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自考《英美文学选读》(英)现代文学时期(4)

2006-12-31 11:15   【 】【我要纠错

  V. D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930)

  一。一般识记

  His life and writing: David Herbert Lawrence was born at a mining village in Nottinghamshire. His father was a coal-miner with little education; but his mother, once a school teacher, was from a somewhat higher class, who came to think that she had married beneath her and desired to have her sons well educated so as to help them escape from the life of coal miners. The conflict between the earthy, coarse, energetic but often drunken father and the refined, strong-willed and up-climbing mother is vividly presented in his autobiographical novel, Sons and Lovers (1913)。

  二。识记

  1.Lawrence's major works: During his life-long literary career, he had written more than ten novels, several volumes of short stories and a large number of poems. Lawrence began his novel writing in his early twenties. His first novel, The White Peacock (1911), is a remarkable work of a talented young man, acutely observant of nature and delighting in story. His second novel is The Trespasser (1912), which is about the failure of human contact and the lack of warmth between people, which are to be further explored in his later novels. Lawrence was recognized as a prominent novelist only after Sons and Lovers was published. The Rainbow (1915) and Women in Love (1920) are generally regarded as his masterpieces in which symbolism and complex narrative are employed more richly.

  2.The Rainbow

  (1) The story: The Rainbow is a story about the three generations of the Brangwen family on the Marsh farm. The first part is about the marriage and life of Tom Brangwen and Lydia Lensky, a Polish widow. They have a deep and loving understanding of each other in spite of the utter foreignness between them. They can also communicate with the mysterious natural world. Their relationship is presented as the model one in the novel. The second part of the novel is about Anna Lensky, Lydia's daughter by her first husband, and Will, Tom's nephew. They have physical passion for each other; but, in Lawrence's words, "their souls remain separate." Their relationship is fraught with conflicts, and their marriage fails to achieve the final fulfillment of the older generation. The last part of the novel deals with Ursula, the eldest daughter of Will and Anna, who carries the story on into the third generation. This part of the novel traces Ursula's life from childhood through adolescence up to adulthood. At the end of the novel; Ursula is left with much experience behind her, but still "uncreated" in face of the unknown future.

  (2) The social significance of The Rainbow: In this novel, Lawrence illustrates a terrible social corruption that accompanies the progress of human civilization. In Lawrence's opinion, the mechanical civilization is responsible for the unhealthy development of human personalities, the perversion of love and the failure of human fulfillment in marital relationships. In reading the novel, the reader often feels the threatening shadows of the disintegration and destructiveness of the whole civilized world which loom behind the emotional conflicts and psychological tensions of the characters. As a matter of fact, it is the first time for Lawrence to make a conscious attempt to combine social criticism with psychological exploration in his novel writing.

  3.Women in Love:

  (1) The story: As its title implies, Women in Love is a novel about two pairs of lovers, around whom a series of episodes are dramatically presented. The two heroines are Ursula Brangwen and her younger sister Gudrun; and the two chief male characters are Gerald Crich, a young coalmine owner, and Rupert Birkin, a school inspector. At the opening of the story, Ursula and Birkin strike an immediate kin ship with each other, while Gudrun is attracted by Gerald's physical energy. The rest of the novel is a working out of the relationships of these four through interrelating events and conflicts of personalities. After a series of ups and downs, Birkin and Ursula have reached a fruitful relationship by maintaining their integrity and independence as individuals and decided to get married in the end. But the passionate love between Gudrun and Gerald experiences a process of tension and deterioration. As both of them have let their "will-power" and "ideals" interfere with their proper relations, their love turns out to be a disastrous tragedy.

