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Sandra Olivares Gonzlez Literatura Inglesa II A. THE INTER WAR YEARS: 1918-1939 a.

The Historical Background The British government had a great deal of difficulty in adjusting to post-war politics. David Lloyd George, the talented Liberal prime minister, was permitted to retain his office by the Conservative majority. At first he continued to run the government as he had during the war, using only his closest advisor to discuss and execute policy decisions. He often worked behind closed doors. Though he had returned from the Paris Peace Conference to general approval, things gradually began to look less rosy. Demobilization caused much difficulty in England. Overseen by the Ministry of Reconstruction, the British government called back from Europe those men deemed most necessary at home; these men were often those who had been most recently sent over the channel. Long-term military personnel grew angry, and, after a number of demonstrations, the policy of 'first in, first out' was set to appease the military. Immediately after World War I, workers in many key industries began to strike, demanding higher wages, better working conditions, and shorter hours now that the war was ended. Workers in the mining and railway industries were especially adamant, and troops were called in on a number of occasions. However, the spirit of the labour movements did not blossom in Britain as it did elsewhere, and the socialist goal of nationalization of industry was put on hold. Factories owned by the government were sold off, and soon practically no businesses remained in government hands. During the early years after the war, Britain stayed out of foreign affairs and hoped that laissez-faire economics would jump-start the post-war economy. However, political stability could not be maintained. In 1922, David Lloyd George resigned, and the coalition of parties under him fragmented, ushering in a period of uncertainty. The next years found the British Conservative Party struggling to prevent power from falling into the hands of the leftist Labour Party, which in fact controlled the government for a short time in 1924. After this short spurt, Conservatives again controlled the government from 1925 to 1929. In March 1926, the 1

Samuel Commission, at the behest of the government, released a report on the coal industry advocating wage reductions, setting off strikes all over the nation in May. The Triple Alliance, made up of miners, rail workers, and other transport workers began the strike, and workers in other industries around the nation struck in sympathy. However, the spirit of Conservatism remained high and the government held out. The miners went back to work in December, forced by necessity, and the Trade Disputes Act of 1927 made sympathetic striking illegal. Amid this battle, however, the Conservative government lost direction and unity, and the Labour Party won the election of 1929. The Labour government attempted to exercise a greater deal of control over the domestic economy, but was often hesitant in its actions. The onset of the depression in the early 1930s tore the British Parliament apart, as disagreement over recovery measures divided the nation. Labour advocated extremely leftist policies and unwise spending, while the Liberal and Conservative Parties were divided within themselves over just what to do. The election of 1931 was a marked success for the Conservatives, who emerged with a vast majority in Parliament. Despite the Party's protectionist efforts, the depression grew steadily worse. Unemployment benefits were cut in 1931, and adjusted again in 1934. The remainder of the peacetime years was spent dabbling in different potential solutions to the nation's economic problems. In the realm of foreign relations, the only major issue was the resurgence of German aggression. In 1937, Stanley Baldwin, the experienced, level-headed prime minister and leader of the Conservative party during the past fifteen years, resigned his post, leaving Neville Chamberlain as his successor. Chamberlain pursued the failed policy of appeasement in regard to Adolf Hitler's aggression, signing the Munich Pact. His hopes for avoidance of war dashed, he presided over Britain's declaration of war on Germany on September 3, 1939. He clung to power until his death on November 9, 1940, when Winston Churchill took over. Britain suffered from a case of political confusion in the years following the First World War. For centuries, Britain had been widely successful economically and politically, always seemingly a step ahead of the other nations of the world. However, once the brutal war ended, Britain was cast into 2

the mires of post-war rebuilding, just like the other nations of Europe. The nation responded to its new found problems by dividing sharply between those who favoured the solutions of the far left and those who favoured the solutions of the far right. The centrist Liberal party basically disappeared, and the political battles of the inter-war years were pitched between the rightist Conservatives and the leftist Labour Party. The attitude of the Conservative Party may be seen in the early years following the war. They favoured a fairly closed, powerful central government that, while it would pass some social legislature, would concern itself primarily with maintaining laissezfaire economics as if nothing had happened, allowing economic cycles to bring back prosperity. This attitude was constantly challenged and forced to modify itself by the Labour party and Britain's workers. They made their goals clear with strikes early on, but lack of organization, and the necessity of working, due to hard times, gave them little to bargain with. Despite the absence of broad gains, the Labour party's pressure did push the Conservative government to institute social programs, and steps were taken early on toward the construction of a social safety net, most notably with the passage of the Unemployment Insurance Act of 1920. Labour continued to grow stronger as it grew more and more dissatisfied with Conservative policies, and even got a chance at governmental control in 1924, working toward greater government spending on social programs, especially regarding the problem of housing. The Labour Party again got a chance to govern between 1929 and 1931, but got little accomplished with a small majority. The left failed to become a significant force in British politics for a number of reasons. The early strikes demonstrated that while the spirit of socialism was in the air, the leftists themselves were hopelessly divided among themselves based upon differing degrees of leftism, ranging from moderate socialism to communism, and devoted much of their energy to internecine quarrels. In 1921, the Communist Party in Britain contained only 5,000 members, and hardly posed a threat to the establishment. By 1929, the leftist forces had combined their strength in a more organized fashion, and had long abandoned radical socialism and decided to work within the capitalist system to regulate and control it. However, the Labour government was far too cautious, fearing it would be ousted by the only slightly over-matched (in parliamentary seats) Conservatives. Such a cautious 3

government was incapable of tackling the problem of mounting unemployment. In fact, Labour Prime Minister MacDonald tried to avoid the issue by repeating the socialist argument that the capitalist system was the problem, and that as such, he could not be expected to do anything about unemployment within the capitalist system. This statement was followed not long after by the dissolution of the Labour government, and the beginning of the long years of the depression. Focusing on its own problems, Britain had attempted to stay relatively removed from European power politics during the inter-war years, a project which enjoyed fair success until Nazi Germany began to rear its ugly head. Chamberlain granted Hitler the Czech Sudetenland in an attempt to appease the ambitious dictator. The move was a failure, and Hitler soon demonstrated his desire for total European domination, to which the British responded with a declaration of war. Though Chamberlain's policies in office were questionable, he did prove that he had learned one thing from the inter war years. He accepted his rival, Winston Churchill, as his successor, preparing his party for the transition, thereby avoiding the internecine divisions that had doomed previous transitions of power and caused drastic political realignments. b. Literary Features of the Age. One useful way of approaching the Inter-War period is through the title of one of the most popular accounts of the period, The Long Weekend. The image of the Long Weekend nicely expresses the general but shifting character of the inter-War period, moving from the gaiety of the Jazz-Age twenties to the more sober reflectiveness of the 1930s. If that is true, then Saturday Morning begins with a monumental sense of nausea and regret, far more than a hangover! For writers such as D. H. Lawrence, for whom the Great War had been a "wound through my side", the first of this century's "total wars" had been totally traumatic: amongst upper and middle classes the War represented a complete break with a century-long tradition of gradual progress, social reform and social consolidation. In retrospect, as the popularity of H. E. Bates The Go-Between or Isobel Colegate's The Shooting Party illustrates, the long hot summers of the Edwardian golden age would swiftly become a fond memory, and subject of elegy and lament. Philip Larkin's 'MCMXIV', with its repeated line "Never such innocence again", nicely conveys that vision of an Edwardian Age which 4

would be killed off by the guns of August. Similarly, the post-war popularity of writers such as A E Housman, or the Georgian poets, with their elegiac visions of a pastoral England of the heart, Housman's "land of lost content", is yet another example of how significant this sense of a "breaking with the past" was to prove for the generation of 1918: the vision of a pre-War Edenic Age haunts much of the literary and cultural vision of the 1920s. It was to be some time before the War was written about directly, most notably in Robert Graves' Goodbye to All That, so traumatic had been the impact of the 1914-18 War. The culture which emerged after 1918 was shot through, therefore, with this sense of trauma and loss, and British writing of the 1920s needs to be approached from this perspective. At the same time, however, writers of the immediate post-War years found a new and pressing need to find a style and voice in order to speak of the new social, cultural and moral realities of the postWar world, a world of new technologies (especially transport and communications), and of new landscapes, a mass capitalist urban culture, based not in the country, but in the new cosmopolitan centres - London, New York, Paris, Berlin, etc. This new world, however "brave", was so often viewed as an alien and hostile landscape, a world of alienation, exile, rootlessness, of dingy bedsits, ugliness, anonymity, the hordes of blank-faced commuters. In this new civilisation it was no longer possible to write in the style of Jane Austen, and a new style, new modes of expression, had to be found. We will return to this later in the lecture. It is important to note, however, that whilst the War dramatically accelerated this need to embrace the realities of urbanism, industrialisation, consumer capitalism etc., the tensions between pastoralism and modernism go back to the 1850s (in the novels of Dickens, for example), or possibly back further to the late eighteenth century (in the works of Austen or the Romantics). What was new was the need to adjust to the pace of change, with what Robert Hughes calls the "Shock of the New". This is an important point to note because pre-War literary culture, especially the period 1901-14, witnessed the first concerted attempt to deal head on with the Modern Age and modern landscapes: Howards End, Eliot's Preludes, or the work of the imagists and futurists. There is, therefore, some sense of continuity between pre and post-War literary culture in this respect. 5

One recurrent issue for writers throughout the inter-War period was the need to come to terms fully with the loss of a sense of an absolute moral order, of living in an "Age of Unbelief". This continues pre-War concerns (expressed in Nietzsche's proclamation of the "death of God"), but the sense of loss was dramatically heightened by the impact of the War. Two further influences compounded this need to face the implications of living in secular times. The impact of new scientific principles, most notably the influence of popularised notions of Relativity and, later still, Uncertainty principles. Whilst not wholly understood they did nevertheless permeate the cultural and intellectual atmosphere of the inter-War period, leading to a sense of fundamental questioning - "of what can we be fully certain?", "Is there any such thing as Absolute truth?", and "Is what I see and believe simply the result of my own subjective point of view, relative only to me?". Even the most fundamental of absolutes, the concept of Time itself, was radically undermined by Bergson's concept of personal time. Mrs Dalloway, for example, with its juxtaposition between that most public of clocks, Big Ben, and Mrs Dalloway's will-o'-the'wisp consciousness, is but one example of this general move towards subjectivism, perspective and internalisation within the inter-War novel. Dorothy Richardson's mammoth 12-volume novel Pilgrimage, with its dazzling exploration of "stream-of-consciousness", was another expression of this movement towards the inner consciousness, to personal experience and personal time. Whilst pre-War writing had been marked by such traits, (e.g. Conrad's Heart of Darkness), it was the post-War period which saw the most radical expressions of these approaches. In general terms it is worth distinguishing between 1920s and 1930s responses to these issues of faith and belief. In the first decade we see writers struggling to come to terms with the implications of living in an age of uncertainty, of relativism and provisional, amongst the "chaos and futility which is the panorama of contemporary history" (Eliot), of asking "What does it all mean?" (Woolf). In The Waste Land, for example, the modern world is presented as a place of sterility, chaos, aridity, a world which has broken contact with its spiritual and anthropological roots: Eliot was attempting little less than a reconstruction of some sense of order and permanence amongst the 6

