Modernist Literature and Poetry: Key Figures and Movements

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Modernism (poetry) → The Waste Land: The Burial of the Dead (1922).


Modernism (fiction) → A Room of One's Own (1929), Lappin & Lapinova (1944), Kew Gardens (1919).


Fiction from the 1950s onwards (The Movement) → The Explosion (1974), This Be the Verse (1971).


Modernism (Theatre of the Absurd) → Waiting for Godot (1955).


Fiction in the 1940s → Nineteen Eighty Four (1949).


Contemporary Poetry → Pike (1960), There Came a Day.


Contemporary Poetry → Punishment (1966).


Postcolonialism (fiction) → The Prophet's Hair (1994).


Postcolonialism (fiction) → The Moment Before the Gun Went Off (1991).


Postcolonialism (fiction) → One Out of Many (1971).


Kingsley Amis, Philip Larkin, Donald Davie, John Wain, D.J. Enright, Elizabeth Jennings, Thom Gunn and Robert Conquest.


Similar ideas to 'The Movement' about the form & seriousness of modernist poetry.


Another literary movement which is a wide-reaching collection of groupings & subgroupings that embraces performance & sound.


Adrian Henri, Brian Patten & Roger McGough related to Mersey area whose work was a self-conscious attempt at creating an English equivalent to the American Beats. They're influenced by the Beatles & pop music & the hippy movement. Many of their poems are in protest against the established social order and against the threat of nuclear war.


It's during the late 1970s & early 1980s as a minor movement in British poetry & early 1980s. It aimed to break the control of the 'familiar', by describing ordinary things in unfamiliar ways.


London is a place where humans have no control over their own lives, where nearly every positive feeling is crushed, & where people live in misery, fear & repression.


There's some kind of lie that he has to expose (a totalitarian state): a novel loaded w/ political purpose, meaning & warning.


Constant vigilance & ideological, physical & linguistic control of citizens. He sees it, he listens & he knows everything. No one can escape his mandatory protection (guardianship).


Division into blocks (Oceania, Eastasia & Eurasia) political structure divided into 3 'classes' (the Inner Party or ruling class; the Outer Party or educated workers, & the Proles or the working class).


“Bog” in the poem serves as the central metaphor that is symbolic of continuation of inhumanity, brutality, cruelty, and killing of innocent people throughout the human history. In the first, second, and third stanzas the poet using his sympathetic imagination describes the way the girl was punished on the charge of adultery. He creates the picture of a weak and fragile girl and seems to be suffering her pain and agonies. When the girl was punished, she was pulled her with a rope from her neck, she was made naked. The girl was trembling with cold, her whole body was shaking. They used old knife to share her head. Her eyes were blindfolded so that she could not see the world. Instead of ring they gave her a noose. And finally she was buried alive. The stones, rods and boughs were used to cover the bog. In the fifth and seventh stanza the poet beautifies the dead body and attempts to create a mental picture of the girl, when she was alive. He compares “shaved head” to “stubble of black corn”, the noose to a “ring” and he imagines a beautiful picture of the girl as flaxen (silky) haired and with a beautiful tar-black face. The poet shows his sorrow and pity to the girl by saying “My poor scapegoat” which indicates she alone is the victim of the so-called crime of adultery since her partner is not punished because he is male. She alone is punished for their so called criminal act, she became a scapegoat. In the sixth stanza the poet makes it clear that she was killed on the charge of adultery, but this adultery for making “love” is not a crime. In the eighth stanza the poet shows his ambivalent attitude regarding his relation to that girl. On the one hand he claims to be in love with that girl but on the other hand he shows his helplessness that he could do nothing to save the girl. This stanza raises the serious question about the role of an artist in a situation in which innocents are victimized. For, Heaney this role is role of a “voyeur” who can observe the scene from a distance only to draw it artistically. In the last two stanzas of the poem, the poet repeats the same role of passive observer and links past and present. He compares the brutality of tribal men of the 1st century AD and the brutality of Irish Revolutionary Army. What he observes is that the perpetrators are different but the form of brutality is the same. In both past and present innocents are victimized for the crime. In Ireland Irish girls who married British soldiers were brutally killed by the Irish Revolutionary Army. The marriage between and Irish girl and British soldiers was viewed as an act of betraying Irish nationalism or Irish Revolution as suggested by the term “your betraying sisters”. The poet seems to be mocking the claim of modern men being civilized. Though there is a constant claim of civilization, the base of it is constituted by atrocity, brutality, inhumanity and cruelty. The poet is Irish: he engages with Irish culture, tradition or convention. Others celebrate it but he talks about it to point out its internal contradictions. He explores the dark sports of human history in Irish culture. He always relates the individual Irish culture to the general theme of humanity.

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