sahdar saputra adalah mahasiswa universitas lakidende, dengan jurusan pendidikan bahasa inggris. Dia sebagai pecinta bahasa dan sastra , dia sangat kagum dengan karya -karya yang diciptakan oleh kahlil gibran, katanya " aku suka banget puisi dan juga novel kahlil gibran soalnya mengandung gaya bahasa yang indah dan juga memiliki estetika bahasa yang tinggi, selain itu karyanya dapat menjadi sang guru dalam perjalanan hidup kita khususunya cinta, baik cinta kepada Tuhan, Alam dan juga Manusia. Sahdar setiap kali dia menulis puisi dia selalu mengikuti gaya bahasa kahlil gibran.
Minggu, 23 Desember 2012
Jumat, 21 Desember 2012
How to Write a Speaking Proposal
As a business owner who's branched out into public speaking, you've created a niche for your services in the marketplace. To keep track of upcoming speaking events, you've probably created a database that lists submission guidelines and allows you to make status updates. One of the most important components to track is the speaking proposal, in which you describe your presentation's topic and contents. Learning how to write an effective proposal requires a combination of specificity and salesmanship.
Review past submissions from the venue you've targeted, if possible. Many venues limit a proposal's word count. Some ask pointed questions, such as, "Name three distinct lessons that participants will learn from your presentation." Other venues expect you to describe your target audience. Reviewing past proposals should give you a good sense of the depth and breadth of the information you should submit while avoiding topics that have been covered in the past.
Complete the submission form that almost always accompanies the proposal itself. This usually includes contact information and a brief professional profile. Attach your resume, if that's acceptable, but reference it within the application regardless.
Create a catchy title for your presentation, remembering that the venue will likely use it as a marketing tool to lure participants. Try to avoid vague titles that pose nebulous questions, such as "Is Your Sales Team Working for You?" Be direct and straightforward, with drilled-down titles like "10 Ways to Help Your Sales Team Close the Deal, Every Time."
Write two or three solid paragraphs explaining what your presentation will cover. Provide some background on the problem or issue at hand, citing statistics to back up your assertions. Then explain how your presentation addresses the problem or issue. Emphasize the benefits that participants will learn from your session. This is a key point, so be honest and detailed. Don't exaggerate or make statements or promises that you can't substantiate.
Indicate the format of your presentation, such as whether it is conducive to small or large groups. Then quantify your terms. State your willingness to close the presentation with a question-and-answer session, if relevant.
Specify whether you'll need electrical access or any special equipment for your presentation. Every submission application is different; some may enquire on the application, while others may not broach the subject at all. It is responsibility to specify your needs to ensure that your presentation goes as smoothly as possible.
Step 7Edit your copy to fit a word count if one has been provided. Speaking proposals often contain a word count or page limit in the interest of expediting the review process
Kamis, 20 Desember 2012
literature written in the English language, including literature composed in English by writers not necessarily from England; for example, Robert Burns was Scottish, James Joyce was Irish, Joseph Conrad was Polish, Dylan Thomas was Welsh, Thomas Pynchon is American, V.S. Naipaul was born in Trinidad, and Vladimir Nabokov was Russian, but all are considered important writers in the history of English literature. In other words, English literature is as diverse as the varieties and dialects of English spoken around the world in countries originally colonized by the British. In academia, the term often labels departments and programs practicing English studies in secondary and tertiary educational systems. Despite the variety of authors of English literature, the works of William Shakespeare remain paramount throughout the English-speaking world.
Until the early 19th century, this article deals with literature from Britain written in English; then America starts to produce major writers and works in literature. In the 20th century America and Ireland produced many of the most significant works of literature in English, and after World War II writers from the former British Empire also began to challenge writers from Britain. Additional information on literature in English from countries other than the UK and Ireland can be found in see also below.
Old English literature: 450-1153Old English, appeared in the early Middle Ages, the oldest surviving text being the Hymn of Cædmon. Oral tradition was very strong in early English culture and most literary works were written to be performed. Epic poems were thus very popular, and many, including Beowulf, have survived to the present day in the rich corpus of Anglo-Saxon literature that closely resemble today's Icelandic, Norwegian, North Frisian and the Northumbrian and Scots English dialects of modern English. Much Old English verse in the extant manuscripts is probably adapted from the earlier Germanic war poems from the continent. When such poetry was brought to England it was still being handed down orally from one generation to another, and the constant presence of alliterative verse, or consonant rhyme (today's newspaper headlines and marketing abundantly use this technique such as in Big is Better) helped the Anglo-Saxon people to remember it. Such rhyme is a feature of Germanic languages and is opposed to vocalic or end-rhyme of Romance languages. But the first written literature dates to the early Christian monasteries founded by Augustine of Canterbury and his disciples and it is reasonable to believe that it was somehow adapted to suit the needs of Christian readers.
Middle English literature: 1154-1485In the 12th century, a new form of English now known as Middle English evolved. This is the earliest form of English literature which is comprehensible to modern readers and listeners, albeit not easily. Middle English lasts up until the 1470s, when the Chancery Standard, a form of London-based English, became widespread and the printing press regularized the language. Middle English Bible translations, notably Wycliffe's Bible, helped to establish English as a literary language.
Religious, Courtly love, and Arthurian. William Langland's Piers Plowman is considered by many critics to be one of the early great works of English literature along with Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (most likely by the Pearl Poet) during the Middle Ages. Piers Plowman also contains the earliest surviving allusion to a literary tradition of the legendary English archer, swordsman, and outlaw Robin Hood.
The most significant Middle English author was Geoffrey Chaucer who was active in the late 14th century. Often regarded as "the Father of English Literature," Chaucer is widely credited as the first author to demonstrate the artistic legitimacy of the vernacular English language, rather than French or Latin. The Canterbury Tales was Chaucer's magnum opus, and a towering achievement of Western culture. The first recorded association of Valentine's Day with romantic love is in Chaucer's Parlement of Foules 1382.
The multilingual audience for literature in the 14th century can be illustrated by the example of John Gower, who wrote in Latin, Middle English and Anglo-Norman.
Among the many religious works are those in the Katherine Group and the writings of Julian of Norwich and Richard Rolle.
Since at least the 14th century, poetry in English has been written in Ireland and by Irish writers abroad. The earliest poem in English by a Welsh poet dates from about 1470.
Early Modern period: 1486-1800
Renaissance literature: 1486-1625Following the introduction of a printing press into England by William Caxton in 1476, vernacular literature flourished. The Reformation inspired the production of vernacular liturgy which led to the Book of Common Prayer, a lasting influence on literary English language. The poetry, drama, and prose produced under both Queen Elizabeth I and King James I constitute what is today labelled as Early modern (or Renaissance).
Elizabethan era (1558-1603)Also English Renaissance theatre
The English playwrights were intrigued by Italian model: a conspicuous community of Italian actors had settled in London and Giovanni Florio had brought much of the Italian language and culture to England. It is also true that the Elizabethan Era was a very violent age and that the high incidence of political assassinations in Renaissance Italy (embodied by Niccolò Machiavelli's The Prince) did little to calm fears of popish plots. As a result, representing that kind of violence on the stage was probably more cathartic for the Elizabethan spectator. Following earlier Elizabethan plays such as Gorboduc (1561) by Sackville and Norton and The Spanish Tragedy (1592) by Kyd (1558–94) that was to provide much material for Hamlet, William Shakespeare stands out in this period as a poet and playwright as yet unsurpassed. Shakespeare was not a man of letters by profession, and probably had only some grammar school education. He was neither a lawyer, nor an aristocrat as the "university wits" that had monopolised the English stage when he started writing. But he was very gifted and incredibly versatile, and he surpassed "professionals" as Robert Greene who mocked this "shake-scene" of low origins. Though most dramas met with great success, it was in his later years, marked by the early reign of James I, that he wrote what have been considered his greatest plays: Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra, and The Tempest. Shakespeare also popularized the English sonnet which made significant changes to Petrarch's model.
Other important figures in Elizabethan theatre include Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Dekker, John Fletcher and Francis Beaumont. Had Marlowe (1564–1593) not been stabbed at twenty-nine in a tavern brawl, says Anthony Burgess, he might have rivalled, if not equalled Shakespeare himself for his poetic gifts. Remarkably, he was born only a few weeks before Shakespeare and must have known him. Marlowe's subject matter is different from Shakespeare's as it focuses more on the moral drama of the Renaissance man than any other thing. Marlowe was fascinated and terrified by the new frontiers opened by modern science. Drawing on German lore, he introduced the story of Faust to England in his play Doctor Faustus (c.1592), about a scientist and magician who is obsessed by the thirst of knowledge and the desire to push man's technological power to its limits. He acquires supernatural gifts that even allow him to go back in time and wed Helen of Troy, but at the end of his twenty-four years' covenant with the devil he has to surrender his soul to him. His dark heroes may have something of Marlowe himself, whose death remains a mystery. He was known for being an atheist, leading a lawless life, keeping many mistresses, consorting with ruffians and living the 'high life' of London's underworld. But many suspect that this might have been a cover-up for his activities as a secret agent for Elizabeth I, hinting that the 'accidental stabbing' might have been a premeditated assassination by the enemies of The Crown. Beaumont and Fletcher are less-known, but they may have helped Shakespeare write some of his best dramas, and were popular at the time. It is also at this time that the city comedy genre develops.
The sonnet was introduced into English by Thomas Wyatt in the early 16th century. In the later 16th century English poetry was characterised by elaboration of language and extensive allusion to classical myths. One of the most important poet of this period is Edmund Spenser author of The Faerie Queene, an epic poem and fantastical allegory celebrating the Tudor dynasty and Elizabeth I. and Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586) was an English poet, courtier and soldier, and is remembered as one of the most prominent figures of the Elizabethan Age. His works include Astrophel and Stella, The Defence of Poetry, and The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia. Elizabeth I also produced occasional poems such as On Monsieur’s Departure. Poems intended to be set to music as songs, such as by Thomas Campion, became popular as printed literature was disseminated more widely in households. See English Madrigal School.
Jacobean literature (1603-25)After Shakespeare's death, the poet and dramatist Ben Jonson was the leading literary figure of the Jacobean era. Jonson's aesthetics hark back to the Middle Ages and his characters embody the theory of humours. According to this contemporary medical theory, behavioral differences result from a prevalence of one of the body's four "humours" (blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile) over the other three; these humours correspond with the four elements of the universe: air, water, fire, and earth. However, the stock types of Latin literature were an equal influence. Jonson therefore tends to create types or caricatures. However, in his best work, characters are "so vitally rendered as to take on a being that transcends the type". He is a master of style, and a brilliant satirist. Jonson's famous comedy Volpone (1605 or 1606)) shows how a group of scammers are fooled by a top con-artist, vice being punished by vice, virtue meting out its reward. Other major plays by Jonson are Epicoene (1609), The Alchemist (1610), and Bartholomew Fair (1614).
