and man who follow social conventions (Lawrence praises instinct over social convention) -contrast between 'natural' and 'artificial' cultures -the denunciation of industrialism -the praise of nature.
Like other modernist novelists Lawrence rejected the realism but he was not a modernist. He did not agree with Joyce's view of fiction. He didn't like the 'stream of consciousness' and thought that the author should put his personality and ital force into his work. Sons and lovers Lawrence's novel is strongly marked by the author's life and experiences: "Sons and Lovers", especially, is based on his early family life and on the contrast, often violent, between his parents. Lawrence had become overprotective by his mother, and this interfered with his relationships with girls.
After the author started writing "Sons and Lovers" he became acquainted with Freud's theories and could recognize a classical oedipal situation both in his life and in his novel. "Sons and Lovers" is also both a psychological description of the difficult elation among the members of a miner's family and a realistic portrait of life in provincial northern England. Plot Paul Morel is son of a genteel but poor descendant of a rigid Dissenting middle-class family and of a rough miner, which is ignorant, Jealous of his wife's education and often drunk and violent.
His parents can't obviously agree, and Paul side with his mother. When he grows up he goes to work in a Nottingham factory and falls in love with Miriam Leivers, a shy and intense girl. Mrs Morel opposes the relationship, and Paul is divided between his mother and his girlfriend. As a reaction he starts a relationship with a married woman, Clara Dawes, who gives him a more complete unconsciously, torn between his subjection to his mother and his desire for freedom as a potential artist. After Mrs Morel's death he leaves both Clara and Miriam and to finally assert himself without his mother.
Paul hated his father (testo) This passage is taken from the first part of the novel, "Sons and Lovers". The scene takes place at dinner time in the kitchen of the Morels' poor house. All the characters, including the absentee father, are firmly set against the social context of the English ining village, which is very realistically portrayed. Even psychological analysis according to Freudian theories of parent/child relationships (which Lawrence was one of the first to put into a novel) is conveyed through a realistic story of family life.
Paul Morel hates his father because he gets drunk almost every night on his way home from the mine where he works as a collier. He also almost hates his mother for worrying so much about her missing husband. The mother's feelings are n fact transmitted to the children; though few words are spoken, the tension pervades the house. The difficulty of Love (testo) Paul perceives a certain resistance on Miriam's part when they're physically together.
They talk about it, but no rational explanation can be found. Lawrence shows how the relation between thte sexes is a complex one, in which head and body interfere and several cultural factors play an important role (for example in Miriam recalling her mother's words about the unpleasantness of physical union married life). The scene is a moving description of the passion, doubts and pride of youthful love. In the end Paul realises that love, instead of drawing them together, is pulling them apart.