Thursday, February 25, 2010

1922: Abie's Irish Rose to The Enormous Room


Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Anne Nichols. American. 1922. Play. Abie’s Irish Rose. Jewish boy marries Irish Catholic girl. Problems with families.

Eugene O’Neill. American. 1922. Play. Anna Christie. Swedish captain loves/hates the sea; in spite of his efforts, daughter falls in love with the sea.

Sinclair Lewis. American. 1922. Novel. Babbitt. Middle class, small-town booster and joiner who is trapped by his middle class values.

Franz Kafka. German. 1922. Novel. The Castle. Man against bureaucracy. Human quest for understanding of the ways of an incomprehensible God?

ee cummings. American. 1922. Autobiographical novel. The Enormous Room. Imprisonment in a French military concentration camp, incarcerated on a false charge of treason.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

1921: Nets to Catch the Wind to The Triumph of the Egg

Chronology of World, British and American Literature


Elinor Wylie. American. 1921. Poetry. Nets to Catch the Wind. Contains her most characteristic verse: “Velvet Shoes”; “The Eagle and the Mole.”


Luigi Pirandello. Italian. 1921. Play. Six Characters in Search of an Author. Six characters say they are unused creations of author’s imagination. Demand that their stories be told.


John DosPassos. American. 1921. Novel. Three Soldiers. Three representative American soldiers. Musician joins army to become involved in righteous cause. Finds instead tyranny, aimlessness, red tape, and boredom. Deserts. Begins to write music. Captured and taken away. Sheets of unfinished compositions scattered and destroyed. Military is the real villain of the book.


Sherwood Anderson. American. 1921. Stories. The Triumph of the Egg. Quiet desperation of people unable to find in others release from inner loneliness. Search for innocence in a world already too complicated.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

1921: Alice Adams to "Miss Thompson."

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.


Booth Tarkington. American. 1921. Novel. Alice Adams. Disintegration of middle-class Adams family in small Midwestern town. Romantic daughter is disillusioned.


George Bernard Shaw. British. 1921. Play. Back to Methuselah. Civilization to AD 31,920 in which man becomes wholly intellect through will, not science.


Aldous Huxley. British. 1921. Novel. Crome Yellow. Satire of intellectual pretensions. Banal verse of ineffectual poet.


Franz Werfel. German. 1921. Play. Goat Song. Frenzy of group of peasants; worship monster. Woman bears its child. Chaotic potential in man.


W. Somerset Maugham. British. 1921. Story. “Miss Thompson.” Repressed reverend converts, then seduces tart; he commits suicide.

Monday, February 22, 2010

1920: This Side of Paradise to Kristin Lavransdatter

Chronology of World, British and American Literature


F Scott Fitzgerald. American. 1920. Novel. This Side of Paradise. Honest and detailed description of the Jazz Age. Shallow, purposeless Princeton student. Fights in WWI, begins career in advertising—cynical, war weary, regretful. Not yet 30 years old. Record of “Lost Generation” in its college days.


DH Lawrence. British. 1920. Novel. Women in Love. Sequel to The Rainbow. Gudrun and husband = possessive, destructive relationship. Ursula and husband = ideal sensual union. Lawrence says the modern man allows passionate, true self to be imprisoned by intellect. Need good, passionate marriage in which lovers recognize each other’s true separateness. Minimum of plot and great deal of philosophical discussion.


Willa Cather. American. 1920. Stories. Youth and the Bright Medusa. Theme of artistic sensibility and talent. Includes “Paul’s Case.”


Sigrid Undset. Norwegian. 1920/22. Novel. Kristin Lavransdatter Devout woman’s life in Catholic Norway in 13th and 14th centuries. Trilogy.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

1920: The Emperor Jones to Smoke and Steel

Chronology of World, British and American Literature


Eugene O’Neill. American. 1920. Play. The Emperor Jones. West Indies Former Pullman porter sets himself up as emperor. Flees native revolution. Aboriginal fears.


Edna St. Vincent Millay. American. 1920. Poetry. Few Figs from Thistles. Sophisticated flippancy; youthful Bohemianism.


Ezra Pound. American. 1920. Poetry. “Hugh Selwyn Mauberley.” Denunciation of civilization marked by war, commercialization of the arts and sexual sterility.


Sinclair Lewis. American. 1920. Novel. Main Street. Gopher Prairie. Heroine chafes at dullness, sterility of existence as the wife of a local doctor. Tries to make townspeople conscious of culture, refinement. Leaves, but returns to make peace with the culture of the small town.


Carl Sandburg. American. 1920. Poetry. Smoke and Steel. Attempt to find some kind of beauty in modern industrialism.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

1920: "A Dill Pickle" to "Dulce et Decorum Est."

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.


Katherine Mansfield. New Zealand. 1920. Story. “A Dill Pickle.” Reunited lovers. At first charmed, she is reminded of his faults and leaves him again. Pickle symbolizes the experience.


Edith Wharton. American. 1920. Novel. Age of Innocence. Satirical picture of social life in New York during the 1870s. “Tribal code” keeps lovers apart.