Others who followed Jonson's style include Beaumont and Fletcher, who wrote the brilliant comedy, The Knight of the Burning Pestle, a mockery of the rising middle class and especially of those nouveaux riches who pretend to dictate literary taste without knowing much literature at all. In the story, a couple of grocers wrangle with professional actors to have their illiterate son play a leading role in a drama. He becomes a knight-errant wearing, appropriately, a burning pestle on his shield. Seeking to win a princess' heart, the young man is ridiculed much in the way Don Quixote was. One of Beaumont and Fletcher's chief merits was that of realising how feudalism and chivalry had turned into snobbery and make-believe and that new social classes were on the rise. Another popular style of theatre during Jacobean times was the revenge play, popularized by John Webster and Thomas Kyd.
The King James Bible, one of the most massive translation projects in the history of English up to this time, was started in 1604 and completed in 1611. It represents the culmination of a tradition of Bible translation into English that began with the work of William Tyndale. It became the standard Bible of the Church of England. This project was headed by James I himself, who supervised the work of forty-seven scholars. Although many other translations into English have been made, some of which are widely considered more accurate, many aesthetically prefer the King James Bible, whose meter is made to mimic the original Hebrew verse.
Besides Shakespeare the major poets of the early 17th century included the Metaphysical poets John Donne (1572–1631) and George Herbert (1593–1633). Influenced by continental Baroque, and taking as his subject matter both Christian mysticism and eroticism, Donne's metaphysical poetry uses unconventional or "unpoetic" figures, such as a compass or a mosquito, to reach surprise effects. For example, in "Valediction: Forbidding Mourning", one of Donne's Songs and Sonnets, the points of a compass represent two lovers, the woman who is home, waiting, being the centre, the farther point being her lover sailing away from her. But the larger the distance, the more the hands of the compass lean to each other: separation makes love grow fonder. The paradox or the oxymoron is a constant in this poetry whose fears and anxieties also speak of a world of spiritual certainties shaken by the modern discoveries of geography and science, one that is no longer the centre of the universe. George Chapman (?1559-?1634) wrote a couple revenge tragedies, but is remembered chiefly for his famous translation in 1616 of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey into English verse. This was the first ever complete translations of either poem into the English language. The translation had a profound influence on English literature and inspired a sonnet from John Keats. The highly popular tale of the Trojan War had previously only been available to English readers only in Medieval epic retellings, such as Caxton's Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye.
The Caroline, Interregnum and Restoration periods (1625-1689)Metaphysical poets John Donne (1572–1631) and George Herbert (1593–1633 were still alive after 1625, and later in the 17th century a second generation of metaphysical poets were writing, including Richard Crashaw (1613–49), Andrew Marvell (1621–1678), Thomas Traherne (1636 or 1637–1674) and Henry Vaughan (1622–1695). The Cavalier poets were another important group of 17th century poets, who came from the classes that supported King Charles I during the English Civil War (1642–51). (King Charles reigned from 1625 and was executed 1649). The best known of the Cavalier poets are Robert Herrick, Richard Lovelace, Thomas Carew, and Sir John Suckling. They "were not a formal group, but all were influenced by" Ben Jonson. Most of the Cavalier poets were courtiers, with notable exceptions. For example, Robert Herrick was not a courtier, but his style marks him as a Cavalier poet. Cavalier works make use of allegory and classical allusions, and are influence by Latin authors Horace, Cicero, and Ovid.
Restoration literature includes both Paradise Lost and the Earl of Rochester's Sodom, the high spirited sexual comedy of The Country Wife and the moral wisdom of Pilgrim's Progress. It saw Locke's Two Treatises on Government, the founding of the Royal Society, the experiments of Robert Boyle and the holy meditations of Boyle, the hysterical attacks on theatres from Jeremy Collier, the pioneering of literary criticism from Dryden, and the first newspapers. The official break in literary culture caused by censorship and radically moralist standards under Cromwell's Puritan regime created a gap in literary tradition, allowing a seemingly fresh start for all forms of literature after the Restoration. During the Interregnum, the royalist forces attached to the court of Charles I went into exile with the twenty-year-old Charles II. The nobility who travelled with Charles II were therefore lodged for over a decade in the midst of the continent's literary scene. Charles spent his time attending plays in France, and he developed a taste for Spanish plays. Those nobles living in Holland began to learn about mercantile exchange as well as the tolerant, rationalist prose debates that circulated in that officially tolerant nation.
John Milton is one of the greatest English poets, wrote at this time of religious flux and political upheaval. Milton best known for his epic poem Paradise Lost (1671). Among other important poems are: L'Allegro,1631; Il Penseroso 1634; Comus (a masque), 1638; Lycidas; Paradise Regained, 1671; Samson Agonistes, 1671. Milton's poetry and prose reflect deep personal convictions, a passion for freedom and self-determination, and the urgent issues and political turbulence of his day. Writing in English, Latin, and Italian, he achieved international renown within his lifetime, and his celebrated Areopagitica, written in condemnation of pre-publication censorship, is among history's most influential and impassioned defenses of free speech and freedom of the press. William Hayley's 1796 biography called him the "greatest English author", and he remains generally regarded "as one of the preeminent writers in the English language".
John Dryden (1631-1700) was an influential English poet, literary critic, translator, and playwright who dominated the literary life of Restoration England to such a point that the period came to be known in literary circles as the Age of Dryden. He established the heroic couplet as a standard form of English poetry by writing successful satires, religious pieces, fables, epigrams, compliments, prologues, and plays with it; he also introduced the alexandrine and triplet into the form. In his poems, translations, and criticism, he established a poetic diction appropriate to the heroic couplet. Dryden's greatest achievements were in satiric verse in works like the mock-heroic MacFlecknoe (1682). W. H. Auden referred to him as "the master of the middle style" that was a model for his contemporaries and for much of the 18th century. The considerable loss felt by the English literary community at his death was evident from the elegies that it inspired. Alexander Pope (1688-1744) was heavily influenced by Dryden, and often borrowed from him; other writers in the 18th century were equally influenced by both Dryden and Pope. Though Ben Jonson had been poet laureate to James I, this was not then a formal position and the formal title of Poet Laureate, as a royal office, was first conferred by letters patent on John Dryden in 1670. The post then became a regular British institution.
Prose in the Restoration period is dominated by Christian religious writing, but the Restoration also saw the beginnings of two genres that would dominate later periods: fiction and journalism. Religious writing often strayed into political and economic writing, just as political and economic writing implied or directly addressed religion. The Restoration was also the time when John Locke wrote many of his philosophical works. Locke's empiricism was an attempt at understanding the basis of human understanding itself and thereby devising a proper manner for making sound decisions. These same scientific methods led Locke to his two Treatises on Government, which later inspired the thinkers in the American Revolution. As with his work on understanding, Locke moves from the most basic units of society toward the more elaborate, and, like Thomas Hobbes, he emphasizes the plastic nature of the social contract. For an age that had seen absolute monarchy overthrown, democracy attempted, democracy corrupted, and limited monarchy restored, only a flexible basis for government could be satisfying. The Restoration moderated most of the more strident sectarian writing, but radicalism persisted after the Restoration. Puritan authors such as John Milton were forced to retire from public life or adapt, and those Digger, Fifth Monarchist, Leveller, Quaker, and Anabaptist authors who had preached against monarchy and who had participated directly in the regicide of Charles I were partially suppressed. Consequently, violent writings were forced underground, and many of those who had served in the Interregnum attenuated their positions in the Restoration. John Bunyan stands out beyond other religious authors of the period. Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress is an allegory of personal salvation and a guide to the Christian life. Instead of any focus on eschatology or divine retribution, Bunyan instead writes about how the individual saint can prevail against the temptations of mind and body that threaten damnation. The book is written in a straightforward narrative and shows influence from both drama and biography, and yet it also shows an awareness of the grand allegorical tradition found in Edmund Spenser. During the Restoration period, the most common manner of getting news would have been a broadsheet publication. A single, large sheet of paper might have a written, usually partisan, account of an event. However, the period saw the beginnings of the first professional and periodical (meaning that the publication was regular) journalism in England. Journalism develops late, generally around the time of William of Orange's claiming the throne in 1689. Coincidentally or by design, England began to have newspapers just when William came to court from Amsterdam, where there were already newspapers being published.
It is impossible to satisfactorily date the beginning of the novel in English. However, long fiction and fictional biographies began to distinguish themselves from other forms in England during the Restoration period. An existing tradition of Romance fiction in France and Spain was popular in England. The "Romance" was considered a feminine form, and women were taxed with reading "novels" as a vice. One of the most significant figures in the rise of the novel in the Restoration period is Aphra Behn. She was not only the first professional female novelist, but she may be among the first professional novelists of either sex in England. Behn's most famous novel was Oroonoko in 1688. This was a biography of an entirely fictional African king who had been enslaved in Suriname. Behn's novels show the influence of tragedy and her experiences as a dramatist.
As soon as the previous Puritan regime's ban on public stage representations was lifted, the drama recreated itself quickly and abundantly. The most famous plays of the early Restoration period are the unsentimental or "hard" comedies of John Dryden, William Wycherley, and George Etherege, which reflect the atmosphere at Court, and celebrate an aristocratic macho lifestyle of unremitting sexual intrigue and conquest. After a sharp drop in both quality and quantity in the 1680s, the mid-1690s saw a brief second flowering of the drama, especially comedy. Comedies like William Congreve's The Way of the World (1700), and John Vanbrugh's The Relapse (1696) and The Provoked Wife (1697) were "softer" and more middle-class in ethos, very different from the aristocratic extravaganza twenty years earlier, and aimed at a wider audience. The playwrights of the 1690s set out to appeal to more socially mixed audiences with a strong middle-class element, and to female spectators, for instance by moving the war between the sexes from the arena of intrigue into that of marriage. The focus in comedy is less on young lovers outwitting the older generation, more on marital relations.
Augustan literature (1689-1750)During the 18th century literature reflected the worldview of the Age of Enlightenment (or Age of Reason): a rational and scientific approach to religious, social, political, and economic issues that promoted a secular view of the world and a general sense of progress and perfectibility. Led by the philosophers who were inspired by the discoveries of the previous century by people like Isaac Newton and the writings of Descartes, John Locke and Francis Bacon. They sought to discover and to act upon universally valid principles governing humanity, nature, and society. They variously attacked spiritual and scientific authority, dogmatism, intolerance, censorship, and economic and social restraints. They considered the state the proper and rational instrument of progress. The extreme rationalism and skepticism of the age led naturally to deism; the same qualities played a part in bringing the later reaction of romanticism. The Encyclopédie of Denis Diderot epitomized the spirit of the age.
