Литература 1890-1960 Учебное пособие по английскому языку - страница №2/4
I. Read the text and do the assignments following it.
English Postwar Literature
After World War II the novel continued to be the dominant genre in postwar literature and many writers depicted the postwar world in realistic colours. Several major writers like C.P. Snow, Gr. Greene came to the fore in interwar period, but their specific manner outlined itself most markedly in their postwar work. Young writers like James Aldridge, who are ready to keep up the standard of wholesome optimism, deserve notice.
In the fifties there appeared a very interesting trend in literature, the followers of which were called "The Angry Young Men." The postwar changes had given a chance to a large number of young people from the more democratic layers of society to receive education at universities. But on graduating, these students found they had no prospects in life. Unemployment had increased after the war and besides that, English society continued to follow the old conservative rules of life and apparently did not need them. No one was interested to learn what their ideas on life and society were. They felt deceived and became angry. The young people's disillusionment determined the character of fiction created by a group of writers, among them were Kingsley Amis, John Wain, John Osborne. Through their characters these writers were eager to express their anger with society.
Many works of English writers of the period were dedicated to the philosophical problems. The most influential philosophical trends of twentieth-century thought often evoked an existential attitude. It implied a certain skepticism about ever knowing the nature of a human being. Existentialist philosophy placed limitations on man's knowledge and power.
The influence of existentialist ideas left a profound impression on the creation of Iris Murdoch. She created a series of intricate novels that deal with the nature of man and his delusions. With I. Murdoch the trend in creative writing moved to philosophical fiction.
William Golding's novels and especially his most successful novel "Lord of the Flies" are notable for their symbolic treatment of human nature.
The proclaimed need was, in fiction for a return to straightforward narrative with no symbolic, trickery, interesting plots and well-rounded characters in the approved 19th century way. "The novel should not only tell a story," it should take an intelligent observant interest in the world in which ordinary people lived their day-to-day lives. And in poetry there was a demand for strict forms. There was a natural desire to cling to familiar cultural forms in a strange and unsettling world.
2. Why is the movement of "The Angry Young Men" called like that?
3. What writers belonged to that literary trend? Have you read any novels by these writers?
4. How can you classify the works of Iris Murdoch and William Golding?
5. Do you remember the quotation about the predestination of the novel?
6. What are the major achievements in postwar literature?
IV. Read the following texts and render them in English.
1. William Cooper's "Scenes from Provincial Life" appeared in 1950. This novel looks at the everyday lives of a group of young people in a Midlands city luring the spring and summer of 1939 just before the outbreak of war: their love affairs and jobs and casual social collisions. The characters are fairly ordinary young people working as school teachers, accountants, commercial artists. And the setting is ordinary, too chools and cafes and trams. During the fifties many other writers used Cooper's manner of writing in novels that were set in the provinces in lower middle-class or occasionally working-class situations.
2. Among them is Kingsley Amis with his celebrated work «Lucky Jim" (1954). Jim Dixon, Amis's skeptical hero desperately trying to hold down a job he does not want as a junior lecturer in a provincial university is a representative type. Jim's desire to find a comfortable niche for himself, his hatred of anything that could be called pretentious were the qualities that appealed to young intellectuals who had been educated in local grammar schools.
3. The next important writer who began as a realistic commentator on social life and has steadily tried to push beyond realism is Angus Wilson. Wilson is a highly intelligent writer who is interested in the problems of power and responsibility, the conflict between generations in contemporary England. He began in the tradition of the 19th century realistic fiction but in "The Old Men at the Zoo" (1961) he wrote a fable that showed a desire to move on from realism. Even in an age when the dominant taste was for unexperimental realism novelists felt the pull towards a different kind of fiction, to fantasy, fable or allegory, even some who began as realists like Amis and Wilson. And in fact, some of the best admired fiction of the 50s was written in this vein of fable or fantasy.
4. Thus in 1954 William Golding published "Lord of the Flies," a work which was to achieve global popularity. Golding is a brilliant storyteller and his novel "Lord of the Flies" is an exciting story about the fate of a party of English schoolboys who are marooned on a desert island. But it is also a philosophical allegory about the nature of evil and good.
5. The mid-fifties also saw the publication of Iris Murdoch's first novel "Under the Net." This is an engaging story of the casual adventures of a young Irish writer living in London. She has published innumerable other novels. She usually writes about intelligent sensitive characters whose lives are complicated by secrets and mysteries. It is not always easy to believe in Murdoch's characters, they often seem like puppets acting out their author's love of pattern-making.
"Рассерженные" выступили в 1953 году, когда были опубликованы романы Кингли Эмиса "Счастливчик Джим" и Джона Уэйна "Спеши вниз" (1960). С тех пор, в особенности с момента появления на сцене пьесы Осборна "Оглянись во гневе" (1956), вся Англия заговорила о "рассерженной молодежи" как общественном явлении. Одни говорили с одобрением и даже восторгом, другие с возмущением и брезгливым пренебрежением. Но не заметить ее было невозможно; она волновала, хотя и по-разному, молодых и старых, передовых и консервативных людей страны.
I. Read the text and do the assignments following it.
Graham Greene (1904–1991)
Few writers have provoked such contradictory assessments during their lifetime as Graham Greene. A broad sweep of literary ancestors have been summoned up to explain his style and thought, from those acknowledged by Greene himself, such as Conrad and James, to Dostoevsky, Kafka, the 19th century Decadents, the French Catholic novelists and more recently even the French Existentialists. This mesh of literary cross-judgements has been woven out of Greene's peculiar contradictory development, for he is a Catholic whose books, and particularly his religious novels have earned him an international reputation rare among contemporary English writers.
Born in 1904, the son of G.H. Greene, the Headmaster of an English public school, Greene was given a conventional middle-class upbringing. Later in Balliol College, Oxford, he read history for three years. It was at the end of his Oxford career, in 1925, that he published a collection of poems "Babbling April." For the most part these are imitative of the Oxford aestheticism of the 1920s.
After leaving Oxford, Greene worked as a journalist for four years, first in Nottingham and later as a subeditor of "The Times" in London. So he reached maturity and independence as a writer at the start of the 1930s.
Green has roamed the world from Vietnam to West Africa, Latin America and Haiti. Using these places as setting for his stories, he shows protagonists caught up in malignant circumstances. For example, in "A Burnt-Out Case"1(1961) an architect, repelled by modern life, attemps to lose himself in a leper colony deep in Africa and to purge all human desires and contacts.
Graham Greene himself divides his novels into two main groups: "serious" novels and novels of "entertainment." As "serious" he himself considers the following: "The Man Within"2 (1929), "It's a Battlefield" (1934), "England Made Me"3 (1936), "The Heart of the Matter"4 (1948); these books are marked with pessimism and disillusion. For instance, "England Made Me" is a deep pessimistic novel and "The Heart of the Matter" is a novel about the fate of a well-meaning man who commits suicide to get out of the blind alley of the moral problems he had been trying to solve.
An exciting and violent plot is characteristic for the second kind of novel. The novels of "entertainment" are "Stamboul Train" (1932), "The Confidential Agent"5 (1939), "Our Man in Havana"6 (1958) and others. But these novels of "entertainment" are quite different from ordinary detective "thrillers. " There is one trait always present in his books, which singles Greene out of commonplace detective story writers – his humanism, the deep psychological analysis of his heroes and a very thoughtful attitude to the burning political problems of the day. "Our Man in Havana" is a social and political satire. In both serious and adventure detective stories. We see the ambiguities of moral judgment and intensely human crises of faith. In "The Quiet American"7 (1955) Green unfolds a theme in which stupidity, hypocrisy and ambition play their sorry parts. It is suggested that on this ocassion Green, turning from his favourite theme of religion and sacrifice, has substituted certain problems of morality. But it would be unfair to describe the purpose of the book as a problem novel. It is full of problems, but they emerge as part of the life which is so energetically, vividy, frankly offered for our inspection. It is Graham Green at his best.
