Wednesday, August 11, 2010

1954: People of the City to The Lord of the Rings

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.

Cyprian Ekwensi. Nigerian. 1954. Novel. People of the City. First modern African novel; episodes reflect variety of people’s lives in Lagos. Crime reporter by day and band leader at night.

Terence Rattigan. British. 1954. Play. Separate Tables. Minor characters are the same. Only the male, female leads change. Loneliness and isolation of guests in hotel suggested by separate tables. Theme is frustration, misunderstanding caused by artificial social barriers.

Dylan Thomas. Welsh. 1954. Radio Play. Under Milk Wood. Spring day in the lives of people in a Welsh village; no plot; wealth of characters dream aloud.

Iris Murdoch. Irish. 1954. Novel. Under the Net. Can’t build the structured life of his friends and, therefore, is existentially free.

JRR Tolkein. British. 1954/56. Three novels. The Lord of the Rings. Third Age of Middle Earth: own history, languages, geography, mythology, population of men, elves, trolls, orcs, wizards, dwarfs, and hobbits. Frodo is the unwilling heir to a ring that gives long life and absolute power, but corrupts its users. Ring eventually is destroyed. Good wins but only indefinitely.

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