  (2) The symbolic meanings in this novel: Women in Love is rich in its symbolic meanings. Gerald Crich, an efficient but ruthless coalmine owner, who makes the machine his god and establishes the inhuman mechanical system in his mining kingdom, is a symbolic figure of spiritual death, representing the whole set of bourgeois ethics. Whereas Birkin, a self-portrait of Lawrence, who fights against the cramping pressures of mechanized industrialism and the domination of any kind of dead formulas, is presented as a symbolic figure of human warmth, standing for the spontaneous Life Force. Women in Love is a remarkable novel in which the individual consciousness is subtly revealed and strands of themes are intricately wound up. The structural pattern of the book derives from the contrast between the destinies of the two pairs of lovers and the subordinate masculine relationship between Birkin and Gerald. The two sisters, the two male friends, and the two couples are closely paralleled in ideas, actions and relations so that each is corresponding to and contrasting with the other. Thus, Women in Love is regarded to be a more profoundly ordered novel than any other written by Lawrence.

  4.His later novels, which deal more extensively with themes of power, dominance, and leadership; the relationships that men form with one another, are also under exploration. These works include Aaron's Rod (1922), Kangaroo (1923), The Plumed Serpent (1926), and Lady Chatterley's Lover (1928)。 In Lady Chatterley's Lover, Lawrence has returned to his early subjects and background of Nottinghamshire. By presenting an old romantic story about a dissatisfied aristocratic lady who deserts her half-man, half-machine husband to find love with a man of nature, Lawrence not only condemns the civilized world of mechanism that distorts all natural relationships between men and women, but also advocates a return to nature.

  5.The theme of his short stories: Lawrence also uses them to expose the bankruptcy of the mechanical civilization and to find an answer to it. Irony, humour and wit are the characteristic features of many of the stories. St. Mawr, The Daughter of the Vicar, The Horse Dealer's Daughter, The Captain's Doll, The Prussian Officer, and The Virgin and the Gypsy are generally considered to be Lawrence's best known stories.

  6.Lawrence is also a proficient poet. He began his poetry writing very early and wrote quite a large number of poems in his whole career. His poems fall roughly into three categories - satirical and comic poems, poems about human relationships and emotions, and poems about nature. Lawrence does not care much about the conventional metrical rules; what he tries to do in poetry is to catch the instant life of the immediate present.

  7.Lawrence's three influential plays are known as "the Lawrence trilogy": A Collier's Friday Night (1909), The Daughter-in-Law (1912) and The Widowing of Mrs. Holroyed (1914), have in common the typical working-class environments set in Nottinghamshire. The main conflict is between the ignorant, drunken and brutish father or husband and the weary, frustrated mother or wife who tries to find emotional fulfillment in her children. What the plays focus on is the direct and violent emotions of the main characters in times of crisis in their married life. The plays are presented with a higher degree of objectivity and detachment than the novels by Lawrence.

  三。领会

  The creative features and the social significance of Lawrence's writing: Lawrence is one of the greatest English novelists of the 20th century. The major characteristics of his novel is that he combined social criticism with psychological exploration in his novel writing. He was not concerned with technical innovations; his interest lays in the tracing of psychological development of his character and in his enegetic criticism of the dehumanizing effect of the capitalist industrialization on human nature.

  (1) The theme: In his writings, Lawrence has expressed a strong reaction against the mechanical civilization. In his opinion, the bourgeois industrialization or civilization, which made its realization at the cost of ravishing the land, started the catastrophic uprooting of man from nature and caused the distortion of personality, the corruption of the will, and the dominance of sterile intellect over the authentic inward passions of man. Under the mechanical control, human beings were turned into inanimated matter, while the inanimated matter should be animated to destroy both man and earth. It is this agonized concern about the dehumanizing effect of mechanical civilization on the sensual tenderness of human nature that haunts Lawrence's writing.

  (2) Lawrence's influence to modern and contemporary English literature: He was one of the first novelists to introduce themes of psychology into his works. He made a bold psychological exploration of various human relations, especially those between men and women, with a great frankness. He believed that the healthy way of the individual's psychological development lay in the primacy of the life impulse, or in another term, the sexual impulse. Human sexuality was, to Lawrence, a symbol of Life Force. By presenting the psychological experience of individual human life and of human relationships, Lawrence has opened up a wide new territory to the novel. Lawrence declared that any repression of the sexual impulse based on social, religious, or moral values of the civilized world would cause severe damages to the harmony of human relationships and the psychic health of the individual's personality.

