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【转载】美国文学简史笔记(常耀信)1.doc  

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A Concise History of American Literature

What is literature?

Literature is language artistically used to achieve identifiable literary qualities and to convey meaningful messages.

Chapter 1 Colonial Period

I.                   Background: Puritanism

1.         features of Puritanism

(1)      Predestination: God decided everything before things occurred.

(2)      Original sin: Human beings were born to be evil, and this original sin can be passed down from generation to generation.

(3)      Total depravity

(4)      Limited atonement: Only the “elect” can be saved.

2.         Influence

(1)      A group of good qualities – hard work, thrift, piety, sobriety (serious and thoughtful) influenced American literature.

(2)      It led to the everlasting myth. All literature is based on a myth – garden of Eden.

(3)      Symbolism: the American puritan’s metaphorical mode of perception was chiefly instrumental in calling into being a literary symbolism which is distinctly American.

(4)      With regard to their writing, the style is fresh, simple and direct; the rhetoric is plain and honest, not without a touch of nobility often traceable to the direct influence of the Bible.

II.                Overview of the literature

1.         types of writing

diaries, histories, journals, letters, travel books, autobiographies/biographies, sermons

2.         writers of colonial period

(1)      Anne Bradstreet

(2)      Edward Taylor

(3)      Roger Williams

(4)      John Woolman

(5)      Thomas Paine

(6)      Philip Freneau

III.             Jonathan Edwards

1.         life

2.         works

(1)      The Freedom of the Will

(2)      The Great Doctrine of Original Sin Defended

(3)      The Nature of True Virtue

3.         ideas – pioneer of transcendentalism

(1)      The spirit of revivalism

(2)      Regeneration of man

(3)      God’s presence

(4)      Puritan idealism

IV.              Benjamin Franklin

1.         life

2.         works

(1)      Poor Richard’s Almanac

(2)      Autobiography

3.         contribution

(1)      He helped found the Pennsylvania Hospital and the American Philosophical Society.

(2)      He was called “the new Prometheus who had stolen fire (electricity in this case) from heaven”.

(3)      Everything seems to meet in this one man – “Jack of all trades”. Herman Melville thus described him “master of each and mastered by none”.

Chapter 2 American Romanticism

Section 1 Early Romantic Period

What is Romanticism?

l         An approach from ancient Greek: Plato

l         A literary trend: 18c in Britain (1798~1832)

l         Schlegel Bros.

I.                   Preview: Characteristics of romanticism

1.         subjectivity

(1)      feeling and emotions, finding truth

(2)      emphasis on imagination

(3)      emphasis on individualism – personal freedom, no hero worship, natural goodness of human beings

2.         back to medieval, esp medieval folk literature

(1)      unrestrained by classical rules

(2)      full of imagination

(3)      colloquial language

(4)      freedom of imagination

(5)      genuine in feelings: answer their call for classics

3.         back to nature

nature is “breathing living thing” (Rousseau)

II.                American Romanticism

1.         Background

(1)      Political background and economic development

(2)      Romantic movement in European countries

Derivative – foreign influence

2.         features

(1)      American romanticism was in essence the expression of “a real new experience and contained “an alien quality” for the simple reason that “the spirit of the place” was radically new and alien.

(2)      There is American Puritanism as a cultural heritage to consider. American romantic authors tended more to moralize. Many American romantic writings intended to edify more than they entertained.

(3)      The “newness” of Americans as a nation is in connection with American Romanticism.

(4)      As a logical result of the foreign and native factors at work, American romanticism was both imitative and independent.

III.             Washington Irving

1.         several names attached to Irving

(1)      first American writer

(2)      the messenger sent from the new world to the old world

(3)      father of American literature

2.         life

3.         works

(1)      A History of New York from the Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty

(2)      The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. (He won a measure of international recognition with the publication of this.)

(3)      The History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus

(4)      A Chronicle of the Conquest of Granada

(5)      The Alhambra

4.         Literary career: two parts

(1)      1809~1832

a.       Subjects are either English or European

b.       Conservative love for the antique

(2)      1832~1859: back to US

5.         style – beautiful

(1)      gentility, urbanity, pleasantness

(2)      avoiding moralizing – amusing and entertaining

(3)      enveloping stories in an atmosphere

(4)      vivid and true characters

(5)      humour – smiling while reading

(6)      musical language

IV.              James Fenimore Cooper

1.         life

2.         works

(1)      Precaution (1820, his first novel, imitating Austen’s Pride and Prejudice)