contemporary rubble. Similarly, in Forster's A Passage to India, the hollowness and emptiness of the Marabar Caves, with their mysterious 'ou-boum', suggest the ultimate precariousness of the Western humanist vision, and it is an echo which haunts this apparently straightforward tale of the British in India. Alternatively, the 1920s novels of Woolf reveal a shell-shocked world, traumatised by the War and its aftermath, with the portrayal of characters such as the suicidal Septimus Smith, or the enigmatic uncertainties of Mrs Dalloway herself. Finally, in The Great Gatsby, the hollowness and ultimate futility of the Jazz Agers is revealed in the "wasteland", the patch of wilderness which is presided over by an advertisement for Dr Eckelberg, and his mysterious allseeing eyes. Writers of the 1930s, however, can be seen to respond in contrasting ways, realising that faith is a necessity in the "Devil's Decade", and one must choose a faith, irrespective of its final or ultimate truth. Richard Johnstone has described this in his study The Will to Believe, and the phrase is a useful one. In the politically polarised atmosphere of the 1930s the choices were stark - Fascism, Communism, Catholicism, Liberalism or Conservative - and questions of commitment and engagement became paramount. T S Eliot, in the 1930s, finds a faith (and a home) in AngloCatholicism; writers of the "Auden generation" - Spender, Auden, Isherwood - find a home in Communism or left-of-centre politics; Graham Green and Evelyn Waugh find a home in Catholicism; writers such as Huxley or Forster remain true to their belief in liberal humanism, in individualism and the notion of "Man as the Measure"; writers such as Yeats and Lawrence had, in the 1920s, immersed themselves in faiths based in folk cultures, and earned the suspicion of flirtations with fascism. Orwell, part liberal humanist and part socialist in the 1930s, was but one writer who realised that the challenge of the 1930s meant that no writer could really afford the luxury of not taking sides. For middle class writers throughout the period questions of commitment and engagement abound, more emphatically so in the period from 1926 onwards, but most definitely in the 1930s, when the realities of working class poverty and unemployment were brought home to them. This was coupled with the an increasing realisation of living in a new type of "mass society", in which the interests of 7

the individual, no matter how talented or privileged, were outweighed by the development of a mass consumer society: this is perhaps why questions of individualism, of personal authenticity as opposed to mass identity, were so important to writers of the 1930s, as they continued to be for writers of the post-1945 period. Orwell's Keep the Aspidistra Flying was but one exploration of the conflict between individual and society within this period. There were various responses to the challenges of writing of these new transformed times. Huxley's Brave New World, with its nightmare vision of a 'Fordist' society, with its mixture of eugenic conformity and social control, is part of an enduring tradition of twentieth century dystopian fiction (which includes Orwell's 1984). Orwell's The Road to Wigan Pier, by contrast, was part of that tradition of social exploration which was seen also in the documentary/Mass Observation movements of the 1930s: novels such as Walter Greenwood's Love on the Dole (1933) had alerted middle class readers to the realities of working class life and culture, and Orwell's accounts of mining life were equally influential in attempting to change cultural perceptions of the working class. Graham Greene's Brighton Rock, with its portrayal of Pinkie's haunted Catholic conscience, presents an equally clear picture of the pleasure-seeking world of the Bank Holiday day trippers, who have little grasp of, or interest in, profounder truths or questions. Woolf's two extraordinary extended essays, A Room of One's Own and Three Guineas, illustrate a final key issue for writers of the inter-War period, the need to acknowledge the experience and status of women: her highly articulate defences of a feminist agenda were but two examples of a new and more sustained attempt to face what Edwardian writers had presented as being the "Woman Question". All of the above issues lead back to a question which we started with, how did writers within this period find a voice and a means of expressing the new realities of the post-1918 world? The underlying realisation was that one could no longer write in the Classic realist way, with its solid knowable characters, tidy endings and with the "bad and selfish ending unhappily". Within the period, as in the period immediately before it, there was a huge variety of styles - modernism,

expressionism, social or cinematic realism, stream of consciousness, symbolism, futurism. This was true not just of literature, but across the Arts. One starting point is provided by Virginia Woolf's widely quoted remark that "On or about December 1910 human nature changed". The immediate context for her remarks was the PostImpressionist exhibition in London which had been organised by her friend Roger Fry. In an influential essay, "Modern Fiction" (1919), Woolf went on to call for a new style of writing, one more suited to modern views of psychology, which would celebrate the uniqueness and complexity of the internal life: this is often taken, not always correctly, as a kind of manifesto for the "stream of consciousness" technique. Alternatively writers such as James Joyce (in Ulysses) or T S Eliot, resorted to myth and symbol, in an attempt to convey the complexity of individual minds in complex times. Behind the experimentalism lay a single question - how does one write about a "Real World out there" if one can no longer believe (or prove) that there really is a "Real World". Modernism, whether literary or aesthetic, had been one attempt to rise to the challenge posed by this question, and its qualities (abstract, obscure, de familiarising and unsettling) had been an attempt to respond to (and even whole-heartedly embrace) the challenges of the "New". Modernism in Britain, however, was never really whole-hearted, and writers of the 1930s particularly, in their wish to respond to burning political and social issues, turned back to the more realist/empirical style. Modernist experimentation was, for writers such as Orwell, a bourgeois luxury which could no longer be afforded given the urgent challenges of the "Devil's Decade". c. Poetry T.S. Eliot (1888-1965) was a publisher, playwright, literary and social critic and "arguably the most important English-language poet of the 20th century". He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948. Although he was born an American, he moved to the United Kingdom in 1914 (at age 25) and was naturalised as a British subject in 1927 at age 39. Eliot was born into the Eliot family, a middle class family from New England. His father was a successful businessman and his mother wrote poetry and was a social worker. Eliot was the last of six children. Eliot had to 9

overcome physical limitations as child, because he struggled from a congenital double inguinal hernia. As he was often isolated, his love of literature developed. We was completely absorbed in tales depicting savages, the Wild West and Tom Sawyer. From 1898 to 1905 Eliot attended Smith Academy, where he studied Latin, Greek, French and German. He began to write poetry when he was fourteen under the influence of Wedwar Fitzgerlad's Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. His first published poem, A Fable for Feasters, was written as a school exercise. "The Man Who Was King" significantly reflects his exploration of Igorot Village while visiting the 1904 World's Fair of St. Louis. Such a link with primitive people importantly antedates his anthropological studies at Harvard. Following graduation, Eliot attended Milton Academy in Massachusetts for a preparatory year, where he met Scofield Thayer, who would later publish The Waste Land. He studied philosophy at Harvard College from 1906 to 1909. After working as a philosophy assistant at Harvard from 1909 to 1910, Eliot moved to Paris, where from 1910 to 1911, he studied philosophy. Eliot first published his poems individually in periodicals or in small books or pamphlets, and then collected them in books. His first collection was Prufrock and Other Observations (1917). In 1920, he published more poems in Ara Vos Prec (London) and Poems: 1920 (New York). 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock'. Although the character Prufrock seems to be middle-aged, Eliot wrote most of the poem when he was only twenty-two. Its now-famous opening lines, comparing the evening sky to "a patient etherised upon a table", were considered shocking and offensive, especially at a time when Georgian Poetry was hailed for its derivations of the nineteenth century Romantic Poets. The poem follows the experience of a man, Prufrock, lamenting his physical and intellectual inertia, the lost opportunities in his life and lack of spiritual progress, with the recurrent theme of carnal love unattained. The structure was heavily influence by Eliot's extensive reading of Dante Alighieri and refers to some literary works like Hamlet and those of the French Symbolists. 'The Waste Land' was published in 1922. Eliot dedicated it to Ezra Pound. It was composed during Eliot's fail marriage, when he and his wife were suffering from nervous disorders. The poem is read as a representation of the disillusionment of the post-war generation. The poem is known for its obscure nature, but it has become a touchstone of modern literature, a 10

poetic counterpart to the James Joyce's novel Ulysses. 'The Hollow Men' appeared in 1925. It is Eliot's major poem of the late 1920s. Its themes are overlapping and fragmentary: Post-war Europe under the Treaty of Versailles, the difficulty of hope and religious conversion, Eliot's failed marriage. 'Ash Wednesday' is the first long poem written by Eliot after his conversion to Anglicanism. It deals with the struggle that ensues when one who has lacked faith acquires it. It is richly but ambiguously allusive, and deals with the aspiration to move from spiritual barrenness to hope for human salvation. Eliot's style in the poem showed a marked shift from the poetry he had written prior to his 1927 conversion, and his post-conversion style would continue in a similar vein. His style was to become less ironic, and the poems would no longer be populated by multiple characters in dialogue. His subject matter would become more focused on Eliot's spiritual concerns and his Christian faith. Eliot also made significant contributions to the field of literary criticism, strongly influencing the school of New Criticism, and he is considered by some to be one of the greatest literary critics of the twentieth century. In his critical essay Tradition and the Individual Talent, Eliot argues that art must be understood not in a vacuum, but in the context of previous pieces of art. Eliot's essays were a major factor in the revival of interest in the metaphysical poets. Eliot particularly praised the metaphysical poets' ability to show experience as both psychological and sensual, while at the same time infusing this portrayal with wit and uniqueness. His 1922 poem 'The Waste Land' also can be better understood in light of his work as a critic. W.H. Auden (1907-1973) was an Anglo-American poet, born in England, later an American citizen, regarded by many critics as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. His work is noted for its stylistic and technical achievements, its engagement with moral and political issues, and its variety of tone, form and content. The central themes of his poetry are love, politics and citizenship, religion and morals, and the relationship between unique human beings and the anonymous, impersonal world of nature. Auden grew up in and near Birmingham in a professional middle-class family and read English literature at Christ Church, Oxford. His early poems, written in the late 1920s and early 1930s, alternated between telegraphic modern styles and fluent traditional ones, were written in an intense 11

and dramatic tone, and established his reputation as a left-wing political poet and prophet. He became uncomfortable in this role in the later 1930s, and abandoned it after he moved to the United States in 1939, where he became an American citizen in 1946. His poems in the 1940s explored religious and ethical themes in a less dramatic manner than his earlier works, but still combined traditional forms and styles with new forms devised by Auden himself. In the 1950s and 1960s many of his poems focused on the ways in which words revealed and concealed emotions, and he took a particular interest in writing opera librettos, a form ideally suited to direct expression of strong feelings. He was also a prolific writer of prose essays and reviews on literary, political, psychological and religious subjects, and he worked at various times on documentary films, poetic plays and other forms of performance. Throughout his career he was both controversial and influential. Auden published about four hundred poems, including seven long poems. The tone and content of his poems ranged from pop-song clichs to complex philosophical meditations, from the corns on his toes to atoms and stars, from contemporary crises to the evolution of society. He also wrote more than four hundred essays and reviews about literature, history, politics, music, religion, and many other subjects. Auden controversially rewrote or discarded some of his most famous poems when he prepared his later collected editions. He wrote that he rejected poems that he found "boring" or "dishonest" in the sense that they expressed views that he had never held but had used only because he felt they would be rhetorically effective. His rejected poems include 'Spain' and 'September 1, 1939'. Auden began writing poems at thirteen, mostly in the styles of 19th-century romantic poets, especially Wordsworth, and later poets with rural interests, especially Thomas Hardy. At eighteen he discovered T. S. Eliot and adopted an extreme version of Eliot's style. He found his own voice at twenty, when he wrote the first poem later included in his collected work, From the very first coming down. This and other poems of the late 1920s tended to be in a clipped, elusive style that alluded to, but did not directly state, their themes of loneliness and loss. Twenty of these poems appeared in his first book Poems (1928) In 1928 he wrote his first dramatic work, Paid on Both Sides, subtitled "A Charade," which combined style and content from the Icelandic sagas 12

