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2006-12-31 11:04   【 】【我要纠错

  Ⅱ。John Galsworthy (1867-1933)

  一。一般识记 His life:

  John Galsworthy was born into an upper-middle class family. He was educated first at Harrow and then at Oxford. After practising the law for a short time, he turned to literature.

  二。识记 His major works:

  He published his first book, From the Four Winds (a volume of short stories), in 1897 under the pseudonym of John Sinjohn. The experiences of his wife’s unhappy life of the first marriage were reflected in The Man of Property (1906), which, together with his first p1ay, The Silver Box (1906), established him as a prominent novelist and playwright in the public mind. After the First Wor1d War he completed The Forsyte Saga, his first trilogy: The Man of Property, In Chancery (1920) and To Let (1921)。 His second Forsyte trilogy, A Modern Comedy, appeared in 1929, and the third, End of the Chapter, posthumous1y in 1934.

  三。 领会

  1.John Galsworthy basic literary ideas: Galsworthy was essentially a bourgeois liberal, a reformist. Throughout his life, he was preoccupied with the social injustice in his time. He regarded human life as a struggle between the rich and the poor. And his sympathy always went out to the suffering poor. In his works, he criticizes a dull, parasitic and inhuman class of the rich, which is against any kind of change; and showed great sympathy to the oppressed, but rebellious and unyie1ding class of the poor, which is bent on reforming things. He battled for many liberal causes, from women’s suffrage to the abo1ition of censorship. He was also a moralist and a critic whose primary aim as a writer was not to create a new society but to criticize the existing one, though his final aim was to keep a balance between the rich and the poor. His works were designed to help improve the status quo; there was no suggestion in them that society shou1d be radical1y and painfully reconstructed if socia1 enemies were to be reconciled and social i11s remedied.

  2.The characteristics of Galsworthy’s critical realism and its social effect:

  Ga1sworthy was a conventional writer, having inherited the fine traditions of the great Victorian nove1ists of the critical realism such as Dickens and Thackeray. He learned from Maupassant for the vigor, economy and clarity of writing, Turgenev for the wisdom and naturalness, and Tostoy for the depth of insight and the breadth of character drawing. Technically, he was more traditional than adventurous, focusing on plot development and character portrayal. With an objective observation and a naturalistic description, Galsworthy had tried his best to make an impartial presentation of the social 1ife in a documentary precision. By emphasizing the critical element in his writing, he daunt1essly laid bare the true features of the good and the evi1 of the bourgeois society. He was also successful in his attempt to present satire and humor in his writing. He wrote in a clear and unpretentious sty1e with a c1ear and straightforward language.

  四。应用:Selected Reading:

  An Excerpt from Chapter l3 of The Man of Property

  1. The outline of the story: The Man of Property is the first novel of the Forsyte trilogies which tell the ups and downs of the Forsyte family from 1886 to 1926. This novel centers itself on the Soames-Irene-Bosinney triangle. Soames Forsyte, a typical Forsyte, represents the essence of the principle that the accumulation of wealth is the sole aim of life, for he considers everything in terms of one’s property. Irene, his young and beautiful wife, on the contrary, loves art and cherishes noble ideals of life. But Soames never pay any attention to her thoughts and feeling; he takes her merely as part of his own property. Thus, Irene is not happy about her marriage. In order to please his wife, Soames asks Bosinney, a young architect, to build a country house for them. Like Irene, Bosinney is also interested in art and not in practical things in life. During the designing and building of the house, the two come to enjoy a great deal of each other’s company and finally fall in love with each other. Rumors arise and Soames wants his revenge. He sues Bosinney at the court for spending more money than stipulated. The conflict of the triangle ends tragically with Bosinney’s death in a car accident and Irene’s leaving Soames for good.

  2. The theme of this novel: It is that of the predominant possessive instinct of the Forsytes and its effects upon the personal relationships of the family with the underlying assumption that human relationships of the contemporary English society are merely an extension of property relationships.

  The harsh satire on this inhuman sense of property is brought out very effectively in the early chapters of the novel. But in the later part of the novel, the harsh tone gradually changes into a more tolerant one, and finally it becomes a distinctly sentimental one, thus weakening the effect of the novel.

