Thursday, April 29, 2010

1932: Conquistador to Light in August

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.

Archibald MacLeish. American. 1932. Poetry. Conquistador. Based on an eyewitness account of the Spanish expedition to Mexico led by Cortez in the 16th century.

Paul Valery. French. 1932. Poetry. The Graveyard by the Sea. Dazzling noon of the Mediterranean coast and the clarity of timeless intellectuality. Contrast with decay.

Louis-Ferdinand Celine. French. 1932. Novel. Journey to the End of the Night. Cynical, disillusioned hero wanders aimlessly through war-torn Europe; embraces evil and death.

William Faulkner. American. 1932. Novel. Light in August. Concern with a society that classifies men by race, creed, origin. JC (Joe Christmas), part black, has affair with spinster, viewed with suspicion as a New Englander. When JC kills her, she becomes the symbol of the innocent, white female. JC is castrated and killed.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

1932: Nineteen Nineteen to Cold Comfort Farm

John Dos Passos. American. 1932. Novel. 1919. Second in trilogy. Through WWI Newsreel, camera eye techniques. Brief biographical sketches.

Evelyn Waugh. British. 1932. Novel. Black Mischief. Satire on attempts to “civilize” a primitive country.

Aldous Huxley. British. 1932. Novel. Brave New World. Grim picture of world which scientific and social developments have already begun to create.

Stella gibbons. British. 1932. Novel. Cold Comfort Farm. Parody of the novel of rustic pessimism in the Hardy tradition; put an end to the genre.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

1931: Sanctuary to The Waves

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

William Faulkner. American. 1931. Novel. Sanctuary. Raped by Popeye, Temple defends him by allowing Benbow to be accused and lynched.

William Faulkner. American. 1931. Stories. These Thirteen. Contains “A Rose for Emily.” Aging, aristocratic, eccentric Southern spinster. Kept skeleton of her Yankee suitor. Also stories of Indians before white settlers.

Virginia Woolf. British. 1931. Novel. The Waves. Six characters, interior monologues; lives and relationships; also character types. Natural cycles of the seasons symbolize progress of time. Two reunions. Bernard as elderly man reviews their lives, feels their consciousnesses intermingling like waves. Thinks the six characters together make up one complete personality.

Monday, April 26, 2010

1931: The Good Earth to Of Thee I Sing

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Pearl Buck. American. 1931. Novel. The Good Earth. Rise of Wang Lung, Chinese peasant, from poverty to position of rich landowner.

Eugene O’Neill. American. 1931. Play. Mourning Becomes Electra. Trilogy. Based on Oresteia of Aeschylus. Set in stark New England. Puritan conscience is the American equivalent of the Furies. Conflict between Puritanism and romantic passion.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery. French. 1931. Novel. Night Flight. Director of air line imposes harsh discipline on pilots to raise them above self-centered concerns; will to challenge, overcome the dangers of the profession.

George S. Kaufman. American. 1931. Play. Of Thee I Sing. Satirizes American party politics.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

1930: The Bridge to "Mario and the Magician."

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Hart Crane. American. 1930. Poetry. The Bridge. Brooklyn Bridge is the chief symbol of man’s aspiration and achievement.

W. Somerset Maugham. British. 1930. Novel. Cakes and Ale. Satire of English literary life. based on Thomas Hardy and his wife?

E. M. Delafield. British. 1930. Novel. Diary of a Provincial Lady. Phlegmatic husband; irritating children; annoying servants; dreadful neighbors. Upper class life.

Marc Connelly. American. 1930. Play. The Green Pastures. Humorous version of Old Testament stories as told by an old Southern black preacher.

Dashiell Hammett. American. 1930. Novel. The Maltese Falcon. Hard-boiled fiction. Sam Spade; theft of jewel-encrusted falcon.

Thomas Mann. German. 1930. Story. “Mario and the Magician.” Allegorical condemnation of Fascism, a violation of human dignity.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

1930: The 42nd Parallel to Ash Wednesday

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

John Dos Passos. American. 1930. Novel. The 42nd Parallel. One of a trilogy. U.S. on the eve of WWI. Newsreel and camera eye devices. Episodes from lives of characters.

JB Priestley. British. 1930. Novel Angel Pavement. Story of a small businessman and grasping capitalist; set in London.

Wyndham Lewis. British. 1930. Novel. The Apes of God. Epic satire on rich Bohemian artistic coteries; reflected the social decay of the period. Sitwell, Stein, Woolf were among his targets.

William Faulkner. American. 1930. Novel. As I Lay Dying. 60 sections. Each narrator tells of relationship with Addie Bundren. Ordeals of returning the body to Mississippi for burial.

T.S. Eliot. American/British. 1930. Poetry. Ash Wednesday. Celebrates peace found in orthodox Christianity. Approach to mystical communion with God.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

1929: "A Room of One's Own" to Street Scene.

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Virginia Woolf. British. 1929. Essay. “A Room of One’s Own.” On the status of women and the difficulties of being a female artist.

