British Literature between the WarsThe years between the outbreak of the 1
WW and the beginning of the 2
WW (1914-1918;1939-1945). Its main feature is the appearance of the lit. school “modernism”. Modernistswanted to show a new view on a human which had emerged due to deep social changes anddiscoveries in physics, philosophy, and psychology.1.Social changes – 1
WW was a terrible shock to the Br. Society who had not expectedsuch destruction of property and life. The war made people wonder if Westerncivilization and culture would continue to exist. Modernism rejected the naturalistic point of view on man in which man is shaped by environment. It rejected the socialist point of view that man is determined by the society. A change is society would change people who live in it. Modernism rejected the Christian notion of man who can besaved only by God.2.The new conception of the human self emerged in the works of French philosophersHenri Bergson. The Austrian psychologist S. Freud and the Swiss psychologist CarlYung. Bergson declared the world unknowable, institution primary, and mindsecondary. Freud came to the conclusion that human behavior is deeply affected by theunconsciousness. According to Freud the human psyche consists of 3 elements:
The ID is the name for the unconscious, the biological instincts.
The EGO is the conscious. The most rational part of a person’s self.
The Super Ego is the hereditary part of the Ego, so to speak the representativeof society with psyche.All the psychic energy is based on the ID which is covered by primitive aggressiveand sexual drives and directed by the pleasure principle. Freud stressed that ID playsthe dominant part in the mental life. The Ego is based on the reality principle. The Egomust protect itself from unacceptable demands of the ID and the moral reproaches of the Super Ego. Thus, the contradictions between the society and the individual to holdhis emotions in the check and that leads to neurosis.Carl Yung’s theory dealt with archetypes ( with the original model of something, withothers, or with copies). Yung believed that archetypes are universal and inherent in allmankind. The fundamental facts of human existence are archetypical: birth, growingup, love, family, death, struggle between children and parents. Certain characters of personality types are archetypical: Christ, Don Juan.These theories show that human is not a rational, balanced creature but verycontradictory. That made writers come to the conclusion that WW1 had been caused by the perversity of human nature. Fear of the future is seen in the mood of desperation that fills the modernist world. A wish to reflect the new vision of the worldand the complex processes that take place in the human consciousness finds anexpression in the modernist world against traditional literary forms and topics, particularly those of realism. The modernist works are characterized by the loosely built plot or no plot altogether. The modernist novels exploit the stream-of-consciousness technique which is special manners of narrations that tries to capture amental process in which sense perceptions mingle with conscious or half-consciousthoughts, memories; ex. expectations, feelings, and random associations.The modernists often break the narrative continually (going back and forward in time).The use of new ways in representing character. They violate the traditional syntax.They use myth to help understand and order the chaos of 20
century experience. Theyemploy complex allusiveness. Many modernists were conscious that literary workscould not be interpreted and didn’t believe that their thus works could change societyor people.