Monday, July 19, 2010

1946: All the King's Men to Zorba the Greek

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.

Robert Penn Warren. American. 1946. Novel. All the King’s Men. Rise and fall of Willie Stark, Southern demagogue modeled on Louisiana politician Huey Long.

Carl Zuckmayer. German. 1946. Play. The Devil’s General. German general wrestles with his conscience over serving the Nazis.

Carson McCullers. American. 1946. Novel. The Member of the Wedding. 12-year-old Frankie wants to accompany her brother and his wife on their honeymoon. Wedding is seen through her eyes. In the end, “Frankie” becomes “Frances.”

William Carlos Williams. American. 1946. Poetry. Paterson. Poet’s essential ordering function in the chaos of modern life. Book I: Contemporary man is “divorced” from language. Book II: Brutalized by industrial chaos and social inequity. Book III: Indictment of American literary tradition, grounded in European conventions. Book IV: Pastoral idyll warped by usury, divorce, sterile sophistication.

Nikos Kazantzakis. Greek. 1946. Novel. Zorba the Greek. Vigorous, passionate old Greek personifies the Dionysian approach to life. Contrasted with the pallid narrator who prefers to contemplate life rather than to live it.

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