Cultural History of Britain 11 Timeline 1837-1901 – Queen Victoria – the British Empire 1899-1902 Boer War 1901-1910 Edward VII (Edwardians) 1910-36 – George V (Georgians) 1914-1918 World War I 1917 Russian Revolution 1922 – Irish Free State 1929-1933 The Great Depression – politically committed literature 1936 – Edward VIII (abdicated) 1936-52 – George VI 1939-45 World War II 1945 – Atlee’s Labour Government – the beginning of the welfare state 1947 – Declaration of Indian Independence – end of the Second Empire 1949 – Irish Republic 1952- Elizabeth II 2) Social and Intellectual Background The turn of the century (Fin de siècle) a) Society modern society individualism, psychological privacy, isolation, sense of fragmentation (McFarlane, „The Mind of Modernism” 81) rise of the working classes – social and political movements rise of the New Woman (Sarah Grand, McFarlane, „The Mind of Modernism” 79) b) Science positivism Darwin, The Origin of Species (1859) Einstein – theory of relativity (1905)(Bantock 13-56) scientific, mechanical worldview ↔ alternative versions, e.g. Theosophy (especially after 1875) (McFarlane, „The Mind of Modernism” 75) 2) Social and Intellectual Background b) Science Psychology Stream of consciousness (William James, Principles of Psychology, 1890) “A ‘river’ or a ‘stream’ are the metaphors by which it [the mind, inner life] is most naturally described. In talking of it hereafter, let us call it the stream of thought, of consciousness, or of subjective life.” (James quoted at Bradbury, British Novel 197) Henri Bergson: objective and subjective time (clock time and duration) psychoanalysis (from 1895) – Sigmund Freud and Carl Gustav Jung → direct reaction and debate in Modernist literature, e.g. D. H. Lawrence, Aldous Huxley c) Philosophy (ethics) relativity in philosophy and morality (Nietzsche) 1914-18 World War I, age of anxiety private morality – Nietzsche’s popularity after 1890 Marxism (McFarlane, „The Mind of Modernism” 79) 3) The Literary Scene a) Turn of the century – Late Victorian literature Victorian poetry, ivory tower, escapism (Lord Alfred Tennyson, Robert Browning)↔transitory figures (Modernist poetry of Thomas Hardy) Late Victorian novel (Thomas Hardy, detective fiction, Rudyard Kipling, Oscar Wilde) Edwardians (1901-10): H. G. Wells, John Galsworthy, Arnold Bennett Victorian moralism, formal social conventions and hypocrisies, culture of commercialism and literature of profit modern but not Modernist influence of Naturalism (Bradbury, British Novel 69-75) well-made play b) Changes at the Turn of the Century influences fostering the emergence of Modernism (foreign influences): French Symbolism French Naturalism Rediscovery of Italian Renaissance poetry translation of Dostoevsky’s novels – influenced most Modernist writers, e.g. Virginia Woolf, Aldous Huxley Oriental literature (Japanese forms: Noh, haiku) and philosophy (Buddism, occult philosophies) Ibsen – analytic drama 1890s – The Nineties – acceptance of the Aesthetic Movement The Irish Renaissance (Holloway 61-113) c) Modernism Definition – umbrella term: a wide variety of actual movements, which are subversive of romanticism or realism, such as Impressionism Post-Impressionism Expressionism Cubism Futurism Symbolism Imagism Vorticism Dadaism Surrealism Impressionism: Claude Monet, Impression - Sunrise Post-Impressionism: Paul Cézanne, Bathers Expressionism: Edvard Munch, The Scream Cubism: Georges Braque, Woman with a Guitar Surrealism: Salvador Dalí, The Persistence of Memory Suprematism: Kazimir Malevich, Black Square Modernist Continental Influence and Britain 1910: First Post-Impressionist Exhibition in London (Roger Fry) Bloomsbury Group Roger Fry, Vision and Design (1920) Virginia Woolf, Roger Fry: A Biography (1940) “On or about December 1910 human character changed” (Virginia Woolf, “Mr Bennett and Mrs Brown”, 1923) c) Modernism in Literature it is an international tendency, not a universal style or tradition, art centred on a broadly symbolist aesthetics and an avant-garde view of the artist urban phenomenon, associated with capitals, intellectual centres a conscious mannerism, based on shock, a violation of expected continuities