. English Literature

In using the myth, in manipulating the contentious parallel between

contemporaniety & antiquity Mr. Joyce is pursuing the method which others

must persue after him. It is simply a way of controlling, of ordering, of

giving a shape & significance to an immense panorama of futility & anarchy

which is contemporary history. Myth is the way of organizing history. The

writers quest for order lead to their preoccupation with the artist

himself & with the artistic process. The imaginary character stood for the

author himself:

Marsel Proust Remembrance of the Things Past

Lawrence Sons & Lovers

Joyce The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

We cant say that the artist became modernists hero. Not all writers of

that period were modernists. There was the co-existence of different


James Joyce (1882 1941)

He was born in Ireland (Dublin). Although he spent many years not in

Ireland he is considered one of Irish writers. Primarily he wrote about

himself, transforming his experiences in his books, & relatives & friends

into symbols. His works are said to be expansive & inclusive. Expansive

because he gave a very wide panorama of Dublin life at the turn of the

century, inclusive because his works seemed to include all the human

history. These novels still are the stories & novels about life in general.

He started to attend an expensive private boarding school but his father

became bankrupt & he continued his education at home. Then he attended

University College in Dublin. He read very much & began to write

seriously. He produced critical articles, essays but also poems & notebooks

of epiphanies (theological term an intense moment in a human life when

the truth of a person or some thing is being revealed). He studied in

Paris, then returned to Ireland & in 1904 left it. He lived in different

places in Europe. First, he earned money by giving English lessons. In 1905

he submitted to the publisher his first version of the collection of

stories Dubliners. But it was repeatedly rejected & even after acceptance

it was subjected to severe censorship for sexual frankness & use of

obscenities & use of real names & places. This collection consists of 15

stories devoted to childhood, mature life & public life. All are unified by

the theme of persons loneliness & hopelessness. Joyce describes life with

all naturalistic details. Everything suggests that life is dead. All the

stories explore the paralysis of Irish life. The most famous stories are

Araby & The Dead . The stories are arranged in successive sequences

childhood, adolescence, mature & public life. Mood is gloomy, imagery is

dark & malignant. People are incurably lonely, their hopes are doomed to

disappointment & frustration.

In the full form the collection was published in 1914 together with his

autobiographical novel The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, which

was to be called Stephen-Hero. This book explores the story of the

formation of the artists consciousness. In criticism it is called a

gestation of the soul, for he tries to penetrate into peoples mind. It is

deeply psychological work. In form it is buildungsroman (German word

meaning educational novel). Life is shown chronologically. The main hero

Stephen Dedalus. The process of his maturing is shown in the development.

In the first part the language is very simple. Then some glimpses of

family life are given. The disagreement between its members has political

roots. Another stage is school & college. Stephen does not participate in

boys games. He longs for the moment when he can be alone, he is weak &

suffering. The Jesuit college bred an aversion for religion in the young

artist. Everything was repulsive in the college: sermons, system of

punishment, religibility + hypocrisy. It was an anguish experience. Stephen

learnt to build a wall between him & all the rest of the humanity.

The book has an open ending we dont know Stephen will do. It ends

with the decision to leave Ireland. This exile, solitude are the ways in

which Stephen opposes to the oppressing influence of the society. He

rejects what life suggests to him his choice is loneliness. The problem

of correlating of artists & society is solved by Joyce from highly

individualistic standpoint. The last pages express Stephens understanding

of form & time categories. The past is consumed in the present & the

present is living because it has force in the future. The name Dedalus

is symbolic. It is a symbol of new art which is liberated from restrain of

old art He discovers & explores the possibilities of new art. Its aim is

to create a new labyrinth of forms of new art.

In 1922 Ulysses was published. It started as another short story for

The Dubliners but grew into the massive novel. Joyce recreates the action

of Odyssey in a single day July 16, 1904 (it was a significant day for

Joyce: he decided to leave Ireland & met his future wife). Since two plains

run parallel. The main characters are associated with certain people in

Odyssey by Homer: the main characters are Stephen Dedalus & Leopold

Bloom, an advertising solicitor & in a certain way an eternal Jew both

figuratively & literally. Minor characters are the people whom they meet in

different places. Dedalus acts as Telemachys & Leopold Bloom is modern

Odyssey & his wife Molly is modern Penelope. Bloom wanders from place to

place throughout this day butchers shop, post office, cemetery, printing

house, library, pub, hotel, again pub, shop, his poor house, cheap pub his

adventures has nothing in common with adventures of Odyssey. They are down

to Earth, petty. In Bloom Joyce tried to show wandering of eternal. He

has unheroic adventures & finally meets Stephen who becomes his spiritual

son. This is a plot.

