Twentieh century



    • 1900-1914



    It's the century in which UK is transformed from the first world power into a middle range country. This has caused great traumas. This fact, in the middle of the century was very depressing. It's also the age when loses its colonies.

    There are three periods:

  • 1900-1914

  • Queen Victoria died on the 22 January 1901, so Edward VIII became King of England and gave the name of EDWARDIAN AGE 1901-1910, which was a continuation of the Victorian periods. It was a happy period. At the beginning British society was divided in three classes:

    • PRIVILEGED: aristocracy, wealthy newcomers

    • THE MIDDLE CLASS: trade, manufacturers, and clerks

    • THE WORKING CLASS: workers in industry, unemployed.

    These divisions were strict. During the Victorian Age there had been private attempts to care for the working class, but in this age, the idea that the state had to do something to help the poor were gaining ground.

    The labour party goes into Parliament, this means that there are new laws that help the poor.

    During these years (1906-1915) there was a liberal government, which are the 1º government that introduce social legislation: old-aged pension, unemployment, insurance, sickness.

    Also, there were important changes in education: 1902, Education Act the number of people in secondary school increased.

    In this period, in the beginning factories were obsoletes and there were new competitors: Germany, USA… Britain stuck to old methods of productions but the commerce remained good. Many inventions are taking place: radio, wireless communication, and motorcars…

    Before this age, the House of Lords could stop any law made by House of Commons says. It was the inauguration of a bloody century.

    The 1º World War, the causes were imperialism, rivalities. The end of the war was 11º November 1919.

  • 1919-1939

  • Great Britain had many competitors: Germany, Poland, India, US besides, Industry was old, and also there were bad relations between employers and workers.

    After the war, there was a great deal of unemployment. It was clear that economic liberalism market, forced without control was not taking Britain to a good direction. The idea of intervention of the state in economic affair was gaining ground.

    A very important influence was J.M. Keynes who wrote a book in 1936 “General Theory of Interest. Employment and money” where emphasise the state responsibility for the pace of the economic development. His theories were very important, because many countries followed this idea. Keynesian capitalism is a kind of mixed economy, private economy is accepted but the state controls the direction of the economy.

    The war had proved the importance of women in work, so they could vote from 1928. There were great improvements in daily life: plane, coaches, trains…

    An important thing was the question of Ireland: before the war was not independent but after the war were more protest to get independent. Irish volunteers set a war against British forces. In 1922 was the creation of Irish Free State. But the northern provinces are still British.

    Irish republic was inside the commonwealth but was taken out.

    1949 Republic of Ireland

    1931 was the creation of the commonwealth, which is the voluntary association of countries that in the past were part Britain. All these things are important for Literature.

    (Th year before 1929) Workers wanted an increase of wages and less hours of work. There was an important event related with the miners. The miners worked too much and began a protest, which developed into a general strike. 4 of May 1926 other professions joined the miner.

    The miners were on strike for almost a year and later when came back to the mines, were the victims of retaliation, supported by the Government. Labour was a party in Parliament but only lasted a year (1924) 1º Labour Government.

    The crack of 1929, American economy was collapsed and this brought a chain reaction to all economies. In Britain, there was the creation of a National Government, conservatives, labour, liberal all together; they put strict economy measures. E.g.: reduction of income of workers. It was the rinse of totaliarism: Mussolini, Hitler…

    Many British writers became communist because the capitalism party had done nothing to control fascism. The war of Spain, July 1936, was considered in Britain as a fight between democracy and totaliarism. 200.000. volunteers went to fight against Franco. Many uniters were there. In 1936 the year abdicated Edward VIII because engaged an American divorced woman, his brother George VI became King who is the father of the actual green. The Prime Minister was Chamberlain (1937). He before Hitler didn't realized how dangerous was the situation, he thought that they could /pacificarlos/ (policy of appeasement). Hitler in March 1939, Hitler invaded Checoslovaquia, Norway, Holland…

    The Second World War had begun. (1939-1945) During the Second World War, Churchill was the Prime Minister. The battle of Britain (1940)


  • The important thing, during the war the British were preparing themselves for the period of peace that was going to follow the creation of the Welfare State. EG: 19444 in Parliament approved the Education Act; a law by which children could go to Secondary education. Another important piece of legislation: Social insurance. After the war, which ended in may 1945, there were elections two months later. Churchill didn't win the election, the labour Government won 1945-1950. They put forward a lot of social legislation. They created the NHS (National Health Service). It was a radical programme in social pressions. They nationalised industry. E.g.: energy, iron, and steel housing… A new time was beginning.