1. "A Burnt-Out Case" – «Ценой потери»
2. "The Man Within" – «Человек внутри»
3. "England Made Me" – «Меня создала Англия»
4. "The Heart of the Matter" – «Суть дела»
5. "A Confidential Agent" – «Доверенное лицо»
6. "Our Man in Havana" – «Наш человек в Гаване»
7. "The Quiet American" – «Тихий американец»
2. What earned him an international reputation?
3. What education did Gr. Greene get?
4. When and how did he reach maturity as a writer?
5. How does he show his main heroes?
6. Into what two groups does he divide his novels?
7. The novels of "entertainment" are different from ordinary detective "thrillers," aren't they?
8. What are both genres characteristic of?
9. Why is Gr. Greene's "The Quiet American" so popular with the reading public?
2. The image of Pyle, the quiet American.
The Novel "The Quiet American" by Gr. Greene
Graham Greene gained recognition as a big writer with the appearance of his "The Quiet American." By composition "The Quiet American" is a first-person story told by one Fowler, an English correspondent. In the course of the story the reader witnesses Fowler's transformation from a passive and impassive on-looker into one who can't help giving a hand to the patriots of Vietnam. Thus, with Fowler's help Pyle is physically removed.
Pyle is one of the US pioneer spies in Vietnam. Pyle's image is drawn with great truth and skill. He is the "quiet" American who even wins the reader's sympathy at first. He is young, strong, handsome, genial and... kind-hearted, which does not stop him, in the long run, from committing a great crime against the Vietnamese people. With Pyle out of the game, Fowler and Phuong (his girlfriend) come to an understanding again, and Fowler will be happy if only he can do away with the restlessness that never seems to leave him...
From his journeys to Liberia and Mexico early in his career, when he missed that "terrible aboriginal calamity" to his present elder literary statesman's retreat at Antibes on the French Riviera (where he recently spoke without irony of failure, boredom, loneliness, and emptiness as the writer's most dependable allies), Greene has exhibited a world-weariness that he offsets – and then, only temporarily – by another vouage, the next book.
As a novelist, Greene's rulling passion has been an awareness of man's aboriginal corruption. His characters cannot dismiss that sense at the heart of things that life has no meaning, that life cheats when original sin is blurred. And this endless burrowing, for the corruption within testifies to Greene's battle as a novelist for the survival of consciousness. As a kind of English Dostoevski, Greene directs his characters to relentless probes within themselves for that deepest level of corruption known to the underground man, that aspect that he can only with the most agonizing difficulty acknowledge to himself.
Greene first came to the notice of the literary world with his novels of 1930s, such as "Brighton" (1938). With such books he introduced his characteristic genre, the thriller with theological and moral significance. At this period his attention was focused on English life and English types, as in "England Made Me" (1935), one of his best novels, though now rather neglected by critics. But after "The Power and the Glory" (1940), set in Mexico, which many think his best novel, Greene rarely returns to the English scene. His stories are usually set in some foreign political storm centre. "The Quiet American" (1956), for example, was written before what Americans think of as "the Vietnam war." He has a huge international readership, and has been taken seriously as a moralist and theologian, as well as a romancer and a sort ofsuperreporter. That he has not been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature can only be due to political reasons.
(From "English Literature" by W.W.Robson)
VII. Render the following text into English using the given key words:
collected stories, illustrated editions, to try one's hand at, sketch, narrative works, subtitle, serious motives, to be devoted to, acute problems, political themes, to be combined with, adventure motives, delicate psychologism, to fascinate, fictitious plot, vividly, to represent, to learn a lesson from, in smb's opinion, to go deep into, experience, to make psychological analysis.
Грэм Грин начал со стихов, затем перешел к прозе, написал восемнадцать романов, выпустил несколько сборников рассказов, делал тексты к иллюстрированным изданиям для детей, пробовал силы в драме; напечатал очерки о совершенных им путешествиях и много статей по разным вопросам. Всего им издано около тридцати книг.
Свои повествовательные произведения сам Грин делит на две группы. Часть написанных им книг носит подзаголовок «развлечения», другие, которые сам автор считает более серьезными, он обозначает привычным определением «роман». Надо, однако, сказать, что развлекательные элементы имеются в серьезных романах Грина, а в его «развлечениях» встречаются серьезные мотивы.
Широко известные у нас романы «Тихий американец» и «Наш человек в Гаване» посвящены острым проблемам современности. Читатели, знакомые с этими произведениями, знают, что политическая тематика сочетается в них с авантюрными мотивами и с тонким психологизмом.
...Грин умеет увлекать занимательными описаниями, без помощи какой-либо выдуманной фабулы, как это имеет место в его путевых очерках. Он привлекает наше внимание к тому или иному человеческому типу, живо представив характер своего героя.
В своих книгах Грин приглашает читателя поразмыслить вместе с ним над теми уроками, которые можно извлечь из отдельных человеческих судеб.
К числу книг, посвященных раздумьям о жизни, относится роман «Суть дела». По мнению многих английских критиков, «Суть дела» – лучший психологический роман Грина. Грин глубоко вникает во все тонкости переживаний, мыслей и чувств своих героев и даже порой занимается психоанализом.
(А.Аникст. Послесловие к роману «Суть дела»)
I. Read the text and do the assignments following it.
Charles Percey Snow (1905–1980)
C.P. Snow is a novelist of unique experience. At a period of history when the worlds of literature, science and technology are sharply separated from each other, he has come to hold a key position in both simultaneously. A novelist by vocation, he is also a scientific administrator and man of affairs.
Snow was born in 1905, the second of four sons in a lower middle-class family living in Leicester. The city whose existence is based on the hosiery and boot-and-shoe trades, has always been relatively prosperous; the family – his father had a minor job in a boot-and-shoe firm – was relatively unprosperous. The effect of such a situation on an intelligent and affectionate young boy is touchingly described at the beginning of his novel "Time of Hope"1 (1949). Nevertheless Snow's was a family strongly rooted in a stable, flourishing part of industrializedsociety, and consequently Snow's tone when writing about society has always been confident.
He was educated as a scientist. He attended Alderman Newton's Grammar School where he specialized in science. At Cambridge the quality of his research was such that in 1930 his College elected him to a Fellowship, which meant that he might hope to find a permanent place in a university: among scientists he was beginning to be spoken of, like Arthur Miles in "The Search,"2 as a bright young man. His future career in scientific research looked as though it were settled. In the last few years, however, he grew certain that his future career lay elsewhere; so he turned to literature. He began to think of "breaking through."
The ultimate vocation he knew as his own was that of a novelist. As a beginning he wrote two novels, a detective story and a Wellsian work of scientific imagination. They served the dual purpose of enabling him to get his hand in as a writer and of getting him ready publication. In 1933 he came to a turning point. It is impossible to sustain a career as a research scientist and a career as a novelist. As a result was "The Search," his first serious novel. In effect, "the break through" was complete. Yet "The Search," though it made a reputation for Snow as a novelist, did not represent what he finally meant to write. In his Prefatory Note to the 1958 edition of "The Search" he says: "It was a false start. I wanted to say something about people first and foremost, and then people-in-society, in a quite different way, and at a quite different level from anything in the book."
In 1935 Snow had the original idea for the chain of novels, which is commonly known as the Lewis Eliot series, and which has finally been given the title borne by the first book in the series "Strangers and Brothers."3 "The Search" was a study of individual character against a background of society, "Strangers and Brothers" is a study of individual character acting upon society and reacting to it.