In form the book is mostly a never-ending stream of Blooms

consciousness (he is not an intellectual person, his impressions are very

incoherent). The book has a very rigid form. Joyce describes in many

details every moment of the day: actions, feelings & thoughts. But apart

from it Joyce deepens into human consciousness he tries to render

something which doesnt depend on peoples mind, he tries to penetrate into

human psyche, impulses which govern, move them. Each chapter corresponds to

the certain episode in Homers Odyssey & each chapter has its own style.

It witnesses that Joyce was a virtuous of the English language. Ulysses

has 18 episodes, each of them tracing the deeds & the thoughts of three

people during one day in Dublin. The book is a mosaic. It consists of

different & not quite linked together parts. There is almost no plot. Joyce

still puts the idea in it to describe symbolically mans wandering in the

chaos of life & floating with the stream of his thoughts. The humanity is

lost & confused about all the contradictions of modern life, people waist

their lives in this chaos, their existence is sensless & purposeless. The

three main characters present three eternal types of human beings common

person, an artist, a woman. Bloom stands for the symbol of a typical

bourgeois person. He is very limited & content with down-to-earth


The book caused a storm of outrage. It was banned in Britain & America

for more than ten years. Now it is praised for technical experimentation &

stylistic brilliance. The book attracted attention to the stream of

consciousness technique. In general it evoked controversial responses.

Even before completing Ulysses Joyce wrote Finnegans Wake a

novel. If Ulysses is considered to be a daybook, Finnegans Wake is a

night book. Joyce tried to present the whole human history in a dream of a

Dublin innkeeper Earwicker by name. The style is appropriate to a dream,

the language is shifting & changing, the words blur & glue together, this

suggests the merging of images in a dream. This technique enables Joyce to

present history & myth as a single image. The characters stand for eternal

types, identified by Earwicker himself, his wife & the three children.

The work masks the limit of formal experiment in the language.

Finnegans Wake is considered to be a closed book. It is very

sophisticated. Joyce loses the thread of narration sometimes attempted in

the sound of words, construction of a sentences, to render the meaning of

what he was talking about (e.g. images of woman & the river are merging;

the rhythm gurgling, flowing water). What unifies these two books both

of them express Joyces positive credo: he asserts that life is eternal,

human society does change but the change has a circular character.

Everything is renewed, nothing can be destroyed. Joyce starts the work with

the continuation of thoughts & the beginning of them is at the end. Man

must believe in the city (symbol of Dublin).

Thomas Stearns Eliot (1889 1965)

Thomas Stearns Eliot is considered todays genius in poetry.

Quintessence: refine sensibility the essential quality of the poet. Our

civilization comprehends great variety & complexity; & this variety &

complexity playing upon a refined sensibility must produce various &

complex result. The poet must become more & more comprehensive, more & more

allusive, more indirect in order to force, to dislocate if necessary

language into his meaning said Eliot. This is an account of what a

modern poet should do. He must be finely tuned to the world to be able to

express the various & complex. The poet can distort the language, to use it


Extremely was influential figure in literary circles. Editor, poet,

playwright, critic he came from a prosperous American family, his father

was a rich manufacturer & his mother wrote poetry. He was brought up in St.

Louis Missouri. He was educated in private school & attended Harvard to get

his degree in philosophy in 1906. Then left for Paris. There he attended

lectures of Henry Bergson Subjective Idealism Philosophy, Theory of

Intuitivism. Being in Paris he read much on French symbolist poets. The

symbolist movement was one of major influences upon his poetry. The goal of

art is to express the unique personal emotional responses to a certain

moment in human life through indefinite illogical, sometimes private in

meaning symbols. Eliot returned to Harvard & there he read widely in

Sanskrit & oriental philosophy (had a powerful influence on him). In 1915

he decided to give up philosophy to remain in England & to begin writers

career. In 1916 he completed his Ph.D. theses, but never received a degree.

He married & settled in England permanently.

The beginning of his literary career starts from 1910 when he wrote The

Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. It was published in 1915 in magazine

Poetry. The poem is written in a very simple style. Then he made a

collection Prufrock & Other Observations. This was compared with Lyrical

Ballads of Wordsworth & Coleridge. This work inaugurated the age of

modernism in poetry. There is no plot in the story. Its a dramatic

monologue but of the new kind. It sounds like a stream of consciousness of

a person who walks up the street of London. The protagonist is Alfred

Prufrock. He is an antiromantic hero, rather timid, self-centred. The tone

is very ironic, images are startlingly fresh. The title suggests that some

feeling should be shown to the other person. The poem starts as a dialogue:

Let us go out you & I

Critics argue that you & I are two sides of one & the same person. Eliot

says that YOU is a companion of Prufrock. We should pay attention to the

epigraph: The truth will remain under. This means that the speaker can

persuade himself to talk only if this will never be heard. It is his own

dramatic monologue. Prufrock is intensely preoccupied with himself.