    The state paid attention to culture. They created “Arts Council” 1946 with promoted culture.

    After the war there were not many occasions of joy. The future in international affairs was not very promising.

    The Government imposed rationing,

    The creation of the state of Israel (1948)

    The creation of the NATO (1949)

    The British Empire was gradually beginning to disintegrate. EG: India became independent in 1957.

    1950 General elections, conservatives won again and Churchill was the new Prime Minister. From this time till today the Government have been labour-conservative-labour…

    1959 rationing ends

    1953New queen Elisabeth II was crowning, it was transmitted by TV.

    In the 50's the main worries of the Government were economic. Britain was a country like any other:

    • Balance of payment deficit

    • Fear of inflation

    • Industrial production

    • Strengthening of sterling

    An important event is the 6 European countries got together; it was the beginning of European community.

    The ECC was established in 1959. The real proof that Britain was not an empire (1956) the year in which realized that they were not a world empire. The world empires were USSR & US; it was the year of the Suez Crisis, which was a humiliation of Britain.

    60's and 70's

    In 1964 after 13 years of conservative government, Labour won the election and Harold Wilson became Prime Minister. Britain wanted to enter in the ECC and got the enter in 1973.

    The 70's were a period of conflict, specially the demands of the Unions. The workers were extremely well-organised even made a Government fall (Edward Heath 1974)

    (1974-1979) Harold Wilson & James Callahan (labour)

    In 1979 the situation was chaotic, no government could govern Britain. There were social conflicts.

    (1979-1990) Margareth Thatcher (conservative)

    “New right” in power. She controlled the Unions, for her, the most important thing was not unemployment but inflation.

    She defended economic liberalism; market forces had to control the economy without the help of the state. She stopped the social reforms. Industry suffered a decline and Britain was transformed from an Industrial country based on technology and services (yuppies)

    1990-1997 John Major. Conservative.

    1997 Tony Blaaaaaaair. Labour “new labour”



    Poetry, at the beginning of the century, there was a new trend, which is a reaction against romanticism, emotionalism, and self-pity. IT was in favour of freer metrical movement, precision of imagery, rhythmic movement. The new trend is called “Modernist Poetry” which wanted to revive the metaphysical poets (John Donne). They liked the intellectual complexities.

    This poetry wanted to introduce a language closed to conversation. The main exponent of modern poetry was T.S. ELIOT. In T.S. we find precision, concreteness, complexity and allusiveness (It has many layers of meaning)

    His most famous poem is: “The Waste land”

    After the Second World War:

    There's a new generation of poets with a different attitude: “The movement”. It avoids all kind of complexity. It's anti-experimental. It's witty, rational, sardonic, intelligent comments on life rather than an investigation of the depths of the unconscious. The poets: Philip Larkin and Donald Davie.

    This poetry is unpretentious.

    This style fragmented in the 60's in many different styles with a variety of subject matter. E.g.: Ted Hughes. His style is great energy connected with nature.


    1º part of century great time of the modernist novel (James Joyce, Virginia Woolf…) It's creative and experimental and it rejects the traditional way of telling stories. After the 1º W.W. there was needed a new form of writing, and writers tried to look in the individual spirit where tried to find a refuge from chaotic times. This kind of novel has three major influences:

  • Different set of values

  • A new sense of time. Time as a continuous flow in the consciousness of the individual.

  • A new notion of consciousness (Freud) consciousness is multiple. You can explain a character getting into his consciousness (stream of consciousness). The thoughts of the character. The main idea behind this stream is the impossibility of communication. We are locked in our consciousness and these novels reflect the loneliness and impossibility of incomunication of individual.

  • After the 2 W.W.

    There's a new kind of fiction, which is just the opposite of modernist fiction. It's a period of provincialism and lack of innovation.

    They wanted to hold to something secure. There was a return of the traditional narratives with no symbolic trickery, interesting plot and well-created characters. E.g.: life of a middle class person.

    The writers of the 50's: Kingley Amis, John Wain, William Cooper, Allan Sillitoe.


