English Literature after 1945 and Postmodernism Part I

English Literature after 1945 and Postmodernism Part I

The English literature of the post-war period moves in the field of tension between modernist experiment and insular awareness of tradition and shows an appearance of confusing diversity. While on the one hand the poems of the traditionalist J. Betjeman , who was named ” Poet laureate ” in 1972, achieved print runs of tens of thousands, on the other hand, from the 1950s onwards, a large number of groups that replaced one another in rapid succession and competed with one another broke new lyrical territory. In 1956 and 1963 a new generation spoke up with the “New Lines” anthologies and under the name ” Movement “: P. Larkin , TW Gunn , D. Davie , E. Jennings , K. Amis et al. committed themselves in a reaction against both the lyric poets of early modernism (TS Eliot, E. Pound) and against the romanticizing rhetorical exuberance of the most popular poet of the 1940s and 1950s, D. Thomas , an »expository, documentary, empirical and rational «style and invoked T. Hardy and the local tradition. In contrast to them, AC Tomlinson drew on the French symbolists, T. Hughes , who with Alfred Alvarez ‘(* 1929) Anthology “The new poetry” (1962), back in his poems from everyday reality to a mythical-demonic world of animal energy, the poets of the “Northern Irish Renaissance” preferred – S. Heaney , D. Mahon , M. Longley , P. Muldoon , T. Paulin , Medbh McGuckian (* 1950) – a symbolic-associative style and at the same time sought to deal with the political realities of their homeland. Meanwhile, Craig Raine (* 1944) and Christopher Reid (* 1949) – both represented in a prominent place in the »Penguin book of contemporary British poetry« (1982) – using surprising metaphors and unusual perspectives on new ways of perceiving everyday objects, while the » Liverpool poets « Adrian Henri (* 1932, † 2000), Brian Patten (* 1946), and Roger McGough (* 1937) with their colloquial, political pop poetry paved the way for the »performance poetry« of the 1980s and 1990s (including LK Johnson , Benjamin Zephaniah [* 1958]) prepared. Inspiration in certain regions were G. Hill (central England, Yorkshire), T. Harrison (Northern England) and D. Dunn (Scotland). Finally, the younger generation of poets born in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s – including many women and members of ethnic minorities – found themselves in the anthology “The new poetry” (1993) by Bloodaxe, whose polyphony reflects the diversity of the reflected contemporary English culture.

In the drama, after a period of cultivating the classics, realistic socio-critical dramas (T. Rattigan ) and attempts to revive the verse drama (C. Fry ), a generation with the “angry young men” spoke up that had the widespread feeling of disillusionment and protest against establishment power. Most obviously this happened in J. Osborne’s “Look back in anger” (1957; German “Look Back in Anger,” 1957), the commercial West End theater in the newly founded “English stage company” off the Royal Court Theater listed became. This prelude to the ” New English Drama ” was followed by socially critical dramas by A. Wesker , J. Arden , S. Delaney , partly in naturalistic mode (“kitchen sink drama”), partly in the guise of poetic realism. At the same time, J. Littlewood developed new forms of ensemble playingwith the “ Theater Workshop ” and brought up pieces by B. Behan , S. Delaney, B. Brecht and the famous First World War revue “Oh, what a lovely war” (1963) the stage; In addition, the influences of American and European theater made themselves increasingly noticeable (E. O’Neill , T. Williams , A. Miller ; B. Brecht). With S. Beckett and H. Pinter Finally, two dramatists appeared who, like the French ” theater of the absurd ” at the same time, turned away from traditional forms of realism and drama.

According to healthvv.com, the lifting of state theater censorship in Great Britain (1968) then paved the way for the taboo and politicization of drama. In the 1970s and 1980s, political dramas dominated (some with a historical background), among others. by E. Bond , H. Brenton , Trevor Griffiths (* 1935), Howard Barker (* 1946), D. Hare , J. McGrath , D. Edgar , C. Churchill and B. Friel ; feminist dramas were written by C. Churchill, Pam Gems (* 1925, † 2011), Louise Page (* 1955), Sarah Daniels (* 1957) and Timberlakewertebaker (* 1947). At the same time T. Stoppard shone with virtuoso illusion-breaking pieces – trained in absurd and tabloid theater – renewed authors such as A. Ayckbourn , NF Simpson , J. Orton , M. Frayn the farce, sometimes playful, sometimes politically aggressive. Others, on the other hand, sounded out psychological and existential borderline situations (e.g. P. Shaffer ). In the 1990s celebrated with H. Pinter (“Moonlight”, 1993; German “Mondlicht”), T. Stoppard(“Arcadia”, 1993; German “Arkadien”) and D. Hare (»Racing demon«, 1990; German »In Teufels Küche«, 1994) older authors again great stage successes, while a young generation of dramatists impressed across Europe with drastic, provocative dramas (»In yer face theater«). S. Kane , M. Ravenhill , Anthony Neilson (* 1967), Jez Butterworth (* 1969), David Eldridge (* 1973), P. Marber , Phyllis Nagy (* 1962) and Philip Ridley (* 1964). At the same time, the » post-dramatic theater began «To establish a form of drama that largely dispensed with traditional elements of drama (characters, plot, fable, conflicts, roles), such as B. S. Kane in “4:48 psychosis” (2000; German “4:48 Psychose”, 2001, translated by D. Grünbein ), Martin Crimp (* 1956) in “Attempts on her life” (1997) or Simon Stephens (* 1971) in »Pornography« (2007).

English Literature after 1945 and Postmodernism 1