Types of literature

Cudzie jazyky » Angličtina

Autor: kaprik
Typ práce: Referát
Dátum: 06.07.2009
Jazyk: Angličtina
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Two main types of literature are: fiction literature, which is consisted of novels, romances, fairy-tales etc. and non fiction, which means scientific literature (e.g. medical, technical etc.), biography and other special literature.
We can also divide it into three other groups: poetry, prose and drama.

A brief survey of British literature
 
I. Old English Literature (approx. 7th century - middle of the 12th century)
This literature is written in the Anglo-Saxon language and it has its roots in the Anglo-Saxon territories e.g. in Denmark. The oldest work is Germanic legend Beowulf which appeared probably in the 7th century. This heroic poem is about King Hrothgar who built big hall for his warriors. But the monster (Grendel) visited it for a period of twelve years and murdering the men asleep there. Beowulf, nephew of the king in Sweden, heard of this and crossed the sea to the hall and cut off Grendel’s arm. After having killed Grendel, Beowulf was attacked by Grendel’s mother and he killed her too. When he returned home, he became king and reigned 1 for fifty years but he died after killed the dragon which had attacked his kingdom.
Other known poets who lived in 7th century are Ceadmon and Cynewulf. Venerable Bede was a historian, philosopher and scientist - he wrote a work called King Alfred the Great.
 
II. Middle English Literature (approx. between 1150 - 1500)
The religious literature is represented by John Wycliff (? 1324 - 1384), a professor of Oxford University. He translated the whole Bible into English and criticised the Roman Catholic Church. His ideals influenced Master Jan Hus very much. ‘Chivalrous literature’ is represented by Sir Thomas Malory († 1471) who wrote the first prose novel in English literature - Arthur’s Death (Le Morte D’Arthur). The outstanding 2 author of this period was Geoffrey Chaucer (1340 - 1400) and his Canterbury Tales. It is a portrait of 30 pilgrims 3 who meeting at the Tabard Inn in London - each pilgrim has to tell four stories in this party. This work is a vivid 4 picture of English society of the 14th century.
 
III. Modern English Literature (16th - 20th century)
a) The Renaissance and Humanism
The Renaissance period in English literature is represented mainly by two personalities: Sir Thomas More (1437 - 1535) was an outstanding scientist and philosopher - he showed his version of an ideal state in his Utopia (1516). The second one is of course William Shakespeare, the biggest dramatist in a history. 5
b) 17th century
  The main figure of the baroque literature is John Milton (1608 - 1674). His Paradise Lost (1667) and Paradise Regained (1671) 6 have a biblical theme - a revolt of Satan against Heaven and God.
 
c) 18th century
  Literature became popular among the middle class in this period. Daniel Defoe (1660 ? - 1731) was a politician, traveller and journalist. His most famous work is novel Robinson Crusoe - the story of a shipwrecked man on a lonely island.
Jonathan Swift (1667 - 1745) was sharp critic. He wrote satirical pamphlets on all unfair events in British society. His most popular work is Gulliver’s Travels. The hero, Lemuel Gulliver, visits different imaginary worlds - the land of Lilliput (where the people are six inches high; there are two political parties there: one believes that egg must be broken at the big and so the second is sure that the only way to break the egg is at the little end), Brobdingnag which is inhabited by giants, Laputa and Lagado and Houyhnms. The author criticises British policy, corruption, army, politicians etc.
Henry Felding (1707 - 1754) was a journalist and lawyer. He wrote a realistic novel The History of Tom Jones where he describes the life in the 18th century in England.
 
d) Romanticism (2nd half of the 18th century - 1st third of the 19th century)
Literature of this period is inspired with the middle ages time. Sir Walter Scott (1771 - 1832) is a founder of historical novel and the author of many romantic novels describing historical events - e.g. Rob Roy - but especially Ivanhoe, his best known novel in other country.
The best English romantic poets were Percy Bysshe Shelley with his Prometheus Unbound 7 (1792 - 1843) and George Gordon Byron (1788 - 1824), the author of Childe Harold’s  Pilgrimage 8. ‘Byronism’ (feeling oneself an outcast of human society) 9 became the philosophy of the life of many poets in this time.
 