realism↔ Modernism: deeper penetration of life through style, technique and spatial form, art creating harmony, unity, life within itself task of art = to redeem a formless universe, a new universe of discourse opposing a sense of universal fragmentation Modernist texts work spatially, through a logic of metaphor or form c) Modernism in Literature technical features sophistication and mannerism introversion technical display crisis of the aesthetic ideal growing out of Romanticism constant search for style (McFarlane, „The Mind of Modernism” 89) a crisis of culture, apocalypse of cultural community and a crisis of reality → registers the collapse of myth, structure, organisation ↔ tries to recover this lost unity by creating harmony within the work of art, through myth – T. S. Eliot, “Ulysses, Order and Myth” (1923): myth “is simply a way of controlling, of ordering, of giving a shape and a significance to the immense panorama of futility and anarchy which is contemporary history” (T. S. Eliot) d) English Modernism No clear-cut periods, sharp divisions, like in the 19th century ↔ major trends and tendencies Virginia Woolf, “Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown” (1924) “in or about December, 1910, human character changed” ← first Post-Impressionist exhibition in London, Matisse, Van Gogh, Cézanne Malcolm Bradbury’s periodisation: 1890s-1920s Modernism it includes the Edwardians! (1901-1910) 1930s – politically committed literature two main tendencies: new classicism and the continuation of Romanticism (Symbolism) (Bradbury 199), but they are not absolute opposites several foreign writers and 2-3 generations of English writers “English” Modernists (Literature) Joseph Conrad Thomas Hardy (as a poet) Henry James Samuel Butler T. S. Eliot Arthur Symons Katherine Mansfield D. H. Lawrence Ezra Pound E. M. Forster W. B. Yeats Virginia Woolf G. B. Shaw Aldous Huxley James Joyce Early Feminism: Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) Women’s Situation in 19th-century Britain 1830: no rights for married women, part of the legal entity of the husband Property and income Right to divorce (custody of children) Public activities and offices Suffrage 1857: Matrimonial Causes Act (divorce) 1870/1882: Married Woman’s Property Act (property and income) 1918: suffrage 1920s – first women to get degrees at English universities 1870s: women are allowed to attend university courses but no degrees Virginia Woolf (neé Stephen) Novelist, critic, feminist, editor influences: Chekhov, Dostoevsky, contemporary English Modernists, Marcel Proust, Sigmund Freud, Henri Bergson’s theory of objective and subjective time → “moments of being” – duration (Goldman 3-4) → streamof-consciousness technique; memories, tunnelling Bloomsbury Group, Hogarth Press criticism of contemporary literature and promoter of Modernist ideas – four volumes of Collected Essays gathered posthumously by Leonard Woolf Early Feminism: Virginia Woolf - A Room of One’s Own (1929) gender hierarchies and their possible subversion (Hanson 111) Shakespeare’s sister the fantasy of androgyny → fictional representation in Orlando “And I went on amateurishly to sketch a plan of the soul so that in each of us two powers preside, one male, one female; and in the man’s brain the man predominates over the woman, and in the woman’s brain the woman predominates over the man.” “Professions for Women” (1931) – the “Angel in the House” “Above all – I need not say it – she was pure. Her purity was supposed to be her chief beaty – her blushes, her great grace. In those days – the last of Queen Victoria – every house had its angel. And when I came to write I encountered her with the very first words. The shadow of her wings fell on my page; I heard the rustling of her skirts in the room. […] I turned upon her and caught her by the throat. I did my best to kill her. My excuse, if I were to be had up in a court of law, would be that I acted in self-defence. Had I not killed her, she would have killed me. She would have plucked the heart out of my writing.” (Professions for Women, quoted in Hanson 5-6) Early Feminism: Virginia Woolf Three Guineas (1938) 12 fictional letters and drafts