(2)      The Spy (his second novel and great success)

(3)      Leatherstocking Tales (his masterpiece, a series of five novels)

The Deerslayer, The Last of the Mohicans, The Pathfinder, The Pioneer, The Prairie

3.         point of view

the theme of wilderness vs. civilization, freedom vs. law, order vs. change, aristocrat vs. democrat, natural rights vs. legal rights

4.         style

(1)      highly imaginative

(2)      good at inventing tales

(3)      good at landscape description

(4)      conservative

(5)      characterization wooden and lacking in probability

(6)      language and use of dialect not authentic

5.         literary achievements

He created a myth about the formative period of the American nation. If the history of the United States is, in a sense, the process of the American settlers exploring and pushing the American frontier forever westward, then Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales effectively approximates the American national experience of adventure into the West. He turned the west and frontier as a useable past and he helped to introduce western tradition to American literature.

Section 2 Summit of Romanticism – American Transcendentalism

I.                   Background: four sources

1.         Unitarianism

(1)      Fatherhood of God

(2)      Brotherhood of men

(3)      Leadership of Jesus

(4)      Salvation by character (perfection of one’s character)

(5)      Continued progress of mankind

(6)      Divinity of mankind

(7)      Depravity of mankind

2.         Romantic Idealism

Center of the world is spirit, absolute spirit (Kant)

3.         Oriental mysticism

Center of the world is “oversoul”

4.         Puritanism

Eloquent expression in transcendentalism

II.                Appearance

1836, “Nature” by Emerson

III.             Features

1.         spirit/oversoul

2.         importance of individualism

3.         nature – symbol of spirit/God

garment of the oversoul

4.         focus in intuition (irrationalism and subconsciousness)

IV.              Influence

1.         It served as an ethical guide to life for a young nation and brought about the idea that human can be perfected by nature. It stressed religious tolerance, called to throw off shackles of customs and traditions and go forward to the development of a new and distinctly American culture.

2.         It advocated idealism that was great needed in a rapidly expanded economy where opportunity often became opportunism, and the desire to “get on” obscured the moral necessity for rising to spiritual height.

3.         It helped to create the first American renaissance – one of the most prolific period in American literature.

V.                 Ralph Waldo Emerson

1.         life

2.         works

(1)      Nature

(2)      Two essays: The American Scholar, The Poet

3.         point of view

(1)      One major element of his philosophy is his firm belief in the transcendence of the “oversoul”.

(2)      He regards nature as the purest, and the most sanctifying moral influence on man, and advocated a direct intuition of a spiritual and immanent God in nature.

(3)      If man depends upon himself, cultivates himself and brings out the divine in himself, he can hope to become better and even perfect. This is what Emerson means by “the infinitude of man”.

(4)      Everyone should understand that he makes himself by making his world, and that he makes the world by making himself.

4.         aesthetic ideas

(1)      He is a complete man, an eternal man.

(2)      True poetry and true art should ennoble.

(3)      The poet should express his thought in symbols.

(4)      As to theme, Emerson called upon American authors to celebrate America which was to him a lone poem in itself.

5.         his influence

VI.              Henry David Thoreau

1.         life

2.         works

(1)      A Week on the Concord and Merrimack River

(2)      Walden

(3)      A Plea for John Brown (an essay)

3.         point of view

(1)      He did not like the way a materialistic America was developing and was vehemently outspoken on the point.

(2)      He hated the human injustice as represented by the slavery system.

(3)      Like Emerson, but more than him, Thoreau saw nature as a genuine restorative, healthy influence on man’s spiritual well-being.

(4)      He has faith in the inner virtue and inward, spiritual grace of man.

(5)      He was very critical of modern civilization.

(6)      “Simplicity…simplify!”

(7)      He was sorely disgusted with “the inundations of the dirty institutions of men’s odd-fellow society”.

(8)      He has calm trust in the future and his ardent belief in a new generation of men.

Section 3 Late Romanticism

I.                   Nathaniel Hawthorne

1.         life

2.         works

(1)      Two collections of short stories: Twice-told Tales, Mosses from and Old Manse

(2)      The Scarlet Letter

(3)      The House of the Seven Gables

(4)      The Marble Faun

3.         point of view

(1)      Evil is at the core of human life, “that blackness in Hawthorne”

(2)      Whenever there is sin, there is punishment. Sin or evil can be passed from generation to generation (causality).

(3)      He is of the opinion that evil educates.

(4)      He has disgust in science.

