2In this lecture, you will learn•The social background•Ideological background•Realism in the 20th centuryEnglish literature•Modernism•The poetry in England in the20thcentury•The modernistic novel•The modernistic drama•Representative writers of thisage
3The Social Background•1. The natural and social sciences developmentled to great gains in material wealth.•2. Frequent economic depressions and massunemployment sharpened the contradictionsbetween the rich and the poor.•3.The catastrophic two world wars tremendouslyweakened the British Empire and brought aboutgreat sufferings to its people as well.
4The Social Background•The appalling shock of the First World Warseverely destroys people’s faith in the Victorianvalues; the postwar economic dislocation andspiritual disillusion produced a profound impactupon the British people, who came to see theprevalent wretchedness in capitalism.•The Second World War marked the last stage ofthe disintegration of the British Empire. Britainsuffered heavy losses in the war: thousandspeople were killed; the economy was ruined; andalmost all its former colonies were lost. Peoplewere in economic, cultural and belief crises.
5Ideological Background•Ideologically, the rise of the irrational philosophy and new science greatly incited modern writers to make new explorations on human natures and human relationships.•1. The theory of Scientific Socialismput forward by KarlMarx and Friedrich Engels not only provided a guiding principle for the working people, but also inspired them tomake dauntless fights for their own emancipation.•2. The Social Darwinism under the cover of “ survival of the fittest”, vehemently advocated colonialism or jingoism(侵略主义).•3. Freud’s analytically psychology drastically altered people’s conception of human nature.
6Realism in the 20th CenturyEnglish Literature•Realism was, to a certain extent, eclipsed by the rapid rise of modernism in the 1920s.•In the 1930s, novelists began to turn their attentionto the urgent social problems. They also enriched the traditional ways of creation by adopting some modernist techniques. However, the realist novels of this period were more or less touched by a pessimistic mood, preoccupied with the theme of man’s loneliness, and shaped in different forms: social satiresby Aldous Huxley and George Orwell, comic satireson the English upper class by Evelyn Waugh; andCatholic novels by Graham Greene.
7Realism in the 20th CenturyEnglish Literature•“The Angry Young Man•A group of young novelists and playwrights withlower-middle-class or working-class backgroundin the mid-1950s and early 1960s.•They demonstrated a particular disillusion overthe depressing situation in Britain and launched abitter protest against the outmoded social andpolitical values in their society.