History and
Anthology of English
Mickey Xu
Literature in the 20th Century
Aestheticism and Decadence
--The Realistic Novel
--The Modernist Novel
Literature in the 20th Century
► 1.
Compared with the Victorian period,
the 20th century has witnessed a great
achievement in English poetry.
2. Aestheticism and Decadence
3. Fiction
4. Drama
Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)
Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)
English poet and novelist, famous for his depictions of
the imaginary county "Wessex" . Hardy's work
reflected his stoical pessimism and sense of tragedy in
human life.
At the age of 22 Hardy moved to London and started
to write poems, which idealized the rural life. In 1867
Hardy left London for the family home in Dorset, and
resumed work briefly with Hicks in Dorchester.
Emma Hardy died in 1912 and in 1914 Hardy married
his secretary, Florence Emily Dugdale. Hardy died in
Dorchester, Dorset, on January 11, 1928. His ashes
were cremated in Dorchester and buried with
impressive ceremonies in the Poet's Corner in
Westminster Abbey.
Dorchester, County Town of
Thomas Hardy was born in Dorset, a rural
region of southwestern England that was to
become the focus of his fiction.
Wessex novels
About Wessex
1. name of a place
2. natural scenery of Wessex
3. writing style of local- color
4. figures in Wessex
5. imaginative Wessex
Wessex Poems
Wessex Poems, 1898
Poems of the Past and Present, 1901
The Dynasts, Part First, 1904
The Dynasts, Part Second, 1906
The Dynasts, Part Third, 1908
Time's Laughingstocks, 1909
Satires of Circumstance, 1914
Moments of Vision, 1917
Late Lyrics and Earlier, 1922
Human Shows, 1925
Winter Words, 1928
Short Stories
Squire Petricks Lady
The Withered Arm
Ah, Are You Digging On My Grave?
The Man He Killed
Hardy’s novels
The Poor Man and the Lady, never published
Desperate Remedies, 1871
► Under the Greenwood Tree, 1872
► A Pair of Blue Eyes, 1873
► The Hand of Ethelberta, 1876
► The Trumpet Major, 1880
► A Laodicean, 1881
► Two on a Tower, 1882
► The Woodlanders, 1887
► The Well-Beloved, 1897
Kinds of His Novels
a. Romances and fantasies
b. novels of ingenuity
c. novels of characters and environment
► pessimistic
According to his pessimistic philosophy,
mankind is subjected to the rule of
some hostile mysterious fate, which
brings misfortune into human life.
► strong elements of naturalism
► symbolism
Naturalism: A post-Darwinian
movement of the late 19th century that
tried to apply the “laws” of scientific
determinism to fiction. The naturalist went
beyond the realist’s insistence on the
objective presentation of the details of
everyday life to insist that the materials of
literature should be arranged to reflect a
deterministic universe in which a person is a
biological creature controlled by environment
and heredity. Major writers include Hardy and
Gissing in England; Crane, Dreiser in America.
Tess of the d'Urbervilles
Rising Action
► Tess’s family’s discovery that they are
ancient English aristocracy, giving them
all fantasies of a higher station in life;
Tess’s accidental killing of the family
horse, which drives her to seek help from
the d’Urbervilles, where she is seduced
and dishonored.
Tess of the d'Urbervilles
► Tess’s new husband discovers her
earlier seduction by Alec and decides to
leave her, going off to Brazil and not
answering her letters, and bringing Tess
to despair.
Tess of the d'Urbervilles
Falling Action
► Tess’s last-ditch decision to marry Alec,
who claims to love her; Angel’s return
from Brazil to discover Tess marriage to
her former seducer, and his meeting
with Tess; Tess’s murder of Alec and
short-lived escape with Angel before
being apprehended and executed.
Summary: Chapter XIV
► The
following August, Tess decides the time
has come to stop pitying herself, and she
helps her village with the harvest. Her baby
boy, conceived with Alec, falls ill, and Tess
becomes worried that he will die without a
proper christening. She decides to christen
him herself and names him Sorrow. When he
dies the following morning, Tess asks the
parson if her christening was sufficient to
earn her baby a Christian burial. Moved, the
parson replies that though he cannot bury the
child himself, Tess may do so. That night Tess
lays Sorrow to rest in a corner of the
churchyard, and makes a little cross for his
Summary: Chapter XXXV
► Angel is distraught by Tess’s confession. He
begs her to deny it, but she cannot. He flees
the house, and Tess follows after him. For
hours, they walk the grounds of the mansion.
Tess tells her husband that she will do
anything he asks and even offers to drown
herself. Angel orders her to go back to the
house. When he returns, Tess is asleep. After
an uncomfortable moment looking at the
d’Urberville ladies’ portraits, Angel goes to
sleep in a different room.
► Themes
of Tess
► The injustice of existence
► Changing Ideas of Social Class in
Victorian England Men Dominating
John Galsworthy(1867-1933)
one of the most prominent English
realistic writers of 20th century,
also a playwright and a stylist.
1. life
---born in a well-to-do bourgeois family
---studied law at Oxford, but took to
literary work after graduation.
2. works
---The Island Pharisees: his first
important social novel
---Forsyte Saga: the first trilogy
3. point of view
The novels and plays of Galsworthy
give a complete picture of English
bourgeois society.
4. style
---strength and elasticity
---powerful sweep
---brilliant illustrations
---deep psychological analysis
Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde is the representative among
the writers of aestheticism and
He was son of an Irish surgeon educated at Oxford
where he imbibed the influence of Ruskin and posed
as a leader of the younger aesthetes.
