Chapter 5 The Modern Period
B. 劳伦斯小说的主要艺术特色及社会意义 .
Chapter 5 The Modern Period
1. The social， ideological background of the modern English literature：
（1） The influences of the two World Wars on English literature：
Modernism rose out of skepticism and disillusion of capitalism. The First World War and the Second World War had greatly influenced the English literature. The catastrophic First World War tremendously weakened the British Empire and brought about great sufferings to its people as well. Its appalling shock severely destroyed people's faith in the Victorian values； The postwar economic dislocation and spiritual disillusion produced a profound impact upon the British people， who came to see the prevalent wretchedness in capitalism.
The Second World War marked the last stage of the disintegration of the British Empire. Britain suffered heavy losses in the war： thousands of people were killed； the economy was ruined； and almost all its former colonies were lost. People were in economic， cultural， and belief crisises.
（2） Ideologically， the rise of the irrational philosophy and new science greatly incited modern writers to make new explorations on human natures and human relationships. （a） In the mid-19th century， Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels put forward the theory of scientific socialism， which not only provided a guiding principle for the working people， but also inspired them to make dauntless fights for their own emancipation. （b） Darwin's theory of evolution exerted a strong influence upon the people， causing many to lose their religious faith. The social Darwinism， under the cover of "survival of the fittest，" vehemently advocated colonialism or jingoism. （c） Einstein's theory of relativity provided entirely new ideas for the concepts of time and space. （d） Freud's analytical psychology drastically altered our conception of human nature. （e） Arthur Schopenhauer， a pessimistic philosopher started a rebellion against rationalism， stressing the importance of will and intuition. （f） Having inherited the basic principles from Schopenhauer， Friedrich Nietzsche went further against rationalism by advocating the doctrines of power and superman and by completely rejecting the Christian morality. （g） Based on the major ideas of his predecessors， Henry Bergson established his irrational philosophy which put the emphasis on creation， intuition， irrationality and unconsciousness. All these irrationalist philosophers exerted immense influence upon the major modernist writers in Britain.
So， after the First World War， all kinds of literary trends of modernism appeared： symbolism， expressionism， surrealism， cubism， futurism， Dadaism， imagism and stream of consciousness. Towards the 1920s， these trends converged into a mighty torrent of modernist movement， which swept across the whole Europe and America. After the Second World War， a variety of modernism， or post-modernism， like existentialist literature， theater of the absurd， new novels and black humor， rose with the spur of the existentialist idea that "the world was absurd， and the human life was an agony."
2. The development of English poetry in the 20th century：
The 20th century has witnessed a great achievement in English poetry. In the early years of this century， Thomas Hardy and the war poets of the younger generation were important realistic poets. Hardy expressed his strong sympathies for the suffering poor and his bitter disgusts at the social evils in his poetry as in his novels. The soldiers-poets of World War I revealed the appalling brutality of the war in a most realistic way. The early poems of Pound and Eliot and Yeats's matured poetry marked the rise of "modern poetry，" which was， in some sense， a revolution against the conventional ideas and forms of the Victorian poetry. The modernist poets fought against the romantic fuzziness and self-indulged emotionalism， advocating new ideas in poetry- writing such as to use the language of common speech， to create new rhythms as the expression of a new mood， to allow absolute freedom in choosing subjects， and to use hard， clear and precise images in poems.
The 1930s witnessed great economic depressions， mass unemployment， and the rise of the Nazis. Facing such a severe situation， most of the young intellects started to turn to the left. And therefore the period was known as "the red thirties." A group of young poets during this period expressed in their poetry a radical political enthusiasm and a strong protest against fascism. With the coming of the 1950s， there was a return of realistic poetry again. By advocating reason， moral discipline， and traditional forms， a new generation of poets started "The Movement，" which explicitly rejected the modernist influence. There was no significant poetic movement in the 1960s. A multiplicity of choices opened to both the poet and the reader. Poets gradually moved into more individual styles.
3. Realism in the 20th century English literature：
The realistic novels in the early 20th century were the continuation of the Victorian tradition， yet its exposing and criticizing power against capitalist evils had been somewhat weakened both in width and depth. The outstanding realistic novelists of this period were John Galsworthy， H. G. Wells， and Arnold Eennett. The three trilogies of Galsworthy's Forsyte novels are masterpieces of critical realism in the early 20th century， which revealed the corrupted capitalist world. In his novels of social satire， H. G. Wells made realistic studies of the aspirations and frustrations of the "Little Man；" whereas Bennett presented a vivid picture of the English life in the industrial Midlands in his best novels.
Realism was， to a certain extent， eclipsed by the rapid rise of modernism in the 1920s. But with the strong swing of leftism in the 1930s， novelists began to turn their attention to the urgent social problems. They also enriched the traditional ways of creation by adopting some of the modernist techniques. However， the realistic novels of this period were more or less touched by a pessimistic mood， preoccupied with the theme of man's loneliness， and shaped in different forms： social satires by Aldous Huxley and George Orwell comic satires on the English upper class by Evelyn Waugh； and Catholic novels by Graham Greene. Another important group of young novelists and playwrights with lower-middle-class or working-class background in the mid-1950s and early 1960s known as "The Angry Young Man." They demonstrated a particular disillusion over the depressing situation in Britain and launched a bitter protest against the outmoded social and political values in their society. Kingsley Amis， John Wain， John Braine and Alan Sillitoe were the major novelists in this group. They portrayed unadorned working-class life in their novels with great freshness and vigor of the working-class language. Amis was the first to start the attack on middle-class privileges and power in his novel Lucky Jim （1954）。 The term "The Angry Young Man" came to be widely
Having been merged and interpenetrated with modernism in the past several decades， the realistic novel of the 1960s and 1970s appeared in a new face with a richer， more vigorous and more diversified style.
