Course 3

 

 

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Some facfiles, tables, photos about England now and then...

 

  VICTORIANISM   AND   MODERNISM   IN   ENGLAND 

 

MODULE 1   

VICTORIANISM 

HISTORY  

Victoria (Hannover) 1837-1901 Emperess of India 1876→ industries + trade = economical and territorial growth,                                                                             BUT imbalanced society: town expansion + political reforms +poverty

First Reform Bill 1832 ( property ownership necessary to vote ) The Chartist Movement: 6 points, 3 times rejected 1918 vote for all men   1928 vote for all women

1851 The Great Exhibition

From agriculture and textile to industries = mechanisation + urbanization ( steam engine, railway system, telephone, mail service, printing, modern hospitals, metropolitan police…)

The Corn Laws = high prices depending on import taxes repealed by R. Peel in 1846

The Poor Laws = parish-run workhouses

W. Gladstone ( first Tory, then Liberal ) free trade, reforms’ promoter (religion, elections, education…)

                      B. Disraeli ( Tory )   nationalist and patriotic

                                        Independent Labour Party 1893

                                            

IN FAVOUR OF WORKING CLASSES (in order to avoid Revolutions and increase work force for industries)

Elementary Education Act 1870 and Trade Union Act 1871

National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies 1897 Women’s Social and Political Union Feminism

The Fabian Society Socialism ( Labour Party )

Darwin’s Theory of Evolution


 

LITERATURE

 

 The Victorian Novel realism + entertainment;

                                      instalments in newspapers linearity of the plot  The Bildungsroman: omniscent narrator

 C.Dickens       →whole panorama of social classes, critical in the content, brilliant in the style

 C. Bronte ( Jane Eyre )  E. Bronte ( Wuthering Heights) →extreme feelings, moods and situations

 G. Eliot            Middlemarch: social issues from a psychological perspective

 W. Thackeray →Vanity Fair : shallowness of the Victorian world

 T. Hardy         Tess of the D’Urbervilles: pessimism, crisis in ethical and social values

 H. James        The portrait of a lady : American vs British society

Colonialist Fiction : R. Kipling

American Prose:   E. A. Poe, N. Hawthorne, H. Melville

The Victorian Poetry→A. Tennyson (rest of Romanticism )

                                           R. Browning ( towards Modernism )

                                          M. Arnold (social criticism )

                                          C. Swinburne (rebellion and decadentism, scholarship and aesthetism, atheism and immoralism)

                                          E. B. Browning (female role in society and politics )

                                          C. Rossetti ( religion vs erotism = Victorian contradictions )

Pre-raphaelitism1848- 1850 : revaluation of the 13th and 14th c. in Italian art, medieval aesthetism ( J. Ruskin ),                                   towards Art for Art’s sake

                                 Nature depiction against Industrialisation and materialism + sensuality against Puritanism + mysticism                                  against religious crisis in Victorianism.

American Poetry : W. Whitman, E. Dickinson

The Victorian Drama MELODRAMAS: from the Medieval Morality plays, schematic and superficial with                                            actors-managers.

                                           MUSIC HALLS:   among working classes, parodies and taboos.

                                           PLAYHOUSES:   rich settings on the stage which could be changed→ realism

O. Wilde: witty comedies, humorous social satire, subtle irony, absurd dialogues, paradoxical language, importance of                   beauty above any other moral values.

G. B. Shaw : controversial works against censorship, criticism against the establishment, theatre as a means for political                         change and social improvement, realism  ( Ibsen’s middle class dramas)

 


ESEMPIO DI TRATTAZIONE SINTETICA PER LA SIMULAZIONE DELLA TERZA PROVA.

THE ROMANTIC AGE IS ALSO REFERRED TO AS THE AGE OF REVOLUTIONS. EXPLAIN WHY AND BRIEFLY INDICATE HOW THE MOST INFLUENTIAL REVOLUTIONS OF THAT PERIOD CONCERNED BRITISH LITERATURE.

During this historical period a lot of political, social and economic changes took place all around/in Europe. The most meaningful/crucial events are: the American Revolution (1775-1783), the French Revolution (1789-1799) and the Napoleonic wars (1796-1815). They represent/are usually quoted as reference points for Romanticism, as their emphasis on freedom and democracy helped the rise of this literary movement and its future developments. (E. Burke vs T. Paine at first, W. Blake, S. Coleridge and W. Wordsworth later, P. B. Shelley at the end)                                                 60 words

From a social point of view, the main changes occurred as a consequence of the Industrial Revolution which led to an increase in the general wealth of the nation, but at the same time/also, caused several problems especially in the lower classes. (W. Blake )    42 words

SCHEMATIC FRAMEWORK

The French revolution(1789-1799) : equality, justice and freedom for all human beings.