4.         aesthetic ideas

(1)      He took a great interest in history and antiquity. To him these furnish the soil on which his mind grows to fruition.

(2)      He was convinced that romance was the predestined form of American narrative. To tell the truth and satirize and yet not to offend: That was what Hawthorne had in mind to achieve.

5.         style – typical romantic writer

(1)      the use of symbols

(2)      revelation of characters’ psychology

(3)      the use of supernatural mixed with the actual

(4)      his stories are parable (parable inform) – to teach a lesson

(5)      use of ambiguity to keep the reader in the world of uncertainty – multiple point of view

II.                Herman Melville

1.         life

2.         works

(1)      Typee

(2)      Omio

(3)      Mardi

(4)      Redburn

(5)      White Jacket

(6)      Moby Dick

(7)      Pierre

(8)      Billy Budd

3.         point of view

(1)      He never seems able to say an affirmative yes to life: His is the attitude of “Everlasting Nay” (negative attitude towards life).

(2)      One of the major themes of his is alienation (far away from each other).

Other themes: loneliness, suicidal individualism (individualism causing disaster and death), rejection and quest, confrontation of innocence and evil, doubts over the comforting 19c idea of progress

4.         style

(1)      Like Hawthorne, Melville manages to achieve the effect of ambiguity through employing the technique of multiple view of his narratives.

(2)      He tends to write periodic chapters.

(3)      His rich rhythmical prose and his poetic power have been profusely commented upon and praised.

(4)      His works are symbolic and metaphorical.

(5)      He includes many non-narrative chapters of factual background or description of what goes on board the ship or on the route (Moby Dick)

Romantic Poets

I.                   Walt Whitman

1.         life

2.         work: Leaves of Grass (9 editions)

(1)      Song of Myself

(2)      There Was a Child Went Forth

(3)      Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

(4)      Democratic Vistas

(5)      Passage to India

(6)      Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking

3.         themes – “Catalogue of American and European thought”

He had been influenced by many American and European thoughts: enlightenment, idealism, transcendentalism, science, evolution ideas, western frontier spirits, Jefferson’s individualism, Civil War Unionism, Orientalism.

Major themes in his poems (almost everything):

l         equality of things and beings

l         divinity of everything

l         immanence of God

l         democracy

l         evolution of cosmos

l         multiplicity of nature

l         self-reliant spirit

l         death, beauty of death

l         expansion of America

l         brotherhood and social solidarity (unity of nations in the world)

l         pursuit of love and happiness

4.         style: “free verse”

(1)      no fixed rhyme or scheme

(2)      parallelism, a rhythm of thought

(3)      phonetic recurrence

(4)      the habit of using snapshots

(5)      the use of a certain pronoun “I”

(6)      a looser and more open-ended syntactic structure

(7)      use of conventional image

(8)      strong tendency to use oral English

(9)      vocabulary – powerful, colourful, rarely used words of foreign origins, some even wrong

(10)  sentences – catalogue technique: long list of names, long poem lines

5.         influence

(1)      His best work has become part of the common property of Western culture.

(2)      He took over Whitman’s vision of the poet-prophet and poet-teacher and recast it in a more sophisticated and Europeanized mood.

(3)      He has been compared to a mountain in American literary history.

(4)      Contemporary American poetry, whatever school or form, bears witness to his great influence.

II.                Emily Dickenson

1.         life

2.         works

(1)      My Life Closed Twice before Its Close

(2)      Because I Can’t Stop for Death

(3)      I Heard a Fly Buzz – When I died

(4)      Mine – by the Right of the White Election

(5)      Wild Nights – Wild Nights

3.         themes: based on her own experiences/joys/sorrows

(1)      religion – doubt and belief about religious subjects

(2)      death and immortality

(3)      love – suffering and frustration caused by love

(4)      physical aspect of desire

(5)      nature – kind and cruel

(6)      free will and human responsibility

4.         style

(1)      poems without titles

(2)      severe economy of expression

(3)      directness, brevity

(4)      musical device to create cadence (rhythm)

(5)      capital letters – emphasis

(6)      short poems, mainly two stanzas

(7)      rhetoric techniques: personification – make some of abstract ideas vivid

III.             Comparison: Whitman vs. Dickinson

1.         Similarities:

(1)      Thematically, they both extolled, in their different ways, an emergent America, its expansion, its individualism and its Americanness, their poetry being part of “American Renaissance”.

(2)      Technically, they both added to the literary independence of the new nation by breaking free of the convention of the iambic pentameter and exhibiting a freedom in form unknown before: they were pioneers in American poetry.