The term Augustan literature derives from authors of the 1720s and 1730s themselves, who responded to a term that George I of England preferred for himself. While George I meant the title to reflect his might, they instead saw in it a reflection of Ancient Rome's transition from rough and ready literature to highly political and highly polished literature. Because of the aptness of the metaphor, the period from 1689 – 1750 was called "the Augustan Age" by critics throughout the 18th century (including Voltaire and Oliver Goldsmith). The literature of the period is overtly political and thoroughly aware of critical dictates for literature. It is an age of exuberance and scandal, of enormous energy and inventiveness and outrage, that reflected an era when English, Scottish, and Irish people found themselves in the midst of an expanding economy, lowering barriers to education, and the stirrings of the Industrial Revolution.
The most outstanding poet of the age is Alexander Pope, but Pope's excellence is partially in his constant battle with other poets, and his serene, seemingly neo-Classical approach to poetry is in competition with highly idiosyncratic verse and strong competition from such poets as Ambrose Philips. It was during this time that James Thomson produced his melancholy The Seasons and Edward Young wrote Night Thoughts. It is also the era that saw a serious competition over the proper model for the pastoral. In criticism, poets struggled with a doctrine of decorum, of matching proper words with proper sense and of achieving a diction that matched the gravity of a subject. At the same time, the mock-heroic was at its zenith. Pope's Rape of the Lock and The Dunciad are still the greatest mock-heroic poems ever written.
In prose, the earlier part of the period was overshadowed by the development of the English essay. Joseph Addison and Richard Steele's The Spectator established the form of the British periodical essay, inventing the pose of the detached observer of human life who can meditate upon the world without advocating any specific changes in it. Periodical essays bloomed into journalistic writings; such as Samuel Johnson’s “Reports of the Debates of the Senate of Lilliput”, titled to disguise the actual proceeding of parliament as it was illegal for any Parliamentary Reports to be reproduced in print. However, this was also the time when the English novel, first emerging in the Restoration, developed into a major art form. Daniel Defoe turned from journalism and writing criminal lives for the press to writing fictional criminal lives with Roxana and Moll Flanders. He also wrote a fictional treatment of the travels of Alexander Selkirk called Robinson Crusoe (1719). The novel would benefit indirectly from a tragedy of the stage, and in mid-century many more authors would begin to write novels.
Jonathan Swift did another. Swift's prose style is unmannered and direct, with a clarity that few contemporaries matched. He was a profound skeptic about the modern world, but he was similarly profoundly distrustful of nostalgia. He saw in history a record of lies and vanity, and he saw in the present a madness of vanity and lies. Core Christian values were essential, but these values had to be muscular and assertive and developed by constant rejection of the games of confidence men and their gullies. Swift's A Tale of a Tub announced his skeptical analysis of the claims of the modern world, and his later prose works, such as his war with Patridge the astrologer, and most of all his derision of pride in Gulliver's Travels left only the individual in constant fear and humility safe. After his "exile" to Ireland, Swift reluctantly began defending the Irish people from the predations of colonialism. His A Modest Proposal and the Drapier Letters provoked riots and arrests, but Swift, who had no love of Irish Roman Catholics, was outraged by the abuses and barbarity he saw around him.
Drama in the early part of the period featured the last plays of John Vanbrugh and William Congreve, both of whom carried on the Restoration comedy with some alterations. However, the majority of stagings were of lower farces and much more serious and domestic tragedies. George Lillo and Richard Steele both produced highly moral forms of tragedy, where the characters and the concerns of the characters were wholly middle class or working class. This reflected a marked change in the audience for plays, as royal patronage was no longer the important part of theatrical success. Additionally, Colley Cibber and John Rich began to battle each other for greater and greater spectacles to present on stage. The figure of Harlequin was introduced, and pantomime theatre began to be staged. This "low" comedy was quite popular, and the plays became tertiary to the staging. Opera also began to be popular in London, and there was significant literary resistance to this Italian incursion. This trend was broken only by a few attempts at a new type of comedy. Pope and John Arbuthnot and John Gay attempted a play entitled Three Hours After Marriage that failed. In 1728, however, John Gay returned to the playhouse with The Beggar's Opera. Gay's opera was in English and retold the story of Jack Sheppard and Jonathan Wild. However, it seemed to be an allegory for Robert Walpole and the directors of the South Sea Company, and so Gay's follow up opera was banned without performance. The Licensing Act 1737 brought an abrupt halt to much of the period's drama, as the theatres were once again brought under state control.
An effect of the Licensing Act was to cause more than one aspiring playwright to switch over to writing novels. Henry Fielding began to write prose satire and novels after his plays could not pass the censors. Henry Brooke also turned to novels. In the interim, Samuel Richardson had produced a novel intended to counter the deleterious effects of novels in Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded (1740). Henry Fielding attacked the absurdity of this novel with two of his own works, Joseph Andrews and Shamela, and then countered Richardson's Clarissa with Tom Jones. Henry Mackenzie wrote The Man of Feeling and indirectly began the sentimental novel. Laurence Sterne attempted a Swiftian novel with a unique perspective on the impossibility of biography (the model for most novels up to that point) and understanding with Tristram Shandy, even as his detractor Tobias Smollett elevated the picaresque novel with his works. Each of these novels represents a formal and thematic divergence from the others. Each novelist was in dialogue and competition with the others, and, in a sense, the novel established itself as a diverse and open-formed genre in this explosion of creativity. The most lasting effects of the experimentation would be the psychological realism of Richardson, the bemused narrative voice of Fielding, and the sentimentality of Brooke.
Age of sensibility: 1750-1798This period is also sometimes described as the "Age of Johnson". Samuel Johnson (1709 - 1784), often referred to as Dr Johnson, was an English author who made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer. Johnson has been described as "arguably the most distinguished man of letters in English history". He is also the subject of "the most famous single work of biographical art in the whole of literature": James Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson (1791). His early works include the poems "London" and "his most impressive poem" "The Vanity of Human Wishes" (1749). Both poems are modelled on Juvenal’s satires. After nine years of work, Johnson's A Dictionary of the English Language was published in 1755; it had a far-reaching effect on Modern English and has been described as "one of the greatest single achievements of scholarship." This work brought Johnson popularity and success. Until the completion of the Oxford English Dictionary 150 years later, Johnson's was viewed as the pre-eminent British dictionary. His later works included essays, an influential annotated edition of William Shakespeare's plays (1765), and the widely read tale Rasselas (1759). In 1763, he befriended James Boswell, with whom he later travelled to Scotland; Johnson described their travels in A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland (1786). Towards the end of his life, he produced the massive and influential Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets (1779–81), a collection of biographies and evaluations of 17th and 18th century poets. Through works such as the "Dictionary, his edition of Shakespeare, and his Lives of the Poets in particular, he helped invent what we now call English Literature".
The graveyard poets were a number of pre-Romantic English poets, writing in the 1740s and later, whose works are characterised by their gloomy meditations on mortality, "skulls and coffins, epitaphs and worms" in the context of the graveyard. To this was added, by later practitioners, a feeling for the 'sublime' and uncanny, and an interest in ancient English poetic forms and folk poetry. They are often considered precursors of the Gothic genre. The poets include; Thomas Gray (1716–71), whose Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard (1751) is "the best known product of this kind of sensibility"; William Cowper (1731-1800); Christopher Smart (1722–71); Thomas Chatterton (1752–70); Robert Blair (1699-1746), author of The Grave (1743), "which celebrates the horror of death"; and Edward Young (1683-1765), whose The Complaint, or Night Thoughts on Life, Death and Immortality (1742-5), is another "noted example of the graveyard genre". Other precursors of Romanticism are the poets James Thomson (1700–48) and James Macpherson (1736–96), and the novel of sensibility. Significant foreign influences were the Germans Goethe, Schiller and August Wilhelm Schlegel and French philosopher and writer Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–78). Edmund Burke's A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1757) is another important influence. The changing landscape, brought about by the industrial and agricultural revolutions, with the expansion of the city and depopulation of the countryside, was another influences on the growth of the Romantic movement in Britain. The poor condition of workers, the new class conflicts and the pollution of the environment, led to a reaction against urbanism and industrialization and a new emphasis on the beauty and value of nature.
During the end of the 18th century, Horace Walpole's 1764 novel The Castle of Otranto, created the Gothic fiction genre, that combines elements of horror and romance. The pioneering gothic novelist Ann Radcliffe introduced the brooding figure of the gothic villain which developed into the Byronic hero. Her most popular and influential work The Mysteries of Udolpho 1795, is frequently cited as the archetypal Gothic novel. Vathek 1786 by William Beckford, and The Monk 1796 by Matthew Lewis, were further notable early works in both the gothic and horror literary genres.
19th century literature
Romanticism (1798-1837)Various dates are given for the Romantic period in British literature. Here the publishing of Lyrical Ballads in 1798 is taken as the beginning and the start of Queen Victoria's reign in 1837 as its end, even though, for example, William Wordsworth lived until 1850 and William Blake published before 1798.
The Romantic movement in English literature had its beginnings in the pre-Romantic poets, James Thomson (1700–48), Edward Young (1683-1765), Thomas Gray (1716–71), Robert Blair (1699-1746), James Macpherson (1736–96), Thomas Chatterton (1752–70), William Cowper (1731-1800), etc., the Gothic novel and the novel of sensibility. Significant foreign influences were the Germans Goethe, Schiller and August Wilhelm Schlegel and French philosopher and writer Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–78). Edmund Burke's A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1757) was another important influence.
Robert Burns (1759-1796) was another pioneer of the Romantic movement, and after his death he became a cultural icon in Scotland. As well as making original compositions, Burns also collected folk songs from across Scotland, often revising or adapting them. His Poems, chiefly in the Scottish Dialect was published in 1786. Among poems and songs of Burns that remain well known across the world are, "Auld Lang Syne"; "A Red, Red Rose"; "A Man's A Man for A' That"; "To a Louse"; "To a Mouse"; "The Battle of Sherramuir"; "Tam o' Shanter" and "Ae Fond Kiss".
The changing landscape of Britain brought about by the steam engine has two major outcomes: the boom of industrialism with the expansion of the city, and the consequent depopulation of the countryside as a result of the enclosures. Most peasants poured into the city to work in the new factories. This abrupt change is revealed by the change of meaning in five key words: industry (once meaning "creativity"), democracy (once disparagingly used as "mob rule"), class (from now also used with a social connotation), art (once just meaning "craft"), culture (once only belonging to farming). But the poor condition of workers, the new class-conflicts and the pollution of the environment causes a reaction to urbanism and industrialisation prompting poets to rediscover the beauty and value of nature. Mother earth is seen as the only source of wisdom, the only solution to the ugliness caused by machines.
