Monday, November 30, 2009

1897 - 1898: The Fruits of the Earth to Turn of the Screw.

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.

Andre Gide. French. 1897. Poetry. The Fruits of the Earth. Hymn to the beauty of all experience. Cast off all that is artificial or merely conventional.

Anton Chekhov. Russian. 1897. Story. “Peasants.” Somber picture of peasant life in Russia. Stirred debate.

Arthur Wing Pinero. British. 1898. Play. Trelawny of the Wells. Actress becomes engaged to an aristocrat. When she returns to the stage, he becomes an actor, too.

Stephen Crane. American. 1898. Story. “The Open Boat.” Escape from a sinking ship. Three survive. One dies, just as he is about to reach safety.

Henry James. American/British. 1898. Novel. The Turn of the Screw. Governess vs. children who are malevolently inspired by two ghosts.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

1897: Recessional to The Devil's Disciple

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.

Rudyard Kipling. British. 1897. Poetry. Recessional. Celebrates the 60th anniversary of the accession of Queen Victoria. Warning to the British not to be overconfident in their hour of greatest glory.

Leo Tolstoy. Russian. 1897. Nonfiction. What Is Art? Considered art an extension of morality. Felt it should have a morally uplifting spirit. Work of art must be simple enough for every one, not just the well educated, to understand. Tolstoy’s views became the framework for Soviet extraliterary standards by which to judge a work of art: “Socialist Realism.”

Joseph Conrad. British. 1897. Novel. The Nigger of the Narcissus. Study of men’s characters under stress. Black sailor dying of TB. Presence of death brings out the best and worst of the crew.

Henry James. American/British. 1897. Novel. What Maisie Knew. Twelve-year-old Maisie sees divorced parents’ extra marital infidelities. Gives her a realistic knowledge of the adult world. Chooses to live with her governess, not her parents.

George Bernard Shaw. British. 1897. Play. The Devil’s Disciple. American Revolution. Convention and circumstances fix one’s life. In crises, people change, learn about themselves.

Note: Will resume blog on Monday, November 30, 2009. RayS.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

1896: Weir of Hemiston to John Gabriel Borkman.

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.

Robert Louis Stevenson. British. 1896. Novel. Weir of Hermiston. Battle of wills between father and son with father, a judge, convicting his son of murder and condemning him to death. Son is rescued by relatives of his lover for whom he had murdered. Unfinished at Stevenson’s death. Promised to be his masterpiece.

Sarah Orne Jewett. American. 1896. Stories. The Country of the Pointed Firs. Maine seaport town from the point of view of a summer resident. Townspeople sympathetically drawn.

Joseph Conrad. British. 1896. Novel. An Outcast of the Islands. Marries native girl and is shot by her.

Anton Chekhov. Russian. 1896. Story. “My Life.” Member of intelligentsia becomes a laborer. Criticism of Tolstoy?

Henrik Ibsen. Norwegian. 1896. Play. John Gabriel Borkman. Story of a man who sacrificed love for ambition. The unforgivable sin is to murder love in a human soul.

Monday, November 23, 2009

1896: Sunken Bell to La Ronde.

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.

Gerhart Hauptmann. German. 1896. Verse Drama. The Sunken Bell. Artist caught between the world of nature and man, between paganism and Christianity. Experiences life of bliss on mountain with a beautiful sprite. Returns to earth. Realizes he cannot exist in either world, accepts lethal poison and dies.

Anton Chekhov. Russian. 1896. Play. The Sea Gull. Failed writer kills a seagull as a symbol of his destroyed love for an actress. She leaves him for another lover. Abandoned, she returns when he is successful, but compares herself to the dead seagull, destroyed by a man’s mere momentary whim. She leaves him again and he succeeds in his second attempt at suicide.

H Sienkiewicz. Polish. 1896. Novel. Quo Vadis? Rome of Nero and early Christian martyrs. Petronius represents dying paganism. Richly colorful life of ancient Rome. Christian girl eventually marries her converted seducer.