e) Victorian Age (Critical Realism, 2nd half of the 19th century)
The period of realism show life from a quite different view than romanticism. Charles Dickens (1812 - 1870) often uses his own experience from his childhood, e.g. in novels David Copperfield or Oliver Twist. Dickens was a master of showing the life of the lower classes. Charlotte Brontö (1816 - 1855) is famous for her novel Jane Eyre. Her sister Emily Brontö (1818 - 1848)  is the author of another world known novel called Withering Heights 10 .
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 - 1894) wrote mainly famous adventurous Treasure Island about pirates, but The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde 11 is well known too.
The big personality of the Victorian Era was Oscar Wilde, one of the most famous dramatist in a history. 12
 
f) The 1st half of the 20th century
This period is connected with many names of authors but the turn of the century is connected mainly with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859 - 1930), the creator of the most known detective - Sherlock Holmes and Rudyard Kipling (1865 - 1936, NP in 1907), who was inspired by the wildlife in India to write The Jungle Book with its hero Mowgli.
David Herbert Lawrence (1885 - 1930) described the erotic relations between man and woman in his Lady Chatterley’s Lover, which was not allowed to be printed in full version in Britain until the 1960s.
John Galsworthy (1857 - 1924, NP in 1932) was a critical novelist and dramatist. He described the decay 13 of the Victorian Era’s upper middle class in the Forsyte Saga.
James Joyce (1882 - 1941) made the turning point in a modern novel (as well as F.Kafka or
M.Proust). He wrote an experimental prose using the stream of consciousness 14 . His Ulysses 15 is inspired in Homer’s work where hero wandered for about 20 years around Mediterranean. Joyce’s hero wanders around Dublin during one day but all the characters correspondent to the legend.
George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950, NP in 1925) was also the famous dramatist - he criticises the false morals of the society and his Pygmalion became world known in its film musical version under the title ‘My Fair Lady’.
  The most outstanding poet and dramatist of this period was Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888 - 1965, born in America, NP in 1948). His comic and cynical poetry shows the chaos and sterility of modern world - The Waste Land 16  - but also a cruelty of the middle ages (Murder in the Cathedral).
 
IV. Contemporary literature (2nd half of the 20th century)
Graham Greene (1904 - 1991) was probably the most important British writer in this century. His literary studies crimes, guilt, sex and morality - e.g. in The Quiet American (taking place in Vietnam in 1950s) or The ministry of Tear 17.
After the Second World War we can find there a group of young writers who are called ‘Angry Young Men’. They express disillusionment and emptiness 18 of intellectuals after WW II, they ‘fought’ against conservatism of British society (like a ‘Beat Generation’ in the USA) and were angry and dissatisfied with establishment, criticised snobs and people in power.
Kingsley Amis (* 1922) is the most famous member of this group. His Lucky Jim - story about Jim Dixon, who is a lecturer at one small university and comes through all possible funny situations there - is the work with a rebellious spirit.
William Golding (*1911, NP in 1983) is famous for his works against danger or negative powers coming out of the people. Lord of the Flies 19 is the story of which is set to the future, when an air-crash leaves a group of young boys on an island. First they are happy without their parents and try to form an ideal society but then they form two groups and fight against each other with barbarian bestiality.
J.R.R. Tolkien (1892 - 1973) based his stories of his fairy tale novels on old German and Celtic myths. He created a fantasy world of Middle-Earth where small hobbits seek 20 happiness, goodness and live many adventures - Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings etc.
George Orwell (1903 - 1950) wrote excellent allegory novels as a prediction to the future about the totality systems - e.g. Nineteen Eighty-Four or Animal Farm.
Arthur C.Clarke (*1917) is a world known scientist and science-fiction literary writer - 2000: A Space Odyssey and many special studies about science and paranormal activities.
 
The drama, which was quickly developed in 1960s is represented mainly by John Osborne (*1929). His drama Look Back in Anger is the beginning of the ‘Angry Young Men’ movement. The hero (Jimmy Porter) is a prototype of a man who rebels against everything. Also Samuel Beckett (1906 - 1990, NP in 1969) is important for the world drama. His famous absurd drama Waiting for Godot is about two tramps who are waiting for Godot - but no one seems to know exactly who Godot is and how he looks like!