During the autumn of 1939, Snow was asked by a committee of the Royal society to assist in organizing university scientists for the war. He became a civil servant. Thus he was brought into public affairs. After the war Snow was invited to become a Civil Service Commissioner with special responsibility for scientific appointments. For all his activities in public affairs he intended to make certain of reserving some of his time for creative work.
Since 1947 Snow has published seven more novels of the projected eleven which will complete the "Strangers and Brothers" cycle. In content it is essentially a personal story – the story of a man's life, through which is revealed his psychological and his moral structure, yet by extension it is an inquiry into the psychological and moral structure of a large fraction of the society of our times. This novel should be regarded as a key work of the decades in which it was written.
1. "Time of Hope" – «Пора надежд»
2. "The Search" – «Поиски»
3. "Strangers and Brothers" – «Чужие и братья»
a novelist of unique experience, to hold a key position in, unprosperous, to specialize in, to find a permanent place in a university, to turn to literature, to break through, to sustain a career as a novelist.
II. Discuss the creative work of C.P. Snow as a novelist of unique experience.
III. Give a literary translation of the following extracts:
1. "Death Under Sail" («Смерть под парусом») (1932) was Snow's first novel. It is a detective story, about a murder on a sailing boat in the middle of the Norfolk Broads: it conforms to the conventions, and the plot is admirably organized. But what singles it out from other novels in the genre is the fact that the plot grows out of characters rather than the characters out of the plot. They are presented as interesting persons outside the puzzle; and though the author treats them with uncommon psychological understanding, something is always left, as it would be in a serious novel, for the reader's speculation.
2. The setting of the "The Affair" («Дело») is the same as that of "The Masters" («Наставники»), this time the year being 1953. The story relates how the fellows of the college deal with the situation in which one of their number, a young physicist called Howard, is accused of scientific fraud. Lewis Eliot is drawn into the affair firstly, when his brother Martin, who has returned to the college after resigning from Barford asks his advice privately, and later when he is called in to act professionally in the legal complications which arise.
While "The Masters" was a study in politics, "The Affair" is a study in justice, actually justice tied down and regulated by a "fine structure" of politics.
IV. Render the following texts into English using the given key words and word combinations:
1. to continue the best traditions of critical realism, to be aware of, to portray a man in close co-operation with society, a serious artist, to reject modernism, to defend the aesthetics of realism.
1) В английской прозе сегодняшнего дня Ч. П. Сноу продолжает лучшие традиции английского критического реализма XIX и начала XX века. Более того, он ясно сознает свои задачи писателя-реалиста и часто говорит о серьезности того дела, которому он служит. «Серьезными» он называет тех художников слова, которые умеют изобразить человека в теснейшем взаимодействии с тем обществом, часть которого они составляют, и к этим серьезным художникам с полным основанием причисляет и себя. Он решительно отвергает модернизм и во всех своих выступлениях встает на защиту эстетики реализма.
2. to consider to be the best work, work of art, entertaining exposition, dynamic plot, to develop a setting, to reveal the style of writing, manner of work, design, broader in scope, more considerable in subject.
2)Роман «Наставники» (1951)– любимое произведение Ч. П. Сноу. Он считал его одним из лучших.
«Почему?» – может спросить человек, привыкший искать в художественном произведении занимательную фабулу, динамический сюжет. «Наставники» – роман почти бессюжетный, действие в нем развертывается медленно. И в то же время «Наставники» – действительно одна из лучших книг Сноу, притом ключевых, раскрывающих не только манеру писателя, но и характер его письма, структуру его метода. Прочитав этот роман, лучше понимаешь более широкие по охвату, более значительные по теме книги писателя, такие как «Новые люди» или «Коридоры власти».
(В. Ивашева. Предисловие к романам Чарльза П. Сноу «Наставники», «Коридоры власти». – М., 1981)
3. a creator of a series of novels, psychological problems, to turn to the conflicts of contemporary life, to be a reflection of the struggle, one of the most burning problems, atomic warfare.
3)«Новые люди» – так многозначительно назван роман, созданный в середине пятого десятилетия. Новы в нем не только герои. Роман явился переломным в эволюции Сноу как создателя серии романов о современной Англии. В «Новых людях» писатель не ограничился созданием образов отдельных людей с их психологическими проблемами, а обратился к большим конфликтам современности, в которых отдельные люди и их личные судьбы – лишь отражение острейшей борьбы эпохи. В центре книги – одна из актуальнейших тем современности – возможности истребительной атомной войны. Основные персонажи книги – ученые-атомники. Сноу показывает, как реагируют различные представители ученых, работающих над проблемами ядерной физики, на практическое применение своих научных исследований.
I. Read the text and do the assignments following it.
Kingsley Amis (1922–)
Kingsley Amis was educated at Oxford and after graduation taught English at the University of Swansea. "Lucky Jim" was published in 1954 and brought its author immediate success. By January 1957 it had sustained eighteen editions and was acclaimed by the critics as one of the most hugely successful first novels in the English language. It was followed by "That Uncertain Feeling" (1955), "I Like It Here" (1956), "Take a Girl Like You" (1960), "One Fat Englishman" (1963), "Antideath League" (1966).
Although Amis himself objected to being classified as an Angry Young Man, he is generally considered one of the leading representatives of the young English writers of the nineteen-fifties, colloquially called the Angries.
These writers had much in common as far as the attitudes and characteristic features of their heroes were concerned. Their books expressed very clearly the disgust of the young generation with an outworn and morally bankrupt social order, and their protest against the inhumanity of the bourgeois world of our time. These young authors' strength also lay in "creating a convincing English background" of the fifties.
His latest book is a departure from the main line of his previous novels. As he put it himself, he tried to make "Antideath League" as timeless as possible. He is no longer a rebel, neither are the other Angry Young Men so young, and so angry as they used to be ten years ago.
"Lucky Jim," characteristic of the early Amis, is essentially an English University novel. Concern with educational problems in general, and the crisis of outlook and vocational prospects of the Arts Departments in "redbrick" universities, in particular, is typical of this group of writers.
II. Translate and learn the following word combinations from the text. Use them in the sentences of your own:
to bring immediate success, to sustain eighteen editions, to object to being classified as, to have much in common, a disgust with an outworn and morally bankrupt social order, a protest against inhumanity, a departure from the main line, concern with educational problems.
III. Speak on the creation of Kingsley Amis as a representative of the Angry Young Men.
IV. Read the article and be ready to characterize the main hero of K. Amis's novel "Lucky Jim."
Kingsley Amis depicts provincial university life in a mood of amused disgust. He surveys the problems of a junior lecturer in humanities through the eyes of a vivacious young man who has beliefs and no enthusiasms, – nothing but contempt for his subject, his colleagues and his elders. The bareness of Dixon's outlook reduces his revolt against the shams and pedantry of academic life to despising his own work, making faces when nobody sees him, to practical jokes and drinking. Teaching others what it has bored him to learn is not a particularly inspiring prospect, and it has a thoroughly demoralizing effect.
The writer's manner of narration and inner speech affords him a possibility of introducing us to Dixon's worries about his prospects and his intense fear of being "sacked." When asked about why he had chosen the Middle Ages as his subject, Dixon readily confesses to have taken the line of least resistance.
The main personage is convincing. His mentality cannot make him very attractive to the reader; his realness, however, cannot be questioned. The sadness of the story lies in its being a story of a split personality fighting to retain what he hates to possess. As in spite of his aversion for the university Dixon is very eager to be kept on the staff, his last wistful question: "Haven't you noticed how we all specialize in what we hate most?" is almost tragical.