William Blake (1757-1827) was one of the first of the Romantic poets. Although Blake was largely unrecognised during his lifetime, he is now considered a seminal figure in the history of both the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age. Considered mad by contemporaries for his idiosyncratic views, Blake is held in high regard by later critics for his expressiveness and creativity, and for the philosophical and mystical undercurrents within his work. Among his most important works are Songs of Innocence (1789) and Songs of Experience (1794) "and profound and difficult 'prophecies' " such as Visions of the Daughters of Albion (1793), The First Book of Urizen (1794), Milton (1804–?11]), and "Jerusalem: the Emanation of the Giant Albion" (1804–?20).
Among the earliest Romantics were the Lake Poets, a small group of friends, including William Wordsworth (1770-1850), Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), Robert Southey (1774-1843) and journalist Thomas de Quincey (1785-1859). The early Romantic Poets brought a new emotionalism and introspection, and their emergence is marked by the first romantic manifesto in English literature, the "Preface" to Lyrical Ballads (1798). In it Wordsworth discusses what he sees as the elements of a new type of poetry, one based on the "real language of men" and which avoids the poetic diction of much 18th century poetry. Here, Wordsworth gives his famous definition of poetry, as "the spontaneous overflow of powerful emotions recollected in tranquility" which "takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility." The poems in Lyrical Ballads were mostly by Wordsworth, although Coleridge contributed the long "Rime of the Ancient Mariner", a tragic ballad about the survival of one sailor through a series of supernatural events on his voyage through the south seas which involves the slaying of an albatross. Coleridge is also especially remembered for "Kubla Khan", "Frost at Midnight", "Dejection: an Ode", "Chistabel" and his major prose work Biographia Literaria. His critical work, especially on Shakespeare, was highly influential, and he helped introduce German idealist philosophy to English-speaking culture. Coleridge and Wordsworth, along with Carlyle, were a major influence, through Emerson, on American transcendentalism. Coleridge and Wordsworth, however, understood romanticism in two entirely different ways: while Coleridge sought to make the supernatural "real", Wordsworth sought to stir the imagination of readers through his down-to-earth characters taken from real life, in "The Idiot Boy", for example, or the beauty of nature, especially the Lake District. Among Wordsworth's most important poems, are "Michael", "Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey", "Resolution and Independence", "Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood" and the long, autobiographical, epic The Prelude. The Prelude was begun in 1799 but published posthumously in 1850.
Lord Byron (1788-1824), Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) and John Keats (1795-1821). Byron, however, was still influenced by 18th-century satirists and was, perhaps the least 'romantic' of the three. His amours with a number of prominent but married ladies was also a way to voice his dissent on the hypocrisy of a high society that was only apparently religious but in fact largely libertine, the same that had derided him for being physically impaired. His first trip to Europe resulted in the first two cantos of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage (1812), a mock-heroic epic of a young man's adventures in Europe but also a sharp satire against London society. Despite Childe Harold's success on his return to England, accompanied by the publication of The Corsair (1813) his alleged incestuous affair with his half-sister Augusta Leigh in 1816 actually forced him to leave England for good and seek asylum on the continent. Here he joined Percy Bysshe Shelley, his wife Mary, with his secretary John William Polidori on the shores of Lake Geneva during the 'year without a summer' of 1816. Polidori's The Vampyre was published in 1819, creating the literary vampire genre. His short story was inspired by the life of Lord Byron and his poem The Giaour (1813).
Shelley is perhaps best known for poems such as Ozymandias, Ode to the West Wind, To a Skylark, Music, When Soft Voices Die, The Cloud and The Masque of Anarchy and Adonaïs, an elegy written on the death of Keats. Shelley's early profession of atheism, in the tract "The Necessity of Atheism", led to his expulsion from Oxford and branded him as a radical agitator and thinker, setting an early pattern of marginalization and ostracism from the intellectual and political circles of his time. His close circle of admirers, however, included the most progressive thinkers of the day, including his future father-in-law, philosopher William Godwin. Shelley became an idol of the next three or four generations of poets, including important Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite poets such as Robert Browning, and Dante Gabriel Rosetti. Shelley's influential poem The Masque of Anarchy (1819) calls for nonviolence in protest and political action. It is perhaps the first modern statement of the principle of nonviolent protest. Mahatma Gandhi's passive resistance was influenced and inspired by Shelley's verse, and Gandhi would often quote the poem to vast audiences.
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1818) is said to have come from a nightmare she had during stormy nights on Lake Geneva in the company of Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, and John Polidori. Her idea of making a body with human parts stolen from different corpses and then animating it with electricity was perhaps influenced by Alessandro Volta's invention and Luigi Galvani's experiments with dead frogs. Frankenstein's chilling tale also suggests modern organ transplants, tissue regeneration, reminding us of the moral issues raised by today's medicine. But the creature of Frankenstein is incredibly romantic as well. Although "the monster" is intelligent, good and loving, he is shunned by everyone because of his ugliness and deformity, and the desperation and envy that result from social exclusion turn him against the very man who created him.
John Keats did not share Byron's and Shelley's extremely revolutionary ideals, but his cult of pantheism is as important as Shelley's. Keats was in love with the ancient stones of the Parthenon that Lord Elgin had brought to England from Greece, also known as the Elgin Marbles). He celebrates ancient Greece: the beauty of free, youthful love couples here with that of classical art. Keats's great attention to art, especially in his "Ode on a Grecian Urn" (1818) is quite new in romanticism, and it inspired Walter Pater's and then Oscar Wilde's belief in the absolute value of art as independent from aesthetics.
Another important poet in this period was John Clare (1793-1864), Clare was the son of a farm labourer, who came to be known for his celebratory representations of the English countryside and his lamentation for the changes taking place in rural England. His poetry underwent a major re-evaluation in the late 20th century and he is often now considered to be among the most important 19th-century poets. His biographer Jonathan Bate states that Clare was "the greatest labouring-class poet that England has ever produced. No one has ever written more powerfully of nature, of a rural childhood, and of the alienated and unstable self".
One of the most popular novelist of the era was Sir Walter Scott, whose grand historical romances inspired a generation of painters, composers, and writers throughout Europe. Scott's novel-writing career was launched in 1814 with Waverley, often called the first historical novel, and was followed by Ivanhoe. His popularity in England and further abroad did much to form the modern stereotype of Scottish culture. Other novels by Scott which contributed to the image of him as a Scottish patriot include Rob Roy.
Jane Austen's works critique the novels of sensibility of the second half of the 18th century and are part of the transition to 19th century realism. Her plots, though fundamentally comic, highlight the dependence of women on marriage to secure social standing and economic security. Austen brings to light the hardships women faced, who usually did not inherit money, could not work and where their only chance in life depended on the man they married. She reveals not only the difficulties women faced in her day, but also what was expected of men and of the careers they had to follow. This she does with wit and humour and with endings where all characters, good or bad, receive exactly what they deserve. Her work brought her little personal fame and only a few positive reviews during her lifetime, but the publication in 1869 of her nephew's A Memoir of Jane Austen introduced her to a wider public, and by the 1940s she had become accepted as a major writer. The second half of the 20th century saw a proliferation of Austen scholarship and the emergence of a Janeite fan culture. Austen's works include Pride and Prejudice (1813) Sense and Sensibility (1811), Mansfield Park, Persuasion and Emma.
James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851) began publishing his historical romances of frontier and Indian life, to create a unique form of American literature. Cooper is best remembered for his numerous sea-stories and the historical novels known as the Leatherstocking Tales. Among his most famous works is the novel The Last of the Mohicans (1826). Later, in the middle of the 19th century, there was a significant Romantic movement in American literature, which, though highly original, was influenced by British and European Romanticism. The years 1850-1855 were particularly significant, with the publishing of Ralph Waldo Emerson's Representative Men, Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter and The House of Seven Gables, Herman Melville's Moby-Dick, Henry David Thoreau's Walden, and Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass.
Victorian literature (1837-1901)Also American literature (sections 4-6)
The Victorian novelVictorian era (1837–1901) that the novel became the leading literary genre in English. Another important fact is the number of women novelists who were successful in the 19th century, even though they often had to use a masculine pseudonym. The majority of readers were of course women. At the beginning of the 19th century most novels were published in three volumes. However, monthly serialization was revived with the publication of Charles Dickens' Pickwick Papers in twenty parts between April 1836 and November 1837. Demand was high for each episode to introduce some new element, whether it was a plot twist or a new character, so as to maintain the readers' interest. Both Dickens and Thackeray frequently published this way.
The 1830s and 1840s saw the rise of social novel, also known as social problem novel, that "arose out of the social and political upheavals which followed the Reform Act of 1832". This was in many ways a reaction to rapid industrialization, and the social, political and economic issues associated with it, and was a means of commenting on abuses of government and industry and the suffering of the poor, who were not profiting from England's economic prosperity. Stories of the working class poor were directed toward middle class to help create sympathy and promote change. An early example is Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist (1837-8). Charles Dickens emerged on the literary scene in the 1830s with the two novels already mentioned. Dickens wrote vividly about London life and struggles of the poor, but in a good-humoured fashion, accessible to readers of all classes. One of his most popular works to this day is A Christmas Carol (1843). In more recent years Dickens has been most admired for his later novels, such as Dombey and Son (1846-8), Great Expectations (1860-1),Bleak House (1852-3) and Little Dorrit (1855-7) and Our Mutual Friend (1864-5). An early rival to Dickens was William Makepeace Thackeray, who during the Victorian period ranked second only to him, but he is now much less read and is known almost exclusively for Vanity Fair (1847). In that novel he satirizese whole swaths of humanity while retaining a light touch. It features his most memorable character, the engagingly roguish Becky Sharp. The Brontë sisters were other significant novelists in the 1840s and 1850s. Their novels caused a sensation when they were first published but were subsequently accepted as classics. They had written compulsively from early childhood and were first published, at their own expense, in 1846 as poets under the pseudonyms Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. The sisters returned to prose, producing a novel each the following year: Charlotte's Jane Eyre, Emily's Wuthering Heights and Anne's Agnes Grey. Later, Anne's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848) and Charlotte's Villette (1853) were published. Elizabeth Gaskell was also a successful writer and first novel, Mary Barton, was published anonymously in 1848. Gaskell's North and South contrasts the lifestyle in the industrial north of England with the wealthier south. Even though her writing conforms to Victorian conventions, Gaskell usually frames her stories as critiques of contemporary attitudes: her early works focused on factory work in the Midlands. She always emphasised the role of women, with complex narratives and dynamic female characters. Anthony Trollope's (1815–82) was one of the most successful, prolific and respected English novelists of the Victorian era. Some of his best-loved works are set in the imaginary county of Barsetshire, including The Warden (1855) and Barchester Towers (1857). He also wrote perceptive novels on political, social, and gender issues, and on other topical matters, including The Way with Live Now (1875). Trollope's novels portrayed the lives of the landowning and professional classes of early Victorian England. George Eliot's (Mary Ann Evans (1819–80), first novel Adam Bede was published in 1859. Her works, especially Middlemarch 1871-2), are important examples of literary realism, and are admired for their combination of high Victorian literary detail combined with an intellectual breadth that removes them from the narrow geographic confines they often depict.
