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Modern English Literature

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Essay title: Modern English Literature

INTRODUCTION

The interest, raised recently towards English language, the development of international relations on different levels has reasoned the desire to learn as much as possible about the country where this language originated as well as about its culture.

The literature is that magic key that opens the door of cognition of many sphere of human knowledge. It helps us to learn some interesting facts about t history, to know more about people's life in other countries. Sometimes, while reading a book, we can analyse actions of its' characters and it helps us to draw some certain conclusion. That's why I find studying foreign literature is not only interesting, but also very useful.

Literature of the 20th Century

The Twenties

The period between 1917 and 1930 was a time when the crisis of the bourgeois world reached its highest point and revolutions took place in several countries: in Russia, in Germany and in Hungary.

The writers of this period tried to show how a new society might be built up. But many bourgeois writers who were opposed to revolutions saw nothing but chaos and anarchy before them. They explained this crisis as a failure of civilisation.

A symbolic method of writing had already started early in the 20th century. It was in the twenties, that there appeared writers who refused to acknowledge reality as such. They thought reality to be superficial – it was only a world of appearances. The cause of everything that happened,– that is what led to events – was the irrational, the unconscious and the mystical in man. These writers called the inner psychological process "the stream of consciousness" and based a new literary technique upon it.

The most important to use this new literary technique was James Joyce (1882-1941). He influenced many writers on both sides of Atlantic.

James Joyce, a native of Ireland, spent nearly all his life in voluntary exile. He could not live in his own country for it was enslaved by England. This fact may partly explain his pessimistic view on life, which is reflected in his work.

The portrayal of the steam of consciousness as a literary technique is particularly evident in his major novel Ulysses (1922). The task he set before himself was to present a day in ordinary life, as a miniature picture of the whole of human history.

Among the writers of short stories who used the realistic method were Katherine Mansfield and Somerset Maugham. Though the works of these writers differ very much in their artistic approach, their authors had one feature in common. To them the stability of the existing social and political order seemed unquestionable.

The Thirties

The second period in the development of English literature of the 20th century was the decade between 1930 and World War II.

The world economic crisis spread over the whole capitalist world in the beginning of the thirties. The Hunger March of the employed in 1933 was the most memorable event in Britain. The employed marched from Glasgow to London holding meetings in every town they passed.

In Germany Hitler came to power in 1933.

In 1936 the fascist mutiny of general Franco led to the Civil War in Spain. The struggle of the Spain people was supported by the democratic and anti-fascist forces all over the world. An International Brigade was formed, which fought side by side with the Spanish People's Army against the common enemy – fascism.

Many British intellectuals and workers joined the ranks of the International Brigade. Every one of them clearly realised that the struggle against fascism in Spain was at the same time a struggle for the freedom of their own country.

The Second World War broke out in 1939.

A new generation of realist writers, among them Richard Aldington, J.B. Priestley, A.J. Cronin and others appear on the literary scene.

An important event in the literary life of the thirties was the formation of a group of Marxist writers, poets and critics. Their leader was Ralph Fox (1900-1937). He came from a bourgeois family, was educated in Oxford University, but later broke away from his class. His ideas were formed by the Great October Socialist Revolution. In 1925 he joined the Communist Party. Being a journalist, historian and literary critic, Ralph Fox devoted all his activity to spreading Marxism and fighting the enemies of the British working class. When the Civil

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