It might be of interest to point out the glaring difference in the treatment of university problems by Amis and Snow. C.P. Snow portrays the elder generation of scientists who during the war shoulder the responsibility of bringing into the world nuclear physics and are fully aware of all the horrors and benefits it may bring to mankind. These were people in love with science, people for whom science was the one permanent source of happiness.
Amis deals with the problems of the younger generation in postwar England. His hero's approach is cynical, irresponsible, without a trace of self-regard. The novelist does openly project himself into his book and does not help us with any generalizations.
2. professor of education – professor of pedagogics
3. pass people – students reading for a degree
I. Read the text and do the assignments following it.
Iris Murdoch (1919-)
Iris Murdoch's achievement as a novelist has frequently seemed problematic to critics, reviewers and even readers, though her books have always sold extremely well both in Britain and in other countries. When her first novels appeared in the mid-1950s, .she was immediately classed with the "Angry Young Men," for reasons now hard to discern, since she was certainly not angry and was interested much more in philosophical games and in the nature of fiction itself than in social protest. What she had then in common with writers like Kingsley Amis and John Wain was an interest in rapid comedy, and the long English tradition of the episodic novel. Though in fact, even then, her work was much more closely related to that of Beckett and the French existentialists and surrealists than to the eighteenth-century comic novels which Amis and Wain admired.
Iris Murdoch is a philosopher as well as a novelist. Her philosophical work deals with the relations between art and morals.
Her best-known piece of conceptual writing is "Against Dryness," published in 1961 in "Encounter," in which she argued that one of the major problems of the modern novel is that after two wars "we have been left with far too shallow and flimsy a view of human personality."
I. Murdoch is the author of about thirty novels. The first two novels "Under the Net"1 (1954) and "The Flight from the Enchanter"2 (1935) differ from all the later novels. Both are philosophical fables, using a proliferation of characters and dramatic incidents to illustrate a central theme. In "Under the Net" the theme is the necessity and danger of concepts, forms, in thought and action, both in the worlds of art, politics, work, morals and love. In "The Flight from the Enchanter" the theme is social, and concerns the proper and improper uses of power. Both novels are close to Miss Murdoch's work on sarire, they take up the relationship of the individual and of art, to political structures and ideals, the nature of freedom, the nature of language.
Her next book "The Sandcastle"3 (1957) is dedicated to her husband, John Bayley, and her work from "The Sandcastle" onwards shows a concern with the moral and critical principles explored in his book
"The Characters of Love" and later in "Tolstoy and the Novel."
Iris Murdoch's technical interest in 19th century "realism" is an interest in the fictional world in which separate individuals meet, change, communicate. A good novel is "a house fit for free characters to live in." Now she makes an effort in the novels "The Bell" (1958), "An Unofficial Rose"4 to learn from Jane Austen, George Eliot, Henry James.
Both "The Bell" and "An Unofficial Rose" are concerned with the relationships between freedom and virtue and also between beauty and truth.
There are several novels which one could call "mythical" novels. They are "A Severed Head"5 (1961), "The Unicorn"6 (1963) and "The Time of the Angels"7 (1966).
For her highly acclaimed novel "The Sea, the Sea," Iris Murdoch won the Booker Prize in 1978.
Many serious English novelists nowadays are moving away from realism, from social analysis and emotions of individuals to "unreal" forms. Not only I. Murdoch but Angus Wilson and some other writers were taking an interest in the fairy stories in Dickens's plots, in the grotesque caricatures, so, like fairy-tale characters. Both Angus Wilson and Iris Murdoch have deep roots and strong moral attachments to the English realistic tradition. Both write novels which combine old realistic morals and old realistic techniques, with a new kind of literary playfulness.
2. "The Flight from the Enchanter" – «Бегство от волшебника»
3. "The Sandcastle" – «Замок на песке»
4. "An Unofficial Rose" – «Дикая роза»
5. "A Severed Head" – «Отрубленная голова»
6. "The Unicorn" – «Единорог»
7. "The Time of the Angels" – «Время ангелов»
2. What common features did the works of K. Amis and I. Murdoch have?
3. What philosophical conception did she use in her creative work?
4. Speak about I. Murdoch's novels: prove that she is a prolific writer. Concentrate on the themes of her novels. What can you say about her "mythical" novels?
5. Draw a parallel between I. Murdoch and Angus Wilson.
The world she creates is permeated with too much Victorian insularity; it is not our world. "Sartre," she noted, "is profoundly and self-consciously contemporary, he has the style of the age." It is an accurate observation and it leads one to the further observation that is missing in her own work is that very style of the age, that contemporaneity which she sees so clearly in Sartre.
IV. Choose the right word (a hinterbrand, to succeed mixture, cast of characters, artistry, ambiguous, to manifest, characterized, unity, underline, puzzle-like, convention, degenerate, a series brilliant games, reality, devoid, be engaged) and insert it in the text.
All Iris Murdoch's books are novels of passions, (__) by gripping narrative and deep emotional impact.
In most of them there is (__) of something like myth or fairy tale.
As one of the critics puts it:
"Her (__) is to weave the improbable and the fantastic into the normal world, so that we cannot be sure, moment, just what level of reality is being presented."
It is important to note that Iris Murdoch's interest in existentialist philosophy (__) most of her novels. And is particularly at the level of fantasy that she (__) in producing her most skilful and evocative writing. Thus her free-flowing and unresolved fantasy gave her first two novels "Under the Net" and "Flight from the Enchanter" their (__), but when in her third novel– "The Sandcastle" (1957)– Iris Murdoch moved closer to the traditional fictional structure, with a strong plot and a carefully worked out( __), her limitations began (__ ) themselves.
The fantasy which had been effective when it was left (__) and unresolved now tended to turn into not very successful symbolism. At the same time the plot began to appear too much like an existentialist formula glossing over (__). And in "The Bell" (1958), in spite of the continuing brilliance of style and compulsive story-telling, her symbolism became more and more (__).
Her fifth novel- "A Severed Head" (1961) - is the most existentialist of all her novels and is also most convincing.
There is no (__) here of fantasy and realism: it is all fantasy – but fantasy in the head. In addition Iris Murdoch has evolved a set of highly stylized (___) within the limitations she has chosen, so that the "dance of sex," in which her characters (__), takes on a sombre quality of "dance macabre."
In many of her subsequent novels the sexual or emotional complications may from time to time (__) into something very close to dark Gothic melodrama and her patterns of fantasy woven into reality may sometimes produce the effect of something contrived and mechanical.
One of her (__) novels, "Fairly Honourable Defeat" (1970), was described in the "Observer" as "a symbolist pantomime" and though in many ways it is her best book since "A Severed Head" and perhaps morally one of the most positive, it does point to the fact that her work is in danger of becoming (___) for the very high highbrows, though not (__) of versatility and technical expertise.
V. Render the following text in English using the key words and word combinations given below:
1. Irish by origin, English by language and religion, to move to, English-Irish roots, creators of paradox, to break traditions, devotion to, non-standard fantastic situations.
Айрис Мёрдок родилась в Дублине в 1919 году. Ее родители были тем, кого принято называть англо-ирландцами: ирландцами по крови, англичанами по языку и религии (протестантизм). Вскоре после ее рождения семья перебралась в Лондон, и детство будущей писательницы прошло уже в Англии. Англоирландские «корни» дали английской литературе не одного знаменитого автора, в том числе великих парадоксалистов О. Уайльда, Б. Шоу, Б. Стоукера. Айрис Мёрдок традиции не нарушила. Можно предположить, что ирландские предки сыграли свою роль в склонности писательницы к изображению парадоксальных положений и нестандартных фантастических обстоятельств.