Thomas Hardy (1840-1928). A Victorian realist, in the tradition of George Eliot, he was also influenced both in his novels and poetry by Romanticism, especially by William Wordsworth. Charles Darwin is another important influence on Thomas Hardy. Like Charles Dickens he was also highly critical of much in Victorian society, though Hardy focussed more on a declining rural society. While Hardy wrote poetry throughout his life, and regarded himself primarily as a poet, his first collection was not published until 1898, so that initially he gained fame as the author of such novels as, Far from the Madding Crowd (1874), The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), Tess of the d'Urbervilles (1891), and Jude the Obscure (1895). He ceased writing novels following adverse criticism of this last novel. In novels such as The Mayor of Casterbridge and Tess of the d'Urbervilles Hardy attempts to create modern works in the genre of tragedy, that are modelled on the Greek drama, especially Aeschylus and Sophocles, though in prose, not poetry, fiction, not a play, and with characters of low social standing, not nobility. Another significant late 19th century novelist is George Robert Gissing (1857-1903) who published 23 novels between 1880 and 1903. His best known novel is New Grub Street (1891). Important developments occurred in genre fiction in this era.
Although pre-dated by John Ruskin's The King of the Golden River in 1841, the history of the modern fantasy genre is generally said to begin with George MacDonald, the influential author of The Princess and the Goblin and Phantastes (1858). William Morris was a popular English poet who also wrote several fantasy novels during the latter part of the 19th century. Wilkie Collins' epistolary novel The Moonstone (1868), is generally considered the first detective novel in the English language, while The Woman in White is regarded as one of the finest sensation novels. H. G. Wells's (1866-1946) writing career began in the 1890s with science fiction novels like The Time Machine (1895), and The War of the Worlds (1898) which describes an invasion of late Victorian England by Martians, and Wells is seen, along with Frenchman Jules Verne (1828-1905), as a major figure in the development of the science fiction genre. He also wrote realistic fiction about the lower middle class in novels like Kipps (1905) and The History of Mr Polly (1910).
By the mid-19th-century, the pre-eminence of literature from the British Isles began to be challenged by writers from the former American colonies. This included one of the creators of the new genre of the short story, and inventor of the detective story Edgar Allan Poe (1809–49). Among the significant American novelists were Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804–64), Herman Melville (1819–91), and Mark Twain (1835-1910). The essayists Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–82) and Henry David Thoreau (1817–62) are also included in the Canon of major writers.
Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804–1864) collected some of his stories as Twice-Told Tales, a volume rich in symbolism and occult incidents. Hawthorne went on to write full-length "romances", quasi-allegorical novels that explore such themes as guilt, pride, and emotional repression in his native New England. His masterpiece, The Scarlet Letter (1850), is the stark drama of a woman cast out of her community for committing adultery. Hawthorne's fiction had a profound impact on his friend Herman Melville (1819–1891), who first made a name for himself by turning material from his seafaring days into exotic and sensational sea narrative novels. Inspired by Hawthorne's focus on allegories and dark psychology, Melville went on to write romances replete with philosophical speculation. In Moby-Dick (1851), an adventurous whaling voyage becomes the vehicle for examining such themes as obsession, the nature of evil, and human struggle against the elements. In another important work, the short novel Billy Budd, Melville dramatizes the conflicting claims of duty and compassion on board a ship in time of war. His books sold poorly, and he had been long forgotten by the time of his death, but Melville was rediscovered in the early decades of the 20th century.
Genre fictionThe premier ghost story writer of the 19th century was Sheridan Le Fanu. His works include the macabre mystery novel Uncle Silas (1865), and his Gothic novella Carmilla (1872), tells the story of a young woman's susceptibility to the attentions of a female vampire. Bram Stoker's horror story Dracula (1897), belongs to a number of literary genres, including vampire literature, horror fiction, gothic novel and invasion literature.
Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes is a brilliant London-based "consulting detective", famous for his intellectual prowess. Conan Doyle wrote four novels and fifty-six short stories featuring Holmes, from 1880 up to 1907, with a final case in 1914. All but four Conan Doyle stories are narrated by Holmes' friend, assistant, and biographer, Dr. Watson. The Lost World literary genre was inspired by real stories of archaeological discoveries by imperial adventurers. H. Rider Haggard wrote one of the earliest examples, King Solomon's Mines, in 1885. Contemporary European politics and diplomatic manoeuvrings informed Anthony Hope's swashbuckling Ruritanian adventure novel The Prisoner of Zenda (1894). An important forerunner of modernist literature, Joseph Conrad published the novel Heart of Darkness in 1899. A symbolic story within a story, or frame narrative, about an Englishman Marlow's journey to the Belgian Congo.
Literature for children developed as a separate genre. Some works become internationally known, such as those of Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass. Adventure novels, such as those of Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–94), are generally classified as for children. Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), depicts the dual personality of a kind and intelligent physician who turns into a psychopathic monster after imbibing a drug intended to separate good from evil in a personality. His Kidnapped (1886) is a fast-paced historical novel set in the aftermath of the Jacobite rising of 1745, and Treasure Island 1883, is the classic pirate adventure. At the end of the Victorian era and leading into the Edwardian era, Beatrix Potter was an author and illustrator, best known for her children’s books, which featured animal characters. In her thirties, Potter published the highly successful children's book The Tale of Peter Rabbit in 1902. Potter eventually went on to published 23 children's books and become a wealthly woman.
Victorian poetryAlfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892), Robert Browning (1812–89), Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806–61), and Matthew Arnold (1822–88). The poetry of this period was heavily influenced by the Romantics, but also went off in its own directions. Particularly notable was the development of the dramatic monologue, a form used by many poets in this period, but perfected by Browning. Literary criticism in the 20th century gradually drew attention to the links between Victorian poetry and modernism.
Tennyson was Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom during much of Queen Victoria's reign. He was described by T. S. Eliot, as "the greatest master of metrics as well as melancholia", and as having "the finest ear of any English poet since Milton". Browning main achievement was in dramatic monologues such as "My Last Duchess", "Andrea del Sarto" and "The Bishop Orders his Tomb", which were published in his two-volume Men and Women in 1855. In his introduction to the Oxford University Press edition of Browning's Poems 1833-1864, Ian Jack comments, that Thomas Hardy, Rudyard Kipling, Ezra Pound and T S Eliot "all learned from Browning's exploration of the possibilities of dramatic poetry and of colloquial idiom". Tennyson was also a pioneer in the use of the dramatic monologue, in "The Lotus-Eaters" (1833), "Ulysses" (1842), and '"Tithonus" (1860). While Elizabeth Barrett Browning was the wife of Robert Browning she had established her reputation as a major poet before she met him. Her most famous work is the sequence of 44 sonnets "Sonnets from the Portuguese" published in Poems (1850). Matthew Arnold's reputation as a poet has declined in recent years and he is best remembered now for his critical works, like Culture and Anarchy (1869), and his 1867 poem "Dover Beach". This poem depicts a nightmarish world from which the old religious verities have receded. It is sometimes held up as an early, if not the first, example of the modern sensibility. The influence of William Wordsworth, both in ideas and in diction, is unmistakable in Arnold's best poetry, and Arnold has been seen as a bridge between Romanticism and Modernism, because of his use of symbolic landscapes was typical of the Romantic era, while his skeptical and pessimistic perspective was typical of the Modern era.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882) was a poet, illustrator, painter and translator. He founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848 with William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais, and was later to be the main inspiration for a second generation of artists and writers influenced by the movement, most notably William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones. Rossetti's art was characterised by its sensuality and its medieval revivalism. Poetry and image are closely entwined in Rossetti's work and he frequently wrote sonnets to accompany his pictures. He also illustrated poems by his sister Christina Rossetti such as Goblin Market.
While Arthur Clough (1819–61) was a more minor figure of this era, he has been described as "a fine poet whose experiments in extending the range of literary language and subject were ahead of his time".
Towards the end of the 19th century, English poets began to take an interest in French Symbolism and Victorian poetry entered a decadent fin-de-siècle phase. Two groups of poets emerged, the Yellow Book poets who adhered to the tenets of Aestheticism, including Algernon Charles Swinburne, Oscar Wilde and Arthur Symons and the Rhymers' Club group, that included Ernest Dowson, Lionel Johnson and Irishman William Butler Yeats. Yeats went on to become an important modernist in the 20th century. Also in the 1890s A. E. Housman published at his own expense A Shropshire Lad, a cycle of 63 poems, because he could not find a publisher. At first selling slowly, it rapidly became a lasting success, and its appeal to English musicians had helped to make it widely known before World War I, when its themes struck a powerful chord with English readers. A Shropshire Lad has been in print continuously since May 1896. The poems are pervaded by deep pessimism and preoccupation with death, without religious consolation. Housman wrote most of them while living in Highgate, London, before ever visiting that part of Shropshire (about thirty miles from his birthplace), which he presented in an idealised pastoral light, as his 'land of lost content'.
The nonsense verse of Edward Lear, along with the novels and poems of Lewis Carroll, is regarded as a precursor of surrealism. In 1846 Lear published A Book of Nonsense, a volume of limericks that went through three editions and helped popularise the form. In 1865 The History of the Seven Families of the Lake Pipple-Popple was published, and in 1867 his most famous piece of nonsense, The Owl and the Pussycat, which he wrote for the children of his patron Edward Stanley, 13th Earl of Derby. Many other works followed. Lewis Carrroll's most famous writings are Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass, as well as the poems "The Hunting of the Snark" and "Jabberwocky".
Writers of comic verse included the dramatist, librettist, poet and illustrator W. S. Gilbert(1836-1911), who is best known for his fourteen comic operas produced in collaboration with the composer Sir Arthur Sullivan, of which the most famous include H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and one of the most frequently performed works in the history of musical theatre, The Mikado.