1.Modern English poetry：
It is， in some sense， a revolution against the conventional ideas and forms of the Victorian poetry. The modernist poets fought against the romantic fuzziness and self-indulged emotionalism， advocating new ideas in poetry- writing such as to use the language of common speech， to create new rhythms as the expression of a new mood， to allow absolute freedom in choosing subjects， and to use hard， clear and precise images in poems.
2. Modern English novels：
The first three decades of 20th century were golden years of the modernist novel. In stimulating the technical innovations of novel creation， the theory of the Freudian and Jungian psycho-analysis played a particularly important role. With the notion that multiple levels of consciousness existed simultaneously in the human mind， that one's present was the sum of his past， present and future， and that the whole truth about human beings existed in the unique， isolated， and private world of each individual， writers like Dorothy Richardson， James Joyce and Virginia Woolf concentrated all their efforts on digging into the human consciousness. They had created unprecedented stream-of-consciousness novels such as Pilgrimage by Richardson， Ulysses （1922） by Joyce， and Mrs. Dalloway （1925） by Woolf. One of the remarkable features of their writings was their continuous experimentation on new and sophisticated techniques in novel writing， which made tremendous impacts on the creation of both realistic and modernist novels in this century.
James Joyce is the most outstanding stream-of-consciousness novelist； in Ulysses， his encyclopedia-like masterpiece， Joyce presents a fantastic picture of the disjointed， illogical， illusory， and mental- emotional life of Leopold Bloom， who becomes the symbol of everyman in the post-World-War-ⅠEurope.
In the works of E. M. Forster and D. H. Lawrence， old traditions are still there， but their subject matter about human relationships and their symbolic or psychological presentations of the novel are entirely modern. Forster's masterpiece， A Passage to India （1924）， is a novel of decidedly symbolist aspirations， in which the author set up， within a realistic story， a fable of moral significance that implies a highly mystical， symbolic view of life， death， human relationship， and the relationship of man with the infinite universe. D. H. Lawrence is regarded as revolutionary as Joyce in novel writing； but unlike Joyce， he was not concerned with technical innovations； his interest lay in the tracing of the psychological development of his characters and in his energetic criticism of the dehumanizing effect of the capitalist industrialization on human nature. He believed that life impulse was the primacy of man's instinct， and that any conscious repression of such an impulse would cause distortion or perversion of the individual's personality. In his best novels like The Rainbow （1915） and Women in Love （1920）， Lawrence made a bold psychological exploration of various human relationships， especially those between men and women， with a great frankness Lawrence claimed that the alienation of the human relationships and the perversion of human nature in the modern society were caused by the desires for power and money， by the shams and frauds of middle-class life， and， above all， by the whole capitalist mechanical civilization， which turned men into inhuman machines.
After the Second World War， modernism had another upsurge with the rise of existentialism which was reflected mainly in drama.
3. The development of 20th century English drama：
The most celebrated dramatists in the last decade of the 19th century were Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw， who， in a sense， pioneered the modern drama， though they did not make so many innovations in techniques and forms as modernist poets or novelists. Wilde expressed a satirical and bitter attitude towards the upper-class people by revealing their corruption， their snobbery， and their hypocrisy in his plays， especially in his masterpiece， The Importance-of Being Earnest （1895）。 Shaw is is considered to be the best-known English dramatist since Shakespeare whose works are examples of the plays inspired by social criticism. John Galsworthy carried on this tradition of social criticism in his plays. By dramatizing social and ethical problems， Galsworthy made considerable achievements in his plays such as The Silver Box （1906） and Strife （1910）， in which Galsworthy presents not only realistic pictures of social injustice， but also the workers' heroic struggles against their employers.
W. B. Yeats， a prominent poet of the 20th century， was the leader of the Irish National Theater Movement. He was a verse playwright who desired to restore lyrical drama to popularity. With the heroic portrayal of spiritual truth as his main concern， Yeats wrote a number of verse plays， introducing Irish myths and folk legends； but the plot in his plays was seldom very dramatic.
The 1930s witnessed a revival of poetic drama in England. One of the early experimenters was T. S. Eliot who regarded drama as the best medium of poetry. Eliot wrote several verse plays and made a considerable success. Murder in the Cathedral （1935）， with its purely dramatic power， remains the most popular of his verse plays， in spite of its primarily religious purpose. After Eliot， Christopher Fry gained considerable successes in poetic drama. His exuberant though poetically commonplace verse drama. The Lady's Not For Burning （1948）， attracted delighted audience.
The English dramatic revolution， which came in the 1950s under various European and American influences， developed in two directions： the working-class drama and the Theater of Absurd.
The working-class drama was started by a group of young writers from the lower-middle class， or working class， who presented a new type of plays which expressed a mood of restlessness， anger and frustration， a spirit of rebelliousness， and a strong emotional protest against the existing social institutions. John Osborne's play， Look Back in Anger （1956）， in a fresh， unadorned working-class language， angrily， violently and unrelentingly condemned the contemporary social evils. With an entirely new sense of reality， Osborne brought vitality to the English theater and became known as the first "Angry Young Man."
The most original playwright of the Theater of Absurd is Samuel Beckett， who wrote about human beings living a meaningless life in an alien， decaying world. His first play Waiting for Godot （1955） is regarded as the most famous and influential play of the Theater of Absurd.