·  Oscar Wilde (1856 - 1900)
O.Wilde was born in Dublin. He was influenced by French teories of beautiful and founded the aesthetic cult in London. He was criticised by London society because of his bohemian life and homosexuality, for what he was in prison. The rest of his life he spent in France. He was one of the most talented dramatist in a history and especially his comedies - e.g. The Importance of Being Earnest 21 - are famous. Because of aestheticism movement his work is full of emotions, feelings and impressions and the author studies deep levels of human character. He wrote just only one novel - The Picture of Dorian Gray - and fairy-tales with philosophical theme - e.g. The Happy Prince and Other Tales or The Nightingale and the Rose - where Wilde sympathises with the poor and unhappy people.
 
A brief survey of American literature
 
a) The roots of the American literature
  The first literature in the New World was seriously influenced by religion (‘God controls all’) and there were wrote especially the journals of the early settlers and autobiographical literature.
The history of the ‘real American literature’ begins in the time of the American fight for independence and it was connected with old traditions and the American proud about their republic. It tells us about the problems and needs of the time - e.g. the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (1706 - 1790) describes the life of scientist, journalist and politician.
 
b) The Romanticism (second half of the 19th century)
   Washington Irving (1783 - 1859) was an essayist and historian. He wrote the history of New York and a large biography of G.Washington.
  James Fenimore Cooper (1789 - 1851) was originally a pioneer settler and he spent a lot of time with the Indians. He described American wilderness and wrote mainly well-known Indian adventurous novel The Last of the Mohicans.
  One of the greatest American writer was Edgar Allan Poe 1.
  The pioneer of new poetry in America was mainly Walt Whitman (1819 -1892) one of the most famous American poets. In his Leaves of Grass he is a true singer of democracy in the best sense of the word. His poetry is simple, independent, reflects the national heritage of environment, history and other basic elements.
  This period was also the time of the Transcendentalist movement. Its representatives - e.g. Ralf Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882) and Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 182) - were very nonconformity and self-reliance [1], they distaste for materialism and want to ‘communicate’ with nature.
 
c) The Realism (turn between 19th and 20th century)
  Also Mark Twain was one of the most famous US writer 2.
  Jack London (1876 - 1916) became very popular because of his describing the wildlife and adventurous life at the time of the gold rush - The Call of the Wild and Martin Eden (with an autobiographical elements).
 
d) 20th century
The quick development in America at the end of the 19th century gave many problems and the authors first try to describe the ugliness and misery of life and destroys of human characters.
  Upton Sinclair (1878 -1968) wrote his novel The Jungle 3 about working conditions in the Chicago slaughter-house and living conditions of immigrants.
  William Faulkner (1897 -1962, NP in 1949) wrote about all possible problems of the American South - The Wild Palms, As I Lay Dying etc.
  John Steinbeck (1902 -1968, NP in 1962) tried to uncover the reason of social injustice 4. His most famous works are: Of Mice and Men, East of Eden (family saga from the Civil War to the First World War), Travels with Charlie, The Wayward Bus etc.
  After the First World War, in 1920s, a group of writers known as the Lost Generation entered the literature. 5
It is very difficult to summarise the contemporary American literature but the most important and well-known authors are:
   John Updike (* 1923) describes the American everyday life in family - research pure human relations 6 and meaning of life. E.g. in his Rabbit he describes the US lifestyle of the last 30 years.
  Norman Mailer (* 1923) is one of the best writer about the WW II. The Naked and Dead is based on his experience in the Pacific during the war. It is about the group of soldiers who survive the attack on an island occupies by the Japanese.
William Styron (* 1925) writes novels on southern themes like Faulkner but his excellent novel is Sophies Choice deals with the problems of war, nazis concentration camps and conditions of human life influenced by the war.
  William Saroyan (1908 - 1981) wrote short stories, novels and drama full of humanity, love of children and human relations - Papa you are Crazy, Not Dying etc.
Joseph Heller (* 1923) is world-known for his Catch-XXII, an antiwar novel connecting absurd black humour and terrible experience from the war.
Ray Bradbury (* 1920) is the outstanding author of warning science-fiction literature - The Martian Chronicles or Fahrenheit 451.
Kurt Vonnegut jr. (* 1922) considers himself as a ‘total pessimist’. His work is against war and mechanical world in which everything human is lost - e.g. Slaughterhouse-Five, Breakfast of Champions, Slapstick or Lonesome No More! etc.
  Others are e.g.: Mario Puzo  (* 1920) and his The Godfather, Erich Segal with Love Story or Doctors etc. or Arthur Hailey (* 1920) and his The Hotel, The Overload, The Evening News etc.
 