Alfred Jarry. French. 1896. Play. Ubu Roi. Satirizes tendency of successful bourgeois to abuse their authority and become complacent. Anticipates Dada movement and Theatre of the Absurd.

Arthur Schnitzler. Austrian. 1896. Play. La Ronde. Ten scenes, each ending before ten couples have sexual intercourse. Interlocking. Circular. Begins and ends with a prostitute. Symbolizes the unending frenetic quality and sameness of erotic behavior.

Friday, November 20, 2009

1895 - 1896: The Importance of Being Earnest to "My Lost Youth."

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.

Oscar Wilde. British. 1895. Play. The Importance of Being Earnest. Satire on the British nobility and clergy. Apparently lower class, Worthing is found to have had noble parents.

Alexandre Dumas. French. 1895. Historical Romance. The Black Tulip. Set in Holland in the 17th century. Tale revolves about the struggle between two political factions.

H. G. Wells. British. 1895. ScFi. The Time Machine. Travels into the future; stages in the evolutionary degeneration of life.

Marcel Proust. French. 1895-99. Novel. Jean Santeui (Unfinished). Adapted version of his own life to 1895. Characters, incidents are prototypes of Remembrance of Things Past.

H W Longfellow. American. 1896. Poem. “My Lost Youth.” “A boy’s will is the wind’s will…, etc.”

Thursday, November 19, 2009

1895: Red Badge of Courage.... to Light o' Love.

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.

Stephen Crane. American. 1895. Novel. The Red Badge of Courage: An Episode of the American Civil War. Psychological study of fear. Romantic notions about war are soon destroyed. “Red badge” is from the gun butt of a fellow soldier. Merges with the body of soldiers.

Andrew Paterson. Australian. 1895. Ballad. “Waltzing Matilda.” Swagman (hobo) steals and butchers a jumbuck (sheep), leaps to death in a billabong (pond after heavy rains) when pursued by squatter (landowner) and police. Pack bouncing as he hikes is nicknamed “Waltzing Matilda.” Rollicking verse epitomizes Australian gusto. Theme is of little man against repressive Establishment. Australia’s unofficial national anthem.

Thomas Hardy. British. 1895. Novel. Jude the Obscure. Dramatizes conflict between carnal and spiritual life. Traces Jude’s life from boyhood aspirations of intellectual achievement to miserable early death.

Stephen Crane. American. 1895. Poetry. The Black Riders and Other Lines. Inspired by Emily Dickinson. After watching waves beat on the shore, dreamed of black horses coming from the surf.

Arthur Schnitzler. German. 1895. Play. Light o’ Love. Man torn between two women, one of low, the other of high social standing.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

1894: ...Pudd'nhead Wilson to Arms and the Man.

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.

Mark Twain. American. 1894. Novel. The Tragedy of Puddnhead Wilson. Puddnhead is a combination of wisdom and eccentricity. White, mulatto children switched at birth. Mulatto is a scoundrel, finally convicted of murder by fingerprints. Epigrams.

George DuMaurier. French. 1894. Novel. Trilby. Under the influence of Svengali’s mesmeric powers, woman becomes a great singer. Loses her voice when he suddenly dies of heart failure. She dies soon after.

Theodor Fontane. German. 1894. Novel. Effi Briest. Effi is impetuous, spontaneous and open. She is married to a cold, calculating, rational Prussian husband. She is seduced by a mustachioed gambling ladies’ man. Husband duels and wins. Effie is sent home to her parents without her children. She enjoys the simple pleasures of everyday life in the days before her death. German realism. On a par with Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina.

William Dean Howells. American. 1894. Novel. Traveller from Altruria. Returned from a utopia, traveler contrasts it with the American system.

George Bernard Shaw. British. 1894. Play. Arms and the Man. Set in Bulgaria. Satirizes romantic attitudes about war. Libretto of The Chocolate Soldier is based on it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

1893 - 1894: Magda to Prisoner of Zenda.

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.

Hermann Sudermann. German. 1893. Play. Magda. Conflict between the mores of provincial bourgeoisie and the bohemian life of urban artists.