(В. Скороденко. «Достоинство человека и хаос жизни» (заметки о романах Айрис Мёрдок). – М., 1991)
2. a novel with a philosophical tendency, to declare, a leading genre, an essay devoted to, to be a spokesman of the spirit of the time, to be true to, to concentrate the attention on the inner world of the heroes, to display a mastery in rendering the subtleties and contradictions of life, subtle, delicate, consciousness, the burning problems, human feelings and relationships, actions and motives.
Роман с философской тенденцией, который порой сами его авторы условно называют философским, заявил о себе в середине 50-х годов. Сегодня он стал в Великобритании едва ли не ведущим жанром. В нем выступают такие известные писатели, как А. Мёрдок, У. Голдинг и К. Уилсон.
А. Мёрдок – философ по специальности. В 60-х годах, уже имея за плечами 10 лет творческой деятельности, она сама назвала свой роман философским. В специальном очерке, посвященном Сартру, которого она объявляет своим главным наставником, Мёрдок декларировала связь своего творчества с творчеством Сартра-экзистенциалиста. «Сартр глубоко современен, – писала она. – Он выразитель духа времени».
Со своего первого романа «Под сетью» (1954) А. Мёрдок была верна исходному принципу экзистенциализма: отображать «существование» как оно дано сознанию. Она фиксировала внимание преимущественно на внутреннем мире своих героев. Образы, созданные Мёрдок уже в первых ее книгах, обнаруживали ее большое мастерство в передаче тонкостей и противоречивости жизни отдельных людей. «Под сетью» – тонкая, изысканная, полуфантастическая «игра ума», размышления молодой последовательницы Сартра над «чудесами нашей жизни» и «запутанностью современного сознания».
Ранние романы Мёрдок уводят читателя от подлинно злободневных проблем сегодняшнего дня, акцентируют приоритет влечения над разумом, декларируют относительность человеческих чувств и отношений, поступков и побуждений.
(В. В. Ивашева. «Литература Великобритании XX века»)
I. Read the text and do the assignments following it.
William Golding (1911-1993)
The strong moral tone of W. Golding's novels suggests a grim and uncompromising figure, an image which the warmth, wit and humanity of some of his , other writings have quite failed to dispel from the public mind. He is not obviously a member of any group or "school" of writers. His short and concentrated books demand sustained attention from the reader. He was forty-two before his first novel was published, and he continued to teach for several years after that before finally earning his living solely as a writer. The importance and significance of his contribution to the modern novel is already widely recognized.
He was born in 1911, and spent a relatively isolated childhood, during which he read widely and developed an early interest in words. From Marlborough Grammar School he entered Oxford to read science and eventually graduated in English literature.
Golding's best-known novel "Lord of the Flies"1 (1954) portrays the gradual reversion of a group of middle-class boys into primitive savagery. The children impose "civilized standards of conduct on their small community." They elect a leader, they have a meeting place for discussion. But the civilized standards of the 20th century fade from the boys' minds with appalling ease.
First come irrational fears: of imaginary monsters, the dark and the unknown. There is a feeling of "something behind you all the time in the jungle."
It is difficult to give term adequate to describe the form of the novel. It operates clearly enough as normal fiction, yet it is also full of allegorical significance. This is an unusual literary achievement, it is a fiction and a fable at the same time, it represents a change in the nature of the novel itself.
The prose of Golding's second novel "The Inheritors"2 describes the extermination of Neanderthal man by homo sapiens. The style has its expressive strengths. It allows the author to make two important points in his presentation of the Neanderthalers – the limitation of their intelligence and the quality of their innocence.
1. "Lord of the Flies" – «Повелитель мух»
2. "The Inheritors" – «Наследники»
II. Translate the following words and word combinations into Russian and use them in the sentences of your own:
the strong moral tone of the novel, to dispel from the public mind, to demand sustained attention from the reader, to earn one's living as a writer, to be widely recognized, to develop an early interest in words, allegorical significance, a fable, expressive strengths.
III. Answer the following questions discussing the creative work of W. Golding.
1. To what group or school of writers does W. Golding belong?
2. Why do his books demand sustained attention from the reader?
3. Is the author's contribution to the modern novel recognized?
4. Speak about W. Golding's education.
5. What are the writer's best-known novels? Give reasons for that.
6. Have you read any books by W. Golding? Which of them have been translated into Russian?
IV. Read the text with the help of a dictionary and make up a short summary of it. Discuss it with your groupmates.
Even in an age when the dominant taste was for unexperimental realism novelists felt the pull towards a different kind of fiction, to fantasy, fable or allegory, even some who began as realists like Amis and Wilson. And in fact some of the best admired fiction of the 50s was written in this vein of fable or fantasy.
Thus in 1954 William Golding published "Lord of the Flies," a work which was to achieve global popularity. Golding is a brilliant storyteller and "Lord of the Flies" is an exciting story about the fate of a party of English schoolboys who are marooned on a desert island. But it is also a philosophical allegory about the nature of evil and good. In a purely conventional novel Ralph would be called the hero. In a book which contains Simon who sacrifices himself for others and Piggy who is unquestionably Ralph's intellectual peer, it's difficult to place Ralph according to accepted terminology. He is the central character, however, and many of the events, reactions and descriptions are seen through his eyes. Ralph is a natural leader; he has seen his ideals crush and evil triumph and in his suffering he breaks down and cries. Ralph represents the boy of character and sensitivity who tries to face in an adult way a situation which is beyond him. He has integrity, compassion, courage and authority and a strong awareness of the values of the civilization the boys have left. He battles for what is good and right against what is wrong and evil. He fails and we feel in his failure the failure of mankind to deal with the forces of evil.
V. Render the following text in Russian.
In his novels Golding exhibits a certain indifference to the characters, a quality that is often found in classical literature. He does not suffer with his characters in the way, for example, Dostoevski did.
But in his essays there is a warmth and at times a nostalgia that illuminate his other side; Golding can sit for more than one portrait. The essays are a valuable companion to the novels, for they reveal a world view. In "Billy the Kid" he vividly recaptures his emotions as a sensitive eight-year-old. "The Hot Gates" is primarily a series of recollections of teachers and school experiences.
Although it is difficult to categorize Golding's novels, Kingsley Amis has suggested that Golding is the only serious writer currently working within the framework of science fiction. Certainly Golding's work shows some of the features of science fiction: an emphasis on ideas to the exclusion of full-blooded characterization, flashes of dark wit but no real humour, indifference to the female and sex in general.
One can also speak of Golding's work as parody, but in his own sense – using something else as a point of departure. Thus "Lord of the Flies" is a parody of "The Coral Island," "The Inheritors," of "The Outline of History," "Pincher Martin," of "The Prometheus Myth," "Free Fall," of "The Divine Comedy."
VI. Render the texts into English using the key words and word combinations given below:
1. to claim to, to be fully content with, to read a lecture, to make as a principle, parable, to stress the didactic tone of, a free choice, a philosophy of joyless interpretation of the nature of man, grim illustrations of.
Голдинг не претендовал на положение лидера модернистов, но ведущим принципом своего творчества модернистов чрезвычайно устраивал. В 1962 году, будучи в Америке, писатель прочел лекцию в Калифорнийском университете. Он повторил ее затем в ряде университетов США. В ней он излагал мысли, положенные в основу романа «Повелитель мух» и, по существу, дал ключ ко всему своему творчеству или, во всяком случае, к философии, которая положена в основу того, что он писал. Эта лекция, опубликованная в 1965 году в сборнике статей разных лет «Горячие врата», была названа им «Притча». Притчами называет Голдинг все свои книги, подчеркивая тем самым назидательный характер, их смысл как поучений. «Повелитель мух» – это притча о природе человека, «Наследники» – художественное изложение философии и истории, «Свободное падение» – дискуссия по поводу основного тезиса экзистенциализма о свободном выборе.