    The fiction in the 50's is not experimental, not new. It's the contrary of the modernism. The English novels during the 60's and 70's become plural. The new writers are opened to new developments in international fiction and are influenced by different movements in the world. E.: magic, realism (Gª Marquez, Cortazar…) and surrealism, fantasy, metafiction (the author appears in the novel commenting the novel with the reader)

    So, in the 60's, 70's and 80's the English fiction is plural and international: experimental

    Important writers: Peter Ackoyd, Martin Amis, Ian Mc Ewan.

    These develop in the 80s to the International movement of fiction: Postmodernism. The end of the century style: is a Summary of all the styles during the century. It puts together fantasy, realism, experiment, questioning of history and it's opened to new tendencies: feminism and gender studies.

    In the 90s is plural. The new trend of the 80s- 90s: post-colonial literature.

    Writers who write in English but they are not British. They come from the colonies.

    • Anthony Burgess: British colonials exported the English language and a new kind of British novel has been the eventual flower of this transplanting. E.g.: Timothy Mo, Salman Rushdie, Ben Okri, and Kazuo Ishiguro.


    1º half of the XX century: Witty, bland, kind social comedy, and comedy of manners. It was not very modern.

    50s current of fresh air into theatre with a new movement: “Angry Young men” The beginning of this movement was a play by John Osborne (“Look back in Anger”) 1956. There was a brutal colloquial violence about problems of the welfare states. It's harsh; it's not the kind comedy of manners. Arnold Wesker writes about working class life, an emphasis on domestic realism. The last author: Harold Pinter is a well-known dramatist o the last decades. He's given his name to a style with the problem of communication, lack of communication:”Pinteresque” when language is used without communication. When one misunderstanding leads to another and no one listen to what anybody is saying.

  • JOSEPH CONRAD (1857-1924)

  • He was born in Poland, in the part of Poland occupied by Russia. His father died in exile. HE wanted to be a sailor, and he began his career as a sailor, for more than 20 years. The most outstanding feature is that until the age of 21 couldn't speak English. This is wonderful, English was his third language and this is a feat. He embarqued in English ships (merchant navies) an in 1886 became a British subject. He obtained a Master's certificate he could be in command of a ship. In 1890 he sailed up the Congo River. He would use this material for “Heart of Darkness”. He published his 1º novel in 1895 “Almayer's folly” and because of the interest that this novel and he couldn't be in command of a ship, he established himself in England and became a professional writer:


    • LORD JIM (1900)

    • HEART OF DARKNESS (1901)

    • NOSTROMO (1904)

    • THE SECRET AGENT (1907)

    Structure of his novels

    The famous intermediate narrators & multiples points of view, he does it to suggest the complexity of experience and the difficulty of juzging human actions. There's interpenetration between form, context and language.

    Chinese box structure on Heart of Darkness.

    Content a journey to the heart of Africa.

    Structure a journey through different narrators.

    One of his favourite structures is “Fragmentation of the narrative” one of the models that he uses: put the story in different fragments. E.g.: Lord Jim. Different fragments, which are not ordered in narrative sequences, but the different parts, are juxtaposed artistically. He was very conscious of structure; this fragmentation is used for trying to make sense of this modern world.

    In all of his stories he wanted to create a specific pattern of creation, structure.

    Main themes

    There are two readings of Conrad

  • He's an exotic “sea writer” who writes adventures in exotic places with rich descriptions.

  • He uses this setting to explore moral ambiguities in human experience. The environment is used to isolate the characters, and create laboratory conditions to study the characters.

  • Main themes environment, a study of evil.

    He thinks that people create a barrier to protect ourselves from evil, cruelty. What happens when this barrier breaks?

    He was not indifferent of imperialism, colonialism. For him, all form of imperialism was suspicious. He was very pessimistic of human nature; he thought that all human races were the same in the capacity for destruction, treachery. Some novels are indictments of imperialism. He shows the absurdity of savage force, the warlor destruction.

    In general, his fiction is pessimistic about humanity to man.

    3) JAMES JOYCE (1882-1941)


    Prosperous family who suffered a reverse of fortune. HE was the eldest of 8 children. He was sent to a Jesuits Boarding School. In 1899 he went to university in Dublin where he studied modern languages, and these years were important for him because he decided to become an artist. So, after receiving his degree he left Ireland, because he had a rebellious spirit, and wanted to break the ties with family, religion and country. Why? Because he wanted to be a true artist and that was the only way (detachment). He only wrote only about Ireland ironically.