Stephen Crane. American. 1893. Novel. Maggie: A Girl of the Streets. Darwinian jungle of New York streets, daughter of brutal father, drunken mother, seduced by Pete, disowned by mother. In despair, suicide. Episodic. Irony. In ’96 version, less melodrama. First realistic American novel. Doomed by family, environmental forces, unable to escape.

Gerhart Hauptmann. German. 1893. Play. Hannele. Dying girl hallucinates, turning the wretched almshouse and it dreary inhabitants into a fairy-tale paradise. Dies.

George Bernard Shaw. British. 1893. Play. Mrs. Warren’s Profession. Relationship between a madam and her daughter whom she has supported in style.

Anthony Hope Hawkins. British. 1894. Romance. The Prisoner of Zenda. Hero impersonates imprisoned king, secures his release.

Monday, November 16, 2009

1892 - 1893: Lady Windermere's Fan to Death and the Fool.

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.

Oscar Wilde. British. 1892. Play. Lady Windermere’s Fan. Lady W’s mother saves her from the rash step of running away with Lord Darlington.

Ambrose Bierce. American. 1892. Stories. In the Midst of Life. 26 stories. Life subject to accident, coincidence. Twist endings. "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" is one of his best known stories.

Francis Thompson. British. 1893. Poetry. “The Hound of Heaven.” “Autobiography” of a fugitive from God’s redemptive love.

Arthur Wing Pinero. British. 1893. Play. The Second Mrs. Tanqueray. Woman with a past tries to warn her husband that his daughter is involved with her former lover. His daughter charges her with her past and she commits suicide.

Hugo Von Hofmannstahl. German. 1893. Play. Death and the Fool. Three dead people whom he had treated with indifference appear to a nobleman on his approaching death.

Friday, November 13, 2009

1892: Barrack-Room Ballads to "Gunga Din."

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Rudyard Kipling. British. 1892. Poetry. Barrack-Room Ballads. Celebrates the British soldier and army life throughout the Empire. Ballad meters. Cockney diction.

Rudyard Kipling. British. 1892. Poem. “Fuzzy Wuzzy.” Celebrates the bushy-haired warriors of Sudan who fought Gordon and Kitchener.

Henrik Ibsen. Norwegian. 1892. Play. The Master Builder. Spirit of the artist trying to surpass its limiitations. Conflict of one’s needs and the needs of others. Fear of being crushed by a new generation of architects as he crushed builders before him. Tries to build a castle in the air but falls to his death.

Maurice Maeterlinck. Belgian. 1892. Play. Pelleas et Melisande. Girl found wandering in the forest is married to her rescuer, but she falls in love with his brother.

Rudyard Kipling. British. 1892. Poem. “Gunga Din.” In praise of a Hindu water-carrier for a British Indian regiment. “You’re a better man than I, Gunga Din.”

Thursday, November 12, 2009

1891 - 1892: Gosta Berlings Saga to The Weavers.

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Selma Lagerlof. Swedish. 1891. Novel. Gosta Berlings Saga. Magnetic, impulsive, temperamental hero involves himself, and those attracted to him, in misfortune.

Oscar Wilde. British. 1891. Novel. The Picture of Dorian Gray. Painting mirrors a man’s moral degeneration.

Rudyard Kipling. British. 1891. Story. “The Man Who Was.” Survivor of Russian imprisonment during the Crimean War. Testament to their cruelty. Dies shortly after release.

Anton Chekhov. Russian. 1892. Story. “Ward No. 6.” Gradual disintegration of the head of a mental hospital. Neglects the miserable condition of his patients. Withdraws into private study, thought, alcohol. Finally unable to communicate with any one. Unscrupulous assistant has him committed and he experiences the miserable treatment for which he has been responsible. Realization of his part in the horror comes just before his death.

Gerhart Hauptmann. German. 1892. Play. The Weavers. Silesian weavers’ rebellion in 1844. Their ghastly conditions and economic plight. One version is in dialect; the other version in High German. The weavers are the collective hero.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

1890 - 1891: The Golden Bough to The Countess Cathleen.