  (3) Lawrence's artistic tendency is mainly realism, which combines dramatic scenes with an authoritative commentary. And the realistic feature is most obviously seen in its detailed portraiture. With the working-class simplicity and directness, Lawrence can summon up all the physical attributes associated with the common daily objects.

  (4) In presenting the psychological aspects of his characters, Lawrence makes use of poetic imagination and symbolism in his writing. By using sets of natural images as poetic symbols to embody the emotional states of the characters and to illustrate human situations, Lawrence endows the traditional realism with a fresh psychological meaning. Through a combination of traditional realism and the innovating elements of symbolism and poetic imagination, Lawrence has managed to bring out the subtle ebb and flow of his characters' subconscious life.

  四。应用:Sons and Lovers

  (1) The brief outline of Lawrence's Sons and Lover: Sons and Lovers is largely an autobiographical novel told by means of straight-forward narrative and vivid episodes in chronological sequence. The story starts with the marriage of Paul's parents. Mrs. Morel, daughter of a middle-class family, is "a woman of character and refinement", a strong-willed, intelligent and ambitious woman who is fascinated by a warm, vigorous and sensuous coal miner, Walter Morel, and married beneath her own class. After an initial stage of happiness in their marriage, the class difference between them starts to estrange them from each other. The disillusion in her husband makes her lavish all the affections upon her sons. She determines that her sons should never become miners; they will be educated to realize her ideals of success, happiness and social esteem. Thus, the sons gradually come under the strong influence of the mother in affections, aspirations and mental habits, and see their father with their mother's eyes, despising their father whose personality degenerates step by step as he feels his exclusion. Later Mrs. Morel stands in the way of her second son Paul's love affairs first with Miriam, a farmer's daughter, and then with Clara, a married woman who lives separated from her husband. In the near-end of the story, Mrs. Morel suffers from a terminal disease. Paul casts off his mistress and attends to his dying mother. It is only after his mother's death that he feels free. Resisting the urge to follow his mother into darkness, he walks towards life.

  (2) The characterization of Paul in Sons and Lovers: In the second part of the novel, the closeness between Paul, the hero of the story, and his mother develops after the death of his elder brother, William, and his own illness. Paul's psychological development is traced with great subtlety, especially his emotional conflicts in the course of his early love affairs with Miriam and Clara. Paul depends heavily on his mother's love and help to make sense of the world around him; but in order to become an independent man and a true artist he has to make his own decisions about his life and work, and has to struggle to become free from his mother's influence. However, Paul is proved to be incapable of escaping the overpowering emotional bond imposed by his mother's love, so he fails to achieve a fulfilling relationship with either girl. Finally, his mother has died and he is left alone, in despair. There is no one now to love him or to help him. But the book ends with Paul's rejection of despair and his determination to face the unknown future.

  Ⅵ。 James Joyce (1882-1941)

  一。一般识记:His life and writing:

  James Joyce was born into a Catholic family Dublin, got his education at Catholic schools where he passed through a phase of religious enthusiasm but finally rejected the Catholic Church and started rebellion against the narrowness and bigotry of the bourgeois Philistines in Dublin. Influenced by Ibsen, Joyce finally decided to take the literary mission as his career. After his graduation, Joyce left Ireland to live and work in France, Italy and Switzerland for the rest of his life, for he regarded exile as the only way to preserve his integrity and to enable him to recreate the life in Dublin truthfully, completely and objectively in his writings.

  二。识记和领会:

  His main works: Joyce is not a commercial writer. In his lifetime, he wrote altogether three novels, a collection of short stories, two volumes of poetry, and one play. The novels and short stories are regarded as his great works, all of which have the same setting: Ireland, especially Dublin, and the same subject: the Irish people and their life.

