Реферат Курсовая Конспект
THE 1970s AND 1980s: NEW DIRECTIONS - Лекция, раздел Лингвистика, Курс лекций по предмету Романо-германская филология B Y The Mid-1970S, An Era Of Consolidation Began. The Vi...
B y the mid-1970s, an era of consolidation began. The Vietnam conflict was over, followed soon afterward by U.S. recognition of the People's Republic of China and America's Bicentennial celebration. Soon the 1980s -- the "Me Decade" -- ensued, in which individuals tended to focus more on more personal concerns than on larger social issues.
In literature, old currents remained, but the force behind pure experimentation dwindled. New novelists like John Gardner, John Irving (The World According to Garp, 1978), Paul Theroux (The Mosquito Coast, 1982), William Kennedy (Ironweed, 1983), and Alice Walker (The Color Purple, 1982) surfaced with stylistically brilliant novels to portray moving human dramas. Concern with setting, character, and themes associated with realism returned. Realism, abandoned by experimental writers in the 1960s, also crept back, often mingled with bold original elements a daring structure like a novel within a novel, as in John Gardner's October Light (1976) or black American dialect as in Alice Walker's The Color Purple. Minority literature began to flourish. Drama shifted from realism to more cinematic, kinetic techniques. At the same time, however, the "Me Decade" was reflected in such brash new talents as Jay McInerny (Bright Lights, Big City, 1984), Bret Easton Ellis (Less Than Zero, 1985), and Tama Janowitz (Slaves of New York, 1986).
John Gardner (1933-1982)
John Gardner, from a farming background in New York State, was the most important spokesperson for ethical values in literature until his death in a motorcycle accident. He was a professor of English specializing in the medieval period; his most popular novel, Grendel (1971), retells the Old English epic Beowulf from the monster's existentialist point of view. The short, vivid, and often comic novel is a subtle argument against the existentialism that fills its protagonist with self- destructive despair and cynicism.
A prolific and popular novelist, Gardner used a realistic approach but employed innovative techniques -- such as flashbacks, stories within stories, retellings of myths, and contrasting stories -- to bring out the truth of a human situation. His strengths are characterization (particularly his sympathetic portraits of ordinary people) and colorful style. Major works include The Resurrection (1966), The Sunlight Dialogues (1972), Nickel Mountain (1973), October Light (1976), and Mickelson's Ghosts (1982).
Gardner's fictional patterns suggest the curative powers of fellowship, duty, and family obligations, and in this sense Gardner was a profoundly traditional and conservative author. He endeavored to demonstrate that certain values and acts lead to fulfilling lives. His book On Moral Fiction (1978) calls for novels that embody ethical values rather than dazzle with empty technical innovation. The book created a furor, largely because Gardner bluntly criticized important living authors for failing to reflect ethical concerns.
Toni Morrison (1931- )
African-American novelist Toni Morrison was born in Ohio to a spiritually oriented family. She attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., and has worked as a senior editor in a major Washington publishing house and as a distinguished professor at various universities.
Morrison's richly woven fiction has gained her international acclaim. In compelling, large-spirited novels, she treats the complex identities of black people in a universal manner. In her early work The Bluest Eye (1970), a strong-willed young black girl tells the story of Pecola Breedlove, who survives an abusive father. Pecola believes that her dark eyes have magically become blue, and that they will make her lovable. Morrison has said that she was creating her own sense of identity as a writer through this novel: "I was Pecola, Claudia, everybody."
Sula (1973) describes the strong friendship of two women. Morrison paints African-American women as unique, fully individual characters rather than as stereotypes. Morrison's Song of Solomon (1977) has won several awards. It follows a black man, Milkman Dead, and his complex relations with his family and community. In Tar Baby (1981) Morrison deals with black and white relations. Beloved (1987) is the wrenching story of a woman who murders her children rather than allow them to live as slaves. It employs the dreamlike techniques of magical realism in depicting a mysterious figure, Beloved, who returns to live with the mother who has slit her throat.
Morrison has suggested that though her novels are consummate works of art, they contain political meanings: "I am not interested in indulging myself in some private exercise of my imagination...yes, the work must be political." In 1993, Morrison won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Alice Walker (1944- )
Alice Walker, an African-American and the child of a sharecropper family in rural Georgia, graduated from Sarah Lawrence College, where one of her teachers was the politically committed female poet Muriel Rukeyser. Other influences on her work have been Flannery O'Connor and Zora Neale Hurston.
A "womanist" writer, as Walker calls herself, she has long been associated with feminism, presenting black existence from the female perspective. Like Toni Morrison, Jamaica Kincaid, Toni Cade Bambara, and other accomplished contemporary black novelists, Walker uses heightened, lyrical realism to center on the dreams and failures of accessible, credible people. Her work underscores the quest for dignity in human life. A fine stylist, particularly in her epistolary dialect novel The Color Purple, her work seeks to educate. In this she resembles the black American novelist Ishmael Reed, whose satires expose social problems and racial issues.
Walker's The Color Purple is the story of the love between two poor black sisters that survives a separation over years, interwoven with the story of how, during that same period, the shy, ugly, and uneducated sister discovers her inner strength through the support of a female friend. The theme of the support women give each other recalls Maya Angelou's autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1970), which celebrates the mother-daughter connection, and the work of white feminists such as Adrienne Rich. The Color Purple portrays men as basically unaware of the needs and reality of women.
The close of the 1980s and the beginnings of the 1990s saw minority writing become a major fixture on the American literary landscape. This is true in drama as well as in prose. August Wilson who is continuing to write and see staged his cycle of plays about the 20th-century black experience (including Pulitzer Prize-winners Fences, 1986, and The Piano Lesson, 1989) -- stands alongside novelists Alice Walker, John Edgar Wideman, and Toni Morrison.
Asian-Americans are also taking their place on the scene. Maxine Hong Kingston (The Woman Warrior, 1976) carved out a place for her fellow Asian-Americans, among them Amy Tan, whose luminous novels of Chinese life transposed to post-World War II America (The Joy Luck Club, 1989, and The Kitchen God's Wife, 1991) have captivated readers. David Henry Hwang, a California- born son of Chinese immigrants, has made his mark in drama, with plays such as F.O.B. (1981) and M. Butterfly (1986).
A relatively new group on the literary horizon are the Hispanic-American writers, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Oscar Hijuelos, the Cuban-born author of The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love (1989); short story writer Sandra Cisneros (Women Hollering Creek and Other Stories, 1991); and Rudolfo Anaya, author of Bless Me, Ultima (1972), which sold 300,000 copies, mostly in the western United States.
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