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.

George Frazer. Scottish. 1890/1915. Nonfiction. The Golden Bough. Comparative religion and mythology. Cross-cultural analysis. Archetypal elements in religion and magic.

Hamlin Garland. American. 1891. Stories. Main-Travelled Roads. Set in Dakotas, Iowa; local color, realistic. Grim lives of farmers at the mercy of the elements and rapacious landlords. “Under the Lion’s Paw” is an excellent example.

Thomas Hardy. British. 1891. Novel. Tess of the D’urbervilles; a Pure Woman. Working for wealthy woman, Tess is forced into sexual relations and becomes pregnant. She falls in love with the rector’s son. On the eve of their wedding, they make mutual confessions. He expects to be forgiven, but he cannot forgive her past. She returns to her wealthy seducer and kills him, fleeing with her true love. She is caught and executed.

George Gissing. British. 1891. Novel. New Grub Street. Grim, realistic treatment of the struggles and compromises of the modern literary world. Success goes to the critic with no moral or artistic integrity.

William Butler Yeats. Irish. 1891. Verse Drama. The Countess Cathleen. Countess sells her soul to the devil for the souls of the starving Irish peasants. God saves her soul in the end.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

1890: Youma to Hedda Gabler

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.

Lafcadio Hearn. American. 1890. Novel Youma. Black girl’s devotion to the daughter of her dead mistress during a slave insurrection in Martinique.

James Whitcomb Riley. American. 1890. Poetry. “The Raggedy Man. Hoosier dialect. Boy’s admiration for the farm’s hired man.

Paul Valery. French. 1890. Poetry. “Narcissus Speaks.” Narcissus in love with his reflection in water symbolizes the self seeking its own perfect image.

William Dean Howells. American. 1890. Novel. A Hazard of New Fortunes. Plot focuses on a newly rich family’s social and moral difficulties in scaling the New York social ladder.

Henrik Ibsen. Norwegian. 1890. Play. Hedda Gabler. Ruthless, neurotic woman bored with dull, scholarly husband; destroys others and then herself with a bullet.

Monday, November 9, 2009

1889 - 1890: A Connecticut Yankee.... to Thais

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Mark Twain. American. 1889. Novel. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. Blow sends Yankee back to the days of King Arthur. His Yankee ingenuity and “know-how" vs. medieval superstition.

Anton Chekhov. Russian. 1889. Story. “A Dreary Story.” Difficulty of real communication between people. Professor and his ward see life as fragmented, aimless and worthless. Despair. They fail to communicate to each other and remain isolated.

Rudyard Kipling. British. 1889. Story. “The Man Who Would Be King.” Man sets himself as god/king. He is betrayed, tortured and killed.

Alfred Tennyson. British. 1889. Poetry. “Crossing the Bar.” Metaphor for death: putting out to sea on a calm evening.

Anatole France. French. 1890. Novel. Thais. Debauched man becomes a monk, converts a courtesan who joins the convent. Can’t withstand his dreams of her and urges her to flee the convent. She dies. Abbess is horrified by the savagery finally revealed on his face.

Friday, November 6, 2009

1888: We'll to the Woods No More to Plain Tales from the Hills

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Edouard Dujardin. French. 1888. Novel. We’ll to the Woods No More. First example of an interior monologue and the stream of consciousness. Thoughts, impressions of Dan Prince as he walks the streets, meets friends, sits in a restaurant, rides in a carriage or visits an actress. Influenced by Wagner’s leitmotif, Browning’s monologues and the psychological monologues of Dostoevsky.

Emile Zola. French. 1888. Novel. The Soil. Deals with greed for land. Peasants are portrayed with merciless realism.

Henry James. American/British. 1888. Novel. The Aspern Papers. Narrator tries to gain possession of a collection of a famous poet’s papers held by the poet’s former mistress. When he can gain them at the expense of marrying her niece, he cannot pay that price.