In the 21st century two Victorian poets who published little in the 19th century, Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) and Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–89), are now regarded as major poets. While Hardy first established his reputation the late 19th century with novels, he also wrote poetry throughout his career. However he did not published his first collection until 1898, so that he tends to be treated as a 20th century poet. Hopkins Poems were published posthumously by Robert Bridges in 1918. Hopkins' poem "The Wreck of the Deutschland", written in 1875, first introduced what Hopkins called "sprung rhythm." As well as developing new rhythmic effects, Hopkins "was also very interested in ways of rejuvenating poetic language" and frequently "employed compound and unusual word combinations". Several 20th century poets, including W.H. Auden, Dylan Thomas, and American Charles Wright, "turned to his work for its inventiveness and rich aural patterning".
America also produced major poets in the 19th century, such as Emily Dickinson (1830–86) and Walt Whitman (1819–92). America's two greatest 19th century poets could hardly have been more different in temperament and style. Walt Whitman (1819–1892) was a working man, a traveler, a self-appointed nurse during the American Civil War (1861–1865), and a poetic innovator. His major work was Leaves of Grass, in which he uses a free-flowing verse and lines of irregular length to depict the all-inclusiveness of American democracy. Whitman was also a poet of the body, or "the body electric," as he called it. In Studies in Classic American Literature, the English novelist D. H. Lawrence wrote that Whitman "was the first to smash the old moral conception that the soul of man is something 'superior' and 'above' the flesh". Emily Dickinson (1830–1886), on the other hand, lived the sheltered life of a genteel, unmarried woman in small-town Amherst, Massachusetts. Within its formal structure, her poetry is ingenious, witty, exquisitely wrought, and psychologically penetrating. Her work was unconventional for its day, and little of it was published during her lifetime. Many of her poems dwell on death, often with a mischievous twist. One, "Because I could not stop for Death", begins, "He kindly stopped for me." The opening of another Dickinson poem toys with her position as a woman in a male-dominated society and an unrecognized poet: "I'm nobody! Who are you? / Are you nobody too?"
Victorian dramaA change came in the Victorian era with a profusion on the London stage of farces, musical burlesques, extravaganzas and comic operas that competed with productions of Shakespeare's plays and serious drama by dramatists like of James Planché and Thomas William Robertson. In 1855, the German Reed Entertainments began a process of elevating the level of (formerly risqué) musical theatre in Britain that culminated in the famous series of comic operas by Gilbert and Sullivan and were followed by the 1890s with the first Edwardian musical comedies. The length of runs in the theatre changed rapidly during the Victorian period. As transportation improved, poverty in London diminished, and street lighting made for safer travel at night, the number of potential patrons for the growing number of theatres increased enormously. Plays could run longer and still draw in the audiences, leading to better profits and improved production values. The first play to achieve 500 consecutive performances was the London comedy Our Boys, opening in 1875. Its astonishing new record of 1,362 performances was bested in 1892 by Charley's Aunt. Several of Gilbert and Sullivan's comic operas broke the 500-performance barrier, beginning with H.M.S. Pinafore in 1878, and Alfred Cellier and B. C. Stephenson's 1886 hit, Dorothy, ran for 931 performances. After W. S. Gilbert, Oscar Wilde became the leading poet and dramatist of the late Victorian period. Wilde's plays, in particular, stand apart from the many now forgotten plays of Victorian times and have a much closer relationship to those of the Edwardian dramatists such as Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), whose career began in the last decade of the 19th century, Wilde's 1895 comic masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest, holds an ironic mirror to the aristocracy and displays a mastery of wit and paradoxical wisdom.
English literature since 1901
1901-1939 ModernismA major British lyric poet of the first decades of the 20th century was Thomas Hardy (1840-1928). Though not a modernist Hardy was is an important transitional figure between the Victorian era and the 20th-century. A major novelists of the late 19th-century, Hardy lived well into the third decade of the 20th-century, but because of the adverse criticism of his last novel, Jude the Obscure, in 1895, from that time Hardy concentrated on publishing poetry. On the other hand another significant late 19th-century novelist, Henry James (1843-1916), continued to publish major works into the 20th-century. James had lived in Europe since 1875 and became a British citizen, but this was only in 1915, and he was born in America and spent his formative years there. Another immigrant, Polish-born modernist novelist Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) published his first important work, Heart of Darkness in 1899 and Lord Jim in 1900. The American exponent of Naturalism Theodore Dreiser's (1871-1945) Sister Carrie was also published in 1900. However, the Victorian Gerard Manley Hopkins's (1844–89) highly original poetry was not published until 1918, long after his death, while another major modernist poet, Irishman W. B. Yeats's (1865-1939), career began late in the Victorian era. Yeats was one of the foremost figures of 20th century literature. A pillar of both the Irish and British literary establishments, in his later years he served as an Irish Senator for two terms. Yeats was a driving force behind the Irish Literary Revival. In 1923 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature as the first Irishman so honoured Yeats is generally considered one of the few writers who completed their greatest works after being awarded the Nobel Prize; such works include The Tower (1928) and The Winding Stair and Other Poems (1929).
But while modernism was to become an important literary movement in the early decades of the new century, there were also many fine writers who, like Thomas Hardy, were not modernists. Irish playwrights George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) and J.M. Synge (1871-1909) were influential in British drama. Shaw's career began in the last decade of the 19th-century, while Synge's plays belong to the first decade of the 20th-century. Synge's most famous play, The Playboy of the Western World, "caused outrage and riots when it was first performed" in Dublin in 1907. George Bernard Shaw turned the Edwardian theatre into an arena for debate about important political and social issues, like marriage, class, "the morality of armaments and war" and the rights of women. An important dramatist in the 1920s, and later, was Irishman Sean O'Casey (1880-1964). Also in the 1920s and later Noel Coward (1899-1973) achieved enduring success as a playwright, publishing more than 50 plays from his teens onwards. Many of his works, such as Hay Fever (1925), Private Lives (1930), Design for Living (1932), Present Laughter (1942) and Blithe Spirit (1941), have remained in the regular theatre repertoire. In the 1930s W. H. Auden and Christopher Isherwood co-authored verse dramas, of which The Ascent of F6 (1936) is the most notable, that owed much to Bertolt Brecht. T. S. Eliot had began this attempt to revive poetic drama with Sweeney Agonistes in 1932, and this was followed by The Rock (1934), Murder in the Cathedral (1935) and Family Reunion (1939). There were three further plays after the war. Novelists, who are not considered modernists, include: Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) who was also a successful poet; H. G. Wells (1866-1946); John Galsworthy (1867-1933), (Nobel Prize in Literature, 1932) whose works include a sequence of novels, collectively called The Forsyte Saga (1906–21); Arnold Bennett (1867-1931) author of The Old Wives' Tale (1908); G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936); and E.M. Forster's (1879-1970), though Forster's work is "frequently regarded as containing both modernist and Victorian elements". H. G. Wells was a prolific author who is now best known for his science fiction novels. His most notable science fiction works include The War of the Worlds, The Time Machine, The Invisible Man and The Island of Doctor Moreau all written in the 1890s. Other novels include Kipps (1905) and Mr Polly (1910). Forster's most famous work, A Passage to India 1924, reflected challenges to imperialism, while his earlier novels, such as A Room with a View(1908) and Howards End (1910), examined the restrictions and hypocrisy of Edwardian society in England. The most popular British writer of the early years of the 20th century was arguably Rudyard Kipling, a highly versatile writer of novels, short stories and poems, and to date the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature (1907). Kipling's works include The Jungle Books (1894-5), The Man Who Would Be King and Kim (1901), while his inspirational poem "If—" (1895) is a national favourite and a memorable evocation of Victorian stoicism. Kipling's reputation declined during his lifetime, but more recently postcolonial studies has "rekindled an intense interest in his work, viewing it as both symptomatic and critical of imperialist attitudes". Strongly influenced by his Christian faith, G. K. Chesterton was a prolific and hugely influential writer with a diverse output. His best-known character is the priest-detective Father Brown, who appeared only in short stories, while The Man Who Was Thursday published in 1908 is arguably his best-known novel. Of his nonfiction, Charles Dickens: A Critical Study (1906) has received some of the broadest-based praise.
The Georgian poets like Rupert Brooke (1887 -1915), Walter de la Mare (1873 – 1956), John Masefield (1878 - 1967, Poet Laureate from 1930) maintained a more conservative approach to poetry by combining romanticism, sentimentality and hedonism, sandwiched as they were between the Victorian era, with its strict classicism, and Modernism, with its strident rejection of pure aestheticism. Edward Thomas (1878 - 1917) is sometimes treated as another Georgian poet. Thomas enlisted in 1915 and is one of the First World War poets along with Wilfred Owen (1893 -1918), Rupert Brooke (1887 -1915), Isaac Rosenberg (1890 -1917), Edmund Blunden (1896 -1974) and Siegfried Sassoon (1886 -1967). In Parenthesis, a modernist epic poem by David Jones (1895 -1974) first published in 1937, is probably the best known contribution from Wales to the literature of the First World War.
English literary modernism developed out of a general sense of disillusionment with Victorian era attitudes of certainty, conservatism, and belief in the idea of objective truth. The movement was influenced by the ideas of Charles Darwin (1809–82) (On Origin of Species) (1859), Ernst Mach (1838-1916), Henri Bergson (1859-1941), Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), James G. Frazer (1854-1941), Karl Marx (1818–83) (Das Kapital, 1867), and the psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), among others. The continental art movements of Impressionism, and later Cubism, were also important inspirations for modernist writers. Important literary precursors of modernism, were: Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821–81) (Crime and Punishment (1866), The Brothers Karamazov (1880); Walt Whitman (1819–92) (Leaves of Grass) (1855–91); Charles Baudelaire (1821–67) (Les Fleurs du mal), Rimbaud (1854–91) (Illuminations, 1874); August Strindberg (1849–1912), especially his later plays.
American poets T. S. Eliot (1888-1965) and Ezra Pound (1885-1972). Eliot became a British citizen in 1927 but was born and educated in America. His most famous works are: "Prufrock" (1915), The Wasteland (1921) and Four Quartets (1935–42). Ezra Pound was not only a major poet, first publishing part of The Cantos in 1917, but an important mentor for other poets, most significantly in his editorial advice for Eliot's poem The Wasteland. Other important American poets writing early in the 20th-century were William Carlos Williams (1883-1963), Robert Frost (1874-1963), who published his first collection in England in 1913, and H.D. (1886-1961). Gertrude Stein (1874-1946), an American expatriate living in Paris, famous for her line "Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose," was also an important literary force during this time period. American poet Marianne Moore (1887-1972) published from the 1920s to the 1960s.