During the 1960s there was formed a group of poets and writers who are called the Beat Generation. They practised now way of free life and behaviour, were disgust by corrupt, commercial and conventional society and world around them and hoped they can make their world better by some excitement such as alcohol drinks or drugs. The biggest writer of this group was Jack Kerouac (1922 - 1969) and his novel On the Road became the Bible of ‘Beat Generation’. His other novels are e.g. The Town and the City, The Subterraneans or The Dharma Bums 7.
 
  The poetry of 20th century is represented mainly by members of ‘Beat Generation’ - Allen Ginsberg (1926 - 1997) and his Howl and Other Poems 8, Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s (* 1919) Pictures of the Gone World 9 but also Kerouac’s poetry Mexico City Blues and San Francisco Blues.
 
The most outstanding personality of the American drama is Eugene ONeill (1888 - 1953, NP in 1936), who tried to study and show the bed sides of human character. His most famous play is Mourning Becomes Electra.
  Tennessee Williams (* 1914) shows in his plays people’s cruel, selfish 10 and violent of their behaviour as well as their deep desire 11 to love and be loved - A Streetcar Named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof , Orpheus Descending 12 .
  Others representatives are e.g. Arthur Miller (* 1915) and his Death of a Salesman 13 and Edward Albee (* 1928) with his plays The American Dream and Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 14.
 
· Edgar Allan Poe (1809 - 1849)
E.A.Poe was a poet, short stories and critical essayist writer. He is probably a creator of the mystery horror and detective story.
He was born in Boston but after the parents death, he was adopted by the Allans when he was very young, and spent some time in England. At the age of 22 he left the Allans and returned back to the USA and studied there at the University of Virginia. But he had quite a lot of problems there. He drunk and gambled very much and quickly was in debt 15 . He found a few new friends and get the job as a literary critic, but his bitter, sharp tongue made him different to like. At the age of 27, he married his fourteen years old cousin. But she died very young and her death had a crushing effect 16 on Poe. He continued to write, but settled further and further in despair 17 . As he dying, he uttered 18 this words: „Lord, help my poor soul!“
Poe was not successful with his poetry until 1854, when The Raven was published. It is his best poem - on the stormy night a tired student who has lost his love asks if he ever meet her again in some other world; his doubts are underline by the raven’s repetition ‘Never more !’ 19 . His other wonderful stories and poems - e.g. The Black Cat, The Murder in the Rue Morgue, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Golden Bug, or The Purloined Letter 20  - contain characters and situations that aren’t now, and never were a part of the real world. This characters are people you aren’t might meet - the plots 21 couldn’t happened. But the memory of the same experience we’ve refused to accept, may make it appear to be part of the frightening truth we may be desperately denying. 22

· Mark Twain (1835 - 1910)
Mark Twain is only an artistic pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens - originally „mark twain“ is a river-men phrase which means that ‘water in river is enough deep’. Twain comes from the American South and worked as a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi river so he choose the pseudonym from the river-men slang.
  He became famous as a humorist and story-teller. His best books - The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - are based on his experience along the Mississippi. These books describe the adventures of childhood. Huck is a free boy and remains free till the end of the book, when he runs away because he is afraid that Aunt Sally will adopt him and civilise him. His other books are The Prince and the Pauper, Life on the Mississippi etc.
 