    He was dissatisfied with the narrower of mind, living in Dublin.

    His work has been compared with a man who gets out of a house and spends the rest of the time looking through the windows to see what was inside.

    She spent 2 years in Paris poorly and returned to Dublin in 1903, because his mother was very ill and in fact his mother died. Then, he met Nora Barnacle, the woman of his life, near the end of his life they married because of testamentary reasons. They lived together for 27 years.

    They left Ireland and settled in Trieste (Italy) where he worked as a translator and teacher of English but at the same time he was writing. Before the 1º WW they were very poor and Joyce suffered from eye problems.

    IN 1912 he made his last trip to Ireland to find a publisher for his book, but had bad luck, nevertheless, intellectuals supported him. E.g.: Eliot, Ezra Pound…and thanks to the support he could receive the help of Art Patrons.

    In the period between the wars they lived in Paris in poverty. At the beginning of the 2º WW he took refuging in Zurich where he died in 1941.


    The 1º book was a volume of poetry. : Chamber music 1907

    Then a book of short storied: Dubliners 1914

    As a modernist, he was very conscious of structure and the structure of Dubliners makes a circle.

    He makes strong connections: life-death. For him, time was not lineal but as a spiral.

    His great talent was shown in: Portrait of a stranger as a young man (1916)

    It's a novel about the development of a character coming to terms with himself through contact with social reality.

    The character is called Stephen Dedalus who wants to become an artist and so he realized a process of detachment. We see everything through the eyes of Stephen. We can appreciate all the richness of darkness. All the chapters end in a sort of Epiphany.

    And in the beginning of the next chapter breaks that image.

    At the end, the book ends with has packing things to go abroad.

    HE appears then in:

    ULYSSES: is the maximum exponent of modernist fiction. IT scapes every classification. It's one of the key texts of English Literature. It was published in 1922 in France. Some copies of English Edition were burnt in New York. 1936 1º edition in England.

    The novel deals with the events of one day. It was 16º June 1904 bloomsday. The day when he went out for the first time with his wife. Why bloomsday? Because the main character is called Leopold Bloom.

    Every 16 June people go to Dublin, dressed in suits of the beginning of the century and visit the places where the plot takes place.

    Plot: wanderings of the characters through Dublin in one day: Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom. These places are described in very much detail. First both characters are separated and by the end of the day, they go together. The last chapter is a monologue of Molly Boom (Leopold's wife)

    The subject is relationship of the three characters.

    This book is the description of a limited number of events involving a limited number of people. However, Joyce's ambition was to turn these normal actions into a microcosm of all human experiences. The story is presented in such a way that each action is a symbol of the activity of a man in the world.

    How did he do that? The clearest method is the parallelism between Homer's “Odyssey” and his book. Ever chapter in Ulysses corresponds to a chapter in the Odyssey.

    Joyce considered Ulysses as the most complete man in Literature because in “Odyssey” Odysseys is presented as a man in all his aspects. Dublin can represent the world.

    In the 1º chapters, we follow Stephen. He's a frustrated artist who rejects the rules of society, he's uncompromising. He's the incomplete man to be constrated with Leopold Bloom. After the fourth chapter we follow Leopold Bloom, he was an advertiser canvasser, he is Jewish with all that implies.

    The contents of his mind are represented directly.

    Finally Stephen and Leopold get together late at night. Stephen is drunk and visit pubs… Leopold feels as a father to Stephen and near the end of the book. Stephen who drank and Leopold who is tired, have hallucinations in which the subconscious come to the surface and their whole personality are presented with a frankness unique in Literature. Leopold takes Stephen to his house, gives him food, Stephen goes and Leopold goes to bed (2 AM 17 June) And Molly makes her monologue

    ULYSSES realistic description

    Work of psychological exploration

    It explores human loneliness, sociability and relation between generations and between the sexes. At the same time, it has a subtle pattern of allusions (Homer, Dante, and Shakespeare…)

    The style is a stream of consciousness. He presents the inner thought of character without any sign that he's making the trancision.

    Several chapters are written in several styles.

    His last novel is: Finnegans wake (1939), he wrote it in 14 years and Joyce considered it, his masterpiece. There's no realism, only symbol. It's the cosmic dream of a man, so there's no logic, no sense. The words are combined, distorted, new words, different meaning, different languages. Many people have written about this book.