Among novelist important early figures were Dorothy Richardson (1873-1957), whose novel Pointed Roof (1915), is one of the earliest example of the stream of consciousness technique and D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930), who published The Rainbow in 1915, though it was immediately seized by the police. Then in 1922 Irishman James Joyce's important modernist novel Ulysses appeared. Ulysses has been called "a demonstration and summation of the entire movement". Set during one day in Dublin, in it Joyce creates parallels with Homer's epic poem the Odyssey. William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury (1929) is another significant modernist novel, that uses the stream of consciousness technique.
The modernist movement continued through the 1920s and 1930s and beyond. During the period between the World Wars, American drama came to maturity, thanks in large part to the works of Eugene O'Neill (1888-1953). O'Neill's experiments with theatrical form and his use of both Naturalist and Expressionist techniques had a major influence on American dramatists. His best-known plays include Anna Christie (Pulitzer Prize 1922), Desire Under the Elms (1924), Strange Interlude (Pulitzer Prize 1928), Mourning Becomes Electra (1931). In poetry Hart Crane published The Bridge in 1930 and E. E. Cummings and Wallace Stevens were publishing from the 1920s until the 1950s. Similarly William Faulkner continued to publish until the 1950s and was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1949. However, not all those writing in these years were modernists, this includes Americans novelists Theodore Dreiser, Dos Passos, Ernest Hemingway, Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby 1925), and John Steinbeck.
World Wars, include the Scottish poet Hugh MacDiarmid (1892-1978), who began publishing in the 1920s, and novelists Virginia Woolf (1882-1941), E. M. Forster (1879-1970) (A Passage to India, 1924), Evelyn Waugh (1903–66), P. G. Wodehouse (1881-1975) (who was not a modernist) and D. H. Lawrence. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover was published privately in Florence in 1928, though the unexpurgated version was not published in Britain until 1959. Woolf was an influential feminist, and a major stylistic innovator associated with the stream-of-consciousness technique in novels like Mrs Dalloway (1925) and To the Lighthouse (1927). Her 1929 essay A Room of One's Own contains her famous dictum; "A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction". An important development, beginning really in the 1930s and 1940s was a tradition of working class novels that were actually written by writers who had a working-class background. Among these were coal miner Jack Jones, James Hanley, whose father was a stoker and who also went to sea as a young man, and other coal miner authors' Lewis Jones from South Wales and Harold Heslop from County Durham.
Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) published his famous dystopia Brave New World in 1932, the same year as John Cowper Powys's A Glastonbury Romance. Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer then appeared in 1934, though it was banned for many years in both Britain and America. Samuel Beckett (1906–89) published his first major work, the novel Murphy in 1938. This same year Graham Greene's (1904–91) first major novel Brighton Rock was published. Then in 1939 James Joyce's published Finnegans Wake. In this work Joyce creates a special language to express the consciousness of a character who is dreaming. It was also in 1939 that another Irish modernist, W. B. Yeats, died. British poet W. H. Auden was another significant modernists in the 1930s.
1940 to the 21st CenturyThough some have seen modernism ending by around 1939, with regard to English literature, "When (if) modernism petered out and postmodernism began has been contested almost as hotly as when the transition from Victorianism to modernism occurred". In fact a number of modernists were still living and publishing in the 1950s and 1960, including T. S. Eliot, William Faulkner, Dorothy Richardson, and Ezra Pound. Furthermore Basil Bunting, born in 1901, published little until Briggflatts in 1965 and French-resident, Irishman Samuel Beckett, born in 1906, continued to produce significant works until the 1980s, including Waiting for Godot (1953), Happy Days (1961), Rockaby (1981), though some view him as a post-modernist.
Graham Greene whose works span the 1930s to the 1980s and poet Dylan Thomas, while Evelyn Waugh, W.H. Auden and T. S. Eliot continued publishing significant work. In 1947 Malcolm Lowry published Under the Volcano, while George Orwell's satire of totalitarianism, 1984, was published in 1949. One of the most influential novels of the immediate post-war period was William Cooper's naturalistic Scenes from Provincial Life, a conscious rejection of the modernist tradition. Graham Greene was a convert to Catholicism and his novels explore the ambivalent moral and political issues of the modern world. Notable for an ability to combine serious literary acclaim with broad popularity, his novels include Brighton Rock (1938), The Power and the Glory (1940), The Heart of the Matter (1948), A Burnt-Out Case (1961), and The Human Factor (1978). Other novelists writing in the 1950s and later were: Anthony Powell whose twelve-volume cycle of novels A Dance to the Music of Time, is a comic examination of movements and manners, power and passivity in English political, cultural and military life in the mid-20th century; comic novelist Kingsley Amis is best known for his academic satire Lucky Jim (1954); Nobel Prize laureate William Golding's allegorical novel Lord of the Flies 1954, explores how culture created by man fails, using as an example a group of British schoolboys marooned on a deserted island who try to govern themselves, but with disastrous results. Philosopher Iris Murdoch was a prolific writer of novels throughout the second half of the 20th century, that deal especially with sexual relationships, morality, and the power of the unconscious, including Under the Net (1954), The Black Prince (1973) and The Green Knight (1993). Scottish writer Muriel Spark pushed the boundaries of realism in her novels. Her first, The Comforters (1957) concerns a woman who becomes aware that she is a character in a novel; The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961), at times takes the reader briefly into the distant future, to see the various fates that befall its characters. Anthony Burgess is especially remembered for his dystopian novel A Clockwork Orange (1962), set in the not-too-distant future, which was made into a film by Stanley Kubrick in 1971. In the entirely different genre of Gothic fantasy Mervyn Peake (1911–68) published his highly successful Gormenghast trilogy between 1946 and 1959.
Doris Lessing from Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), published her first novel The Grass is Singing in 1950, after immigrating to England. She initially wrote about her African experiences. Lessing soon became a dominant presence in the English literary scene, frequently publishing right through the century, and won the nobel prize for literature in 2007. Other works by her include a sequence of five novels collectively called Children of Violence (1952–69), The Golden Notebook (1962), The Good Terrorist (1985), and a sequence of five science fiction novels the Canopus in Argos: Archives (1979–1983). Indeed from 1950 on a significant number of major writers came from countries that had over the centuries been settled by the British, other than America which had been producing significant writers from at least the Victorian period. There had of course been a few important works in English prior to 1950 from the then British Empire. Olive Schreiner's famous novel The Story of an African Farm was published in 1883 and New Zealander Katherine Mansfield published her first collection of short stories, In a German Pension, in 1911. The first major novelist, writing in English, from the Indian sub-continent, R. K. Narayan, began publishing in England in the 1930s, thanks to the encouragement of English novelist Graham Greene. Caribbean writer Jean Rhys's writing career began as early as 1928, though her most famous work, Wide Sargasso Sea, was not published until 1966. Alan Paton's famous Cry, the Beloved Country dates from 1948.
From Nigeria a number of writers have achieved an international reputation for works in English, including novelist Chinua Achebe, who published Things Fall Apart in 1958, as well as playwright Wole Soyinka and novelist Buchi Emecheta. Soyinka won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1986, as did South African novelist Nadine Gordimer in 1995. Other South African writers in English are novelist J.M. Coetzee (Nobel Prize 2003) and playwright Athol Fugard. Kenya's most internationally renown author is Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o who has written novels, plays and short stories in English.Poet Derek Walcott, from from St Lucia in the Caribbean, was another Nobel Prize winner in 1992. Two Irishmen and an Australian were also winners in the period after 1940: novelist and playwright, Samuel Beckett (1969); poet Seamus Heaney (1995), who though he was British, from Northern Ireland], emigrated to the Irish Republic; Patrick White (1973) a major novelist in this period, whose first work was published in 1939. Another noteworthy Australian writer at the end of this period is poet Les Murray. Northern Ireland has also produced other major poets, including Paul Muldoon and Derek Mahon. While Scotland has in the late 20th-century produced several important novelists, including James Kelman who like Samuel Beckett can create humour out of the most grim situations. How Late it Was, How Late, 1994, won the Booker Prize that year; A. L. Kennedy whose 2007 novel Day was named Book of the Year in the Costa Book Awards. In 2007 she won the Austrian State Prize for European Literature; Alasdair Gray whose Lanark: A Life in Four Books (1981) is a dystopian fantasy set in his home town Glasgow.
Among Canadian writers who have achieved an international reputation, are novelist and poet Margaret Atwood, poet, song writer and novelist Leonard Cohen, short story writer Alice Munro, and more recently poet Anne Carson. Another admired Canadian novelist and poet is Michael Ondaatje, who was born in Sri Lanka.
An important cultural movement in the British theatre which developed in the late 1950s and early 1960s was Kitchen sink realism (or "kitchen sink drama"), a term coined to describe art (the term itself derives from an expressionist painting by John Bratby), novels, film and television plays. The term angry young men was often applied members of this artistic movement. It used a style of social realism which depicts the domestic lives of the working class, to explore social issues and political issues. The drawing room plays of the post war period, typical of dramatists like Terence Rattigan and Noël Coward were challenged in the 1950s by these Angry Young Men, in plays like John Osborne's Look Back in Anger (1956). Arnold Wesker and Nell Dunn also brought social concerns to the stage. Again In the 1950s, the absurdist play Waiting for Godot (1955) (originally En attendant Godot, 1952), by the French resident, Irishman Samuel Beckett profoundly affected British drama. The Theatre of the Absurd influenced Harold Pinter (1930-), (The Birthday Party, 1958), whose works are often characterised by menace or claustrophobia. Beckett also influenced Tom Stoppard (1937-) (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead,1966). Stoppard's works are however also notable for their high-spirited wit and the great range of intellectual issues which he tackles in different plays. Both Pinter and Stoppard continued to have new plays produced into the 1990s. Michael Frayn (1933- ) is among other playwrights noted for their use of language and ideas. He is also a novelist. Other Important playwrights whose careers began later in the century are: Caryl Churchill (Top Girls, 1982) and Alan Ayckbourn (Absurd Person Singular, 1972).