William Faulkner. American. 1929. Novel. Sartoris. Bayard Sartoris returns from WWI, haunted by guilt for the death of his brother. Urge to self-destruction. Causes the death of his grandfather from a heart attack in an auto accident. Becomes a test pilot and is killed.

Andre Gide. French. 1929. Novel. The School for Wives. One of a trilogy. Position of women in the modern world.

William Faulkner. American. 1929. Novel. The Sound and the Fury. Radical experiment in form. Interior monologues. Compson family: last members of decaying aristocratic family in Mississippi. First section by Benji: literally a “tale told by an idiot.”

Elmer Rice. American. 1929. Play. Street Scene. Life in a slum tenement. Climax is a double murder. Naturalistic setting; one of the first plays to use realistic sound effects.

Monday, April 19, 2010

1929: Look Homeward Angel to Rise and Fall of the City Mahogany.

Chronology of world, British and American Literature

Thomas Wolfe. American. 1929. Novel. Look Homeward, Angel: A Story of the Buried Life. Becomes aware of relations among his family; meets eccentric people of the town; goes to college, discovers literature, ideas, has first love affair, sets out alone on mystic and romantic pilgrimage.

DH Lawrence. British. 1929. Novel. The Man Who Died. Retells Christ’s resurrection. Mates with a pagan priestess. Spiritual love. Christian emphasis on death denies life.

Robert and Helen Lynd. American. 1929. Study. Midddletown. Discrepancy between American egalitarian beliefs and class structure of American community.

Bertolt Brecht. German. 1929. Play. Rise and Fall of the City Mahogany. Set in the U.S. Strongly Marxist in thought. Object lesson about bourgeois decadence. City funded and populated by pleasure seekers collapses of economic, human contradictions.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

1929: A Farewell to Arms to Les Engants terribles (The Holy Terrors)

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Ernest Hemingway. American. 1929. Novel. A Farewell to Arms. WWI. Description of Italian retreat. Tragedy and destruction of WWI. Catherine dies in childbirth.

JB Priestley. British. 1929. Novel. The Good Companions. Good humored: comic characters; varied scenes from English life.

Richard Hughes. British. 1929. Novel. High Wind in Jamaica. Irrationality and impenetrability of a child’s amoral world; resulting horror.

Jean Cocteau. 1929. Novel. Les Enfants terribles (The Holy Terrors). Fantasy-world rituals and fierce amoral passions of young brother and sister.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

1929: All Quiet on the Western Front to Dona Barbara

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Erich Maria Remarque. German. 1929. Novel. All Quiet on the Western Front. Best known of anti-war literature, 1920-1939. Horror and futility of war.

Rafael Alberti. Spanish. 1929. Poetry. Concerning the Angels. Expresses sense of loss and danger, conflict with unknown adversaries; cosmic anguish. Perspective is patient and psychiatrist.

Robinson Jeffers. American. 1929. Poetry. Dear Judas and Other Poems. Attempts to rehabilitate the reputation of Judas. Finds Christ too fond of power. Reason for betrayal.

Romulo Gallegos. Venezuela. 1929. Novel. Doña Barbara. Symbolizes barbarism. Venezuela. Bends men to her will. Resemblance to real ruler? Author was exiled.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

1928: Strange Interlude to The Human Age

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Eugene O’Neill. American. 1928. Play. Strange Interlude. Nine acts. Nina subconsciously hates her father who prevents her from sleeping with her fiancé before he is killed in France in WWI. Series of loves and marriages and eventually marries a man who reminds her of her father. Stream of consciousness. Characters speak in asides to reveal their true thoughts.

Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill (the music). German. 1928. Play. The Threepenny Opera. Adaptation of Gay’s Beggar’s Opera. Biting attack on the bourgeoisie. Set in London 200 years after the time depicted in Gay’s opera. Decadent capitalist society responsible for creating the criminal underworld.

DH Lawrence. British. 1928. Story. “The Woman Who Rode Away.” Lonely, bored American woman in Mexico. Rides off alone into the mountains. Encounters strange Indian tribe who sacrifice her to their god.

Wyndham Lewis. British. 1928/55. Satire. The Human Age. Surrealistic journey to nightmare heaven. Macabre; obscure allusions, wordplay, parody.

Monday, April 12, 2010

1928: Nadja to The Satin Slipper

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Andre Breton. French. 1928. Poetic Novel. Nadja. Love affair with woman of psychic tendencies.

Virginia Woolf. British. 1928. Novel. Orlando. In 300 years, male poet becomes intense and able woman poet.

Aldous Huxley. British. 1928. Novel. Point Counter Point. Satiric picture of London intellectuals, English upper class in the 1920s. Structure supposedly based on Bach’s Suite #2 in B Minor. Allusions to literature, painting, music, British politics with much scientific information. Novelist plans a novel which echoes events around him.

Paul Claudel. French. 1928. Verse Drama. The Satin Slipper. Unconsummated passion is translated into energy to accomplish other goals.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

1928: John Brown's Body to Marco Millions

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.