2.         differences:

(1)      Whitman seems to keep his eye on society at large; Dickinson explores the inner life of the individual.

(2)      Whereas Whitman is “national” in his outlook, Dickinson is “regional”.

(3)      Dickinson has the “catalogue technique” (direct, simple style) which Whitman doesn’t have.

Edgar Allen Poe                         

I.                   Life

II.                Works

1.         short stories

(1)      ratiocinative stories

a.       Ms Found in a Bottle

b.       The Murders in the Rue Morgue

c.       The Purloined Letter

(2)      Revenge, death and rebirth

a.       The Fall of the House of Usher

b.       Ligeia

c.       The Masque of the Red Death

(3)      Literary theory

a.       The Philosophy of Composition

b.       The Poetic Principle

c.       Review of Hawthorne’s Twice-told Tales

III.             Themes

1.         death – predominant theme in Poe’s writing

“Poe is not interested in anything alive. Everything in Poe’s writings is dead.”

2.         disintegration (separation) of life

3.         horror

4.         negative thoughts of science

IV.              Aesthetic ideas

1.         The short stories should be of brevity, totality, single effect, compression and finality.

2.         The poems should be short, and the aim should be beauty, the tone melancholy. Poems should not be of moralizing. He calls for pure poetry and stresses rhythm.

V.                 Style – traditional, but not easy to read

VI.              Reputation: “the jingle man” (Emerson)

VII.           His influences

Chapter 3 The Age of Realism

I.                   Background: From Romanticism to Realism

1.         the three conflicts that reached breaking point in this period

(1)      industrialism vs. agrarian

(2)      culturely-measured east vs. newly-developed west

(3)      plantation gentility vs. commercial gentility

2.         1880’s urbanization: from free competition to monopoly capitalism

3.         the closing of American frontier

II.                Characteristics

1.         truthful description of life

2.         typical character under typical circumstance

3.         objective rather than idealized, close observation and investigation of life

“Realistic writers are like scientists.”

4.         open-ending:

Life is complex and cannot be fully understood. It leaves much room for readers to think by themselves.

5.         concerned with social and psychological problems, revealing the frustrations of characters in an environment of sordidness and depravity

III.             Three Giants in Realistic Period

1.         William Dean Howells – “Dean of American Realism”

(1)      Realistic principles

a.       Realism is “fidelity to experience and probability of motive”.

b.       The aim is “talk of some ordinary traits of American life”.

c.       Man in his natural and unaffected dullness was the object of Howells’s fictional representation.

d.       Realism is by no means mere photographic pictures of externals but includes a central concern with “motives” and psychological conflicts.

e.       He condemns novels of sentimentality and morbid self-sacrifice, and avoids such themes as illicit love.

f.        Authors should minimize plot and the artificial ordering of the sense of something “desultory, unfinished, imperfect”.

g.       Characters should have solidity of specification and be real.

h.       Interpreting sympathetically the “common feelings of commonplace people” was best suited as a technique to express the spirit of America.

i.         He urged writers to winnow tradition and write in keeping with current humanitarian ideals.

j.         Truth is the highest beauty, but it includes the view that morality penetrates all things.

k.       With regard to literary criticism, Howells felt that the literary critic should not try to impose arbitrary or subjective evaluations on books but should follow the detached scientist in accurate description, interpretation, and classification.

(2)      Works

a.       The Rise of Silas Lapham

b.       A Chance Acquaintance

c.       A Modern Instance

(3)      Features of His Works

a.       Optimistic tone

b.       Moral development/ethics

c.       Lacking of psychological depth

2.         Henry James

(1)      Life

(2)      Literary career: three stages

a.       1865~1882: international theme

l         The American

l         Daisy Miller

l         The Portrait of a Lady

b.       1882~1895: inter-personal relationships and some plays

l         Daisy Miller (play)

c.       1895~1900: novellas and tales dealing with childhood and adolescence, then back to international theme

l         The Turn of the Screw

l         When Maisie Knew

l         The Ambassadors

l         The Wings of the Dove

l         The Golden Bowl

(3)      Aesthetic ideas

a.       The aim of novel: represent life

b.       Common, even ugly side of life

c.       Social function of art

d.       Avoiding omniscient point of view

(4)      Point of view

a.       Psychological analysis, forefather of stream of consciousness

b.       Psychological realism

c.       Highly-refined language

(5)      Style – “stylist”

a.       Language: highly-refined, polished, insightful, accurate

b.       Vocabulary: large

c.       Construction: complicated, intricate

3.         Mark Twain (see next section)

Local Colorism

1860s, 1870s~1890s

I.                   Appearance

1.         uneven development in economy in America

2.         culture: flourishing of frontier literature, humourists

3.         magazines appeared to let writer publish their works

II.                What is “Local Colour”?

Tasks of local colourists: to write or present local characters of their regions in truthful depiction distinguished from others, usually a very small part of the world.