Rudyard Kipling. British. 1888. Stories. Soldiers Three. Stories of Anglo-Indian life.

Rudyard Kipling. British. 1888. Stories. Plain Tales from the Hills. Stories of life in India.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

1886 - 1888: "The Death of Ivan Ilyich" to Miss Julie.

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Leo Tolstoy. Russian. 1886. Story. “The Death of Ivan Ilyich.” Thoughts on life, death by a dying man. Accepts death as part of the natural order of things.

Hugh Lofting. British/American. 1886/87. Children’s Literature. Dr. Doolittle. Kindly, resourceful doctor. First man to learn the languages of the animals.

August Strindberg. Swedish. 1887. Play. The Father. Psychological antagonism between men and women. Females of the family dominate the captain, driving him mad and to his death.

Arthur Conan Doyle. British. 1887/1927. Detective Stories. Sherlock Holmes. Brilliant, eccentric detective; analytic; master of the violin and obscure sciences. Also has a cocaine habit.

August Strindberg. Swedish. 1888. Play. Miss Julie. Love-hate relationship of men and women. Julie is brought up to hate men. She seduces the footman, which creates conflicts in her and she commits suicide.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

1886: Kidnapped to The Bostonians.

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Robert Louis Stevenson. British. 1886. Historical Novel. Kidnapped. Adventures of David Balfour and Alan Breck, a Jacobite, considered one of Stevenson’s most interesting characters.

Friedrich Nietzsche. German. 1886. Nonfiction. Beyond Good and Evil. Aphorisms. No human values are absolute. Value distinctions like good/evil are artificial and traditional.

Frances Hodgson Burnett. British/American. 1886. Children’s Story. Little Lord Fauntleroy. Disinherited for marrying an American, the father dies and his son goes to England where he wins the hearts of everyone.

Thomas Hardy. British. 1886. Novel. The Mayor of Casterbridge. Man sells wife and child while drunk. Swears off drinking. Tries unsuccessfully to find his family. Years later, he is mayor and retribution comes as his wife and child by a second husband return.

Henry James. American/British. 1886. Novel. The Bostonians Satirically portrays a strong-minded Boston feminist, representing a new generation of “do-gooders.”

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

1885 - 1886: "The Swan" to Princess Casamassina.

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.

Stephane Mallarme. French. 1885. Poetry. “The Swan.” Swan trapped in frozen lake; held in pure, mysterious state of unrealized possibility. Can’t fly.

Robert Louis Stevenson. British. 1885. Poetry. A Child’s Garden of Verses. Written from the child’s point of view. “My Shadow.” “The Lamplighter.”

Robert Louis Stevenson. British. 1886. Novel. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Dual personality. Tries to separate good and evil into two distinctive personalities. Unmitigated evil personality predominates. Commits suicide.

Leo Tolstoy. Russian. 1886. Play. The Power of Darkness. Peasant drama showing their faults and vices. Epigraph of the play: “When one claw is caught, the whole bird is doomed.”

Henry James. American/British. 1886. Novel. The Princess Casamassina. Radical makes way into upper class society. Grows to appreciate civilization. Rather than commit assassination, he commits suicide.

Monday, November 2, 2009

1884 - 1885: Obiter Dicta to Marius the Epicurean.

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.

Augustine Birrell. British. 1884. Essays. Obiter Dicta. Three books of essays. “Incidental comments.”

William Dean Howells. American. 1885. Novel. The Rise of Silas Lapham. Self-reliant business man becomes wealthy, moves to Boston; embarrasses himself in attempts to be accepted by the social elite. Eventually sees himself for what he is.

Emile Zola. French. 1885. Novel. Germinal. Bitter suffering of workers in French mines. Pleads for social reform. Sympathy for the lower classes.

James Whitcomb Riley. American. 1885. Poem. “Little Orphant Annie.” Hoosier dialect. Orphant Annie tells hair-raising tales about goblins.

Walter Pater. British. 1885. Romance. Marius the Epicurean. Roman noble at the time of Marcus Aurelius. Records ideas rather than events. Drawn to Christianity.