with jokes from English school life. This mixture of tragedy and farce, with a dream play-withinthe-play, introduced the mixed styles and content of much of his later work. A recurrent theme in these early poems is the effect of "family ghosts", Auden's term for the powerful, unseen psychological effects of preceding generations on any individual life (and the title of a poem). A parallel theme, present throughout his work, is the contrast between biological evolution (unchosen and involuntary) and the psychological evolution of cultures and individuals. Auden's next largescale work was The Orators: An English Study, in verse and prose, largely about hero-worship in personal and political life. In his shorter poems, his style became more open and accessible, and the exuberant Six Odes in The Orators reflect his new interest in Robert Burns. During the next few years, many of his poems took their form and style from traditional ballads and popular songs, and also from expansive classical forms like the Odes of Horace, which he seems to have discovered through the German poet Hlderlin. Around this time his main influences were Dante, William Langland, and Alexander Pope. During these years, much of his work expressed left-wing views, and he became widely known as a political poet, although his work was more politically ambivalent than many reviewers recognized. He generally wrote about revolutionary change in terms of a "change of heart", a transformation of a society from a closed-off psychology of fear to an open psychology of love. The Ascent of F6 (1937), another play written with Isherwood, was partly an anti-imperialist satire, partly (in the character of the self-destroying climber Michael Ransom) an examination of Auden's own motives in taking on a public role as a political poet. In 1940 Auden wrote a long philosophical poem 'New Year Letter', which appeared with miscellaneous notes and other poems in The Double Man. His recurring themes in this period included the artist's temptation to use other persons as material for his art rather than valuing them for themselves ('Prospero to Ariel') and the corresponding moral obligation to make and keep commitments while recognizing the temptation to break them ('In Sickness and Health'). At the time of his return to the Anglican Communion he began writing abstract verse on theological themes, such as 'Kairos and Logos'. Around 1942, as he became more comfortable with religious themes, his verse became more open and relaxed, and he increasingly used the syllabic verse. Auden's early poetry, influenced by his 13

interest in the Anglo-Saxon language as well as in psychoanalysis, was sometimes riddle-like and clinical. It also contained private references that most readers did not understand. At the same time it had a mystery that would disappear in his later poetry. In the late 1950s Auden's style became less rhetorical while its range of styles increased. In 1958, having moved his summer home from Italy to Austria, he wrote 'Good-bye to the Mezzogiorno'; other poems from this period include 'Dichtung und Wahrheit: An Unwritten Poem', a prose poem about the relation between love and personal and poetic language, and the contrasting 'Dame Kind', about the anonymous impersonal reproductive instinct. Auden was well educated and intelligent, a genius of form and technique. In his poetry he realized a lifelong search for a philosophical and religious position from which to analyse and comprehend the individual life in relation to society and to the human condition in general. He was able to express his dislike for a difficult government, his suspicion of science without human feeling, and his belief in a Christian God. Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) was a Welsh poet and writer. He became popular in his lifetime, and remained popular after his death; partly due to his larger than life character, and his reputation for drinking to excess. Thomas was born in Swansea, Wales in 1914. An undistinguished student, he left school at 16, becoming a journalist for a short time. Although many of his works appeared in print while a teenager, it was the publication of "Light breaks where no sun shines", in 1934, that caught the attention of the literary world. While living in London, Thomas met Caitlin Macnamara whom he married in 1937. Their relationship was defined by alcoholism and was mutually destructive. In the early part of his marriage, Thomas and his family lived hand-to-mouth. Although Thomas was appreciated as a popular poet in his lifetime, he found earning a living as a writer difficult, which resulted in him augmenting his income with readings and broadcasts. His radio recordings for the BBC during the latter half of the 1940s brought him a level of celebrity. In the 1950s Thomas travelled to America, where his readings brought him a level of fame, though his erratic behaviour and drinking worsened. Noted for his original, rhythmic and ingenious use of words and imagery, Thomas' position as one of the great modern poets has been much discussed, 14

though this has not tarnished his popularity amongst the general public, who found his work accessible. Thomas was found to be suffering from pneumonia by doctors who examined him when he was admitted in a coma to the New York hospital where he died. Thomas claimed that his poetry was "the record of my individual struggle from darkness toward some measure of light. To be stripped of darkness is to be clean, to strip of darkness is to make clean." He also wrote that his poems "with all their crudities, doubts, and confusions, are written for the love of man and in praise of God, and I'd be a damned fool if they weren't." Passionate and intense, vivid and violent, Thomas wrote that he became a poet because "I had fallen in love with words." His sense of the richness and variety and flexibility of the English language shines through all of his work. The theme of all of Thomas's poetry is the celebration of the divine (godly) purpose he saw in all human and natural processes. The cycle of birth and flowering and death, of love and death, are also found throughout his poems. He celebrated life in the seas and fields and hills and towns of his native Wales. In some of his shorter poems he sought to recapture a child's innocent vision of the world. Thomas was passionately dedicated to his "sullen art," and he was a competent, finished, and occasionally complex craftsman. He made, for example, more than two hundred versions of 'Fern Hill' before he was satisfied with it. His early poems are relatively mysterious and complex in sense but simple and obvious in pattern. His later poems, on the other hand, are simple in sense but complex in sounds. Under Milk Wood, a radio play commissioned by the BBC (published 1954), was Thomas's last completed work. This poem-play is not a drama but a parade of strange, outrageous, and charming Welsh villagers. During the twenty-four hours presented in the play, the characters remember and ponder the casual and crucial moments of their lives. An adventure in the Skin Trade and Other Stories (1955) contains all the uncollected stories and shows the wit and humour that made Thomas an enchanting companion.


Thomas' refusal to align with any literary group or movement has made him and his work difficult to categorize. Although influenced by the modern symbolism and surrealism movement he refused to follow its creed. Instead Thomas is viewed as part of the modernism and romanticism movements, though attempts to pigeon-hole him within a particular neo-romantic school have been unsuccessful. Thomas' verbal style played against strict verse forms, such as in the villanelle 'Do not go gentle into that good night'. His images were carefully ordered in a patterned sequence, and his major theme was the unity of all life, the continuing process of life and death and new life that linked the generations. Thomas saw biology as a magical transformation producing unity out of diversity, and in his poetry sought a poetic ritual to celebrate this unity. He saw men and women locked in cycles of growth, love, procreation, new growth, death, and new life. Therefore, each image engenders its opposite. Thomas derived his closely woven, sometimes self-contradictory images from the Bible, Welsh folklore, preaching, and Sigmund Freud. Thomas' early poetry was noted for its verbal density, alliteration, sprung rhythm and internal rhyme, and he was described by some critics as having being influenced by English poet Gerard Manley Hopkins. Thomas was an accomplished writer of prose poetry, with collections such as Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog (1940) and Quite Early One Morning (1954) showing he was capable of writing moving short stories. One of Thomas' most popular works was the short essay A Child's Christmas in Wales. Thomas disliked being regarded as a provincial poet, and decried any notion of 'Welshness' in his poetry. Although Thomas had a deep connection with Wales, he disliked Welsh nationalism. d. General Survey of Poetry Sir John Betjeman, was an English poet, writer and broadcaster who described himself in Who's Who as a "poet and hack". He was a founding member of the Victorian Society and a passionate defender of Victorian architecture. Starting his career as a journalist, he ended it as one of the most popular British Poets Laureate to date and a much-loved figure on British television.


Betjeman's poems are often humorous and in broadcasting he exploited his bumbling and fogeyish image. His wryly comic verse is accessible and has attracted a great following for its satirical and observant grace. His poetry is similarly redolent of time and place, continually seeking out intimations of the eternal in the manifestly ordinary. There are constant evocations of the physical chaff and clutter that accumulates in everyday life, the miscellanea of an England now gone but not beyond the reach of living memory. Betjeman was a practising Anglican and his religious beliefs come through in some of his poems. He combined piety with a nagging uncertainty about the truth of Christianity. Unlike Thomas Hardy, who disbelieved in the truth of the Christmas story, while hoping it might be so, Betjeman affirms his belief even while fearing it might be false. Kathleen Jessie Raine (14 June 1908 6 July 2003) was a British poet, critic, and scholar writing in particular on William Blake, W. B. Yeats and Thomas Taylor. Known for her interest in various forms of spirituality, most prominently Platonism and Neo-Platonism, she was a founder member of the Temenos Academy. Her first book of poetry, Stone and Flower, was published in 1943. In 1946 the collection, Living in Time, was released, followed by The Pythoness in 1949. Her Collected Poems (2000) drew from eleven previous volumes of poetry. Her classics include Who Are We? There were many subsequent prose and poetry works, including Blake and Tradition, published in 1968. The story of her life is told in a three-volume autobiography that is notable for the author's attempts to read (or impose) a structure on her memories that is quasi mythical, thus relating her own life to a larger pattern. This reflects patterns that can be detected in her poetry, in which she was clearly influenced by W. B. Yeats, entitled Autobiographies. Florence Margaret "Stevie" Smith was born in 1902 in Yorkshire, England. Her father left the family to join the North Sea Patrol when she was very young. At age three she moved with her sister and mother to the northern London suburb Palmers Green. This was her home until her death in 1971. Her mother died when she was a teenager and she and her sister lived with their spinster aunt, an important figure throughout her life, known as "The Lion." After high school she attended North London Collegiate School for Girls. She began as a secretary with the magazine publisher 17

George Newnes and went on to be the private secretary to Sir Nevill Pearson and Sir Frank Newnes. She began writing poetry in her twenties while working at George Newnes. Her first book, Novel on Yellow Paper, was published in 1936 and drew heavily on her own life experience, examining the unrest in England during World War I. Her first collection of verse, A Good Time Was Had By All (1937), also contained rough sketches or doodles, which became characteristic of her work. These drawings have both a feeling of caprice and doom, and the poetry in the collection is stylistically typical of Smith as it conveys serious themes in a nursery rhyme structure. While Smith's volatile attachment to the Church of England is evident in her poetry, death, her "gentle friend," is perhaps her most popular subject. Much of her inspiration came from theology and the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm. She enjoyed reading Tennyson and Browning and read few contemporary poets in an attempt to keep her voice original and pure. Her style is unique in its combination of seemingly prosaic statements, variety of voices, playful meter, and deep sense of irony. Smith was officially recognized with the Chomondeley Award for Poetry in 1966 and the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 1969. Smith died of a brain tumour in 1971. Laurie Lee was an English poet, novelist, and screenwriter, rose in the village of Slad, and went to Marling School, Gloucestershire. His most famous work was an autobiographical trilogy which consisted of Cider with Rosie (1959), As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning (1969) and A Moment of War (1991). The first volume recounts his childhood in the Slad Valley. The second deals with his leaving home for London and his first visit to Spain in 1935, and the third with his return to Spain in December 1937 to join the Republican International Brigades. Lee's first love was always poetry, though he was only moderately successful as a poet. Lee's first poem appeared in The Sunday Referee in 1934. Another poem was published in Cyril Connolly's Horizon in 1940 and his first volume of poems, The Sun My Monument, was launched in 1944. This was followed by The Bloom of Candles (1947) and My Many-coated Man (1955). Several poems written in the early 1940s reflect the atmosphere of the war, but also capture the beauty of the English countryside.