Eugene O’Neill. American. 1920. Play. Beyond the Horizon. Adventurous and prosaic brothers reverse attitudes toward life.


Katherine Mansfield. New Zealand. 1920. Stories. Bliss. Title story: perfect life for a young wife. Then she discovers that her husband has been unfaithful.


Wilfred Owen. British 1920. Poetry. “Dulce et Decorum Est.” Ironic condemnation of war. Soldiers choking from mustard gas. It is not “sweet and fitting to die for one’s country.”

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

1919: "Tradition and the Individual Talent" to The American Language

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.


T.S. Eliot. American/British. 1919. Essay. “Tradition and the Individual Talent.” Poet can’t write significant poetry without being steeped in the tradition. Avoid romantic, autobiographical writing. Concentrate on technique and impersonal, detached poetry.


Sherwood Anderson. American. 1919. Novel/Stories. Winesburg, Ohio. Twenty-three thematically related sketches and stories. Simple, realistic language. Tales of sterility and thwarted creativity. Narrative united by character of George Willard. A Bildungsroman about Willard’s developing “wholeness.”


H.L. Mencken. American. 1919/48. Nonfiction. The American Language. Differences between British, American languages in vocabulary, spelling and pronunciation.

Monday, February 15, 2010

1919: Demian to "The Pastoral Symphony."

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.


Hermann Hesse. German. 1919. Novel. Demian. Bildungsroman. Demian a visionary. Protagonist, Sinclair, seeks wisdom from him. Poignant statement of the terrors and torments of adolescence.


Joseph Hergesheimer. American. 1919. Novel. Java Head. China trade. Home of Salem retired captain. His Chinese wife commits suicide to escape a lustful neighbor.


W. Somerset Maugham. British. 1919. Novel. The Moon and Sixpence. Conventional London stockbroker deserts wife, family and business to become a painter. Based on the life of Gauguin.


Andre Gide. French. 1919. Tale. “The Pastoral Symphony.” Pastor adopts blind girl and seduces her. Her sight restored, she commits suicide.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

1918: Cornhuskers to Valmouth.

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.


Carl Sandburg. American. 1918. Poetry. Cornhuskers. Collection of poems. “Cool Tombs,” “Prairie,” “Caboose Thoughts,” “Chicago Poet,” “Haunts.”


James Joyce. Irish. 1918. Play. Exiles. Irish writer who has spent much of life abroad estranged from Irish society. Artist’s alienation.


Willa Cather. American. 1918. Novel. My √Āntonia. Bohemian immigrant settlers on frontier farmlands of Nebraska.


Wyndham Lewis. British. 1918. Novel. Tarr. Paris art students of various nationalities; attacks German romanticism, nihilism, militarism.


Aleksandr Blok. Russian. 1918. Poetry. The Twelve. The chaotic streets of St. Petersburg in the early years of the Russian Revolution.


Ronald Firbank. British. 1918. Novel. Valmouth. Fantastic English village with Eastern massage, cultured conversation; society ladies practice religion and pursue men.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

1917: South Wind to Cantos

Chronology of World, British and American Literature


Norman Douglas. British. 1917. Novel. South Wind. Capri-like island. Exotic, odd and learned characters. Skeptical discussion. Topics: ethics, religion, art, food, etc. The author’s satirical essays on the island.


Georg Kaiser. German. 1917/20. Plays. Gas. Trilogy. Indictment of over-mechanization of modern society.


Ezra Pound. American. 1917. Poetry. Cantos. Epic poem. Vast, disjointed panorama of the growth of civilization.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

1917: Fortunes of Richard Mahoney to Son of the Middle Border.

Chronology of World, British and American Literature


Henry Handel Richardson. Australian. 1917. Novel. Fortunes of Richard Mahoney. 19th-century misfit. Australia. Mahoney fits in nowhere and dies insane.


Paul Valery. French. 1917. Poetry. La Jeune Porque. Dramatic monologue. Female fearful and fascinated by desire awakening in her.


T.S. Eliot. American/British. 1917. Poetry. Portrait of a Lady. Lack of communication between woman, man trapped by conventions of dying social order. Conscious of isolation but can’t escape it. Her life is determined by empty forms devitalized by social rituals. He seeks solace in humdrum habits and conventions.


Joseph Conrad. British. 1917. Novel. The Shadow Line. Captain matures as he takes sailing ship through a difficult calm.


Hamlin Garland. American. 1917. Autobiography. A Son of the Middle Border. Boyhood in the Middle West. Grandeur of the prairie. Bleakness, hardship of farm life: fruitless quest from frontier to frontier.

Monday, February 8, 2010

1916: A Portrait of the Artist.... to You Know Me Al....

Chronology of World, British and American Literature


James Joyce. Irish. 1916. Novel. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Growing self-awareness as artist leads to rejection of world in which he was brought up. Severs family ties, nationalism and Catholic religion. Not straight narrative. Revolves around experiences crucial to Stephen’s development as artist.


Booth Tarkington American. 1916. Novel. Seventeen. Adolescent in the throes of his first love affair. Billy, Lola and Flopit.