Regional literature (similar, but larger in world)

l         Garland, Harte – the west

l         Eggleston – Indiana

l         Mrs Stowe

l         Jewett – Maine

l         Chopin – Louisiana

III.             Mark Twain – Mississippi

1.         life

2.         works

(1)      The Gilded Age

(2)      “the two advantages”

(3)      Life on the Mississippi

(4)      A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

(5)      The Man That Corrupted Hardleybug

3.         style

(1)      colloquial language, vernacular language, dialects

(2)      local colour

(3)      syntactic feature: sentences are simple, brief, sometimes ungrammatical

(4)      humour

(5)      tall tales (highly exaggerated)

(6)      social criticism (satire on the different ugly things in society)

IV.              Comparison of the three “giants” of American Realism

1.         Theme

Howells – middle class

James – upper class

Twain – lower class

2.         Technique

Howells – smiling/genteel realism

James – psychological realism

Twain – local colourism and colloquialism

Chapter 4 American Naturalism

I.                   Background

1.         Darwin’s theory: “natural selection”

2.         Spenser’s idea: “social Darwinism”

3.         French Naturalism: Zora

II.                Features

1.         environment and heredity

2.         scientific accuracy and a lot of details

3.         general tone: hopelessness, despair, gloom, ugly side of the society

III.             significance

It prepares the way for the writing of 1920s’ “lost generation” and T. S. Eliot.

IV.              Theodore Dreiser

1.         life

2.         works

(1)      Sister Carrie

(2)      The trilogy: Financier, The Titan, The Stoic

(3)      Jennie Gerhardt

(4)      American Tragedy

(5)      The Genius

3.         point of view

(1)      He embraced social Darwinism – survival of the fittest. He learned to regard man as merely an animal driven by greed and lust in a struggle for existence in which only the “fittest”, the most ruthless, survive.

(2)      Life is predatory, a “game” of the lecherous and heartless, a jungle struggle in which man, being “a waif and an interloper in Nature”, a “wisp in the wind of social forces”, is a mere pawn in the general scheme of things, with no power whatever to assert his will.

(3)      No one is ethically free; everything is determined by a complex of internal chemisms and by the forces of social pressure.

4.         Sister Carrie

(1)      Plot

(2)      Analysis

5.         Style

(1)      Without good structure

(2)      Deficient characterization

(3)      Lack in imagination

(4)      Journalistic method

(5)      Techniques in painting

Chapter 5 The Modern Period

Section 1 The 1920s

I.                   Introduction

The 1920s is a flowering period of American literature. It is considered “the second renaissance” of American literature.

The nicknames for this period:

(1)      Roaring 20s – comfort

(2)      Dollar Decade – rich

(3)      Jazz Age – Jazz music

II.                Background

1.         First World War – “a war to end all wars”

(1)      Economically: became rich from WWI. Economic boom: new inventions. Highly-consuming society.

(2)      Spiritually: dislocation, fragmentation.

2.         wide-spread contempt for law (looking down upon law)

3.         Freud’s theory

III.             Features of the literature

Writers: three groups

(1)      Participants

(2)      Expatriates

(3)      Bohemian (unconventional way of life) – on-lookers

Two areas:

(1)      Failure of communication of Americans

(2)      Failure of the American society

Imagism

I.           Background

       Imagism was influenced by French symbolism, ancient Chinese poetry and Japanese literature “haiku”

II.         Development: three stages

1.         1908~1909: London, Hulme

2.         1912~1914: England -> America, Pound

3.         1914~1917: Amy Lowell

III.        What is an “image”?

       An image is defined by Pound as that which presents an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time, “a vortex or cluster of fused ideas” “endowed with energy”. The exact word must bring the effect of the object before the reader as it had presented itself to the poet’s mind at the time of writing.

IV.         Principles

1.         Direct treatment of the “thing”, whether subjective or objective;

2.         To use absolutely no word that does not contribute to the presentation;

3.         As regarding rhythm, to compose in the sequence of the musical phrase, not in the sequence of a metronome.

V.          Significance

1.         It was a rebellion against the traditional poetics which failed to reflect the new life of the new century.

2.         It offered a new way of writing which was valid not only for the Imagist poets but for modern poetry as a whole.