The Lyrical Ballads.

The American Revolution(1775-1783):political, economical, social, religious, moral and ethical Independence. P. B. Shelley.

The Industrial Revolution(1760- ):same rights for each worker also in terms of different social roles. W. Wordsworth, J. Keats.

All these ferments converged on/brought to Romanticism : individual poetic expressions all worth the same consideration with the consequent revaluation/rediscovery of instincts and passions and feelings.


 

 Wars, Massacres and Atrocities of the Twentieth Century

Year-by-Year Death Toll:

 

 

 

                              img4.gif


Wars of the Twentieth Century

Approximately 35 to 40 million soldiers have died in the wars of the Twentieth Century, nearly three quarters of them in the two World Wars. The biggest wars of this century have been...

 

 

Military Death Toll

War

Dates

1

20,000,000

Second World War

1937-45

2

8,500,000

First World War

1914-18

3

1,200,000

Korean War

1950-53

4

1,200,000

Chinese Civil War

1945-49

5

1,200,000

Vietnam War

1965-73

6

850,000

Iran-Iraq War

1980-88

7

800,000

Russian Civil War

1918-21

8

400,000

Chinese Civil War

1927-37

9

385,000

French Indochina

1945-54

10

200,000

Mexican Revolution

1911-20

10

200,000

Spanish Civil War

1936-39

12

160,000

French-Algerian War

1954-62

13

150,000

Afghanistan

1980-89

14

130,000

Russo-Japanese War

1904-05

15

100,000

Riffian War

1921-26

15

100,000

First Sudanese Civil War

1956-72

15

100,000

Russo-Polish War

1919-20

15

100,000

Biafran War

1967-70

19

90,000

Chaco War

1932-35

20

75,000

Abyssinian War

1935-36

To these figures must be added the number of civilian dead. It is estimated that more than 6.5 million non-combatants died in World War 1, and 28 million in World War 2.

                                                     


                                                                 

                                                     

                                                         

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19Th CENTURY: ART FOR ART'S SAKE

 

Genre  analysis                        Literary features

Wilde. Life as a work of art               The Picture of Dorian Gray

Dandyism                                       The aesthetic manifesto

Decadentism                                   The double

Art vs utilitarianism                         Unobtrusive 3rd person narrator

Lack of didactic aim                        Descriptions as decoration

                                                        The dark side of life and the Victorian society

                                                         Criticism of Victorian hypocrisy

               Salome

                                                        Ambiguity                   

                                                        The jewelled style 



THE NOVEL


Victorian Age

Modern age

Post-modern age

Narrator

Reliable - omniscient -

spokesperson of his own age

- criticizing or supporting

the establishment -

suggesting possibilities

Unreliable - with a fragmented or

multiple view - a spectator of life

and society - no suggestions but

attempts at giving unity

The ebony tower

Unreliable - often playing with the

reader - enjoying experimentation

and complexity - unable and unwilling to give a single interpretation or suggestion

The fall of the ebony tower

Characters

Round or flat, victims or

agents of their destiny,

Endowed with a precise identity

Inaction vs quest, loss of identity-looking

for a universal and a

private meaning

Loss of any general meaning - no

Center, impossibility to see and to be seen


Setting

Countryside slowly replaced

by the industrial town

Loss of wilderness

The metropolis, emptiness

The world as a mosaic of minorities,

the regional, the hidden

Point of view

Single but totalizing

Plurality, and fragmentation

Limitation, restricton, impossibility to tell / see the truth

Style

Formality, realism,

naturalism, popular register,

contiguity

Experimentation, ellipsis,

symbolism, myth, juxtaposition

Experimentation, plurality of

registers, pastiche, mosaic,

contamination

Context


Propriety, decency,

respectabitity

Fragmentation

alienation,

despair, quest, experimentation

Globalization,

labyrinth, loss

plurality



WOMEN


Victorian Age

Modern Age.