Probably he signs his love song to himself (though it doesnt matter much)

We can understand love-song in ironic sense because the whole poem is

an elaborate rationalization for not seeking love. Love cannot exist in

this ugly senseless chaotic world. It is a miracle, hopeless yearning of

person for the vitality. The whole scene makes us see that love is not

possessive in this world. Repulsive attitude of the narrator towards what

he sees images of a pair of ragged claws, mermaids singing each to each.



It means that they talk of what they pretend to know.

The poem is full of allusions. The epigraph is quite important, taken

from Dantes The Divine Comedy. The end of poem is pessimistic. It is one

of the most understandable of his poems.

The Waste Land (the poem (1922) in Dial & Criteria[GB]). The poem

consists of 5 parts & their titles speak for themselves:

The Burial of the Dead

A Game of Chess an allusion of a medieval play, where the action was

as if in two playings.

The Fire Sermon the postulates of oriental religion.

The Death by the Water

What the Thunder Said

In terms of forms the poem is a collage of fragments of memories,

overheard conversations, quotations put together only by the implied

present of a sensible person (= a refined sensibility = a modern poet),

upon whom all these complexibilities & varieties of human world are hipped

& who staggers under the burden of them. We can say that the mind of the

poet is heavily packed with cultural tradition. A poem abounds in highly

sophisticated allusions:

. The Tempest

. Anthropological account of Grail() legend a legend

connected with Christianity a cup from which Christ drank;

. from The Divine Comedy;

. alluded & used words from operas of Wagner;

. refers to the story of crusification;

. uses French symbolists;

. as well as scraps of popular culture music-hall songs, slang

words, contemporary fashion;

He hips everything together. This bits & pieces are set into a matrix of

flowing stream of consciousness of a man. The dramatic portrait of a single

mind becomes the portrait of an age. Eliot provided 52 notes for The Waste

Land when it was first published. The poem was opposed violently but there

were also admirers. They said that Eliot gave a definite description of

their age. Now terms lost generation, post-war disillusionment, jazz

age, waste land are used parallelly For many contemporary writers &

critics The Waste Land was a definite description of the age.

Civilization was dying. Critics regarded it as the disillusionment of a

generation. Eliot protested against that. The term waste land is used in

literature alongside with the term lost generation.

He also employed the myth of dying & reviving king what the poem

expresses is the need of salvation & this is expressed in 3 Sanskrit words

(give, sympathize & control). There are many barbarisms in the poem.

In 1925 he published another poem in the same tonality. The Hollow Man

develops the major themes & images of The Waste Land problems of

spiritual bareness, the problem of loss of faith in contemporary

generation. The poem is a set of recurrent symbols. The meaning depends on

cumulative effect of the individual images. The idea of spiritual sterility

in the image of Hollow Man grotesque caricature of man, their behaviour

is mimicry of human activity. The poem is very short. It is easily read but

not so easily understood. There are 5 parts in the poem. Other images

Death of the Kingdom. The life of the Hollow Man is more shadowy & less

real than the life beyond the grave. Religion is substituted by simple

rituals devoid of all true feelings & emotions. The end-of-the-world

(apocalyptic) motive is very strong in the poem. The picture is very

pessimistic. The poem ends hopelessly:

This is the way the world ends,

Not with a bang but a whimper

Eliots development after The Waste Land was in the direction of

literary, political, religious conservatism. Classicist in literature,

royalist in politics & Anglo-Saxon in religion he developed more composed

lyrical style.

His mature masterpiece is Four Quartets (1944) which is based on the

poetic memories of certain localities of America & Britain. This is a

starting point for his probing in the mystery of time, history, eternity,

the meaning of life. It deals with one single question of what significance

in our lives are ecstatic intense moments when we seem to escape time &

glimpses of supra-ordinary reality (it resembles Joyces Epiphanies.

There are two epigraphs that give clues to the answer. The epigraphs are

very important.

The first comes from Heroclitus. It contrasts the general wisdom of the

race with moments of private individual insight. It shows the dualism of

individual existence. First of all individuality is apart of a body of

mankind, located in history & tradition. Secondly, it is a unique

personality. Each person embraces both & this predetermines the reaction to

: 1, 2, 3, 4