Wednesday, May 19, 2010

1936: Absalom, Absalom to The Black Book

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

William Faulkner. American. 1936. Novel. Absalom, Absalom. Thomas Sutpen’s attempt to be accepted as a Southern aristocrat, founder of a wealthy family.

WH Auden. British. 1936. Poetic Drama. The Ascent of F6. Haunted mountain on which each man is killed because of some obsession or defect of character.

John Dos Passos. American. 1936. Novel. The Big Money. Extravagance and corruption of the 1920s, culminating in the stock-market crash of 1929. Third in the trilogy, U.S.A.

Lawrence Durrell. British. 1936. Novel. The Black Book. Diary of Lawrence Lucifer. London school teacher. Sex, love and the horrible indignities both can bring.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

1935: Studs Lonigan to Winterset

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

James T Farrell. American. 1935. Novels. Studs Lonigan. Boyhood, adolescence, early manhood, and death of Studs Lonigan. Influences of social, economic environment lead to life of futile desperation. Recognizes, but is unable to escape constraints of environment. Monotony and crudity of thought processes, language of the streets, sordid sexual adventures. Depicting U.S. between 1912 and the 1930s. Concludes with death scene against background of family lamentations and quarrels and Catholic prayers for the dead.

Jean Giraudoux. French. 1935. Play. Tiger at the Gates. Troy. Hector tries to persuade everyone that war should not take place. Not he but warmonger’s lie actually precipitates the war.

John Steinbeck. American. 1935. Novel. Tortilla Flat. Contrasts complexities of modern civilization with the simpler life of Danny and his friends.

Clifford Odets. American. 1935. Play. Waiting for Lefty. Taxi drivers’ strike, news that popular committeeman’s been murdered rouses the union to decisive action.

Maxwell Anderson. American. 1935. Poetic Drama. Winterset. Son of Italian radical who was executed for murder he did not commit. Son seeks revenge, falls in love with the sister of one of the criminals, and disavows revenge. Criminals kill them both. Based on the Sacco-Vanzetti case.

Monday, May 17, 2010

1935: Mr. Norris Changes Trains to The Petrified Forest

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Christopher Isherwood. British. 1935. Novel. Mr. Norris Changes Trains. Berlin during Hitler’s rise to power; Mr. Norris symbol of corrupt, disintegrating society.

TS Eliot. American/British. 1935. Play. Murder in the Cathedral. Deals with the assassination of Thomas A’Becket. Attempt to revive poetic drama. Language ritualistic and liturgical; monologues; formal exchanges. Villains express modern attitudes in colloquial language.

Enid Bagnold. British. 1935. Novel. National Velvet. Young girl called Velvet is jockey on the winning horse in the Grand National, the famous English steeplechase.

Thomas Wolfe. American. 1935. Novel. Of Time and the River: A Legend of Man’s Hunger in His Youth. Graduate school, returns home for the death of his father; teaches literature, tours France, returns home emotionally, financially exhausted.

Robert E. Sherwood. American. 1935. Play. The Petrified Forest. Depressed author arranges his own killing. Gives insurance to young girl who needs to escape her environment.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

1935: African Queen to Life with Father

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

CS Forester. British. 1935. Novel. The African Queen. Missionary’s sister and Cockney engineer try to blow up a German gunboat from an asthmatic launch.

Elizabeth Bowen. British. 1935. Novel. The House in Paris. Child’s eye view of complex love affairs, infidelities and tragedy.

Sinclair Lewis. American. 1935. It Can’t Happen Here. Fancied Fascist dictatorship in the U.S.

Clarence Day. American. 1935. Sketches. Life with Father. Eccentric, domineering father manipulated by soft-spoken wife.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

1934: Pitcairn's Island to Tropic of Cancer

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.

Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall. American. 1934. Novel. Pitcairn’s Island. Mutineers’ life on the tiny Pacific island for twenty years.

F. Scott Fitzgerald. American. 1934. Novel. Tender Is the Night. Patient marries her psychiatrist, then leaves him to alcoholism and dissolution.

Henry Miller. American. 1935. Autobiography. Tropic of Cancer. History of Miller’s life in Paris during the early 1930s. Penniless, starving. After complete  physical and spiritual degradation, he comes back to joy in life.

Monday, May 10, 2010

1934: Call It Sleep to Men Against the Sea

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.

Henry Roth. American. 1934. Novel. Call It Sleep. Six years in the life of a Jewish immigrant boy in a New York ghetto prior to WWI. Nightmarish fears.

James Hilton. British. 1934. Novel. Goodbye, Mr. Chips. Sentimental life of an English school master.

Jean Cocteau. French. 1934. Play. The Infernal Machine. Oedipus: Cosmic joke is the perfect machine constructed by the gods for the mathematical annihilation of  a mortal.

Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall. American. 1934. Historical Novel. Men Against the Sea. Bligh and his men in the open boat.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

1933: Man's Fate to Joseph and His Brothers

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.

Andre Malraux. French. 1933. Novel. Man’s Fate. Shanghai insurrection, 1927; psychological study of the men involved; Communists vs. Chiang Kai-Shek.

Nathanael West. American. 1933. Novel. Miss Lonelyhearts. Loneliness of the individual in modern society. Man assumes role of columnist Miss Lonelyhears and is killed by someone he tried to help.

Thomas Mann. German. 1933/43. Four Novels. Joseph and His Brothers. Massive bildungsroman. Development of Joseph from isolation to savior of his people.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

1933: "The Rocking-Horse Winner" to God's Little Acre.

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

DH Lawrence. British. 1933. Story. “The Rocking-Horse Winner.” Boy rides himself to death on toy rocking horse that predicts winners of horse races.

Eugene O’Neill. American. 1933. Play. Ah, Wilderness! Middle-class American adolescent’s first experiences in the adult world, July 4, 1906.

Gertrude Stein. American. 1933. Autobiography. The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas. Fascinating account of expatriate life in Paris of the 30s.

Erskine Caldwell. American. 1933. Novel. God’s Little Acre. Shiftless and amoral Georgia mountaineers. Acre set aside for income for the church, but keeps shifting the location.

Monday, May 3, 2010

1932: Mutiny on the Bounty to Tobacco Road

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Charles Nordhoff and James Hall. American. 1932. Historical Novel. Mutiny on the Bounty. Mutiny by Fletcher Christian against Captain Bligh.

Maxwell Anderson. American. 1932. Play. Night Over Taos. Clash between American frontiersmen and Mexico in 1847.

Robinson Jeffers. American. 1932. Poetry. Thruso’s Landing. Wife’s ambivalent feelings toward her husband whom she alternately loves and hates, towards her crippled brother-in-law who loves her and toward death which fascinates and repels her.

Erskine Caldwell. American. 1932. Novel. Tobacco Road. Hapless family. One daughter runs away from her husband; her sister goes to live with him. Son wrecks car and kills grandmother. Father and wife die when their shack burns down.