English Literature after 1945 and Postmodernism Part II

English Literature after 1945 and Postmodernism 2

The narrative literature after 1945, like poetry and drama, was located in the area of ​​tension between traditional formal language and modernist or postmodern willingness to experiment. The classic realistic social novel lived on in the 1940s and 1950s in the works of C. P. Snow , A. Powell and J. Cary ; Also in the novels of the Angry Young Men (K. Amis, J. Wain , J. Braine and A. Sillitoe ), which were written during the 1950s and 1960s, a – socially critical – realism dominated, sometimes with comical, often was enriched with neopicaresque elements. Developed at the same time A. Wilson, I. Murdoch and M. Drabble continue the realistic tradition through the differentiated analysis of characters, ethical problems as well as social conflicts and dependencies, G. Orwell and W. Golding through the approach to doctrinal, parabolic or satirical forms of narration.

On the other hand, the novels by S. Beckett, in which reality defies any empirical or rational access, by L. Durrell and D. Lessing , in which reality is fragmented or broken in perspective, were varieties of experimental narration, as well as in the experiments on form by B. S. Johnson and C. Brooke-Rose, reminiscent of the French Nouveau Roman.

According to insidewatch.net, postmodern storytelling began to take hold in England in the 1970s and 1980s, albeit in a more moderate form than before in the United States or South America. As a prelude to J. Fowles ‘ “The French lieutenant’s woman” (1969; German “Dies Herz für Liebe nicht tästermt”, 1970; “Die Geliebte des Französ Lienants”, 1983), a prototype of a postmodern self-reflective metaromans that is on the one hand more traditional – here: Victorian – serving narrative conventions, at the same time blurring the boundaries between fiction and reality, questioning conventional notions of reality and thus moving the narrative process itself into the center of attention. As with J. Fowles Postmodern storytelling is often intertextual and parodic; it also likes to venture into the terrain of the fantastic, e.g. B. the horror or end-time novel (e.g. A. Carter , J. Winterson , A. Gray , M. Amis , S. Rushdie ) and repeatedly – usually ironically – deals with history and historiography (e.g. P. Ackroyd , J. Barnes , G. Swift , A. S. Byatt and K. Ishiguro ).

Otherwise, common tendencies can be observed in the realistic as well as in the experimental and postmodern novels of the present. On the one hand, this includes the large number of women authors who write from a feminist perspective, among others. M. Drabble , B. Bainbridge , Penelope Lively (* 1933), A. Brookner and M. Warner , on the other hand the increasing importance of “gay and lesbian novels” (e.g. A. Hollinghurst , J. Winterson ). In addition, English narrative literature is increasingly being enriched by post-colonial authors who, since the beginning of immigration after the Second World War, have portrayed the experience of ethnic, geographical and social difference in their novels. B. from the 1950s to S. Selvon , J. Rhys and V. S. Naipaul , later B. Emecheta , H. Kureishi , Timothy Mo (* 1950), S. Rushdie, C. Phillips , Diran Adebayo (* 1968) or Meera Syal (* 1963). The internationality of contemporary narrative literature is finally demonstrated by the example of authors such as B. Okri , A. Roy or P. Carey , who temporarily live or publish in England, but – like Irish authors (E. O’Brien , J. McGahern , J. Banville ) – cannot be clearly assigned to a national literature.

The novel genres that were particularly successful in the post-war period include: the so-called “campus novel” (D. Lodge , M. Bradbury ), the science fiction literature (inter alia AC Clarke , M. Moorcock , J. Wyndham , B. Aldiss ), the detective novel (inter alia P. D. James , R. Rendell , I. Rankin ) as well as high-quality and imaginative children’s and youth literature (Mary Norton (* 1903, † 1992), R. Dahl , JK Rowling ), which can look back on a rich tradition (R. Kipling , E. Nesbit , K. Grahame , B. Potter , JM Barrie , A.A. Milne ).

The English short story of the post-war period, like the novel, is characterized by a remarkable plurality; however, as in the past, with the exception of the early 20th century, it plays a far less important role than z. B. in American literature.

So far ten writers from Great Britain have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature: R. Kipling (1907), J. Galsworthy (1932), T. S. Eliot (1948), B. Russell (1950), W. Churchill (1953), W. Golding (1983), V. S. Naipaul (2001), H. Pinter (2005), D. Lessing(2007) and K. Ishiguro (2017).

Four English-language writers from Ireland also received the Nobel Prize for Literature: WB Yeats (1923), GB Shaw (1925), S. Beckett (1969) and S. Heaney (1995).

English Literature after 1945 and Postmodernism 2