Other works include A Rose for Winter, about a trip he made to Andalusia fifteen years after the Civil War; Two Women (1983), a story of Lee's courtship and marriage with Kathy, daughter of Helen Garman; The Firstborn (1964), about the birth and childhood of their daughter Jessye; and I Can't Stay Long (1975), a collection of occasional writing. Lee also wrote travel books, essays, a radio play, and short stories. e. Drama Sean O'Casey (1884-1964) was an Irish dramatist and memoirist. A committed socialist, he was the first Irish playwright of note to write about the Dublin working classes. It is commonly thought that he grew up in the working class society in which many of his plays are set. In fact, his family were considered as "shabby genteel". He was a member of the Church of Ireland. O'Casey's father died when Sean was just six years of age, leaving a family of thirteen. The family lived a peripatetic life thereafter, moving from house to house around north Dublin. As a child, he suffered from poor eyesight, which interfered somewhat with his early education, but O'Casey taught himself to read and write by the age of thirteen. He left school at fourteen and worked at a variety of jobs, including a nine-year period as a railwayman. As his interest in the Irish nationalist cause grew, O'Casey joined the Gaelic League in 1906 and learned the Irish language. At this time, he Gaelicized his name from John Casey to Sen Cathasaigh. He was married to Irish actress Eileen Carey Reynolds from 1927 to his death. The couple had three children: two sons, Breon and Nall (who died of leukaemia), and a daughter. Knowing no rules for the building of successful drama, Sean was free to build his dramas of Irish tenement life as he saw it. If, breaking all accepted rules, tragedy and comedy follow on each other's heels, it is because they had done so in the playwright's own life. All his plays are tragic in intent but three-fourths of the dialogue stirs the audience to laughter. O'Casey knew the bitter enmities of the Irish struggle for self-expression first hand, for he was part of the Citizen Army. He saw neighbour kill neighbour in the mad frenzy of religious clashes and


later saw enemies weeping over the coffins of their victims. Those unforgettable pictures photographed in his brain he has reproduced in his plays. The playwright's first accepted play, The Shadow of the Gunman, was produced April 12, 1923, at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin. When his second play, Juno and the Paycock, entered a successful run in London, he felt free to leave his job as a brick setters helper and give his full attention to writing. His third play, The Plough and the Stars, created almost as much of a riot at its first production in the Abbey Theatre as had Synge'sPlayboy of the Western World. William Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) was a British playwright, novelist and short story writer. He was among the most popular writers of his era and reputedly the highest paid author during the 1930s. After losing both his parents by the age of 10, Maugham was raised by a paternal uncle, who was emotionally cold. Not wanting to become an attorney like other men in his family, Maugham eventually trained and qualified as a doctor. The first run of his first novel, Liza of Lambeth (1897), sold out so rapidly that Maugham gave up medicine to write full time. During World War I, he served with the Red Cross and in the ambulance corps, before being recruited in 1916 into the British Secret Intelligence Service, for which he worked in Switzerland and Russia before the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. During and after the war, he travelled in India and Southeaster Asia; all of these experiences were reflected in later short stories and novels. Maugham kept his own lodgings, took pleasure in furnishing them, filled many notebooks with literary ideas, and continued writing nightly while at the same time studying for his medical degree. In 1897, he wrote his second book, Liza of Lambeth, a tale of working-class adultery and its consequences. It drew its details from Maugham's experiences as a medical student doing midwifery work in Lambeth, a South London slum. The writer's life allowed Maugham to travel and to live in places such as Spain and Capri for the next decade, but his next ten works never came close to rivalling the success of Liza. This changed in 1907 with the success of his play Lady Frederick. Maugham's supernatural thriller, The Magician (1908), based its principal character on the well-known and somewhat disreputable Aleister Crowley. Crowley took some offence at the 20

treatment of the protagonist, Oliver Haddo. He wrote a critique of the novel, charging Maugham with plagiarism. Of Human Bondage (1915) initially was criticized in both England and the United States; the New York World described the romantic obsession of the protagonist Philip Carey as "the sentimental servitude of a poor fool". The influential American novelist and critic Theodore Dreiser rescued the novel, referring to it as a work of genius and comparing it to a Beethoven symphony. Of Human Bondage is considered to have many autobiographical elements. Maugham gave Philip Carey a club foot (rather than his stammer), the vicar of Blackstable appears derived from the vicar of Whitstable, and Carey is a doctor. Maugham insisted the book was more invention than fact. Although Maugham's first and many other sexual relationships were with men, he also had sexual relationships with a number of women. Two of his later novels were based on historical people: The Moon and Sixpence is about the life of Paul Gauguin; and Cakes and Ale contains thinly veiled characterizations of the authors Thomas Hardy and Hugh Walpole. Maugham's last major novel, The Razor's Edge (1944), was a departure for him in many ways. While much of the novel takes place in Europe, its main characters are American, not British. The protagonist is a disillusioned veteran of World War I who abandons his wealthy friends and lifestyle, travelling to India seeking enlightenment. The story's themes of Eastern mysticism and war-weariness struck a chord with readers as World War II waned. f. General Survey of the Drama J.M. Barrie was a Scottish dramatist, best remembered today as the creator of Peter Pan. The child of a family of small-town weavers, he was educated in Scotland. He moved to London, where he developed a career as a novelist and playwright. There he met the Llewelyn Davies boys who inspired him in writing about a baby boy who has magical adventures in Kensington Gardens (included in The Little White Bird), then to write Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up, a "fairy play" about this ageless boy and an ordinary girl named Wendy who have adventures in the fantasy setting of Neverland. This play quickly overshadowed his previous work and although he continued to write successfully, it became his best-known work, credited with popularising the 21

name Wendy, which was very uncommon previously. Barrie unofficially adopted the Davies boys following the deaths of their parents. Before his death, he gave the rights to the Peter Pan works to Great Ormond Street Hospital, which continues to benefit from them. His first novels: Auld Licht Idylls (1888), A Window in Thrums (1890), and The Little Minister (1891). The stories depicted the "Auld Lichts", a strict religious sect that his grandfather had once belonged to. Literary criticism of these early works has been unfavourable, tending to disparage them as sentimental and nostalgic depictions of a parochial Scotland far from the realities of the industrialised nineteenth century, but they were popular enough to establish Barrie as a very successful writer. After the success of the "Auld Lichts", he printed Better Dead (1888) privately and at his own expense, and it failed to sell. His two "Tommy" novels, Sentimental Tommy (1896) and Tommy and Grizel (1900), were about a boy and young man who clings to childish fantasy, with an unhappy ending. Barrie used his considerable income to help finance the production of commercially unsuccessful stage productions. Along with a number of other playwrights, he was involved in the 1909 and 1911 attempts to challenge the censorship of the theatre by the Lord Chamberlain. Barrie died of pneumonia in 1937. John Galsworthy was an English novelist and playwright. Notable works include The Forsyte Saga (19061921) and its sequels, A Modern Comedy and End of the Chapter. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1932. From the Four Winds, a collection of short stories, was Galsworthy's first published work in 1897. These and several subsequent works were published under the pen name John Sinjohn, and it would not be until The Island Pharisees (1904) that he would begin publishing under his own name, probably owing to the death of his father. His first play, The Silver Box (1906), (in which the theft of a prostitute's purse by a rich 'young man of good family' is placed beside the theft of a silver cigarette case from the rich man's father's house by 'a poor devil', with very different repercussions) became a success, and he followed it up with The Man of Property (1906), the first in the Forsyte trilogy. Although he continued writing both plays and novels, it was as a playwright that he was 22

mainly appreciated at the time. Along with those of other writers of the time, such as George Bernard Shaw, his plays addressed the class system and social issues, two of the best known being Strife (1909) and The Skin Game (1920). The Forsyte Saga deal with social class, upper-middle class lives in particular. Although sympathetic to his characters, he highlights their insular, snobbish, and acquisitive attitudes and their suffocating moral codes. He is viewed as one of the first writers of the Edwardian era who challenged some of the ideals of society depicted in the preceding literature of Victorian England. The depiction of a woman in an unhappy marriage furnishes another recurring theme in his work. The character of Irene in The Forsyte Saga is drawn from Ada Pearson, though her previous marriage was not as miserable as that of the character. Through his writings he campaigned for a variety of causes, including prison reform, women's rights, animal welfare, and the opposition of censorship. During World War I he worked in a hospital in France as an orderly after being passed over for military service. He died from a brain tumour at his London home. J. B. Priestley, was an English novelist, playwright and broadcaster. He published 26 novels, notably The Good Companions (1929), as well as numerous dramas such as An Inspector Calls (1945). His output included literary and social criticism. His father was a headmaster. His mother died when he was just two years old and his father remarried four years later. Priestley served during the First World War in the 10th Battalion. He was wounded in 1916 by mortar fire. In his autobiography, Margin Released he is fiercely critical of the British Army and in particular of the officer class. By the age of 30 he had established a reputation as a humorous writer and critic. Priestley's first major success came with a novel, The Good Companions (1929), which earned him the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction and made him a national figure. His next novel, Angel Pavement (1930), further established him as a successful novelist. He moved into a new genre and became equally well known as a dramatist. Dangerous Corner was the first of a series of plays that enthralled West End theatre audiences. His best-known play is An Inspector Calls (1945). 23

