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1930s poetry and politics

The 1930s are notoriously marked by a high degree of politicisation of literary writing. Consider any poet working in the period and discuss the extent to which this observation is either useful or accurate as a means of reading their work. Can the 1930s be marked out as a special case in this way, and if so why?
Literature Essay

  • Assessment: essay
  • Mark: A
  • Year: 2006
  • Wordcount: 3263

Excerpt:
The 1930s was a decade that can be characterized by the economic depression and the rise of authoritarian ideologies in Italy, Germany and Spain. These historical and political circumstances had a deep impact on the young writers and poets of Britain and Europe (Manteiga 1989:3). As Woolf (2004: 613) points out “in 1930 young men at college were forced to be aware of what was happening in Russia; in Germany; in Italy; in Spain. They could not go on discussing aesthetic emotions and personal relations”. Hence the poetry of this time is often seen as directly influenced by politics and as such “public, classical, and through association with Marx, left-wing” (Caesar 1991: 37). After the war, in the 1950s, this focus on politics within art had changed. Critics saw the 1950s and 1960s as a period where poets were “indifferent to the immediate problems of society” (Booth 2005:112). The Movement poets, for instance, were primarily concerned to uphold with their poetry conservative opinions and a sense of tradition (Draper 1999: 231).
In the first part of this essay I will examine the extent of the politicisation of the 1930s poetry of Auden, who is seen as “the clear Master of the Period” (Skeleton 2000: 33). In a detailed analysis of ‘Spain 1937’, a ‘Communist to Others’ and other examples of Auden’s poetry of the 1930’s I will assess the degree to which “the mere making of a work of art is itself a political act” (Auden 2004: 383). In the second part I will compare the committed writing of the pre-war period with the poetry of Philip Larkin. In examining ‘MCMXIV’, ‘Church Going’ and other examples of his writing of the 1950s, this essay will establish the notion that Larkin’s poetry is not only driven by a sense of nostalgia but is also concerned with the social injustices of his time.

Full text:
file: Poetry1930s_Literature.pdf []
Category: Literature
download: 4559


History and the British Novel

What is the significance of the historical novel and/ or representations of history in the post-war British novel?
Literature Essay

  • Assessment: essay
  • Mark: A
  • Year: 2006
  • Wordcount: 3083

Excerpt:
After the Second World War, Britain saw extensive social and political changes. The gradual loss of Britain’s colonies, the growth of the Welfare State, followed by its erosion from the 70s onwards and the anxieties linked to the Cold War, were just some of the developments that resulted in a change and redefinition of Britain’s intellectuals’ attitudes towards history (Connor 2002: 3). Conner (2002: 3) argues that “Britain seemed progressively to lose possession of its own history” because it has lost its belief “that it was the subject of its own history”. This new understanding of history is reflected in the literature of this time. Many post-war writers perceived history as a “matter of gaps, absences and enigmas” (Connor 2002: 134) rather than a progressive ‘grand narrative’.
Since the bases for “historical knowledge are not empirical facts but written texts” (De Man 2004: 493), many post war writers assumed that “both history and fiction derive from and produce texts” (Scanlan 2005: 155). Thus several post war novelists regarded their art as a way in which “history is made, and remade” (Connor 2002: 1). In this essay I will look at two post war novels that are both a response to English history and also a critical investigation of the “possibility under which history may be narratable at all” (Connor 2002: 133). In discussing John Fowles’s French Lieutenant’s Woman and Muriel Spark’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, this essay will examine what impact the change in the perceptions of history had on post war novelists and how this affected their writing. In addition, I will outline the ways in which these texts expose the process of history making and therefore exemplify the post war authors’ complex historical understandings (Deistler 1999: 97).
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is set in the Edinburgh of the 1930s and as such “directly related to the history of fascism and the aftermath of war” (Cheyette 2005: 369). ...

Full text:
file: Literature_PostWarNovel.pdf []
Category: Literature
download: 2730


Anton Wildgans-Preis 2006

Wolfgang Hermann erhielt den mit 10.000 EUR dotierten Anton Wildgans-Preis.

Dieser jährlich von der österreichischen Industrie gestiftete Preis erging heuer an Wolfgang Hermann.

Die Jury begründete ihre Entscheidung mit folgenden Worten:
Wolfgang Hermann „gilt seit langem als Meister der Miniaturen. Aber was die Erzählungen und Gedichte von Wolfgang Hermann ganz besonders auszeichnet ist, dass er die Welt, die er beschreibt, nie besetzt, und dass er Figuren, die er charakterisiert, nie für irgendeine oder seine Sache zu vereinnahmen versucht“.

Unter den vorhergehenden Preisträgern finden sich Namen großer österreichischer Autoren wie Thomas Bernhard, Ilse Aichinger, Ernst Jandl, Ingeborg Bachmann, Christoph Ransmayr und Michael Köhlmeier.

Auf Wolfgang Hermanns Homepage link kann Interessantes zu seiner Person und seinen Werken nachgelesen werden.


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