    4) VIRGINIA WOOLF (1882-1941)

    She's experimented with the form of the novel, minimising the importance of facts in order to concentrate in the interior experience of the living. She also eliminated the author as a narrator. The author no longer existed. She used the “stream of consciousness” method.

    Biographical notes

    She was the daughter of Sir Leslie Stephen who was an eminent Victorian philosopher, critic. She had a powerful intellect and strong personality, which influenced her daughter. He also could use hismagnificent library. She was used to see at home very important people. After her mother's death she suffered the first of a series of nervous breakdowns. When her father died she and her brothers and sisters went to live to a district of London called Bloomsbury and this was to become the centre of a group of writers, which is called “The Bloomsbury Group”. It was a group of friends who met at this house and began to meet at around 1905, it was an informal group of writers and apart from Virginia there were: Lytton Strachey, JM Keynes, Roger Fry, EM Forster…

    Many of the members were in revolt against the restrictions of Victorian Age and they influenced the development of avant-garde fiction.

    By the critics they were elitist.

    Virginia began to write for TLS in 1905, it was very important.

    In 1912, she married Leonard Woolf who was an author; essayist and they shared a close intellectual comradeship. Because of the periodical breakdowns, as a therapy, they founded a publishing house called “The Hogarth Press” 1917, they published new and experimental fiction: Eliot…

    After her two first novels, which were written in a traditional way, she developed her own style: the stream of consciousness and she gave a modulatic poetic flow and she brought into fiction the rhythms and the imaginery of poetry. Her most important novels are:

    • JACOB'S ROOM 1922

    • MRS.DALLOWAY 1925


    • THE WAVES 1931

    • ORLANDO 1928

    After finishing the last novels, she thought she was going to be mad so, at the age of 59, she committed suicide. She was an important literary critic and some works of criticism are:

    • A ROOM OF ONE'S OWN 1929

    • THREE GUINEAS 1939


    Her ideas on the novel

    In the 20s she wrote her essays were attacked the conventional novels of the day: Arnold Bennett, HG Wells, J Galsworthy. She didn't like the materialism of these writers (telling a conventional story) and she sought a more delicate rendering to tell the truth of human experience. That is follow a plot with a simple outline but exploting every detail of the plot not following a rational arrangement but as they stream through the mind of the characters.

    She explored personal relationships and the significance of time, memory in human personality.

    The most remarkable thing is the delicate lyric prose.

    Mrs. Dalloway

    It's written in the technique of “interior monologue”. It's settled of a story of Clarissa Dalloway who's preparing for a party that will be the end of the book (day) She goes out to buy everything brings memory of her past, in one day we know the story of her life.

    Everything in the present is connected with something in the past.

    Her interior monologues are interwoven with the sights and sounds of London, and this is written with technical confidence. She knew that she was writing.

    The strong element is the sensitive impressions and the association of ideas because everything brings the memory of something.

    5) T.S. ELIOT (1888-1965)

    He had an excellent education: LA Sorbone, in 1914 he went to Oxford and met

    Ezra Pound and he encouraged him to settle in England. TS Eliot had to earn his living and became a schoolmaster, he wrote reviews for some magazines, and also he worked in a bank until 1925. During this time, he worked during the 20s and wrote poetry and was also assistant editor of “The egoist” magazine (1917-1919)

    He became a British citizen in 1927 and he joined the Church of England. Since 1929 he was one of the directors of a publish company “Faber & Faber”. He was ver influential because of his poetry and criticism he also promoted young poets. He obtained the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948.


    His 1º book of poetry was


    • POEMS 1919

    • THE WASTE LAND 1922

    • FOUR QUARTETS 1943

    HE also wrote drama in verse:




    He also wrote a lot of criticism. The main important:


    Characteristic of his poetry

    When he found that poetry of the time was exhausted, he tried to re-new the poetry, more subtle, suggestive, precise. He didn't like romantic roftness. He looked for clear images and allusions.

    Influenced by the metaphysical poets, he liked the combination of wit and passion and also he was influenced by the French symbolists: Verlaine, Rimbaud because he liked the suggestion, that they had. He was influenced by Ezra Pound his friends… they had a lot in common e.g.: his vast reading. They wrote their poetry from all the authors they had read. Their work is a mosaic of literary references. They shared a sense of crisis in Western Cultures. The most important work of Ezra was the “CANTOS”.