Many of his works have a socialist aspect. For example, An Inspector Calls, as well as being a "Time Play", contains many references to socialism the inspector was arguably an alter ego through which Priestley could express his views. Priestleys Inspector Calls appears to simply tell the story of a young girl called Eva Smith and her tragic suicide. However, in reality it is much more than that. It 'hits you over the head' with his views on socialism'. His interest in the problem of time led him to publish an extended essay in 1964 under the title of Man and Time. In this book he explored in depth various theories and beliefs about time as well as his own research and unique conclusions, including an analysis of the phenomenon of precognitive dreaming, based in part on a broad sampling of experiences gathered from the British public, who responded enthusiastically to a televised appeal he made while being interviewed in 1963 on the BBC programme, Monitor. Harold Brighouse was an English playwright and author whose best known play is Hobson's Choice. He was a prominent member, of a group known as the Manchester School of dramatists. The first play written by Brighouse was Lonesome Like, but the first to be produced was The Doorway. Brighouse also wrote novels, including Hepplestalls, concerning a Lancashire millowning family in the 19th century. In addition he wrote many reviews and other pieces for the Manchester Guardian. B. THE MID-TWENTIETH CENTURY: 1940-PRESENT a. Historical Background In the late 1930's Britain's foreign policy stagnated; there were too many problems to worry about at home. While domestic policies still had to find a way out of the unemployment mess, it was vainly hoped that the League of Nations would keep the peace. While the aggressive moves by Germany, Italy and Japan may not have been totally ignored in Westminster; their implications were not fully grasped. It seems incredible, in retrospect, how all the signs of a forthcoming major war were conveniently ignored. In Germany, Hitler had become Chancellor on July 30, 1934, on a rising tide of nationalism and economic unrest. After he proclaimed the Third Reich in March, his regime was given dictatorial 24

powers. Also in March, the Nazis opened their first concentration camp for Jews, gypsies and political prisoners. In August, Hitler became President of the Reich at the death of Hindenburg. He announced open conscription early in 1935, in defiance of the conditions laid down at Versailles. Unencumbered by obsolete equipment and even more obsolete thinking that hindered the British and the French, the German republic was able to rebuild her army and air force from scratch. They were to be used soon in a bid to dominate Europe. Italy had entered the scramble for Africa in 1881 by taking over Assab in northern Ethiopia. It then expanded its holdings in the East African highlands. In 1887 the Italian-Ethiopian War began. Three years later, Italy made Assab the basis of an Eritrean colony. By 1896, however, a series of defeats led to the Italians withdrawing from their protectorate. In 1906, a Tripartite Pact declared the independence of Ethiopia but divided the country into British, French and Italian spheres of interest. In Italy, in November 1922, general fears of the spread of Communism led King Victor Emmanuel to summon Benito Mussolini to form a ministry in which he would be given dictatorial powers to restore order and bring about reforms. Earlier in the year, Mussolini had led his black-shirt Fascists into Rome. He secured his fascist dictatorship the following year through political chicanery and began protesting the terms of Versailles in 1930. When Italian and Ethiopian troops clashed on the frontier between Italian Somaliland and Ethiopia in 1934, Mussolini had an excuse to invade Ethiopia. After his troops had occupied Addis Abbaba, he announced the annexation of Ethiopia and joined Eritrea and Italian Somaliland to create Italian East Africa. The League of Nations proved totally ineffective to prevent this seizure of the last bastion of native rule in Africa. Lack of British resolve against the ambitions of Mussolini may have spurred Hitler to act. In March 1936, at the height of the crisis in Ethiopia, he sent his armies into the Rhineland. France was afraid to react without British support. It proceeded to fortify its Maginot Line as Hitler began to fortify the Rhineland. The dictators of Germany and Italy then signed the pact known as the Rome-Berlin Axis. Both leaders then supported General Franco's fascists in the Spanish Civil War (1936- 39). Britain and France stood back for fear of precipitating a general European war; in their efforts to 25

appease, they protested but did nothing except to embolden Hitler even further. His troops marched into Austria in March 1938. There was no resistance. Hitler's next move was to surround Bohemia and then demand modifications to the Czech frontier, including the Sudetenland (with a large German population). Fearing a catastrophic war, and with the vivid memory of the carnage of World War I in mind, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain agreed, along with the French Premier, to hand over the Sudetenland to Germany. He thought he had bought "peace with honour." Hitler then showed his true intention by seizing the rest of Czechoslovakia. Chamberlain finally saw what Germany intended to dominate Europe, and his extension of a guarantee to Poland, a country which geography he was incapable of aiding, practically ensured war. In Britain, though there were two million unemployed, but things were generally looking prosperous following the slump of the Great Depression. Nevertheless, it was a totally unprepared Britain that declared war on Germany on September 3, 1939; two days after Hitler's armies had invaded Poland. Conscription was ordered for all men 20 years and older. Somewhat better prepared France followed Britain by declaring war on Germany. German armies swept through Poland in 18 days. The allies turned to Russia for support, but Stalin had ideas of his own, coming to a marriage of convenience with Hitler in which Poland became a pawn in the hands of both. Stalin also took advantage of the situation to attack Finland. Britain then prepared for total war. Cities were blacked out, rationing was imposed and rigidly enforced; children from the larger cities were moved into the countryside, clouds of barrage balloons filled the English skies, housewives turned in their pots and pans for scrap, iron fences, railing and gateposts disappeared into blast furnaces, gas masks were issued to every single person, including babies; total blackout was imposed and rigorously enforced by air raid wardens. While the country waited to see if the French could successfully resist the Nazi armies, British beaches were mined, protected by barbed wire; tank traps and other obstacles to invading forces appeared everywhere; air raid shelters were dug in back gardens and London subway stations prepared for their influx of nightly sleepers. 26

Trapped behind their so-called "impenetrable" Maginot Line, the French could not hold back the German tide, and the new weapon of war, the Blitzkrieg, swept all through it. Hitler's legions first occupied Denmark and then brushed aside a Franco-British force sent to help Norway. Beginning their march to the Channel in the Ardennes, after they had easily bypassed the Maginot Line, German forces took only five days to take Holland. They then raced forward at lightning speed to capture Paris. In one of the most successful campaigns in the history of war, German forces soon controlled France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, Norway and Romania, leaving Britain alone in the West to face the Nazi hordes. In May 1940, after a disastrous British attempt to force the Germans out of Narvik, Norway, a humiliated Chamberlain (who had earlier crowed that "Herr Hitler had missed the boat") resigned in favour of Winston Churchill. The 65-year-old veteran of many a political campaign was to prove a remarkable leader. The country quickly rallied behind him to expend its "blood, toil, tears and sweat" to eventually emerge victorious in what was to become a long, bloody war that, if it did not involve nearly every country on earth, certainly affected them. British industry mobilized every person not on military service into production. Even the old and retired were called on to play their part as plane spotters, air-raid wardens and night watchmen. But single women played a major role. They had to report immediately to work in war industries or to work on the nation's farms in the so-called Women's Land Army. Women also entered the armed services by the thousands, to work as radar operators, mechanics, truck drivers and pilots in noncombat roles, even the retired. After the complete collapse of France in June 1940, when it signed an armistice, Mussolini entered the war on the side of Germany, believing that Britain was doomed and that he could pick up rich spoils in Africa. When France fell, the British army was forced to evacuate the continent at Dunkirk, but somehow halting a German division at Arras, managed to save most of its cadre to train millions of new soldiers it needed to defend its Empire. One of the strangest fleets in history had rescued the bulk of the British Expeditionary Force from the burning beaches of Dunkirk. In the


meantime, Soviet troops entered the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to incorporate them into the USSR. New Prime Minister Winston Churchill informed the British people that the Battle for France was over: the Battle for Britain was about to begin. He stressed that Hitler would have to break Britain in order to win the war, and that no nation would be safe from sinking into the resulting darkness, not even the United States. When France formed a "Vichy" government under Marshal Petain, the Royal Navy destroyed the French fleet anchored at Oran in North Africa. In the Atlantic, German U-boats were destroying thousands upon thousands of tons of allied shipping, but Britain precariously held out (those of us who were living in Britain at the time realize just how near to collapse we were). All Britain could do was to hang on, to fight on until the situation might eventually change. Hitler expected Britain to come to terms, but Churchill's defiant riposte was that he wasn't on speaking terms with Adolph Hitler. Realizing that she would not come to terms, Hitler then planned an invasion of England, but first he would have to destroy the Royal Air Force. The task seemed easy enough; he had a decided advantage in the number of planes and in trained pilots. From airfields in conquered France, the English coast was only a few minutes away. At a time when the war at sea was rapidly turning in Germany's favour, the Battle of Britain began with an attack of German bombers on England, July 10, 1940 and artillery began shelling the English coast. The final assault was planned for August 13th. Hitler planned to have 125,000 men ashore by the end of the second day. Plans were meticulously drawn up for the government of a conquered Britain. There was great fear throughout Britain during that late summer. In many villages, church bells rang in the mistaken belief that the invasion had begun. There wasn't much to stop the invader. Though 1,500,000 men in Britain had joined the Home Guard, they had only 70,000 rifles; the regular army had left most of its hardware behind in the evacuation from France. All that stood between the German armies and the planned invasion of Britain was the Fighter Command of the Royal Air Force. 28

During the early air war, the German Air Force conducted over 1500 missions a day over England, concentrating mainly on airfields and radar installations. Hitler's second-in-command Herman Goering miscalculated the resilience of the Royal Air Force. When British planes bombed Berlin to retaliate for bombs dropped on London (the German pilots had lost their way and missed their intended targets), Hitler determined to teach the British people, those "night gangsters", a lesson. Insisting on a thousand-fold revenge, he ordered the Luftwaffe to destroy London. It was a grave error. The British Air Force did not rise to the bait to defend London; they conserved what was left of their strength. More important, their airfields (and pilots) were given a much-needed respite to rebuild. Skilled use of a secret new weapon, Radar, then gave them a decided advantage over incoming German air planes. Though almost exhausted and down to its last few pilots, the RAF fought on in what was becoming a war of attrition in the air. Eventually, the heavy losses sustained by the Luftwaffe put an end to any real chances of German forces crossing the Channel. On September 17, following decisive losses, Hitler postponed the invasion of Britain. Instead of keeping up the pressure, the frustrated German dictator decided to ignore Goering's pleas for just a few more days to destroy Britain's air forces and turned eastward, to attack Russia. In June 1941 when the German armed divisions poured into the east, Britain breathed a huge sigh of relief. Hitler's hatred of Communism blinded him to the risks involved; it was a colossal mistake. His involvement in the Balkans, where he feared a British attack against his flank from Greece, had delayed his assault on Russia. The oncoming winter would prove to be a deciding factor in the holocaust that ensued. In September 1940, following a total blockade of the British Isles ordered by Hitler, U-boats sank 160,000 tons of British shipping. (In a time of great food shortages, even the Royal Family was issued ration books). These were called "the happy times" for German U-boat crews, idolized by adoring crowds as they set out into the Atlantic to wreak havoc on merchant ships bringing supplies from America. The British people, huddled in their air-raid shelters awaited the worst. Their 29

defiance of the might of the German air force, their courage in carrying on "business as usual" and their slogan "London can Take it"" (relayed to the United States by radio commentators such as Edward R. Murrow) had a profound effect upon American opinion, especially upon the President. In opposition to many in America who still thought that Britain's total defeat was only a matter of time, and a very short time at that, President Roosevelt came to the aid of the beleaguered island nation. He ordered his fleet to sink German submarines on sight. To meet the U-boat challenge, the US then provided Britain with Lend-Lease supplies in addition to handing over to the Royal Navy 50 much-needed destroyers. In November, British ships destroyed the Italian fleet at Taranto, putting it, like most of the French fleet before it, out of action for the rest of the war. Mussolini's grand boast of dominating what he called "mare nostrum" was defeated. The Royal Navy managed to keep control of the Mediterranean throughout the war. In September, Japan had concluded a pact with the Axis powers in order to fulfil her designs on the Pacific, ranging from Hong Kong to Australia. On December 7, 1941 she seized her opportunity to attack. On the "day of infamy" so strongly proclaimed by Roosevelt, the Imperial Air force crippled the US Navy at Pearl Harbor. On December 11, Germany declared war on the US. Japanese forces then captured the British possessions of Malaya, Burma, Hong Kong and Singapore, the great symbol of the British Empire. They then advanced practically unopposed to the borders of India in the West and Australia in the South. It seemed that the Japanese were unstoppable, but as had the Germans, they over-reached themselves. A string of successes was halted in May 1942 when they sustained heavy losses in the Battle of the Coral Sea. Germany too, suffered its first defeat when Hitler underestimated the strategic importance of Egypt. There, the British Eighth Army (the "Desert Rats") under Montgomery destroyed a German fighting machine of 250,000 men at the Battle of El Alamein in October 1942. After being blocked by the winter snows and the fierce resistance of the Russians, in February 1943, a huge German army surrendered at Stalingrad. Later in the year, Allied forces recaptured Sicily to invade Southern Italy, and all through the year, Russian troops continued to inflict heavy casualties on the Germans, who lost over 2,000 tanks and 30

