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The Education Act of 1944 opened the former conservative universities and cultural institutions to people from lower social levels. These social, political and cultural changes were undoubtedly reflected in British literature.
PROSE IN THE FIRST HALF- TRADITION AND MODERNISM
Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) represents the “literature of deed”, with his belief in man’s activity and optimistic views of the future. His The Jungle book (1894) and The second Jungle Book (1895) are widely popular as children’s reading.
John Galsworthy (1867-1933) wrote a wide range of realistic novels showing his critical attitudes towards the English upper middle-class. He wrote The Forsyte Saga (1906), popular series of novels about the Forsytes, an upper middle-class family. He analyses the egoism based on property that is corrupting his characters.
Arnold Bennet ( 1867-1931) was one of the most popular authors between the world wars. His best is The Old Wives` Tale (1908) about the development, ambitions and lost illusions of two sisters. It ends in a pessimistic way.
Herbert George Wells (1866-1946) is considered the father of the genre of science-fiction novel in English. In his books he invented a new form of scientific romance. His famous are The Time Machine (1895), which took the reader into the past and future, The War of the Worlds (1898) and The First Men in the Moon (1901) to distant planets, Invisible Man (1897) and A Modern Utopia (1905), a romance in which he describes a reasonable and honest society.
MODERNISM is represented by a wide range of streams and tendencies, reveals an escape from established literary traditions and conventions. At the beginning, modernist novelists turned their attention to new realities of the individual’s conscious and subconscious mind. In the second decade, the ideas of the great psychologist Sigmund Freaud began to influence the novelists.
James Joyce (1882-1941) is a Irish writer. The world of Dublin is his only subject. He felt disgusted by the narrow life of the middle-class Dubliners, full of sentimental hypocrisy. In a collection of short stories, Dubliners, he shows typical signs of the lives of Dubliners. The most autobiographical was A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) a story of Stephen Dedalus, the portrait follows his development from childhood till the moment, when he realizes that he will be a writer. The novel Ulysses (1914-21) shows Joyce’s Ulysses, Leopold Bloom, wandering around Dublin in the course of one day. All the characters and events correspond to the characters and events of the ancient Greek myth.
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