Philip Larkin (1922–85) (The Whitsun Weddings,1964), Ted Hughes (1930–98) (The Hawk in the Rain,1957) and Seamus Heaney (1939- ) (Death of a Naturalist, 1966), a Catholic from Northern Irish who rejected his British identity and lived in the Republic of Ireland for much of his later life. Northern Ireland has also produced a number of other significant poets, including Derek Mahon and Paul Muldoon. In the 1960s and 1970s Martian poetry aimed to break the grip of 'the familiar', by describing ordinary things in unfamiliar ways, as though, for example, through the eyes of a Martian. Poets most closely associated with it are Craig Raine and Christopher Reid. Martin Amis, an important contemporary novelist, carried into fiction this drive to make the familiar strange. Another literary movement in this period was the British Poetry Revival was a wide-reaching collection of groupings and subgroupings that embraces performance, sound and concrete poetry. Leading poets associated with this movement include J. H. Prynne, Eric Mottram, Tom Raworth, Denise Riley and Lee Harwood. The Mersey Beat poets were Adrian Henri, Brian Patten and Roger McGough. Their work was a self-conscious attempt at creating an English equivalent to the Beats. Many of their poems were written in protest against the established social order and, particularly, the threat of nuclear war. Other noteworthy later 20th century poets are Welshman R. S. Thomas, Geoffrey Hill, Charles Tomlinson and Carol Ann Duffy, who is the current poet laureate. Geoffrey Hill (1932- ) is considered one of the most distinguished English poets of his generation, Although frequently described as a "difficult" poet, Hill has retorted that poetry supposed to be difficult can be "the most democratic because you are doing your audience the honour of supposing they are intelligent human beings". Charles Tomlinson (1927-) is another important English poet of an older generation, though "since his first publication in 1951, has built a career that has seen more notice in the international scene than in his native England; this may explain, and be explained by, his international vision of poetry". The critic Michael Hennessy has described Tomlinson as "the most international and least provincial English poet of his generation". His poetry has won international recognition and has received many prizes in Europe and the United States.
One of Penguin Books most successful publications in the 1970s was Richard Adams's heroic fantasy Watership Down (1972). Evoking epic themes, it recounts the odyssey of a group of rabbits seeking to establish a new home. Another successful novel of the same era was John Fowles' The French Lieutenant's Woman (1969), with a narrator who freely admits the fictive nature of his story, and its famous alternative endings. This was made into a film in 1981 with a screenplay by Harold Pinter. Angela Carter (1940-1992) was a novelist and journalist, known for her feminist, magical realism, and picaresque works. Writing from the 1960s until the 1980s, her novels include, The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman 1972 and Nights at the Circus 1984. Margaret Drabble (1939- ) is a novelist, biographer and critic, who published from the 1960s into the 21st century. Her older sister, A. S. Byatt (1936- ) is best known for Possession published in 1990.
Salman Rushdie is among a number of post Second World War writers from the former British colonies who permanently settled in Britain. Rushdie achieved fame with Midnight's Children 1981, which was awarded both the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and Booker prize, and was named Booker of Bookers in 1993. His most controversial novel The Satanic Verses 1989, was inspired in part by the life of Muhammad. V. S. Naipaul (1932- ), born in Trinidad, was another immigrant, who wrote among other things A House for Mr Biswas (1961) and A Bend in the River (1979). Naipaul won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Also from the West Indies is George Lamming (1927- ), who wrote In the Castle of the Skin (1953), while from Pakistan, came Hanif Kureshi (1954-), a playwright, screenwriter, filmmaker, novelist and short story writer. His book The Buddha of Suburbia (1990) won the Whitbread Award for the best first novel, and was also made into a BBC television series. Another important immigrant writer Kazuo Ishiguro (1954- ) was born in Japan, but his parents immigrated to Britain when he was six. His works include, The Remains of the Day 1989, Never Let Me Go 2005.
Martin Amis (1949) is one of the most prominent of contemporary British novelists. His best-known novels are Money (1984) and London Fields (1989). Pat Barker (1943- ) has won many awards for her fiction. English novelist and screenwriter Ian McEwan (1948- ) is another of contemporary Britain's most highly regarded writers. His works include The Cement Garden (1978) and Enduring Love (1997), which was made into a film. In 1998 McEwan won the Man Booker Prize with Amsterdam. Atonement (2001) was made into an Oscar-winning film. McEwan was awarded the Jerusalem Prize in 2011. Zadie Smith's Whitbread Book Award winning novel White Teeth (2000), mixes pathos and humour, focusing on the later lives of two war time friends in London. Julian Barnes (1946-) is another successful living novelist, who won the 2011 Man Booker Prize for his book The Sense of an Ending, while three of his earlier books had been shortlisted for the Booker Prize: Flaubert's Parrot (1984), England, England (1998), and Arthur & George (2005). He has also written crime fiction under the pseudonym Dan Kavanagh.
Two significant contemporary Irish novelists are John Banville (1945- ) and Colm Tóibín (1955- ). Banville is also adapter of dramas, and screenwriter and writes detective novels under the pseudonym Benjamin Black. Banville has won numerous awards: The Book of Evidence was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and won the Guinness Peat Aviation award in 1989; his eighteenth novel, The Sea, won the Booker Prize in 2005; he was awarded the Franz Kafka Prize in 2011. Colm Tóibín (Irish),1955) is a novelist, short story writer, essayist, playwright, journalist, critic, and, most recently, poet. The contemporary Australian novelist Peter Carey (1943- ) i is one of only two writers to have won the Booker Prize twice.
From 1940 into the 21st-century, American playwrights, poets and novelists have continued to be internationally prominent. The following is a list of some of the more important writers (along with some important early works)
Novelists: Russian-born Vladimir Nabokov (Lolita, 1956), John Updike (Rabbit Run, 1960), Thomas Pynchon (V, 1963), Richard Ford, Eudora Welty (mainly short stories), Richard Wright, James Baldwin (Go Tell it on the Mountain, (1953), Saul Bellow (Herzog 1964)*, Bernard Malamud (The Fixer, 1967), Joyce Carol Oates, Cynthia Ozick, Toni Morrison*, Philip Roth (Portnoy's Complaint, 1969), Don DeLillo, Jane Smiley, David Foster Wallace, Isaac Bashevis Singer.*
Playwrights: Arthur Miller (Death of a Salesman, 1949), Tennessee Williams (A Streetcar Named Desire, 1947), Edward Albee (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, 1962), David Mamet.
Poets: John Ashberry, Robert Lowell (Life Studies, 1959), Charles Olson, Louise Glück, Elizabeth Bishop (North and South, 1946), Alan Ginsberg (Howl, 1956), Robert Bly (Silence in the Snowy Fields, 1962), Richard Wilbur, Sylvia Plath (Ariel, 1965), Amy Clampitt, Robert Pinsky, Mary Oliver, James Wright, Billy Collins.
- Nobel Prize winners
Post-modern literatureThe term Postmodern literature is used to describe certain tendencies in post-World War II literature. It is both a continuation of the experimentation championed by writers of the modernist period (relying heavily, for example, on fragmentation, paradox, questionable narrators, etc.) and a reaction against Enlightenment ideas implicit in Modernist literature. Postmodern literature, like postmodernism as a whole, is difficult to define and there is little agreement on the exact characteristics, scope, and importance of postmodern literature. Among postmodern writers are the Americans Henry Miller, William S. Burroughs, Joseph Heller, Kurt Vonnegut, Hunter S. Thompson, Truman Capote and Thomas Pynchon.
20th century genre literatureAgatha Christie (1890-1976) was a crime writer of novels, short stories and plays, who is best remembered for her 80 detective novels as well as her successful plays for the West End theatre. Christie's works, particularly those featuring the detectives Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple, have given her the title the 'Queen of Crime' and she was one of the most important and innovative writers in this genre. Christie's novels include, Murder on the Orient Express, Death on the Nile and And Then There Were None. Another popular writer during the Golden Age of detective fiction was Dorothy L. Sayers (1893-1957). Other recent noteworthy writers in this genre are Ruth Rendell, P. D. James and Scot Ian Rankin.
Erskine Childers The Riddle of the Sands 1903, is an early example of the spy novel. A noted writer in the spy novel genre was John le Carré, while in thriller writing, Ian Fleming created the character James Bond 007 in January 1952, while on holiday at his Jamaican estate, Goldeneye. Fleming chronicled Bond's adventures in twelve novels, including Casino Royale (1953), Live and Let Die (1954), Dr. No (1958), Goldfinger (1959), Thunderball (1961), and nine short story works.
Hungarian-born Baroness Emma Orczy's (1865-1947) original play, The Scarlet Pimpernel, opened in October 1903 at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal and was not a success. However, with a rewritten last act, it opened at the New Theatre in London in January 1905. The premier of the London production was enthusiastically received by the audience, running 122 performances and enjoying numerous revivals. The Scarlet Pimpernel became a favourite of London audiences, playing more than 2,000 performances and becoming one of the most popular shows staged in England to that date. The novel The Scarlet Pimpernel was published soon after the play opened and was an immediate success. Orczy gained a following of readers in Britain and throughout the world. The popularity of the novel encouraged her to write a number of sequels for her "reckless daredevil" over the next 35 years. The play was performed to great acclaim in France, Italy, Germany and Spain, while the novel was translated into 16 languages. Subsequently, the story has been adapted for television, film, a musical and other media.
John Buchan (1875-1940) published the adventure novel The Thirty-Nine Steps in 1915.
The novelist Georgette Heyer created the historical romance genre.
Kailyard school of Scottish writers, notably J. M. Barrie (1869-1937), creator of Peter Pan (1904), presented an idealised version of society and brought of fantasy and folklore back into fashion. In 1908, Kenneth Grahame (1859-1932) wrote the children's classic The Wind in the Willows. An informal literary discussion group associated with the English faculty at the University of Oxford, were the "Inklings". Its leading members were the major fantasy novelists; C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Lewis is especially known for The Chronicles of Narnia, while Tolkien is best known as the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Another significant writer is Alan Garner author of Elidor (1965), while Terry Pratchett is a more recent fantasy writer. Roald Dahl rose to prominence with his children's fantasy novels, such as James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, often inspired by experiences from his childhood, which are notable for their often unexpected endings, and unsentimental, dark humour. J. K. Rowling author of the highly successful Harry Potter series and Philip Pullman famous for his His Dark Materials trilogy are other significant authors of fantasy novels for younger readers.
Noted writers in the field of comic books are Neil Gaiman, and Alan Moore; Gaiman also produces graphic novels.
In the later decades of the 20th-century, the genre of science fiction begun to be taken more seriously because of the work of writers such as Arthur C. Clarke's (2001: A Space Odyssey), Isaac Asimov, Ursula le Guin, Michael Moorcock and Kim Stanley Robinson. Another prominent writer in this genre, Douglas Adams, is particularly associated with the comic science fiction work, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe, which began life as a radio series in 1978. Mainstream novelists such Doris Lessing and Margaret Atwood also wrote works in this genre, while Scottish novelist Ian M. Banks has also achieved a reputation as both a writer of traditional and science fiction novels.
- List of English language poets
- Scottish literature
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- Africa, see former British colonies, Nigeria, Kenya, etc.; African literature; South African literature
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