1,392 air planes at the decisive Battle of Kursk. The tide of war had turned irrevocably on the side of the allies. It was still heavy going in Italy, but bit by bit allied armies advanced up the peninsular, despite determined German resistance, recapturing Rome to bring Italy out of the war. The whole country had been taken by the spring of 1945. It was now time for the allies to invade fortress Europe. On the sixth of June 1944, "D-Day" the invasion of the Continent by allied forces in Operation Overlord marked the beginning of the end of the war in the West. Years of meticulous planning and careful preparation paid off and hundreds of thousands of allied soldiers were landed within a few days with their equipment. Deceptive messages had led the Germans to concentrate their forces around the port of Calais. An expected German counter-attack at the landing beaches did not come. Some failures in the re-conquest of Western Europe inevitably ensued, notably the efforts of Montgomery to end an early stalemate in Normandy by the airborne attempt to capture bridges over the Rhine, but steady progress brought British, Canadian, French and American forces into Germany. A failure of allied intelligence to spot 24 Nazi divisions gave the enemy temporary success in the Ardennes, at the Battle of the Bulge, but it was beaten back with heavy German losses. Hitler's exhausted forces in the west were finally brushed aside. Back home, Londoners were once again forced into their underground shelters as V-1 rockets began to fall upon the city with terrifying effects. By September 1944, Germany still had enough resources to produce a thousand V-2 rockets a month, most of which were directed toward London. Only defeat of Germany would end the threat. In March 1945, the allies crossed the Rhine. In the east, a new Russian offensive began with 3,000,000 men polishing off one German division after another on an inexorable march to Berlin. In April, east met west as allied forces met with the Russians at the Elbe. On May 7, 1945, Germany surrendered. The fall of Saipan in July had the same effect in the East. The War in Europe came to an end on May 8. The news eclipsed the news from Burma, where British forces under William Slim had stopped the Japanese efforts to invade India through Assam. By May 6, 1945, Burma had been


retaken. The re-conquest was the most successful of all the campaigns British forces had undertaken during the whole war. It was the climax of a most difficult but brilliantly executed campaign. The War in the Pacific came to an end on August 14, 1945. Japan surrendered only after the American Air force dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The great social-levelling influence of the War meant that British were anxious for change. Countless thousands of returning soldiers and sailors wanted a turn-around in the status quo. Members of British armed forces were considerably better educated than they had been in World War I. The soldier returning from the war was no longer in awe of his leaders; he had mixed loyalties. He was resentful of unemployment, wishing for a greater share in the nation's post-war restructuring, and he did not trust a Conservative government to tackle the enormous social economic and political problems, that they had done very little to solve between the wars. He wished for a change. As a consequence, Winston Churchill, who led Britain to victory during the war, found himself as a member of the opposition when the election of 1945 returned the Labour Party to power with a huge majority. Under the Parliament of Clement Attlee, the new government began some of the greatest changes in Britain's long history---nothing less than a reconstruction of the nation. The Labour Government struggled heroically to deal with the problems: to improve standards of living, move to a "mixed economy." close the trade gap, maintain its armed forces in sufficient strength to meet a new threat from Communist Russia, and to keep of its overseas bases. It succeeded in these aims remarkably well. During the dark early days of the War, economist William Beveridge had put forward proposals for post-war "cradle-to-grave" social security. The Government had taken on an emergency welfare responsibility; it provided milk for babies; orange juice and cod-liver oil for children. It was now time for Labour to put the Beverage Plan into full operation. Family allowances had already been introduced before the War's end. A National School Lunch Act was passed in June, 1946. In 1948, the government introduced the National Health Service to proved free medical treatment for all, from the spectacles and false teeth, to maternity and child welfare services. 32

Nationalization of the hospitals made nationwide care available for the injured and seriously ill. The "Welfare State" had begun. The second major change brought about by the Labour Government, under Attlee, was to take control of industry and public utilities, and a two-year period beginning in 1946, saw the nationalization of the Bank of England; the coal industry; electricity and gas; air transport, along with road, rail and waterways. A total of 20 per cent of all British industry had been taken into public ownership by 1950. Central control of the economy, which had proved so successful in wartime, was now a major undertaking in peacetime. It was achieved under terribly adverse economic conditions. Another crisis occurred in 1947. Stringent financial measures, imposed to meet the enormous war debt, caused undue hardship that was only made worse by one of the worst winters on record, monstrous gales and floods wiped out farms and destroyed agricultural products. A fuel shortage severely curtailed exports, food was still severely rationed, and in 1948 even bread and potatoes were rationed (both had been exempt during the War). The author remembers well the little ditty "It had to B.U." that parodied a popular song of the time by referring to the Bread Unit. In 1947, relief appeared in the form of the Marshall Plan, introduced by the US to help the European Economy recover. Along with the devaluation of the pound and an expansion of world markets, there was a revival of the spirit that had united the country during the War. The introduction of the Land-Rover to world markets in 1948 was a godsend for British exports. Britain was even able to join with the US in ferrying supplies to Berlin in the famous "Airlift" that began in July of that year. By 1950, rationing began to be phased out, though not until 1954 was meat rationing abolished. Though the Labour Government did very little to develop the private sector, it can take credit for the building of giant hydro-electric schemes in the later 1940's, especially in the undeveloped areas of Scotland and Wales. In 1951, the Conservatives resumed control of the government. Under its slogan "You've Never Had It So Good," led by Winston Churchill, economic prospects seemed to be on the upturn. In less than one year, the balance of payments deficit had become a surplus. 33

Compared to those of the developing nations of South East Asia and the rebuilt economies of Japan and Germany, however, Britain's pre-war industrial strength was severely weakened. The muchheralded Festival of Britain, held in London in 1951 has been seen by many in retrospect, not as a demonstration of the nation's strength, but as a product of British post-war weakness and a signal pointing to further decline. A fashionable joke at the time was that, like the Festival's Skylon, the country had no visible means of support. The Nation and the Commonwealth mourned the death of King George VI, who along with his queen Elizabeth had done much to bring back dignity and honour to the monarchy. Yet there was a mood of optimism that received another upturn with the coronation of the young queen Elizabeth, the first such ceremony to be televised. In 1967, the Labour Party announced its plans to reduce the powers of the Lords and to eliminate its hereditary basis. Once again, however, it was willing to compromise in the uncertainly of what was to replace the second chamber. Many Labour M.P.'s wished to abolish the Upper House altogether, but a compromise was reached: only minor changes were effected. In the late 1990's, the government of Tony Blair and is centrist Labour Party, is still grappling with the problem of the Lords, a problem that perhaps exemplifies the struggle of Britain to adjust itself to the modern world. There is nothing in the nation's proud past that would prevent a satisfactory solution to the problem of the privileges enjoyed by the House of Lords. While England my no longer Rule the waves, it is perfectly capable of putting its own house in order, as Wales and Scotland have shown. The past two thousand years have shown a resilient people, proud and independent; a people who will continue to give so much to the world, in art, literature, politics, science and technology, exploration, social welfare and sport; but above all, in the difficult art of compromise. b. Literary Features of the Age - Formal/Stylistic characteristics: Juxtaposition, irony, comparisons, and satire are important elements found in modernist writing. Modernist authors use impressionism and other devices to emphasize the subjectivity of reality, and they see omniscient narration and fixed narrative points of view as providing a false sense of 34

objectivity. They also employ discontinuous narratives and fragmented plot structures. Modernist works are also often reflexive and draw attention to their own role as creator. Juxtaposition is used for example in a way to represent something that would be often-times unseen, for example, a cat and a mouse as best friends. Irony and satire are important tools used by the modernist writer to comment on society. - Thematic characteristics: For the first-time reader, modernist writing can seem frustrating to understand because of the use of a fragmented style and a lack of conciseness. Furthermore the plot, characters and themes of the text are not always presented in a linear way. The goal of modernist literature is also not particularly focused on catering to one particular audience in a formal way. In addition modernist literature often forcefully opposes, or gives an alternative opinion, on a social concept. Common concerns of modernism are: the breaking down of social norms, rejection of standard social ideas, and traditional thoughts and expectations, rejection of religion and anger against the effects of the world wars. As well, modernists tend to reject history, social systems, and emphasize alienation in modern urban and industrial societies. c. Drama Samuel Beckett (1906-1989) was an Irish novelist, playwright, theatre director and poet, who lived in Paris for most of his adult life and wrote in English and French. His work offers a bleak, tragicomic outlook on human nature, often coupled with black comedy and gallows humour. He is regarded as among the most influential writers of the 20th century. Strongly influenced by James Joyce, he is considered one of the last modernists. He is one of the key writers in the 'Theatre of the Absurd', and his work became minimalist in his later career. Beckett was awarded the 1969 Nobel Prize in Literature. He was a member of the Anglican Church of Ireland, and studied French, Italian and English at Trinity College, in Dublin, while he was introduced to renowned Irish author James Joyce. In 1929 Beckett published is first work, a critical essay entitled Dante... Bruno. Vico... Joyce. It defends Joyce's work and method, chiefly from allegations of wanton obscurity and dimness. 35