Философия его книг– философия безрадостного истолкования человеческой природы. Все книги Голдинга – мощные по силе красок и разнообразию музыкальной оркестровки, но всегда мрачные иллюстрации одной – всегда негативной – мысли.
(В. В. Ивашева. «Литература Великобритании XX века»)
2. to award the prize, to give an exact and total idea of writer's outlook, in chronological order, in another way, to turn out, indivisible, subordinated to the only purpose reflection, human essence, interrelated worlds, unity of people's behaviour, to clear up the mystery, self-interest, generosity, faith, lack of belief, nobility, meanness, honesty, cynicism.
В 1983 году У. Голдингу была присуждена Нобелевская литературная премия. В 1981 году в Москве были изданы три его повести: «Повелитель мух», «Наследники» и «Шпиль», дающие достаточно точное и полное представление о характере мировидения писателя.
Если рассматривать повести У. Голдинга не в хронологическом порядке, а расположить их иначе: сначала «Наследники», затем «Шпиль» и лишь потом «Повелитель мух», то окажется, что это единое и целенаправленное размышление о человеческой сути и судьбе в прошлом и настоящем. Это картины из жизни трех взаимосвязанных, по мысли У. Голдинга, миров. Взаимосвязанных единством поведения живущих в них людей, пытающихся понять, кто они и зачем пришли в этот мир. Пытающихся разгадать тайну жизни и смерти. Любви и ненависти.
...В прозе У. Голдинга как в зеркале узнаешь тени своей и чужой доброты и жестокости, корысти и бессребреничества, веры и неверия, благородства и подлости, совестливости и цинизма. «Се – человек», – говорит У. Голдинг, подразумевая: это также и ты.
I. Read the text and do the assignments following it.
Agatha Christie (1890-1976)
A. Christie represents the "light genre" in the twentieth-century English literature. A great master of a detective story, she thrilled the world. As yet, little scholarship has been done on the detective story as a literary form. First, the form is still relatively new, if one accepts the 1841 publication of "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" as making the birth of the detective story, and this date is now generally so accepted. Thus, the detective story is a good century younger than the novel, if we take Henry Fielding's "Tom Jones" and other works to represent the birth of the novel.
A. Christie found it hard to be specific about just how she created the plots which consistently baffle her readers. She readily acknowledged her debt to Conan Doyle, in fact, she admitted that she carried on the torch lighted by Conan Doyle. The author's first detective novel "The Mysterious Affair at Styles"1 was written in 1915 and published in 1920 – seven years before the last Sherlock Holmes short story collection appeared in book form. She produced a mystery novel or a short-story collection at the rate of at least one a year since 1920, and one might imagine that the early books would be somewhat dated by this point. Surprisingly enough, they are not. A career which exceeds forty-five years in length is remarkable in any field, but is especially noteworthy in the field of so-called "popular" literature, for it would seem that people's tastes would change radically in that span of time.
Although A. Christie's mysteries remain remarkably consistent in their appeal to readers, it is possible to notice some changes or advances in the manner and style of mystery-writing from 1920 to the present day. As the mystery story as a form becomes more mature and sophisticated, so do its readers. They can keep in their heads as many details as the detective can. So diagrams, maps and parables have been out of vogue since the 1930s. The two devices which the author has used over and over again are the nursery rhyme as an organizing theme and spiritualism as a cover for a perfectly straightforward crime.
A. Christie has evidently found in nursery rhymes an inspiration which permits her to develop plots with built-in suspense: the reader knows that the murderer is following the rhyme, and he knows in general terms what will come next (if he can remember the rhyme), but he is kept guessing as to how the author and the murderer will make the crime fit the rhyme. The most famous example of a nursery rhyme followed to the last detail is "Ten Little Niggers."
Other favourite nursery rhymes of the author include "Sing a Song of Sixpence," which has been used in the short story of that name from "The Listerdale Mystery," very prominently in the full-length novel "A Pocket Full of Rye," and also in the short story "Four and Twenty Blackbirds" from "The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding and Other Stories." "How Does Garden Grow?" provided a unifying theme for the story of the same name in "The Regatta Mystery." "One, Two, Buckle My Shoe" was followed religiously in the novel of the same title, called "The Patriotic Murders" in America. "Five Little Pigs" suggested the inspirations for the Poirot novel which was later made into a very successful play. One of A. Christie's own special favourites is "Crooked House," which she says "saved up for years, thinking about it, working it out." "Hickory, Dickory, Dock" (1955) is the full-length novel using a nursery rhyme as its theme.
A. Christie's interest in spiritualism is evidently quite an old one. "The Hound of Death" short-story collection contains quite a few stories which are not detection at all, but rather pure fantasy.
In her 1956 interview with Nigel Dennis, the author expressed a keen interest in science fiction, but in the intervening decade she avoided both science fiction and fantasy as main themes. She rather made spiritualism a cover or camouflage for straight mystery and detection, although one at times wonders in "The Pale Horse"2 if it is possible to commit murder by telepathy.
A. Christie's talents seem most aptly used in the detective story– her talents are analytical, wryly humorous, and penetrating in telling a tightly-knit story, and her romance always seems less convincing. Perhaps this is due to the fact that detective story and novel are essentially a cerebral form, thanks to their conventions and confines of plot and the sort of mind who likes well-made plots is not likely to go in for formless romance and affection.
2. "The Pale Horse" – «Вилла "Белый конь"»
II. Give Russian equivalents to the following words and word combinations. Use them in the sentences from the text and in your own situations:
to do scholarship, to baffle the reader, to acknowledge the debt to, to carry on the torch lighted by, to produce a mystery novel, at the rate of, span of time, consistent in its appeal to readers, to become more mature and sophisticated, a nursery rhyme, an inspiration, built-in suspense, to follow the rhyme, a full-length novel, to be made into a successful play, a special favourite, to express a keen interest in science fiction, less convincing, affection.
III. Answer the following questions:
1. What can you say about the detective story genre? Prove that it is relatively new.
2. Whom did the author acknowledge her debt in creating a detective story?
3. Was A. Christie a prolific writer?
4. What devices did the author use in her novels?
5. What inspired her to create interesting plots?
6. What nursery rhymes were used by the author?
7. In what other genres did A. Christie express her keen interest?
8. Have you read any stories by A. Christie? Have you read them in the original? What language does she use?
9. What is the most popular novel by A. Christie with Russian readers?
10. Discuss one of A. Christie's stories with your groupmates.
IV. Summarize the main idea of the text.
Why is Agatha Christie the best-loved detective story writer?
Agatha Christie has conquered the world, and the critics are puzzled. Part of her charm for her readers is the setting of many of her mysteries in a context of English village life, but her stories appeal to people in countries remote from England who know nothing about England and have no interest in the English. It will be said, of course, that her appeal is merely that of the puzzle, but there were plenty of other ingenious puzzlers in this period, and they are forgotten. Why has she succeeded with her flat style (even her warmest admirers concede this) and her cardboard characters? Perhaps the answer is that the characters (in the books, rather than the dramatization of them) are not cardboard – or not all of them. There is something deeply appealing about Christie's stories which has not yet been adequately analyzed. Conan Doyle created the genre with "Sherlock Holmes," establishing it on a basis of English comedy, as unclassifiable as the "Alice" books, or the "Pooh" of A. A. Milne (1882–1956). But strange and terrible things in the "Holmes" stories remain strange and terrible, whereas Agatha Christie assimilates everything to what would seem on the face of it a self-stultifying literary form: the reassuring tragedy.