    He preferred order, tradition, discipline and his poetry is characterised by his dry ironic allusiveness, wit and colloquial elements. The most surprising is that there's no connection between one voice and the other, one part and the other.

    Juxtaposition of images (falta de transicion)

    Oblique references to other works of literature. His poetry can be considered in 2 parts:

  • Until the ½ of the 20s his work is concerned with the general theme of “The waste land”: THE decade of Western Civilisations.

  • From that time onwards. He tries to find spiritual peace. Religious tone.

  • In this criticism he wanted to express what was important in older literature. He admired tradition and he didn't like the explotation of author's personality. He preferred orthodoxy and he insisted on complexity and mixture of the formal and the conversational.


    (1922) BY TS ELIOT

    It's a complex poem, erudite. It's a landmark. It's a mosaic of literary fragments of past authors.

    It's cryptic, mysterious and satiric. It's spiritually earnest and occasionally lyrical- the general theme is the emptiness of modern life and fertility. After the war, Eliot saw the end of European civilisation values. The poem is described generally as a heap of broken images. The poem was originally longer and Ezra Pound took away many parts of the poem.


    • Yuxtaposition of images

    • Multiple reminiscences

    • It's a mixture of erudition and colloquial passages.

    5 parts.

    It has many references to the Grail Legend and fertility ceremonies, but Eliot distorts them.

    It has European and Oriental references, e.g., the poem end with a Hindu chant.

    The poem expresses the terror of this empty life.

    References of Chaucer: Aprilregeneration

    TS Eliot April cruelty.

    6) W.B. YEATS (1865-1939)

    He was born in Dublin, son of a painter. Since his early childhood he was very sensitive to religious impressions. His father was agnostic and because o his father agnosticism, it was impossible to believe in Stablished church. His father introduced him to Literature and encouraged his son to write poetry. He turned to Magic.

    His work is based on:

    - Magic

    • Irish myth

    • His own personal history


    Since he was adolescent, he had a love for closed circles for everything that was secret and intimate. After school he went to the school of Art and then he was introduced to esoteric readings. And founded in 1885 “The Dublin hermetic society” they studied magic, mysticism, occult sciences.

    In 1887, his family moved to London and joined another society “The theosophical society” a famous magician directed (it)

    Yeats wanted to know more and was invited to leave the society and joined in 1890 “Order of a Golden dawn”. It was a secret society. He stayed in this order for 12 years.

    He took imaginery and symbols of magic and put it in his poetry. Some critics said that you couldn't understand Yeats if you don't understand magic. The magic is the reason why he studied William Blake and published the complete works of him. In Blake, he looked for the same thing that he was looking for in the societies. Blake had created a system based on magic, so he was his model because he wanted to do the same. He had a conflict between being a poet or a magician, he didn't wasn't to be too absorbed by his magic practice and he wanted to remain a middle place of the mortal world and the immortal. He thought that the poet had some of the characteristics of the magician because both created systems.

    The problem was that occultist society told that he was paying attention to beauty and the nationalist circles said that he was very occult.


    Until 1922, Ireland was not independent so, these were the years of conflict. Yeats was related with the Irish Nationalists. He met two important persons in his life:

  • John O'Leary (1885) Introduced Yeats into Irish Nationalism place from England. He thought that Ireland was a microcosm of the spiritual world, different from the English Materialism

  • Maud Gonne (1889) He fell in love with her. HE sends many love poems to her. She married a revolutionary for 15 years, when her husband died, Yeats went to France and asked her to marry him but she refused so asked her daughter who refused and finally married another woman.

  • Because of the connection with these people, he was interested in making well-known Irish Literature. He's responsible of the “Irish Literary Renaissance” (1890s)

    He established Irish Literary Societies in Dublin and in London in which Irish author met, spoke… He collected Irish legends, fairy tales…and published them

    Finally, he founded the “Irish National Theatre”. The plays where Irish by Irish authors. Even, he wrote some plays:



    They are very poetic, not very dramatic. Not very good. He became in 1922 a senator for the congress. In 1923, he received the Nobel Prize.