Beckett is most famous for his play En attendant Godot (1953) (Waiting for Godot). It is an absurdist play in which two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, wait endlessly and in vain for the arrival of someone named Godot. Godot's absence has led to many different interpretations since the plays premier. Beckett's outstanding achievements in prose during the period were the three novels Molloy (1951), Malone meurt (1951; Malone Dies) and L'innommable (1953: The Unnamable). In these novels sometimes referred to as a "trilogy", though this is against the author's own explicit wishesthe prose becomes increasingly bare and stripped down. Molloy, for instance, still retains many of the characteristics of a conventional novel (time, place, movement, and plot) and it makes use of the structure of a detective novel. In Malone Dies, however, movement and plot are largely dispensed with, though there is still some indication of place and the passage of time; the "action" of the book takes the form of an interior monologue. Finally, in The Unnamable, almost all sense of place and time are abolished, and the essential theme seems to be the conflict between the voice's drive to continue speaking so as to continue existing, and its almost equally strong urge towards silence and oblivion. Despite the widely held view that Beckett's work, as exemplified by the novels of this period, is essentially pessimistic, the will to live seems to win out in the end; witness, for instance, the famous final phrase of The Unnamable: 'I can't go on, I'll go on'. Beckett's 1930 essay Proust was strongly influenced by Schopenhauer's pessimism and laudatory descriptions of saintly asceticism. At this time Beckett began to write creatively in the French language. Throughout the 1960s and into the 1970s, Beckett's works exhibited an increasing tendency already evident in much of his work of the 1950stowards compactness. This has led to his work sometimes being described as minimalist. The extreme example of this, among his dramatic works, is the 1969 piece Breath, which lasts for only 35 seconds and has no characters John James Osborne (1929-1994) was an English Playwright, actor and critic of the Establishment. The success of his 1956 play Look Back in Anger transformed English theatre. He explored many themes and genres, writing for stage, film and TV. His personal life was extravagant 36

and iconoclastic. He was notorious for the ornate violence of his language, not only on behalf of the political causes he supported but also against his own family, including wives and children. He was the first to question the point of the monarchy on a prominent public stage. During his peak (1956 1966), he helped make contempt an acceptable and now even clichd on-stage emotion, argued for the cleansing wisdom of bad behaviour and bad taste, and combined unsparing truthfulness with devastating wit. Look Back in Anger was written in seventeen days, and was largely autobiographical. It is about a love triangle involving an intelligent and educated but disaffected young man of working class origin (Jimmy Porter), his upper-middle-class, impassive wife (Alison), and her haughty best friend (Helena Charles). Cliff, an amiable Welsh lodger, attempts to keep the peace. The play was a success on the London stage, and spawned the term "angry young men" to describe Osborne and those of his generation who employed the harshness of realism in the theatre in contrast to the more escapist theatre that characterized the previous generation. Beckett died in 1994 from complications from his diabetes at the age of 65. Harold Pinter (1930-2008) was a Nobel Prize-winning English playwright, screenwriter, director and actor. One of the most influential modern British dramatists, his writing career spanned more than 50 years. His best-known plays include The Birthday Party (1957), The Homecoming (1964), and Betrayal (1978), each of which he adapted to film. His screenplay adaptations of others' works include The Servant (1963), The Go-Between (1970), The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981), The Trial (1993), and Sleuth (2007). He also directed or acted in radio, stage, television, and film productions of his own and others' works. Pinter's career as a playwright began with a production of The Room in 1957. His second play, The Birthday Party, closed after eight performances, but was enthusiastically reviewed by critic Harold Hobson. His early works were described by critics as "comedy of menace". Later plays such as No Man's Land (1975) and Betrayal (1978) became known as "memory plays". He appeared as an actor in productions of his own work on radio and film. He also undertook a number of roles in works by other writers. He directed nearly 50 productions for stage, theatre and screen. Pinter received over 37

50 awards, prizes, and other honours, including the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2005 and the French Lgion d'honneur in 2007. He died from cancer in 2008. Pinter was the author of 29 plays and 15 dramatic sketches and the co-author of two works for stage and radio. His style has entered the English language as an adjective, 'Pinteresque'. Pinter's first play, The Room, was a student production which he wrote in 3 days. The Birthday Party is about Stanley Webber, an erstwhile piano player in his 30s, who lives in a rundown boarding house, run by Meg and Petey Boles, in an English seaside town, "probably on the south coast, not too far from London. Two sinister strangers, Goldberg and McCann, who arrive supposedly on his birthday and who appear to have come looking for him, turn Stanley's apparently innocuous birthday party organized by Meg into a nightmare. Following a three-year period of creative drought in the early 1980s after his marriage to Antonia Fraser and the death of Vivien Merchant, Pinter's plays tended to become shorter and more overtly political, serving as critiques of oppression, torture and other abuses of human rights, linked by the apparent "invulnerability of power." e. The novel Graham Greene (1904-1991) was an English writer, playwright and literary critic. His works explore the ambivalent moral and political issues of the modern world. Greene was notable for his ability to combine serious literary acclaim with widespread popularity. Although Greene objected strongly to being described as a Roman Catholic novelist rather than as a novelist who happened to be Catholic, Catholic religious themes are at the root of much of his writing, especially the four major Catholic novels: Brighton Rock, a murder thriller set in 1930s Brighton; The Power and the Glory, which tells the story of a Roman Catholic priest in Mexico during the 1930s; The Heart of the Matter and The End of the Affair. Several works such as The Confidential Agent, The Third Man, The Quiet American, Our Man in Havana and The Human Factor also show an avid interest in the workings of international politics and espionage. Greene suffered from bipolar disorder, which had a profound effect on his writing and personal life.


His novels often have religious themes at the centre. In his literary criticism he attacked the modernist writers Virginia Woolf and E. M. Forster for having lost the religious sense Only in recovering the religious element, the awareness of the drama of the struggle in the soul carrying the infinite consequences of salvation and damnation, and of the ultimate metaphysical realities of good and evil, sin and divine grace, could the novel recover its dramatic power. Suffering and unhappiness are omnipresent in the world Greene depicts; and Catholicism is presented against a background of unvarying human evil, sin, and doubt. V. S. Pritchett praised Greene as the first English novelist since Henry James to present, and grapple with, the reality of evil. Greene concentrated on portraying the characters' internal lives their mental, emotional, and spiritual depths. His stories often occurred in poor, hot, and dusty tropical backwaters, such as Mexico, West Africa, Vietnam, Cuba, Haiti, and Argentina, which led to the coining of the expression "Greeneland" to describe such settings. The novels often powerfully portray the Christian drama of the struggles within the individual soul from the Catholic perspective. Greene was criticised for certain tendencies in an unorthodox direction. In his later years Greene was a strong critic of American imperialism, and supported the Cuban leader Fidel Castro. George Orwell (1903-1950) was an English novelist and journalist. He was born in India, and his work is marked by clarity, intelligence and wit, awareness of social injustice, opposition to totalitarianism, and belief in democratic socialism. Considered perhaps the 20th century's best chronicler of English culture, Orwell wrote literary criticism, poetry, fiction and polemical journalism. He is best known for the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), which presents the story of Winston Smith in the year 1984, after a global atomic war, via his perception of life in Airstrip One (England or Britain), a province of Oceania, one of the world's three super states; his intellectual rebellion against the Party and illicit romance with Julia; and his consequent imprisonment, interrogation, torture, and re-education by the Thinkpol in the Miniluv. The allegorical novella Animal Farm (1945) reflects events leading up to the Russian Revolution of 1917, and then on into the Stalin era in the Soviet Union. His book Homage to Catalonia (1938), an account of his experiences in the Spanish Civil War, is widely 39

acclaimed, as are his numerous essays on politics, literature, language and culture. In 2008, The Times ranked him second on a list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945". In his essay Politics and the English Language (1946), Orwell wrote about the importance of precise and clear language, arguing that vague writing can be used as a powerful tool of political manipulation because it shapes the way we think. In that essay, Orwell provides six rules for writers: Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print. Never use a long word where a short one will do. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out. Never use the passive where you can use the active. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous. Salman Rushdie (1947-) is a British Indian novelist and essayist. Born the only son of four children to a Cambridge-educated businessman and a school teacher in Bombay, Salman Rushdie was educated at a Bombay private school before being sent to England at the age of fourteen to attend Rugby School, a leading boarding school in Warwickshire, England. He later studied history at King's College, Cambridge where he was also part of a theatre company. Rushdie initially worked in television and as a copywriter for an advertising agency, before pursuing writing as a full-time career. Salman Rushdie has been married four times, most recently to the actress and supermodel Padma Lakshmi. In 2007, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for services to literature. Salman Rushdie's novels are typically historical in nature and often contain elements of magical realism.


Rushdie's first novel, Grimus (1975) was a work of fantasy about a young Indian who drinks a magic elixir. It was largely ignored by the literary community. His follow-up, however, launched him into the literary spotlight. Midnight's Children (1981) won the Booker Prize, and in 2008 was named the Best of the Bookers, the best Booker Prize-winning novel to have received the prize. Midnight's Children is an allegorical story that follows the progress of Saleem Sinai, a telepathic protagonist born at the moment India gained its independence. Shame (1983) is also set upon the Indian subcontinent, this time in Pakistan. It is similarly characterized by its political nature and its magical realism. The book claimed a prize in France and was a finalist for the Booker. Salman Rushdie is most well-known for his 1988 novel, The Satanic Verses, due to the fact that it was perceived in Muslim countries as blasphemous. The novel, which was partly inspired by the life of Muhammad and whose title refers to writings from the Qur'an, was banned in Rushdie's home country of India, and in 1989 Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini famously issued a fatwa that called for Rushdie to be killed. Rushdie lived in seclusion for roughly nine years. Rushdie won a Whitbread Prize for The Moor's Last Sigh (1995), his first major work after The Satanic Verses. His most recent novels are Shalimar the Clown (2005), set largely in Kashmir but also in Los Angeles, and The Enchantress of Florence (2008), a historical novel that criss-crosses between India and Italy. Rushdie's The Satanic Verses (1988) opens with the survival of two Indian men who fall out of the sky after their jumbo jet to England is blown up in mid-air by terrorists. These two characters then gain divine and demonic powers. Rushdie's habit of using the atrocities of historyespecially involving religionmade The Satanic Verses a book of frightening precognition (describing events that have not yet occurred): another character in the novel is a writer sentenced to death by a religious leader. The title of the novel refers to verses from the Koran (the holy book of the Islamic faith), which were removed by later Islamic historians, describing a time when the Arab prophet (one with 41

religious insight) Mohammed (the founder of Islam) briefly changed his belief in a single god and allowed mention to be made of three local goddesses. This was considered offensive and an insult to Islam by the Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who issued a fatwa, or religious order, calling for Rushdie's death. Rushdie went into hiding and received round-the-clock protection from British security guards. Rushdie's wife of thirteen months, author Marianne Wiggins, went into hiding with him when the death threat was announced. She soon emerged and announced that their marriage was over. Khomeini's death threat extended not only to Rushdie himself, but to the publishers of The Satanic Verses, any bookseller who carried it, and any Muslim who publicly approved of its release. Several book stores in England and America received bomb threats, and the novel was briefly removed from the shelves of America's largest book-selling chains. Two Islamic officials in London, England, were murdered for questioning the correctness of Rushdie's death sentence on a talk show. Many book-burnings were held throughout the world. Rushdie himself, and his possible disguises in hiding, became the subject of many jokes. f. General Survey of the Novel Anthony Burguess was an English writer. Although Burgess was predominantly a comic writer, the dystopian satire A Clockwork Orange remains his best known novel. Burgess produced numerous other novels, including the Enderby quartet, and Earthly Powers, regarded by most critics as his greatest novel. He also worked as a literary critic, writing studies of classic writers, most notably James Joyce. He was a long time literary critic for The Observer and The Guardian. Burgess was also an accomplished musician and linguist. He composed over 250 musical works, including a first symphony around age 18, wrote a number of libretti, and translated, among other works, Cyrano de Bergerac, Oedipus the King and Carmen. His dystopian novel A Clockwork Orange was published in 1962. It was inspired initially by an incident during the Second World War in which his wife Lynne was robbed, assaulted and violated by deserters from the U.S. Army in London during the blackout. The event may have contributed to 42