  Ⅲ。William Butler Yeats (1865-1939 )

  一。 一般识记:

  W. B. Yeats was born into an Anglo-Irish Protestant family in Dub1in. He was brought up where old Irish way of 1ife and folk1ore were stil1 very strong. With a strong passion for Celtic 1egends, he read Irish poetry and the Gaelic sagas in translation. His youth was spent during the high tide of the Irish Nationalist Movement. He was a moderate nationalist. With the common cultural ideas of reviving the Irish literature, Yeats, Lady Gregory and John Synge organized the Irish National Dramatic Society and opened the Abbey Theater in 1904. Yeats served as its director and wrote more than 20 p1ays for the theater. In 1923, he was awarded NobeI Prize for 1iterature.

  二。 识记和领会:

  1. Yeats’s literary ideas:

  Not content with any dogma in any of the established religious institutions, Yeats built up for himself a mystical system of beliefs. In choosing the mystical belief of cyclical history over the modern conception of progress, Yeats owed a great deal to the Italian philosopher Vico, and the German philosopher Nietzsche. He believed that history, and life, followed a circular, spiral pattern consisting of long cycles which repeated themselves over and over on different levels. And symbols 1ike " winding stairs," "spinning tops," "gyres" and "spirals" were part of his elaborate theory of history, which had obviously become the central core of order in his great poems. Yeats later disagreed with the idea of "art for art’s sake." He came to see that literature should not be an end in itself but the expression of conviction and the garment of noble emotion. To write about Ire1and for an Irish audience and to recreate a specifically Irish literature —— these were the aims that Yeats was fighting for as a poet and a playwright.

  2.The three periods of Yeats’s poetic creation and their respective features:

  Generally, his poetic career starting in the romantic tradition and finishing as a matured modernist poet can be divided into three periods according to the contents and sty1e of his poetry.

  (1) As a young man in the last decades of the 19th -century, Yeats began his poetic career in the romantic tradition. The major themes are usually Celtic 1egends, local folkta1es, or stories of the heroic age in Irish history. Many of his early poems have a dreamy quality, expressing melancho1y, passive and self-indulgent feelings. The representative works are "The Lake Isle of Innisfree," "The Man Who Dreamed of Faeryland". The overall style of his early poetry is very delicate with natural imagery, dream-like atmophere and, musical beauty.

  (2) Yeats turned from the traditional poetry to a modernist one during the first two decades of the 20th century. Ideologically, he responded to Nietzsche’s works with great excitement; artistically, he came under the influence of French Symbolism and John Donne’s metaphysical poetry; and poetically, he accepted the modernist ideas in poetry writing advocated by Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot. Yeats began to write with realistic and concrete themes on a variety of subjects, exploring the profound and complicated human problems, such as life, love, politics, and religion. The early passive and dreamy mood was replaced by anger, disillusion and bitter satire. His style is both simple and rich, colloquial and formal, with a quality of metaphysical wit and symbolic vision, which indicates that Yeats has already been on his way to modernist poetry. The representative poems are "Easter of 1916" and "New Era."

  (3) Yeats reached the last stage of his poetic creation when he was over fifty. He felt more bitter and more disillusioned. Yeats came to realize that eternal beauty could only live in the realm of art. His concern has turned to the great subjects of dichotomy, such as, youth and age, love and war, vigor and wisdom, body and soul, and life and art. And this dichotomy has brought constant tensions in his works and revealed the human predicament. In this last period, Yeats has developed a tough, complex and symbolical style. The representative poems are "Sailing to Byzantium," "Leda and the Swan" and "Monuments of Unaging intellect."

  3.Yeats as a dramatist and his contribution to modern theater:

  He wrote verse plays in most of the cases. He wrote more than 20 plays in a stretch of 48 years. The stories of his early plays all came from the Irish myth or legends. His sucessful plays include The Countess Cathleen (1892), Cathleen ni Houlihan (1902) The Land of Heart’s Desire (1894), The Shadowy Waters (1900) and Purgatory (1935)。

  In his later phase of dramatic career, in order to reflect "the deeps of the mind," Yeats began experimenting with techniques such as the use of masks, of ritualized actions, and of symbolic languages together with the combination of music and dance. In a certain way, his experiments anticipated the abstract movement of modern theater. However, even in his plays Yeats has remained a lyrical poet. His plays are enjoyed more for the beauty of their language than for dramatic situations.