title ← three guineas donated by the narrator to a peace society, a women’s college and an organisation for helping professional women (Black 18) central argument: links fascism to the status of women; “war is only one of the products […] of a system of power and domination that has its roots in gender hierarchy” – has been much debated (Black 6-7), war = “preposterous masculine fiction” (Black 19) Pacifism (Black 17) humanism of the Bloomsbury circle ↔ different in her views on women (Black 2); social feminism ←”valorisation of women’s civilisation as a basis for social and political transformation (Black 10) feminist-inspired quest for peace → first-wave women’s movement, sharing ideas (Black 18) Woolf saw deeper controversies and problems, did not think that suffrage in itself was the solution (Black 19) Architecture Continent: new design and technique Frank Lloyd Wright – organic architecture (1867-1959, America) Gropius – pioneer of modern architecture, Bauhaus (1883-1969, Germany) Le Corbusier – modern high design (18871965, France) Modern Influences in British Architecture – 1930s Charles Holden (1875-1960, London Underground) Owen Williams (1890-1969, factories) Maxwell Fry (1899-1987, domestic architecture) Sculpture – Advent of Abstract Art Henry Moore (1898-1986) Barbara Hepworth (1903-75) Henry Moore, Reclining Figure Hepworth, Pelagos Music: Benjamin Britten (1913-76) Purcell’s influence (performance of Dido and Aeneas) Many genres, most famous for operas, also film music Collaborated with outstanding modernist writers (Auden, E. M. Forster) Works include: Peter Grimes Billy Budd The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra Works Cited Bantock, G. H.. “The Social and Intellectual Background.” The Pelican Guide to English Literature. Vol. 7. From James to Eliot. Ed. Boris Ford. London: Penguin Books, 1983, 13-60. Black, Naomi. Virginia Woolf as Feminist. Ithaca, London: Cornell UP, 2004. Bradbury, Malcolm and James McFarlane. “The Name and Nature of Modernism.” Modernism – A Guide to European Literature 1890-1930. Ed. Malcolm Bradbury and James McFarlane. London: Penguin Books, 1991: 19-56. Bradbury, Malcolm. “London 1890-1920.” Modernism – A Guide to European Literature 1890-1930. Ed. Malcolm Bradbury and James McFarlane. London: Penguin Books, 1991: 172-190. Bradbury, Malcolm. The Modern British Novel 1878-2001. Revised edition. London: Penguin Books, 2001. Bullock, Allan. “The Double Image.” Modernism – A Guide to European Literature 1890-1930. Ed. Malcolm Bradbury and James McFarlane. 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Boris Ford. London: Penguin Books, 1983, 61-114. Johnson, Trevor. A Critical Introduction to the Poems of Thomas Hardy. Houndsmills: Macmillan, 1991. Kearns, Cleo McNelly. “Religion, Literature, and Society in the Work of T. S. Eliot.” The Cambridge Companion to T. S. Eliot. Ed. A. David Moody. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1994: 77-93. Works Cited Leitch, Vincent B., ed. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. New York, London: W. W. Norton, 2001. Longenbach, James. “’Mature Poets Steal’: Eliot’s Allusive Practice.” The Cambridge Companion to T. S. Eliot. Ed. A. David Moody. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1994: 176-188. Marcus, Laura. “Woolf’s Feminism and Feminism’s Woolf.” The Cambridge Companion to Virginia Woolf. Eds. Susan Roe and Susan Sellers. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2000: 2009-244. Materer, Timothy. “T. S. Eliot’s Critical Program.” The Cambridge Companion to T. S. Eliot. Ed. A. David Moody. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1994: 48-59. Mays, J. C. 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Scott, Peter Dale. “The Social Critic and his Discontents.” The Cambridge Companion to T. S. Eliot. Ed. A. David Moody. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1994: 60-76. Williamson, George. A Reader’s Guide to T. S. Eliot – A Poem-by-Poem Analysis. New York: The Noonday Press, 1966. Zach, Natan. “Imagism and Vorticism.” Modernism – A Guide to European Literature 1890-1930. Ed. Malcolm Bradbury and James McFarlane. London: Penguin Books, 1991: 228-242.