MY FAVOURITE: Ernest Hemingway and Lost Generation
  The ‘Lost Generation’ is the term for a group of writers, who were influenced by the First World War and who lost their illusions after the war events. The most important representatives of this group were Ernest Hemingway and Francis Scott Fitzgerald (both see later), but also John Dos Passos (1896  to 1970) with his novels Manhattan Transfer or The 42nd Parallel and there can be William Faulkner too in this group.
  The period of the ’Lost Generation’ was the time of ‘Jazz Age’ and the ‘Roaring Twenties’ [2] - it means the post-war time of prosperity during the 1920s.

·  Ernest Hemingway (1899 - 1961)
E.Hemingway was born in Oak Park (a suburb of Chicago) in 1898. During the First World War he served as a voluntary ambulance driver and was seriously injured. Like other writers of the ‘Lost Generation’, he was also deeply affected [3] by the horrors of the war. He began his career with short stories which he wrote in Paris - his first book of stories In Our Time was published in 1925. In his novel The Sun Also Rises (1926) hero Jake Barnes lives a miserable life and fell in love with an English woman, Brett Ashley. But his injury makes sexual life impossible. His world-famous novel A Farewell to Arms (1929) is an epic description of the First World War
and it protests against any war. But it is also a moving [4] love story of an American lieutenant in the American Ambulance Service and an English nurse. They go off to Switzerland to avoid the horror of the war [5] but the girl dies during childbirth.

During this time Hemingway lived in Florida, but goes watching bull-fighting in Spain, hunting wild animals in Africa or fishing very often. He used these topics in his novels, e.g. Green Hills of Africa (1935) or Fiesta but also in short stories, e.g. The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber or Killers.  About Hemingway’s excellent short stories, it is said about the ‘iceberg theory’- only a top of iceberg (it means story) is shown and the main part is hidden under the sea level. Hemingway took part also in the Second World War as a war reporter and proved to be dauntless [6] again, especially during the taking of Paris. For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940) is a psychological picture of an episode from the Spanish civil war. After the war he was dangerously ill. This spurred [7] him to write another love story - the novel Across the River and into the Trees (1950). It is the story of an American colonel Cantwell who is seriously ill and knows he must die in a short time. He loves a young Italian noblewoman and he really dies of a heart attack. The Old Man and the Sea (1952) seems to be the most famous Hemingway’s work. Santiago, a poor old Cuban fisherman, used to go fishing with a boy who loved Santiago for his skill and endurance [8]. But they had incredible bad-luck [9], they could not catch any fish. So the old man started going to sea alone but again in vain [10]. One day he sailed very far in his boat and caught a huge fish. But he was forced to fight for his catch [11] against sharks. When he returned exhausted to death [12] he dragged behind his boat only a skeleton. Though Santiago defeated in reality, he won morally - ‘a man can be destroyed, but not defeated’. Especially for this work Hemingway was awarded by Nobel Prize in 1954. During the last ears of his life Hemingway suffered from depression leading to his suicide in 1961. In this time he wrote a book published posthumously - Island in the Stream (1970). It is an autobiographical memoirs linked by the person of a successful painter Thomas Hudson.

·  Francis Scott Fitzgerald (1896 - 1940)
  F.S.Fitzgerald was born in St. Paul in Minnesota but the Middle West wasn’t the setting for any of his major works. In 1917 he enlisted [13] in the Army and in a training camp in Alabama he met Zelda, the southern girl who became his wife and also the model for most of the beautiful heroines of his novels. He became the writer in order to earn enough money to marry her and the life with her brought him his greatest happiness as well as his greatest misery and pain. He wrote many stories about wealthy people, for who everything is so easy because of money. In his first novel, This Sides of Paradise (1920), Fitzgerald is the spokesman of the youth. His best and well-known novel, The Great Gatsby, was published in 1925. Famous are also his novel Tender is the Night (1934) and short stories, e.g. Tales of the Jazz Age (1922). Fitzgerald became a well-known and rich writer, but his earnings never keep pace [14] with his and especially Zelda’s extravagance.
  The Great Gatsby reflects author’s knowledge [15] that wanting to be happy doesn’t automatically means one’s being so and that pursuit of entertainment may only cover a lot of pain. This is one of the best novels which expresses the ‘American dream’ - the belief that it is possible for anyone in America to win successes and wealthy by their own efforts [16]. But in this work, the theory has a few negative characters.