her subsequent miscarriage. The book was an examination of free will and morality. The young anti-hero, Alex, captured after a short career of violence and mayhem, undergoes a course of aversion therapy treatment to curb his violent tendencies. This results in making him defenceless against other people and unable to enjoy some of his favourite music that, besides violence, had been an intense pleasure for him. Burgess had written A Clockwork Orange with twenty-one chapters, meaning to match the age of majority. "21 is the symbol of human maturity, or used to be, since at 21 you got to vote and assumed adult responsibility," Burgess accepted the deal and allowed A Clockwork Orange to be published in the U.S. with the twenty-first chapter omitted. Sir Kingsley William Amis was an English novelist, poet, critic, and teacher. He wrote more than 20 novels, six volumes of poetry, a memoir, various short stories, and radio and television scripts, along with works of social and literary criticism. Amis is chiefly known as a comedic novelist of mid- to late-20th century British life, but his literary work extended into many genres poetry, essays and criticism, short stories, food and drink writing, anthologies, and a number of novels in genres such as science fiction and mystery. Amis's first novel, Lucky Jim (1954), is perhaps his most famous. The novel satirizes the high-brow academic set of a redbrick university, seen through the eyes of its protagonist, Jim Dixon, as he tries to make his way as a young lecturer of history. The novel was perceived by many as part of the Angry Young Men movement of the 1950s which reacted against the stultification of conventional British life, though Amis never encouraged this interpretation. Amiss other novels of the 1950s and early 1960s similarly depict situations from contemporary British life, often drawn from Amiss own experiences. That Uncertain Feeling (1955) centres on a young provincial librarian (again perhaps with reference to Larkin, librarian at Hull) and his temptation towards adultery; I Like It Here (1958) presents Amiss contemptuous view of "abroad" and followed upon his own travels on the Continent with a young family; Take a Girl Like You (1960) steps away from the immediately autobiographical, but remains grounded in the concerns of sex and love in ordinary modern life, tracing the courtship and ultimate seduction of the heroine Jenny Bunn by a young schoolmaster, Patrick Standish. 43

With The Anti-Death League (1966), Amis begins to show some of the experimentation with content, if not with style which would mark much of his work in the 1960s and 70s. Amiss departure from the strict realism of his early comedic novels is not so abrupt as might first appear. Amis's literary style and tone changed significantly after 1970. This period also saw Amis the anthologist, a role in which his wide knowledge of all kinds of English poetry was on display. mis was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize three times in his writing career for Ending Up (1974), Jake's Thing (1978), and finally winning the prize for The Old Devils in 1986. g. Poetry Ted Hughes (1930-1999) was an English poet and children's writer. His childhood was quiet and predominately rural. When he was seven years old his family moved to the small town of Mexborough in South Yorkshire, and the landscape of the moors of that area informed his poetry throughout his life. After high school, Hughes entered the Royal Air Force and served for two years as a ground wireless mechanic. He then moved to Cambridge to attend Pembroke College on an academic scholarship. While in college he published a few poems, majored in Anthropology and Archaeology, and studied mythologies extensively. Hughes graduated from Cambridge in 1954. A few years later, in 1956, he co-founded the literary magazine St. Botolphs Review with a handful of other editors. At the launch party for the magazine, he met Sylvia Plath. A few short months later, on June 16, 1956, they were married. Plath encouraged Hughes to submit his first manuscript, The Hawk in the Rain, to The Poetry Center's First Publication book contest. The judges, Marianne Moore, W. H. Auden, and Stephen Spender, awarded the manuscript first prize, and it was published in England and America in 1957, to much critical praise. Hughes lived in Massachusetts with Plath and taught at University of Massachusetts Amherst. They returned to England in 1959, and their first child, Freida was born the following year. Their second child, Nicholas, was born two years later.


In 1962, Hughes left Plath for Assia Gutmann Wevill. Less than a year later, Plath committed suicide. Hughes did not write again for years, as he focused all of his energy on editing and promoting Plaths poems. He was also roundly lambasted by the public, who saw him as responsible for his wifes suicide. Controversy surrounded his editorial choices regarding Plaths poems and journals. In 1965, Wevill gave birth to their only child, Shura. Four years later, like Plath, she also committed suicide, killing Shura as well. The following year, in 1970, Hughes married Carol Orchard, with whom he remained married until his death. Hughess lengthy career included over a dozen books of poetry, translations, non-fiction and childrens books, such as the famous The Iron Man (1968). His books of poems include:Wolfwatching (1990), Flowers and Insects (1986), Selected Poems 1957-1981 (1982), Moortown (1980), Cave Birds (1979), Crow(1971), and Lupercal (1960). His final collection, The Birthday Letters (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1998), published the year of his death, documented his relationship with Plath. Hughes's work is marked by a mythical framework, using the lyric and dramatic monologue to illustrate intense subject matter. Animals appear frequently throughout his work as deity, metaphor, persona, and icon. Perhaps the most famous of his subjects is "Crow," an amalgam of god, bird and man, whose existence seems pivotal to the knowledge of good and evil. Hughes won many of Europes highest literary honours, and was appointed Poet Laureate of England in 1984, a post he held until his death. He passed away in October 28, 1998 in Devonshire, England, from cancer. Crow is a collection of poems based around the character Crow, which borrows extensively from many world mythologies, notably Christian mythology. The first Crow poems were written in response to a request by the American artist, Leonard Baskin, who had at the time produced several pen and ink drawings of crows.


Hughes' earlier poetic work is rooted in nature and, in particular, the innocent savagery of animals, and interest from an early age. He wrote frequently of the mixture of beauty and violence in the natural world. Animals serve as a metaphor for his view on life Hughes' later work is deeply reliant upon myth and the British baric tradition, heavily inflected with a modernist, Jungian and ecological viewpoint. He re-worked classical and archetypal myth working with a conception of the dark sub-conscious. Philip Larkin (1922-1985) was an English poet and novelist. His first book of poetry, The North Ship, was published in 1945, followed by two novels, Jill (1946) and A Girl in Winter (1947), but he came to prominence in 1955 with the publication of his second collection of poems, The Less Deceived, followed by The Whitsun Weddings (1964) and High Windows (1974). After graduating from Oxford in 1943 with a first in English language and literature, Larkin became a librarian. Larkin's public persona was that of the no-nonsense, solitary Englishman who disliked fame and had no patience for the trappings of the public literary life. It was during Larkin's five years in Belfast that he reached maturity as a poet. The bulk of his next published collection of poems The Less Deceived (1955) was written there, though eight of the twenty-nine poems included were from the late 1940s. This period also saw Larkin make his final attempts at writing prose fiction, and he gave extensive help to Kingsley Amis with Lucky Jim, which was Amis's first published novel. Larkin's poetry has been characterized as combining "an ordinary, colloquial style", "clarity", a "quiet, reflective tone", "ironic understatement" and a "direct" engagement with "commonplace experiences". Larkin's earliest work showed the influence of Eliot, Auden and Yeats, and the development of his mature poetic identity in the early 1950s coincided with the growing influence on him of Thomas Hardy. The "mature" Larkin style, first evident in The Less Deceived. Larkin's style is bound up with his recurring themes and subjects, which include death and fatalism, as in his final major poem 'Aubade'. Larkin was a notable critic of modernism in contemporary art and literature. His scepticism is at its most nuanced and illuminating in Required Writing, a collection of his book reviews and essays.


Seamus Heaney (1939-) is an Irish poet, playwright, translator, lecturer and recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature. His work often deals with the local surroundings of Ireland, particularly in Northern Ireland, where he was born. Death of a Naturalist (1966) and Door into the Dark (1969) mostly focus on the detail of rural, parochial life. Allusions to sectarian difference, widespread in Northern Ireland through his lifetime, can be found in his poems. His books Wintering Out (1973) and North (1975) seek to interweave commentary on 'The Troubles' with a historical context and wider human experience. Whilst some critics have accused Heaney of being "an apologist and a mythologise" of the violence. He is concerned as a poet and a translator, with the English language itself, as it is spoken in Ireland but also as spoken elsewhere and in other times; the Anglo-Saxon influences in his work and study are strong. Heaney's work is used extensively on school syllabi internationally, including the anthologies The Rattle Bag (1982) and The School Bag (1987). In his intimate reading style, Heaney balances a sense of natural speech with his commitment to what he has described as "a musically satisfying order of sounds". This grants full weight to the formal skill that shapes the poems, yet gives the impression that we are being confided in by the man whose poetry, according to the Swedish Academy, is distinguished by "lyrical beauty and ethical depth". h. General Survey of Poetry Philip O'Connor was a British writer and surrealist poet. He was one of the 'Wheatsheaf writers' of 1930s Fitzrovia. He married six times and had at least eight children. Poetry was a perfect outlet for him. Receptive to the Surrealist movement then percolating through London, Philip O'Connor rapidly produced poems which he later described as "a shock spill of sensations and thoughts in Surrealist disarray" and with atypical modesty as "mountebankery". His contempt for the editors who published his early work in magazines like "New Verse" and "Life and Letters Today" was often equally fierce. Philip O'Connor, who began his literary career turning out surrealistic poetry, also took to buttonholing literary lions, not always to their delight. His extreme outsider status was reinforced in 47

his late teens by a longish period tramping across England and Ireland.- an experience which formed the basis for his book Vagrancy published as a Penguin Special in 1963. Keith Douglas was an English poet noted for his war poetry during World War II and his wry memoir of the Western Desert Campaign, Alamein to Zem Zem. He was killed in action during the invasion of Normandy. Douglas described his poetic style as 'retrospective'; he focused on external impressions rather than inner emotions. The result is a poetry which, according to his detractors, can be callous in the midst of war's atrocities. For others, Douglas's work is powerful and unsettling because its exact descriptions eschew egotism and shift the burden of emotion from the poet to the reader. His best poetry is generally considered to rank alongside the twentieth-century's finest soldier-poetry. In his poem, 'Desert Flowers' (1943), Douglas mentions World War I poet Isaac Rosenberg claiming that he is only repeating what Rosenberg has already written.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: G.C. Thornley, Granville Calland Thornley, Gwyneth Roberts. An outline of English literature, Longman, 1984 McDowall, David. An Illustrated History of Britain. Longman, 1989 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page 10/01/2013, 11/01/2013, 12/01/2013 http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2004/nov/27/books.booksnews 10/01/2013 http://www.sparknotes.com/history/european/interwaryears/section7.rhtml 10/01/2013