(From "A Prologue to English Literature " by W. W. Robson)
V. Translate the text with the help of a dictionary.
Agatha arrived at the height of her fame in 1970, her eightieth year. It was to be a strenuous one. For the rest of the spring she tried to tidy up her new book "Passenger to Frankfurt."
She had begun to think about the plot in 1963, asking Collins to find a copy of "The Royal Family of Beyrouth" by F. Wagner, the composer's granddaughter, who she, Max and Mathew had met at Beyrouth. Friedelinde had taken them behind the scenes of the Opera House and had told them anecdotes about her grandfather and Hitler. Agatha brooded on all this, fitting it to her ideas about world conspiracy and espionage. She also asked Collins for "Contributions to European History" and Cork for a list of "Iron Curtain Coins, all of small size and small value," and the origins of the quotation "For want of a nail, the horse was lost..." Her draft took another thought, long germinating, for a book beginning in "An Air Lounge" – a place which is no place, designed for arrivals, departures, exchanges. "Passengers in Transit" was one of Agatha's working titles for the development of this idea, or "Missing Passenger Story." This plot acquired the title "Passenger to Frankfurt," in 1966, in the notebook Agatha kept on her American visit: "Airport Renata. Sir Neil at War Office of M 14. His obstinacy aroused. Puts advertisement in... Hitler idea. Concealed in a lunatic asylum. One of many who think they are Napoleon – or Hitler – or Mussolini." Thus Agatha started to mix her old obssessions: disguise; people who actually are who they say they are, mixed up with people who are not; the hiding of people in the obvious place for them to be... at last. They are fixed in their own development.
(From "Agatha Christie" by Janet Morgan, 1984)
VI. Render the text into English using the key words and word combinations given below:
to resemble, from the point of view, flame of the burning candle, to be worth nominating, to consist in, fame, period of one's reigning, to posses an unusual gift in the proper sense, to form, petty persons.
О жизни Агаты Кристи, которая сама по себе порой напоминает детективную историю, написано немало, в том числе и самой писательницей. С точки зрения художественного творчества, эта жизнь напоминает пламя ровно сгорающей свечи.
Ответ на вопрос о том, почему Агату Кристи заслуженно именуют королевой детектива, заключается не только в том, что слава ее в XX веке не знает аналогий и что период ее «правления» длился рекордно долго – шесть десятилетий, – но прежде всего в том, что она обладала особым даром фантазии и мистификации. <...>
А. Кристи не является в собственном смысле социальным историком; однако атмосфера и проблематика ее сюжетов, как правило, имеет выход к социальной и культурной сфере. В романах А. Кристи мы видим маленькие английские провинциальные городки и села, целую галерею типов, составляющих английское общество, аристократию и мир обывателей.
I. Read the text and do the assignments following it.
British Theatre of the Mid-Century
Since the mid-fifties English drama has been in a vigorous condition, contrasting with the stagnation of the immediate postwar years, which saw the decline of the "well-made" play and the traditional drawing-room comedy. Many highly talented writers are now working in the theatre, and some have achieved international reputations.
John Osborne's "Look Back in Anger" first performed in 1956, is generally regarded as a milestone in the postwar English theatre. With its provincial setting and its rebellious young hero this play represents the new fiction of that time, the so-called school of the Angry Young Men. Osborne's second play "The Entertainer" (1957) was more experimental and innovatory, making use of the techniques of the music hall.
In the late fifties the realism of Arnold Wesker's "Trilogy" (1960), comprising "Chicken Soup with Barley," "Roots" and "I Am Talking about Jerusalem," was widely admired. Wesker deals with some interesting themes– Jewish working-class life, the cultural poverty of the masses – but in retrospect his work looks naive and theatrically limited.
A number of plays give a very vivid sense of the self-questioning, the dwelling on the past and uncertainty about the future. No one did this more brilliantly than Alan Bennett in "Forty Years On" (1969). The author uses the technique of the play-within-a-play to dramatize crucial moments in twentieth-century English history. Though Bennett has all the conscious concern with theatrical effect that was the hallmark of the serious playwright in the sixties, he is at the same time a literary dramatist who can be read with pleasure because of the intelligence and wit of his writing.
Of all the many dramatists now writing for the English theatre, there is one who has occupied a dominant position ever since the late fifties, namely Harold Pinter. His work is particularly hard to assess, though it must be noted that he is one of that small company of writers whose name has been turned into an adjective which seems to sum up some common element in our experience. It is those situations when language is used without communicating, when one misunderstanding leads on to another, when no one listens to what anyone else is saying, that is described as "Pinteresque." It is part of Pinter's achievement. He remains concentrated on problems of communication; on how far a small group of people can convey anything to each other, whether by words or silences or gesture.
"The Caretaker" (1960), a disturbing but funny play, first established Pinter as a major talent.
Given such a variety of talents it can be said that at the present, English drama is in a healthy condition. But a great many people who do not have convenient access to the London theatres may never or rarely have the opportunity of seeing the work of contemporary dramatists performed. The most widely available form of theatrical experience is provided by television drama. Some very able and much admired dramatists have worked mostly in television, such as Dennis Potter, David Mercer and John Hopkins, and the scripts of their plays have been published. But in a television play the role of language is even more subsidiary than in contemporary stage drama. So one must conclude that if more creative energy goes into the television plays, as opposed to writing for the stage, drama will become still further removed from literature.
II. Translate the following words and word combinations into Russian and use them in sentences of your own:
to be in a vigorous condition, to see the decline of, a traditional drawing-room comedy, to achieve international reputation, a provincial setting, innovatory, to deal with a theme, in retrospect, to dramatize, the intelligence and wit of one's writing, to occupy a dominant position, to assess, to be concentrated on problems of, to be in a healthy condition, a widely available form of, theatrical experience, a much admired dramatist, subsidiary.
III. Answer the following questions:
1. In what condition was English drama of the mid-fifties?
2. Which play is regarded as a milestone in the postwar English theatre? Why?
3. What dramatists are admired in the late fifties?
4. What author uses the technique of the play-with-in-a-play?
5. Why is it hard to assess the work of Harold Pinter?
6. Which play established Pinter as a major talent?
7. Describe the state of English drama at present.
8. What is the most available form of theatrical experience nowadays?
IV. Translate the following extracts into Russian. Be ready to speak about the dramatists of the 20th century theatre and their plays.
1. John Osborne's play "Look Back in Anger" (1956) marked the beginning of a new era in British drama. Before the West Theatre mostly played to a formula wittily defined by James Bridie as "two hours amidst the erotic misadventures of the English upper classes." Then the theatre had become liberated. Arnold Wesker, Harold Pinter, Samuel Beckett emerged; fresh writers with new styles. The old type of theatre as an entertainment for genteel minds was definitely out.
2. Harold Pinter's most successful play "The Caretaker" is a realistic play, almost a slice of life, but on another deeper level, it is a poetic image of the human condition itself. Man fighting for a place, for security, but at the same time deprived of it by the weakness of his own selfish nature. Pinter's achievement points the way towards the future; he has shown that it is possible to combine the poetic imagery, the open construction of the Theatre of the Absurd with techniques which do not deviate too much from the mainstream of the tradition of drama. The plays leave the action and the characters unmotivated and unexplained, they reach no neat solution or conclusion, they raise questions rather than answer, they force the audience to find their own interpretations.
3. The main merit of Arnold Wesker in writing the play "Roots" is that he managed to give the character of Beatie in development, in dynamics. The American critic Riballow Harold said: "The final scene in 'Roots' shook and changed the British stage. Beatie's awakening is an awakening for the entire segment of the British population."