Nick Carraway, the narrator, became involved in the glamour and moral ugliness lives [17] of his neighbours - Jay Gatsby, Nick’s cousin Daisy Buchanan, her husband Tom and Daisy’s friend Jordan Baker. Gatsby is indeed the mysterious figure - he is extremely rich, no one seems to know who he is or where his wealth comes from (he breaking the Prohibition laws and earns all his money by smuggling). On the other hand he is true romantic, spending all his life dreaming of his sweetheart. He do all this because he wants to be on the same level as Daisy, his former lover who already married very rich husband. He gives large parties in his gardens on Long Beach and hoping that ‘she’ will come and fall in love with him again.
The book follows the course from an easy beginning to a bitter [18] end - Gatsby is shouted in his residence because of a car crash which made Daisy. But Daisy is absolutely cold and calm - no one knows that she made this crash and she goes with her ‘beloved’ [19] Tom for a trip to Europe. Suddenly people ‘don’t know’ who was Great Gatsby and he is burring like a lonely person - the life is going on.

1 vládl
2 význačný, vynikající
3 poutníci
4 živý
5 W.Shakespeare - see Maturitní téma č.6
6 „Ztracený ráj“ a „Ráj znovu nabytý“
7 „Odpoutaný Prométheus“
8 „Childe Haroldova pouť“
9 byronismus - cítění se vyděděncem společnosti
10 „Bouřlivé výšiny“
11 „Podivný případ doktora Jekylla a pana Hyda
12 O.Wilde - see page 4
13 úpadek, rozklad
14 užíval tok (proud) vědomí
15 „Odysseus“
16 „Pustina“
17 „Ministerstvo strachu“
18 vyjádřili rozčarování a prázdnotu
19 „Pán much
20 usilovat, hledat
21 „Jak je důležité míti Filipa“
1 E.A.Poe - see page 3
[1] sebevědomí
2 M.Twain - see page 3
3 do češtiny překládáno jako „Jatky“ nebo „Džungle“
4 příčiny sociálních křivd, nespravedlností
5 the ‘Lost Generation’ - see Maturitní téma č.11
6 hledá čisté (ryzí) lidské vztahy
7 „Město a městečko“, „Podzemníci“, „Dharmoví tuláci“
8 „Kvílení a jiné básně“
9 „Obrazy zmizelého světa“
10 sobectví
11 touha
12 „Tramvaj do stanice Touha“, „Kočka na rozpálené plechové střeše“, „Sestup Orfeův“
13 „Smrt obchodního cestujícího“
14 „Americký sen“, „Kdo se bojí Virginie Woolfové?“ (u nás hráno i pod názvem „Kdopak by se Kafky bál“)
15 brzy se zadlužil
16 zdrcující účinek
17 zoufalství, beznaděj
18 pronesl
19 jeho těžké pochybnosti jsou zdůrazněny havranovým „Nikdy více !“
20  „Černá kočka“, „Vražda v ulici Morgue“, „Jáma a kyvadlo“, „Zlatý brouk“ nebo „Odcizený dopis“
21 zápletky
22 Ale myšlenka na zkušenost, kterou si odmítáme připustit, se může projevit jako část děsivé pravdy zoufale popírané.
[2] dosl. „báječná dvacátá“ (léta)
[3] postižen
[4] dojemná
[5] zbavit se, zapomenout na hrůzy války
[6] dokázal být znovu nebojácný
[7] podněcovalo
[8] zručnost a trpělivost
[9] neuvěřitelnou smůlu
[10] marně
[11] úlovek
[12] k smrti vyčerpaný vrátí
[13] narukoval, vstoupil do armády
[14] nestačil, dosl. nedržel krok
[15] vědomí
[16] úsilím, přičiněním
[17] je zapleten do přepychového, ale nešťastného žití
[18] hořkého, ostrého
[19] milovaným
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