Mariano Azuela. Mexican. 1916. Novel. The Underdogs (Los de abajo). Mexican Revolution. Blind, futile struggle by nameless masses who took up arms for a cause they did not understand. Swept along by turbulence; continued fighting because they did not know how to stop.


Ring Lardner. American. 1916. Stories. You Know Me Al: A Busher’s Letters. Letters from half-literate baseball rookie. Captures vernacular speech, tone, outlook. Combination of humor and misanthropy.

Friday, February 5, 2010

1916: "Birches" to The Man Against the Sky

Chronology of World, British and American Literature


Robert Frost. American. 1916. Poem. “Birches.” Trees bent to ground by ice storms. Imagines bent by boy swinging. Longs to swing again.


George Moore. Irish. 1916. Novel. The Brook Kerith. Alternative view of Christ’s fate. Lives by the Brook Kerith. Renounces his earlier message as blasphemous.


George Kaiser. German. 1916. Play. From Morn Till Midnight. Embezzles money to escape his circumscribed existence. Disappointment. Betrayed. Suicide.


Ezra Pound. American. 1916. Poetry. Lustra. Tile, from Latin, refers to offerings made by Roman censors “for the sins of the people.”


Edwin Arlington Robinson. American. 1916. Poetry. The Man Against the Sky. Man symbolized as lonely figure against sunset, i.e., death, WWI and world of science.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

1915: Of Human Bondage to Victory

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.


W. Somerset Maugham. British. 1915. Novel. Of Human Bondage. Struggle for independence and intellectual development. Attempts to become an artist. Obsessive love affair. Then marries nice girl, settles down as a country doctor.


DH Lawrence. British. 1915. Novel. The Rainbow. Emotional lives and loves of three generations of a family of farmers and craftsmen.


Willa Cather. American. 1915. Novel. The Song of the Lark. Daughter of a Colorado clergyman eventually becomes a soprano at the Metropolitan in NYC.


Edgar Lee Masters. American. 1915. Poetry. Spoon River Anthology. Characters narrate their own biographies from the cemetery where they lie buried. Realistic. Cynical. Free verse. Contradict the pious epitaphs on gravestones.


John Buchan. Canadian. 1915. Suspense. The Thirty-Nine Steps. Uncovers spy ring and forestalls an invasion of Britain.


Joseph Conrad. British. 1915. Novel. Victory. Man has avoided all ties and commitments; self-exiled wanderer. Helps unhappy Lena. She tries to save him from ruthless men and dies. His victory is his recognition of love and purpose in life through Lena’s death.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

1915: The 'Genius' to "The Metamorphosis."

Chronology of World, British and American Literature


Theodore Dreiser. American. 1915. Novel. The ‘Genius. Midwestern artist. Many love affairs. Success. Marries. Wife dies in childbirth. Breakdown. Recovery.


Robert Frost. American. 1915. Poem. “The Road Not Taken.” Narrator at fork in road decides on road less traveled.


Ford Maddox Ford. British. 1915. Novel. The Good Soldier. Learns his wife is the mistress of his best friend, a “good soldier.” Conventional appearances vs. bitter truth.


TS Eliot. American/British. 1915. Poem. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. Paralyzed by social habit, sense of futility; can’t escape; identified with his surroundings. Explores death in life. Suggests spiritual decay in society. Sterility of the world. Longs to make a significant gesture. Lacks resources. Puts off in introspection. Ends on a note of hopelessness.


Franz Kafka. German. 1915. Story. “The Metamorphosis.” Man awakens one morning to find himself changed into a huge insect; effects on his life; death.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

1914: "The Santa Fe Trail...." to The Titan.

Chronology of World, British and American Literature


Vachel Lindsay. American. 1914. Poetry. “The Santa Fe Trail: A Humoresque.” Contrasts industrial civilization with natural bird song: radical sound effects.


Amy Lowell. American. 1914. Poetry. Sword Blades and Poppy Seed. Use of free verse and polyphonic prose—all devices of verse except strict meter.


Theodore Dreiser. American. 1914. Novel. The Titan. Second in trilogy. Almost succeeds in Chicago in establishing monopoly of all public utilities. Series of affairs. Frustrated in economic plans. Goes to Europe. Driven by need for power, women and social prestige. Discovers that giants are pygmies and that balance is needed.

Monday, February 1, 2010

1914: Dubliners to "The Prussian Officer."

Chronology of World, British and American Literature


James Joyce. Irish. 1914. Stories. Dubliners. Picture of the paralyzing world from which Joyce fled.


Leonid Andreyev. Russian. 1914. Play. He Who Gets Slapped. Disenchanted intellectual seeks refuge as clown in circus. Symbol of the intellect buffeted by the mob.


Andre Gide. French. 1914. Satire/Farce. Lafcadio’s Adventures. Caricatures various types in society.


Robert Frost. American. 1914. Poem. “Mending Wall.” Neighbor repeats uncritically the saying of his father about good fences making good neighbors.


D. H. Lawrence. British. 1914. Story. “The Prussian Officer.” Sadistic Prussian army officer finally is killed by his victim.