In 1895 he was sentenced to two years'
imprisonment on a charge of sexual immorality and
he went to France after his release.
His best-known comedies:
Lady Windermere's Fan
A Woman of No Importance
An Ideal Husband
The Importance of Being Earnest
Stream of Consciousness A narrative
technique for rendering the inward
experience of a character. This technique is
designed to give the impression of an everchanging series of thoughts, emotions,
images, and memories in the spontaneous
and seemingly illogical order that they occur
in life. The textbook example of stream of
consciousness is the last section of James
Joyce's Ulysses.
David Herbert Lawrence (18851930)
life Story
--born in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire
--father, a coal-miner; mother, a
middle-class woman and a school
teacher, and had a deep influence upon
his life.
--worked for a time as a teacher after
receiving education at local schools and
at Nottingham University College.
--In 1912, met Frieda, a German
noblewoman and the wife of a
professor at Nottingham University, fell
Sons and Lovers
The Rainbow
Women in Love
Lady Chatterlay’s Lover
His influence
D. H. Lawrence was regarded as
revolutionary as Joyce in novel writing;
but unlike Joyce, Lawrence was not
concerned with technical innovations,
his interest lay in the tracing of the
psychological development of his major
characters and the criticism of the
dehumanizing effect of the capitalist
industrialization on human nature.
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
Life Story
---born in Dublin, Ireland; father, a petty offical
---at the age of 14, after graduating from middle
school, Shaw was put into a job as clerk in a land
agent’s office.
---at 20 he went to London where he remained
jobless for 9 years, living in his mother’s house and
devoting much tome to self-education.
---Shaw was a friend of progressive mankind; He
supported the forces of revolution and democracy in
their struggle against imperialism and reaction.
---In 1931, Shaw visited China and was warmly
received by the revolutionary people represented by
Lu Xun and others.
Widower’s Houses
Mrs. Warren’s Profession
Heartbreak House
Major Barbara
The Apple Cart
Saint Joan
---Shaw is a critical realist writer. His plays
bitterly criticize and attack English bourgeois
---His plays deal with contemporary social
problems. He portrays his situations frankly
and honestly, intending to shock his
audiences with a new view of society.
---He is a humorist and manages to produce
amusing and laughable situations.
Virginia Woolf
---born on January 25, 1882, one of four children,
daughter of biographer and critic Leslie Stephen
(later Sir Leslie) and Julia Jackson Duckworth.
educated at home by her father; voracious reader of
books in father’s library.
► married Leonard Woolf, a critic and writer on
economics and politics. Virginia Woolf, her husband,
her siblings, and their friends became known as the
Bloomsbury Group.
► In 1917 the Woolfs founded Hogarth Press
► Her mother’s death in 1895 trigger the first mental
breakdown. When father died in 1904, suffered a
second breakdown and attempted suicide by jumping
out of window.
► On Match 28, 1941, she left notes for her husband
Leonard Woolf and sister Vanessa before drowning in
the River Ouse.
Major Works
early novels—The Voyage Out (1915),
Night and Day (1919), and Jacob's Room
► To the Lighthouse (1927)
► Mrs. Dalloway (1925)
► Orlando (1928)
► The Waves (1931)
► A Room of One’s Own (1929)
► Three Guineas (1938).
► The Common Reader (1925) and The
Common Reader: Second Series (1932).
► The Diary of Virginia Woolf.
► Woolf's
Stylistic Features
► Stream
of consciousness (interior monologue,
► Time schemes
► Symbolism and imagery: thin thread of
human connection, mesh, net for human
relationship (p82)
► Loose syntax
► Multiple narrative voices
► Coherent device
► Irony
Mrs Dalloway
Summaries and Commentaries
► Mrs.
Dalloway is not a novel that
chronicles the years of the life of
Clarissa Dalloway. In fact, Mrs.
Dalloway is not a conventionally narrated
novel at all. It is a collage, a mosaic
►communication and connection
people long for but fail to
people who are apparently close
People don’t say what they feel.
►portrayal of subjective world
flow of consciousness, floating
from the mind of one character
to the next
►two time schemes: physical
and actual time vs. subjective
and mind time
James Joyce (1882-1941)
one of the most original novelists of the 20th
century, whose work shows a unique synthesis
of realism, the “stream of consciousness” and
---an Irishman born into a Catholic family in Dublin.
---educated at Jesuit schools; a good student and
intended for a priest, but lost faith
---entered Dublin College, read books forbidden by
the Catholic Church, refused to take part in the
nationalist movement
---lift Ireland and lived in France, Italy and
Switzerland as “a voluntary exile”
---suffered from an eye disease, stayed abroad all
his life and lived all his life on the verge of poverty
---had a proud, stubborn character
major works
a. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
b. Dubliners
c. Ulysses
d. Finnegans Wake
Two Periods
► His first two books deal with the life of
Ireland that he rejected when he went
to live in exile.
► His last two books represent his second
period. In them, Joyce tried to
understand and explain the
development of an artist and the
workings of the human mind.
may be arranged into four categories as
Stories of childhood
stories of adolescence
stories of mature life
stories of public life.
His Point of View
► He believed that there are 3 stages of
► 1. lyrical form (personal, emotional)
► 2. narrative (no longer purely personal)
► 3. dramatic (the highest, perfect stage)
► significance
of his works
a. He changed the old style of fictions and
created a strange mode of art to show the
chaos and crisis of consciousness of that
b. From him, stream of consciousness came
to the highest point as a genre of modern
c. In Finnegans Wake, this pursue of newness
overrode the normalness and showed a
tendency of vanity.

Western Literature