A common Norfolk family is in the centre of Arnold Wesker's attention. He treats his heroes, farmers, labourers profoundly realistically. It is known, that when the play was first staged in Norfolk, the spectators were indignant. The matter was the author depicted and critisized the wretchedness, stagnation, coarseness, meanness of people's relations. Through his heroine Beatie he blames the existing social conditions and people who drag out a miserable, dim and animal-like existence and who are too lazy to think because it bores them, needs a mental effort. The roots of the boring sameness and narrow-mindedness of their life are in the existing social conditions of life. But Ronnies and Beaties appear human beings with human dignity who are apt to nip in the bud the roots of the evils of life.
4. In the programme for the Royal National Theatre's new production of Joe Orton's "What the Butler Saw at the Lyttelton," there is a quote from, of all people, Sir Terence Rattigan. "What Orton had to say about England and society," Rattigan declares, "had never been said before. The first thing it showed was a society diminished by telly technology. Everybody expresses themselves as if they were brought up on TV.
I don't know about you, but I was amazed to find that Rattigan had appreciated Orton. The leader of the 1940s and 1950s Haymarket tradition of middle-class drama seems an unlikely admirer of the prickly, swaggering boy, butch and louche and kinky, a foul-mouthed, lower-middle-class Wilds dripping cheeky, poisonous aphorisms. And, yet, when you begin to think about it, Rattigan's praise, apart from being perceptive and generous, is understandable. It is rooted, I think, in a deep-seated perception, which he may not even have been aware of. You get a glimpse of it in "In Praise of Love" (1973), which has just opened at the Apollo in a subtle, quietly moving, deeply perceptive production by Richard Oliver. I won't say that this is Rattigan at his best, but it ought to help to extinguish the idea, if it is still lurking about, that he was a superficial boulevard dramatist who bought his seriousness or his emotions cheap. It is about Sebastian Cruttwell, a top literary reviewer (Peter Bowles), married to Lydia, an Estonian (Liza Harrow, giving a beautifully understated performance in an underwritten role), whom he had met at the end of the war in Berlin where he worked in Intelligence.
This is both first-rate melodrama and searching psychology. Husband and wife share both truth and deception, in more ways than one. Lydia loves Cruttwell, pities his touching immaturity and thinks that he simply could not cope with life without her; Cruttwell, who loves her much more than either of them realises, cannot bear the thought of telling her the truth after all that she has survied. Neither of them can see that the other is stronger than he/she seems. Both are prisoners of Cruttwell's English middle-class emotional inhibitions, which can strangle one's feelings by damming their spontaneous expression."
I. Read the text and do the assignments following it.
English Poetry of the Mid-Century
Early in the 1950s there were signs that a new generation of poets was about to appear. Oscar Mellor's Fantasy Press books and pamphlets, John Wain's series of readings on the Third Programme, a few volumes printed by the Reading School of Art, and the anthology Springtime, edited by G.S. Fraser and Gain Fletcher (1953), were among the early manifestations of this new spirit. Then came the launching of a periodical called "Listen," produced by G. Hartley who also published volumes by Philip Larkin and by John Holloway.
It is undeniable that R. Conquest's anthology, "New Lines" (1956) provided much the same platform for the poets of the fifties that "New Signatures" (1932) had offered to the poets of the thirties. The poets in this anthology were united by "a negative determination to avoid bad principles" rather than by any positive programme. The nine contributors, to the anthology shared a common tone, a belief that the intellect and the moral judgment must play a decisive part in the shaping of a poem.
The most widely admired of all the Movement poets Philip Larkin published his first volume "The North Ship" in 1945. In his witty introduction to the 1966 edition of the "The North Ship" he remarks that he was infatuated with the poetic music of Yeats, and that poetic talent was preserved from ruin by his discovery in early 1946 of Hardy's verse. The poem is an enormous advance on Larkin's earlier work, exhibiting the characteristics of his mature poetry – a fine, though unobtrusive, power of evoking an atmosphere, a muted wit, a masterly control of tone, a lyrical irony.
Larkin's poems present with a rare accuracy the social climate of suburban England in the 1950s. His verse is suffused with a compassionate melancholy, a sense of sadness and the transience of things. He pronounces his verdict on our lives:
Whether or not we use it, it goes,
And leaves what something hidden from us chose,
And age, and then the only end of age.
It would be misleading to claim that all the best poets of the 1950s were represented in "New Lines," or that the Movement comprised everything that was vital in the poetry of the decade. As at all times, there were few poets working in solitude, indifferent to current literary disputes.
R.S. Thomas’s first two volumes "The Stones of the Field" (1946) and "An Acre of Land" (1952) were printed by small, little-known firms in Wales, and it was not until 1955 that he made his mark with "Song at the Year's Turning," a selection of poems written between 1942 and 1954. Although he owes nothing to the Movement poets his work exhibits many of the virtues which they admired. He presents a small world of the Welsh hill country where he favoured as priest. The background of his poems is almost always the Welsh landscape in winter, the cold sky, the bare branches, the snow.
A much younger poet, Ted Hughes, published his first collection, "The Hawk in the Rain," in 1957. It is interesting to compare him with his Cambridge contemporary, Thom Gunn, who is usually associated with the Movement. Both are anatomists of violence; but whereas Gunn is concerned with its operation in society, Hughes broods on violence as a principle of the universe and, in particular, of the animal kingdom.
In his review of "New Lines" Charles Tomlinson voiced dissatisfaction with the practice of the Movement. After some years during which he was admired in the States but ignored in his own country, Tomlinson gradually won recognition in Britain. His poetry is notable for clarity of outline and precision. He believes that Symbolism was the major poetic achievement in the late 19th century, admiring not only the French Symbolists, but the work of Tyutchev and of Machado, whom he has translated in collaboration with Henry Gifford.
There are other poets who deserve more than a passing mention. Thomas Blackburn, whose early verse draws on myth and legend in order to illuminate his own illuminate own perplexities, has become more direct in the exploration of his inner tensions.
Geoffrey Hill, who has published only two small volumes, writes poetry of extraordinary concentration and purity. Burns Singer and Edward Lowbury, two fine undervalued poets, have wrestled with the metaphysical problems of time, death and nothingless.
II. Translate into Russian the following key words and word combinations and use them in the sentences of your own:
the early manifestations of the new spirit, to launch a periodical, to share a common tone, to be infatuated with, mature poetry, to evoke an atmosphere, to present the social climate, to make the mark with, the background of his poems, to be associated with the Movement, to voice dissatisfaction with, notable for clarity of outline and precision.
III. Answer the following questions:
1. What poets manifested the new spirit of the 1950s?
2. What collection of poems provided the platform for the poets of the fifties?
3. The nine contributors to the anthology shared a common tone, didn't they?
4. Who was the most widely admired of all the Movement poets and why?
5. What other poets not belonging to the Movement do you know?
6. What can you say about R.S. Thomas's poetry? What is the background of his poems?
7. Who voiced his dissatisfaction with the Movement?
8. Why did Ch. Tomlinson win recognition in Great Britain?
IV. Read the poem and say what it is about. Learn it by heart.
Beyond all this, the wish to be alone:
However the sky grows dark with invitation cards
However we follow the printed directions of sex
However the family is photographed under the flag staff.
Beyond all this, the wish to be alone,
Beneath it all, desire of oblivion runs:
Despite the artful tensions of the calendar,
The life insurance, the tabled fertility rises,
The costly aversion of the eyes from death –
Beneath it all, desire of oblivion runs.
V. Comment on the guotations:
1. Poetry is the record of the best and happiest moments of the happies and the best minds. (P.B. Shelly)
2. Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital. (O. Wilde)
3. "Classic" is a book which people praise and don't read. (M. Twain)