  三。应用:Selected Readings:

  1. The Lake Isle of Innisfree

  The poem is written in 1893. Tired of the life of his day, Yeats sought to escape into an ideal "fairyland" where he could live calmly as a hermit and enjoy the beauty of nature. The poem consists of three quatrains of iambic pentameter, with each stanza rhymed abab. Innisfree is an inlet in the lake in Irish legends. Here the author is referring to a place for hermitage.

  This poem is just a popular representative of the poems in which Yeats has achieved suggestive patterns of meaning by a careful counterpointing of contrasting ideas or images like human and fairy, natura1 and artificial, domestic and wild, and ephemeral and permanent. Around a "fairyland" background, the poem is c1osely woven, easy, subtle and musical; the c1arity and control of the imagery give the poem a haunting quality.

  2. Down by the Salley Gardens

  Originally entitled "An Old Song Resung," with Yeats’s footnote: "This is an attempt to reconstruct an old song from three lines imperfectly remembered by an old peasant woman in the village of Ballysodare, Sligo, who often sings them to herself."

  The theme of the poem is very simple: a boy has fallen in love with a beautiful girl who is carefree and advises the boy not to be so serious about love and life. But he does not agree with her and suffers a lot.

  Ⅳ。T. S. Eliot (1888-1965)


  His life and writing: Thomas Steams Eliot was born at St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A. Eliot was first educated at Smith Academy and then at Harvard where he concentrated his energies on studying philosophy and logic. He took interest in Elizabethan literature, the Italian Renaissance and Indian mystical philosophy of Buddhism. He was also attracted by the French symbolist poetry. He worked as the editor of The Egoist and The Criterion, the two most influential literary reviews of 20th century. He won various awards, including the Nobel Prize and the Order of Merit in 1948.


  1. Eliot had a long poetic career, which was generally divided into two periods: the early one from 1915 to 1925, and the later one from 1927 onward.

  (1) The main features of T.S.Eliot’s early poems: In his early period, Eliot produced a fairly large number of poems, which were mainly collected in Poems 1909-25 (1925)。 His first important poem was "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" (1915)。 He also published Prufrock and Other Observations (1917) and his most famous poem The Waste Land (1922)。 As a young man with bitter disillusionment and with boldness in the handling of language, Eliot had explored in his early poetry various aspects of decay of culture in the modem Western world, expressing a sense of the disintegration of life. Most of his early poems are about a state of mind. There is little "action" in a physical sense; the action is totally psychological. The poems are dominated by the dark horror of an earthly hell. The more important poems of this period are: "Prufrock," "Gerontion," The Waste Land, and The Hollow Men.

  (2) In his later period, Eliot produced only two major volumes of poetic works: Ash Wednesday (1930) and Four Quartets (1944)。 The quest for stability, for order, and for the maintaining of the bourgeois status quo became his primary concern in his later works. The Four Quartets, based on the Christian dogmas of incarnation and resurrection, is concerned with the quest for the immortal element, the stillness within time or history. Man, disillusioned and hopeless in his early poetry, now finds reconciliation in God. Thus, the Four Quartets is characterized by a philosophical and emotional calm quite in contrast to the despair and suffering of the early works. The stream-of-consciousness technique has been largely employed in Eliot’s poems.

  2.T. S. Eliot’s major achievement in drama writing:

  He was one of the important verse dramatists in the first half of the 20th century. Besides some fragmentary pieces, Eliot had written in his lifetime five full-length plays: Murder in the Cathedral (1935), The Family Reunion (1939), The Cocktail Party (1950), The Confidential Clerk (1954), and The-Elder Statesman (1959)。 All the plays have something to do with Christian themes. His three later plays are also concerned with the subject of spiritual self-discovery but in the form of a sophisticated modern social comedy. Eliot’s major achievement in play writing has been the creation of a verse drama in the 20th century to express the ideas and actions of modern society with new accents of the contemporary speech.