Post-Modern Age

The Victorian woman and her social

status

Women's struggles

Women as the decorative sex

New roles: the effect of the First World War

The suffragettes

Women and alienation

Women and paralysis

Women as men

Individual fulfilment

The feminist point of view

Equal opportunities

Sexism

THE ARTIST AND THE CRISIS OF MODERN MAN


Victorian Age

Modern Age

Post-Modern Age

Unity

 

Fragmentation

Disintegration

the writer as the spokesperson of theVictorian establishment; the writer as the pessimistic spectator ofthe crisis of values; the writer without omniscience;

social commitment;

impersonality; absence of meaning; nothingness; questioning the establishment;focusing on change;
omniscient obtrusive narrators;

scaffolding the ruins: mythical method, juxtaposition, quotation objective correlative;

the limited point of view; the female point of view; minorities;

Victorian hypocrisy and middle class values;

tradition and individual talent;

silence and incommunicability;

art vs society;

social and individual paralysis; failure to escape alienation;

magic realism;

life as a work of art vs commitment;

quest for meaning;

displacement;

realism vs aestheticism.

experimentation of language: myth, epiphanies, interior monologue.

towards a multicultural society; exploring a multicultural language: pastiche; simultaneity.




 


         THE SHORT STORY IN THE 20Th

 

          General features                        Literary analysis

Joyce and the Dubliners                Modern features:
                                                              
ordinary people

  Ireland                                                 ordinary situations

                                                               psychological insight

Exile

Alienation

Dublin: symbolic and naturalistic setting

The structure of short stories .           Modern structure:

                  beginning in medias res

                  new perception of time

                  epiphanies

                  language experimentation: free indirect speech

 Magic realism: Angela Carter

                                                  Modern themes:

                                                    paralysis/quest/failure

              Revisitation of the past

              Contamination and pastiche

              Ambiguity

              

 


20TH CENTURY : DRAMA

General features

Beckett

Pinter

Osborne

Existentialism

Lack of traditional structure

 

One act plays

 

The theatre of the Absurd

 

Angry young men

Drama in the 90's

Symbolic setting Clowning and mimic language

 

 

 

 

Waiting as a universal condition Nothingness Incommunicability

Silence Incommunicability Mystery

 

 

 

 

Menacing atmosphere

 

Social classes in the 50's
Anger  Rebellion against the establishment

 

Language

 


LITERATURE AND REBELLION

 

The Romantics

Rebellion against the establishment

Escape

Dreams and visions

The ideal world

New language

The Aesthetes

Art and beauty vs society

Hedonism

Transgression

Decorative language

Angry young men

British society in the 50's

Rebellion against the establishment

Osborne and Look Back in Anger: the new generation

To protest or to escape?

Language to break the rules

Outsiders

Burgess and The Clockwork Orange

The acid generation

Trainspotting as an alternative

Escapism

Broken language

 

 

 


ALIENATION

POSTCARD MEMORIES

The charts below may help you remember your journey into English literature, as if they were postcards from the places you visited. You will find grids with the main features of the different historical and literary periods, as well as hints at how to develop some of the most common topics.

ROMANTICISM

Ideas Literature
Revolutionary features
Exceptional
The individual
The particular
Nature
Feelings
Popular forms
Passions
Individualism/heroism
Cult of the Self
Cult of Nature
Senses
THE VICTORIAN AGE THE MODERN AGE
Positivism
Pruderie
Property
Propriety
Progress
Prosperity

CRISIS OF VALUES +

RELATIVITY +
WARS +

TECHNOLOGY =

ALIENATION

ISMs MODERNISM
Utilitarianism
Darwinism
Liberalism/Laissez faire
Social reformism
Political reformism
Technologism
Capitalism
Jingoism
Colonialism
Optimism
Pessimism
Crisis
Identity
Fragmentation
Experimentation
Alienation
LITERARY GENRES POST-MODERNITY
Social novels
Bildungsroman
Anti-victorian novelists
Colonial literature
Dramatic poetry
Theatre of wit
Theatre of ideas
Popular literature
Scepticism
Relativism
Lack of a center
Globalization
Minority
Hibridity
Revisitation of the past
Mass-consumerism
Recycling
REALISM POST-MODERNIST FICTION
Daily life and events
Surface details
Average characters
Alienation from Society
Positivistic observable facts
Natural language

Intertextuality
Deconstruction
Playfulness
Pastiche/eclecticism
Hybridity
Media experimentation
Marginalization
Cyborg
Mass culture
Re-telling
Hypertext
Post-colonial


 

 

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