3.         The movement was a training school in which many great poets learned their first lessons in the poetic art.

4.         It is this movement that helped to open the first pages of modern English and American poetry.

VI.        Ezra Pound

1.         life

2.         literary career

3.         works

(1)      Cathay

(2)      Cantos

(3)      Hugh Selwyn Mauberley

4.         point of view

(1)      Confident in Pound’s belief that the artist was morally and culturally the arbiter and the “saviour” of the race, he took it upon himself to purify the arts and became the prime mover of a few experimental movements, the aim of which was to dump the old into the dustbin and bring forth something new.

(2)      To him life was sordid personal crushing oppression, and culture produced nothing but “intangible bondage”.

(3)      Pound sees in Chinese history and the doctrine of Confucius a source of strength and wisdom with which to counterpoint Western gloom and confusion.

(4)      He saw a chaotic world that wanted setting to rights, and a humanity, suffering from spiritual death and cosmic injustice, that needed saving. He was for the most part of his life trying to offer Confucian philosophy as the one faith which could help to save the West.

5.         style: very difficult to read

Pound’s early poems are fresh and lyrical. The Cantos can be notoriously difficult in some sections, but delightfully beautiful in others. Few have made serious study of the long poem; fewer, if anyone at all, have had the courage to declare that they have conquered Pound; and many seem to agree that the Cantos is a monumental failure.

6.         Contribution

He has helped, through theory and practice, to chart out the course of modern poetry.

7.         The Cantos – “the intellectual diary since 1915”

Features:

(1)      Language: intricate and obscure

(2)      Theme: complex subject matters

(3)      Form: no fixed framework, no central theme, no attention to poetic rules

VII.       T. S. Eliot

1.         life

2.         works

(1)      poems

l         The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

l         The Waste Land (epic)

l         Hollow Man

l         Ash Wednesday

l         Four Quarters

(2)      Plays

l         Murder in the Cathedral

l         Sweeney Agonistes

l         The Cocktail Party

l         The Confidential Clerk

(3)      Critical essays

l         The Sacred Wood

l         Essays on Style and Order

l         Elizabethan Essays

l         The Use of Poetry and The Use of Criticisms

l         After Strange Gods

3.         point of view

(1)      The modern society is futile and chaotic.

(2)      Only poets can create some order out of chaos.

(3)      The method to use is to compare the past and the present.

4.         Style

(1)      Fresh visual imagery, flexible tone and highly expressive rhythm

(2)      Difficult and disconnected images and symbols, quotations and allusions

(3)      Elliptical structures, strange juxtapositions, an absence of bridges

5.         The Waste Land: five parts

(1)      The Burial of the Dead

(2)      A Game of Chess

(3)      The Fire Sermon

(4)      Death by Water

(5)      What the Thunder Said

VIII.     Robert Frost

1.         life

2.         point of view

(1)      All his life, Frost was concerned with constructions through poetry. “a momentary stay against confusion”.

(2)      He understands the terror and tragedy in nature, but also its beauty.

(3)      Unlike the English romantic poets of 19th century, he didn’t believe that man could find harmony with nature. He believed that serenity came from working, usually amid natural forces, which couldn’t be understood. He regarded work as “significant toil”.

3.         works – poems

the first: A Boy’s Will

collections: North of Boston, Mountain Interval (mature), New Hampshire

4.         style/features of his poems

(1)      Most of his poems took New England as setting, and the subjects were chosen from daily life of ordinary people, such as “mending wall”, “picking apples”.

(2)      He writes most often about landscape and people – the loneliness and poverty of isolated farmers, beauty, terror and tragedy in nature. He also describes some abnormal people, e.g. “deceptively simple”, “philosophical poet”.

(3)      Although he was popular during 1920s, he didn’t experiment like other modern poets. He used conventional forms, plain language, traditional metre, and wrote in a pastured tradition.

IX.        e. e. cummings

       “a juggler with syntax, grammar and diction” – individualism, “painter poet”

Novels in the 1920s

I.                   F. Scott Fitzgerald

1.         life – participant in 1920s

2.         works

(1)      This Side of Paradise

(2)      Flappers and Philosophers

(3)      The Beautiful and the Damned

(4)      The Great Gatsby

(5)      Tender is the Night

(6)      All the Sad Young Man

(7)      The Last Tycoon

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