  3.T. S. Eliot was also an important prose writer. During his literary career, he wrote a large number of essays, articles and book reviews. His essays are mainly concerned with cultural, social, religious, as well as literary issues. It is not inappropriate to say that Eliot, as a critic, may have occupied today a position of distinction and influence equal in importance to his position as a poet.

  In his famous essay, "Tradition and Individual Talent," Eliot put great emphasis on the importance of tradition both in creative writing and in criticism. And in presenting his doctrine of impersonality, Eliot argued that a poet’s mind should remain "inert" and "neutral" towards his subject matter, keeping a gulf between the man who suffers and the mind which creates.

  三。应用Selected Reading:

  1.The literary significance of The Waste Land:

  (1) The theme: The Waste Land, Eliot’s most important single poem, has been hailed as a landmark and a model of the 20th-century English poetry, comparable to Wordsworth’s Lyrical Ballads. With bold technical innovations in versification and style, the poem not only presents a panorama of physical disorder and spiritual desolation in the modern Western world, but also reflects the prevalent mood of disillusionment and despair of a whole post-war generation.

  (2) The main ideas of each section: The poem is 433 lines long and is divided into five sections, which are not logically constructed or connected. Section I, "The Burial of the Dead," deals chiefly with the theme of death in life. The inhabitants in the modern Waste Land, who have lost the knowledge of good and evil, live a sterile, meaningless life. In the last passage of the section, Eliot connects the "unreal city" with the city of the dead, and modern London with Dante’s Hell, claiming that those who have no faith of religion are actually living dead. To bury the dead is to bury a memory, which brings no hope of growth or renewal. Section II, "A Game of Chess," gives a rather concrete illustration of the sterile situation. A picture of spiritual emptiness is presented with the reproduction of a contemporary pub conversation between two cockney women. The discussion is constantly interrupted by the pub keeper’s "HURRY UP PLEASE ITS TIME." Section III, "The Fire Sermon," expresses a painfully elegiac feeling by juxtaposing the vulgarity and shallowness of the modern with the beauty and simplicity of the past. What was once ritualistic and meaningful is now despairing and empty. In section IV, "Death by Water," the drowned Phoenician Sailor is an emblem of futile worries over profit and loss, youth and age. With the curative and baptismal power of the water images, the drowned Phoenician Sailor also recalls the rebirth of the drowned god of the fertility cults, thus giving an instance of the conquest of death. The title of Section V, "What the Thunder Said," appears to be derived from an Indian myth, in which the supreme Lord of the Creation speaks through the thunder. As the drought breaks and the thunder speaks, various elusive suggestions of hopes are given; but despite the thunder’s advice "to give, to sympathize, and to control," which projects the possibility of regeneration, the issue is left uncertain at the end.

  (3) The poem’s social significance: The Waste Land is a poem concerned with the spiritual breakup of a modem civilization in which human life has lost its meaning, significance and purpose. The poem has developed a whole set of historical, cultural and religious themes; but it is often regarded as being primarily a reflection of the 20th-century people’s disillusionment and frustration in a sterile and futile society. The horror and menace, the anguish and dereliction, and the futility and sterility expressed in his poetry had been afflicting all sensitive members of the postwar generation.

  2.The characteristics of "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock":

  "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" is Eliot’s most striking early achievement. It presents the meditation of an aging young man over the business of proposing marriage. The poem is in a form of dramatic monologue, suggesting an ironic contrast between a pretended "love song" and a confession of the speaker’s incapability of facing up to love and to life in a sterile upper-class world. Prufrock, the protagonist of the poem, is neurotic, self-important, illogical and incapable of action. He is a kind of tragic figure caught in a sense of defeated idealism and tortured by unsatisfied desires. The setting of the poem resembles the "polite society" of Pope’s " The Rape of the Lock," in which a tea party is a significant event and a game of cards is the only way to stave off boredom. The poem is intensely anti-romantic with visual images of hard, gritty objects and evasive hellish atmosphere.


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