  1. The theme of Dubliners: Dubliners (1914), a collection of 15 short stories, is the first important work of Joyce's lifelong preoccupation with Dublin life. The stories have an artistic unity given by Joyce who intended "to write a chapter of the moral history of my country . . . under four of its aspects: childhood, adolescence, maturity and public life." Each story presents an aspect of "dear dirty Dublin," an aspect of the city's paralysis moral, political, or spiritual. Each story is an action, defining a frustration or defeat of the soul. And the whole sequence of the stories represents the entire course of moral deterioration in Dublin, ending in the death of the soul. Dubliners begins by presenting death as an inscrutable fact in a small boy's existence; it ends with a vision in which death is seen. To make the Irish see death and living dead in their life is perhaps the first step, in Joyce's opinion, to evoke the national spirit of the Irish people. The stories are also important as examples of Joyce's theory of epiphany in fiction; each is concerned with a sudden revelation of truth about life inspired by a seemingly trivial incident.

  2. The main idea of A Portrait of Artist as a Young Man (1916): This is Joyce's first novel. The title of the novel suggests a character study with strong autobiographical elements. The novel can be regarded as a naturalistic account of the hero's bitter experiences and his final artistic and spiritual liberation. The story develops around the life of a middle-class Irish boy, Stephen Dedalus, from his infancy to his departure from Ireland some twenty years later. Stephen has an unhappy boyhood. At school, he is unfairly treated by his schoolmates and his masters. During his adolescence the sensitive boy gradually becomes conscious of the oppressive pressures from the moral, political and spiritual environment. He starts to rebel against the oppressive pressures. But rebellion would only result in frustration. Thus, he turns to seek sensual pleasure as an outlet. Consequently he is tormented with his sense of moral sin and frightened by the terrors of the Last Judgment. To remove the restless agony from his mind, he devotes himself to religion; but finally he is repelled by the chilly church life and rejects the call to the priesthood. At a moment of revelation on the seashore, Stephen suddenly realizes that artistic vocation is his true mission. To fulfill this mission, Stephen decides to leave Ireland, to cast off all those that try to tie him down - "his family, his religion, his country and his fleshly desire."

  3. The brief outline, artistic features and social significance of Ulysses:

  (1) The brief outline: Broadly speaking, Ulysses gives an account of man's life during one day (16 June, 1904) in Dublin. The three major characters are: Leopold Bloom, an Irish Jew, his wife, Marion Tweedy Bloom, and Stephen Dedalus, the protagonist in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. The whole novel is divided into 18 episodes in correspondence with the 18 hours of the day. The first three episodes are mainly concerned with Stephen Dedalus: he gets up at 8 o'clock on this specific day; he teaches a history class at a boy's school; and then he walks along the strand to town with random thoughts in mind. The next 14 episodes are largely about Leopold Bloom, who, after breakfast, goes about Dublin on his day's routine activities. In the morning, Bloom takes a Turkish bath, calls in at the National Library, attends the funeral of a friend, and shows up at the newspaper office where he sells advertising. After lunch, Bloom wanders about in the city, meeting people in streets, at pubs and in shops, worrying about his wife, his money, his daughter and his digestion, pursuing persistently his own ruminations over his past, the death of his father and his baby son, but at the same time cocking an alert ear for what is going on around him. Then he roams along a beach at twilight, sitting at a place to watch an unknown girl and having a daydream. In the evening he visits a maternity hospital to inquire about the birth of a friend's baby. During the course of the day, Stephen also wanders aimlessly in the town, propounding his theory on Shakespeare's Hamlet at the National Library, drinking at the students' common room of the hospital, visiting a brothel in the "Nighttown" where he is rescued in a drunken affray by Bloom. Subsequently Bloom invites Stephen back to his home for a late drink. Stephen leaves in the early hours of the morning and Bloom goes to bed. The novel ends with the famous monologue by Molly, who is musing in a half-awake state over her past experiences as a woman.