    His poetry had a transformation throughout out his life. At the beginning he was a competent minor poet. Romanticism influenced him, by Shelley and he was in the style of the decadent movement of the day: Pre-Raphaelites.

    Works of this period:


    - THE ROSE (1893)

    His style began to develop because of the simpler and popular style. It's simpler in form not in content.

    • IN THE SEVEN WOOD (1903)

    • THE GREEN HELMET (1910)

    Later on, he wrote other books after his experiences in the theatre as:



    Final period is considered his best, because he summarised all his novels, all his symbols into his novels:

    • THE TOWER (1928)


    He is considered together a realist, symbolist and metaphysical poet with a great power over words in this period. For him, life was a journey in spiral.

    7) PHILIP LARKIN (1922-1985) & SEAMUS HEANEY (1939-????)


    He worked in various libraries and became librarian at the University of Hull. His early poems where published in an anthology during the war and he was influenced by Yeats, and Thomas Hardy. He wrote two novels but his own voice as a poet was beginning to be recognised in the book: THE LESS DECEIVED (1955)

    In the 50s he associated with “The Movement”. Other two works are:


    • HIGH WINDOWS (1974)


    • Adaptation of speech rhythms and vocabulary to poetry with a metrical elegance

    • He brings the novelist eye into contemporary English life

    • He's a poet of provincial landscape, domestic interior and small human defeats and triumphs.

    • He treats all these things with ascetic intensity.

    • His dominant mood is of melancholy, regret and a sense of time inexorably passing.


    He was born in Northern Ireland but he's British: He was brought up on a farm. And his early poetry is rooted in the country, fields of his youth.

    It has a strong physical sense of environment. He went to Queen's University in Belfast. His 1º work appears in a magazine and at the beginning he was involved in Irish radical Politics.

    Books of 1 period:

    • ELEVEN POEMS (1965)


    • DOOR INTO THE DARK (1969)

    His later work is densely written and deeper and it deals with the connotations of works and implications in social and political contexts.

    He was professor of poetry at Oxford University and he was awarded with the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995. He writes carefully crafted poems, evocative and yet they are clear and direct.

    • WINTERING OUT (1972)

    • NORTH (1975)

    8) SAMUEL BECKETT (1906-1989)


    He wrote in French but translated his work into English. He was a teacher in Belfast and went to Paris as a “lecteur d'anglais” but he didn't like teaching. He met James Joyce and for a while he was his secretary. Then, he travelled throughout Europe and in 1936; he worked in a mental asylum in London. It's said that he was consumed with sadness at the human condition. He settled in France, and was awarded The Nobel Prize in 1969


    • MURPHY (1938)

    • WATT (1953)

    After these he published a trilogy

    Beckett's trilogy:

    • MOLLOY (1951)

    • MALONE DIES (1958)

    • THE UNNAMABLE (1960)

    The characters are solitary people who preferred solitude to sociality. They are withdrawn from other people. These novels basically consist in Interior Monologues made by desolate people. The main thing s that there's little movement and action, what matters is inner action.


    This was a great influence on other writers. He didn't use the typical conventions of the theatre, so the young writers were free to use their own subjectivity.

    (1958) END-GAME: an empty room where a blind man gives orders to other man. Reflects the boredom of life

    (1959) KRAPP'S LAST TAPE: A man listening to tapes, he was recording when he was young.

    (1961) HAPPY DAYS: a woman actively speaking but she's buried up to the waist. Make us realise how absurd id our (her) optimist because in these circumstances we would be very sad.

    In all these plays the characters are crippled in some way or other. They speak and speak because if they stop it will mean stinction.


    Two tramps that are waiting for a mysterious character called Godot. And while they wait they play with words. They are entertained by the arrival of two other tramps, Godot is said to arrive at any minute but he doesn't come. Each act ends the same “Shall we go? Yes let's go.

    At the end Godot doesn't arrive. The great achievement is that transform inaction into dramatic action

    GODOT God: dios

    Tod: death in German

    The name is ambiguous. There's nothing to force to stay and also to go.

    Word-play, tricks, interruptions and a brisk rhythm maintain the interest.

    The only progress that he was interested about was not upward or outward but inward and downward.

    He doesn't like action, he prefers inwards. The meaning of Godot, both tramps have a meaningless existence so what they look in Godot is a witness.

    Enviado por:Luis Piedra
    Idioma: inglés
    País: España

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