Stephen Vincent Benét. American. 1928. Epic Poem. John Brown’s Body. Considers both sides of the Civil War with sympathy. Includes sketches of all aspects of the war and home front.

R.C. Sheriff. British. 1928. Play. Journey’s End. British trenches in WWI. Two of three friends killed. Hero drinks constantly to hide his fear and to calm his nerves.

DH Lawrence. British. 1928. Novel. Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Mystical theories of sex. Mellors is forthright, individualist, not tainted by industrial society.

Eugene O’Neill. American. 1928. Play. Marco Millions. O’Neill’s scorn for mercenary souls, represented by Marco Polo.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

1928: "Acquainted with the Night" to "The Hamlet of A. Macleish."

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Robert Frost. American. 1928. Poem. “Acquainted with the Night.” One of his few poems set in the city. Poem of loneliness and despair.

Evelyn Waugh. British. 1928. Novel. Decline and Fall. Expelled from Oxford, teacher unknowingly works in white slave trade; studies theology.

Federico Lorca Garcia. Spanish. 1928. Poetry. Gypsy Ballads. 18 ballads: “Gypsy poet.” Tragic view of life. Suppressed erotic passion. Gypsy: free force of primitive sexual drives vs. Puritanical Spain, Civil Guard. Close Association of love and death.

Archibald MacLeish. American. 1928. Poetry. “The Hamlet of A. MacLeish.” Dramatic monologue. Hamlet vs. modern man who has no knowledge of the evil he tries to fight.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

1927: Therese Desqueyroux to "Tristram."

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Francois Mauriac. French. 1927. Novel. Therese Desqueyroux. Stifled by bourgeois marriage, attempts to poison husband. Acquitted through her family’s efforts to avoid scandal.

Leonid Leonov. Russian. 1927. Novel. The Thief. Member of the victorious revolution becomes disenchanted with the new society and becomes a thief. Picture of Moscow underworld; odd characters; probing of their personalities. Implies disillusionment with Soviet society.

Wyndham Lewis. British. 1927. Nonfiction. Time and Western Man. Attacks H Bergson and stream of consciousness; advocates fixity, not flux. Intelligence vs. intuition; external vs. internal; classicism vs. romanticism.

Virginia Woolf. British. 1927. Novel. To the Lighthouse. Little plot, but much atmosphere, emotion and poetry. Stream of consciousness. Warm, intuitive wife vs. typical male: rational, heroic, icy, like author’s father. The family’s house; postponed trip to the lighthouse; decaying house after the wife’s death. Father and now 16-year-old son finally take the trip to the lighthouse; communicate. Lighthouse is everyone’s goal, symbolizes different things to different people. Statement about time, death, permanence of art.

Julian Benda. French. 1927. Essay. “The Treason of the Intellectuals.” Denounces the tendency of intellectuals to engage in politics.

Edwin Arlington Robinson. American. 1927. Poetry. “Tristram.” Contrasts Tristram’s love for Isolt and neglect of his own wife. Longed for is unattainable, and the attainable is neglected.

Monday, April 5, 2010

1927: Magic Mountain to Der Steppenwolf

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Thomas Mann. German. 1927. Novel. The Magic Mountain. Bildungsroman. TB sanatorium is a scale model of Europe on the eve of WWI. Unhealthy separation between the artistic or intellectual life (mountain) and the vital, active life below. Highest attainments of reason contain deadly pagan decadence. Enlightened, constructive activity and superstitious, destructive decadence are inseparable. Leaves the sanatorium. Last seen in the army with exploding shrapnel, etc.

Ernest Hemingway. American. 1927. Stories. Men Without Women. Sinister dramatic restraints; feeling of impending doom. Contains “The Killers” and “The Undefeated.”

Isaak Babel. Russian. 1927. Stories. Odessa Tales. Set in the Black Sea city of Odessa. Also known as Jewish Tales.

Hermann Hesse. German. 1927. Novel. Der Steppenwolf. Artist an outsider; inability to be part of the world. Surrealistic imagery; learns that to relate successfully to humanity, he must overcome social and sexual inhibitions. However, unrestrained release equals chaos.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

1927: Envy to Lazarus Laughed

1927: Envy to Lazarus Laughed.
Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Yury Olesha. Russian. 1927. Novel. Envy. Individual vs. encroachments of collectivist society in Soviet Russia.

Virgil Thomson. American. 1927. Opera. Four Saints in Three Acts (Libretto by Gertrude Stein). All-black cast. Dozen saints, some historical, some not. “Pigeons in the grass alas.”

Ernest Hemingway. American. 1927. Story. “The Killers.” Anderson knows he must face his killers; accepts his fate; must decide when. Effect on Nick Adams.

Eugene O’Neill. American. 1927. Play. Lazarus Laughed. Lazarus after his resurrection by Jesus, preaches religion of love, eternal life, and laughter. Seven masked choruses symbolize the varying periods of life. Affirms until last his belief in the triumph of life.