  (2) The artistic features: Ulysses has become a prime example of modernism in literature. It is such an uncommon novel that there arises the question whether it can be termed as a "novel" all; for it seems to lack almost all the essential qualities of the novel in a traditional sense: there is virtually no story, no plot, almost no action, and little characterization in the usual sense. The events of the day seem to be trivial, insignificant, or even banal. But below the surface of the events, the natural flow of mental reflections, the shifting moods and impulses in the characters' inner world are richly presented in an unprecedentedly frank and penetrating way.

  (3) The social significance of the novel: In Ulysses, Joyce intends to present a microcosm of the whole human life by providing an instance of how a single event contains all the events of its kind, and how history is recapitulated in the happenings of one day. With complete objectivity and minute details of man's everyday routines and his psychic processes, Joyce illustrates a symbolic picture of all human history, which is simultaneously tragic and comic, heroic and cowardly, magnificent and dreary. Like Eliot's masterpiece, The Waste Land, Joyce's Ulysses presents a realistic picture of the modern wasteland in which modern men are portrayed as vulgar and trivial creatures with splitting personalities, disillusioned ideals, sordid minds and broken families, who are searching in vain for harmonious human relationships and spiritual sustenance in a decaying world.

  4. The characteristics of Finnegans Wake: Joyce spent 17 years working on his last important book, Finnegans Wake (1939)。 In this encyclopedic work, Joyce ambitiously attempted to pack the whole history of mankind into one night's dream. In the dream experience, there is no self-conscious logic, no orderly associations, no established values, no limits of time or space; all the past, present and future are mingled and float freely in the mind. Thus, Finnegans Wake is regarded as the most original experiment ever made in the novel form, and also the most difficult book to read.

  5. The literary characteristics of Joyce's writing:

  James Joyce is one of the most prominent literary figures of the first half of the 20th century.

  (1) Joyce is regarded as the most prominent stream-of-consciousness novelist, concentrating on revealing in his novels the psychic being of the characters. In Joyce's opinion, the artist, who wants to reach the highest stage and to gain the insights necessary for the creation of dramatic art, should rise to the position of a god-like objectivity; he should have the complete conscious control over the creative process and depersonalize his own emotion in the artistic creation. He should appear as an omniscient author and present unspoken materials directly from the psyche of the characters, or make the characters tell their own inner thoughts in monologues.

  (2) Another remarkable feature of Joyce's writings is his style. His own style is a straightforward one, lucid, logical and leisurely; subtlety, economy and exactness are his standards. But when he tries to render the so-called stream of consciousness, the style changes: incomplete, rapid, broken wording and fragmentary sentences are the typical features, which reflect the shifting, flirting, disorderly flow of thoughts in the major characters' mind. To create his modern Odyssey -Ulysses, Joyce adopts a kind of mock-heroic style. The essence of the mock-heroic lies in the application of apparently inappropriate styles. He achieves this mainly by elaborating his style into parody, pastiche, symbolic fantasy, and narration by question and answer from an omniscient narrator.

  Many critics think that Joyce is a great master of innovation. His radical experimentation ranges from "stream of consciousness" to his fantastic engagements with rhetoric, sentimental romance, historical stylistics, counterpoint and expressionist drama. His mastery of the English language and style is always highly praised.

  三。应用:Selected Reading:

  "Araby" from Dubliners

  The theme of "Araby": It is the third of the fifteen stories in Dubliners. This tale of the frustrated quest for beauty in the midst of drabness is both meticulously realistic in its handling of details of Dublin life and the Dublin scene and highly symbolic in that almost every image and incident suggests some particular aspect of the theme. Joyce was drawing on his own childhood recollections, and the uncle in the story is a reminiscence of Joyce's father. But in all the stories in Dubliners dealing with childhood, the child lives not with his parents but with an uncle and aunt - a symbol of that isolation and lack of proper relation between "consubstantial" (" in the flesh") parents and children which is a major theme in Joyce's work.

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