miércoles, 28 de enero de 2009


Vídeo sobre la historia de esta revista del 27 que, en sus orígenes, editaron Manuel Altolaguirre, Emilio Prados y José María Hinojosa.

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miércoles, 7 de enero de 2009

English Literature in the 20th century

We're going to talk about English Literature from 1900 to 1950.
Two world wars, an intervening economic depression of great severity, and the austerity of life in Britain following the second of these wars help to explain the quality and direction of English literature in the 20th century.

The most popular writer of the early years of the 20th century was probably Rudyard Kipling, a highly versatile writer of novels, short stories and poems, often based on his experiences in British India.

Aldous Huxley was the writer who expressed the sense of disillusionment and hopelessness in the period after World War I in his Point Counter Point (1928).

Before Huxley, and before the war, the sensitively written novels of E. M. Forster, exposed the hollowness and deadness of both abstract intellectuality and highter-class social life. Forster had called for a return to a simple, intuitive literature. His most famous novel is, A Passage to India (1924).

D. H. Lawrence similarly related his sense of the need for a return from the complexities, and cold materialism of modern life to the primitive. His numerous novels and short stories, are for the most part more clearly experimental than Forster's.

Even more experimental and unorthodox than Lawrence's novels were those of the Irish writer James Joyce. In his novel Ulysses (1922) he focused on the events of a single day and related them to one another in thematic patterns based on Greek mythology. In some of these experiments his novels were paralleled by those of Virginia Woolf, who was very imitated for his novels Mrs. Dalloway (1925) and To the Lighthouse (1927).

Among young novelists, Evelyn Waugh, like Aldous Huxley, satirized the society of the 1920s in Decline and Fall (1928). His later novels, similarly satirical and extravagant, showed a deepening moral tone, as in The Loved One (1948) and Brideshead Revisited (1945).
Graham Greene, investigated in his more serious novels the problem of evil in human life.

Now, we're going to talk about poetry and drama in this century.


Poets at the end of the Victorian age reflect the crisis of values of the time. Gerard Manley Hopkins and Thomas Hardy are the two best examples. Hopkins and Hardy are poets of changing times. Their poems celebrate nature, but also show the great sadness and anxiety of society.

First world war poetry

The first world war was called 'the war to end all wars.' In fact it was just the first of many wars in the twentieth century. It was, however, the first war in which the soldiers from the lower classes could read and write – and they wrote home describing the horrors and the uselessness of the war they were fiighting. A new range of words entered everyone's languaje: 'no-man´s-land' is one example.

The poets who wrote about the war from their own experience did not try to make the soldiers into heroes. 'The poetry is in the pity' wrote Wilfred Owen. In another poem, Owen uses a famous latin line to question the values of war: 'it is sweet and correct to die for your country.' Poems like 'anthem for doomed youth', 'strange meeting' and 'futility' are elegies for a dead generation, poems about the wasteland of modern war.
Like so many other soldiers , Wilfred Owen was killed in the war, and most of his poems were published after his death.
Rupert Brooke also died in the war not long after writing these famous lines:

If i should die, think only this of me;
that there`s some corner of a foreign field
that is forever England.

Edward Thomas was a poet of nature. He describes the effects of the war on the English countryside in 'the team´s head-brass'. His best-known poem 'adlestrop' is rather like a poem by Brooke as it describes a moment which can never return.

Many other poets described the war in detail. T.S. Eliot, for example, in 'dead man´s dump' describes the dead bodies and the horror of war very cleary. Generation of poets and other artists died in the war.

Siegfried Sassoon survived the war, and went on to write poetry and prose for many years. But the best of this writing is about the war. Poems like 'the general' were among the first to criticize the way the war was planned.
Edmund Blunden, was the editor of Owen´s poems when a collected edition was plublished in 1931. Blunden´s own volume undertones of war is one of the most detailed accounts of life in the trenches, seen from the distance of a few years after the war had ended.

T.S. Eliot is considered by many critics to be the most important poet in English in the twentieth century. Like so many other writers he was an outsider. Ezra Pound encouraged him in his writing, and his first volume was published in 1917. This was Prufrock and other Observations. it contains one of Eliot´s best-known poems 'the love song of J. Alfred Prufrock'.
In 1922 T.S. Eliot published "The Waste Land" and, ever since, it has been considered the most important single poem of the century. It takes the ideas of time, and waste, already found in 'Prufrock' and extends them to all societies, all times, and all cultures.

The popular new form of art in the early part of the twentieth century was the cinema.
There is a definite separation between high culture and popular culture in the 1920s. Texts like "The Waste Land" land were deliberately difficult in the range of references and in the modern techniques used.

Of course, many poets still wrote in traditional ways – perhaps Robert Graves is the most important one. He continued to write until the 1980s, and became one of the great lyric poets of the century.

Walter De la Mare, who wrote many poems for children, was another writer who did not follow the fasions of high culture, and remained popular for well over fifty years.

In the 1930s, the poets who followed Eliot brought a new political tone into modern poetry. W. H. Auden, Stephen Spender, Louis Macneice and C. Day-Lewis are often considered together as a group known as the thirties poets.

One of the most popular poets of the century was A. E. Housman. He published A Shropshire Lad, and over the next twenty years it became a best-seller, it was the volume of poetry most read by the soldiers in the First World War.

Poetry after the war included many Works by W.H. Auden, who by then lived in America. His long poem The Age of Anxiety (1948) in many ways gave its name to the period.

The poets of the 1920s and 1930s continued to write during and after the Second World War. The poets who died during the war did not produce work of such greatness as the soldiers of the First World War. But the poetry of Keith Douglas and Sidney Keyes is the poetry of war. Douglas’s Selected Poems came out in 1943, before his death in 1944; Keyes too had published a couple of volumenes before his death .His Collected Poems was published in 1945.

Dylan Thomas, who had started publishing poetry in the 1930s, was in many ways the most important new voice of the 1940s.His language is colourful, his images complex , and his view of nature bright. He goes beyond the fear of death.

John Betjeman became Poet Laureate, and was a very popular figure. His Collected Poems (1958/1962)was a best-seller , as was his autobiography in verse, Summoned by Bells.

For the poet Philip Larkin the poetry of Betjeman was important because it was Betjeman, who restored direct intelligible communication to poetry.

The poets of the 1950s are often considered together as The Movement. But the name has little real meaning, since most of the poets did not consider themselves part of any group.

Elizabeth Jennings, in A Way of Looking (1955), showed a new way of writing, as well as looking, with clear description, often ironic in its attitudes; she often writes of personal pain.

Donald Davie and D.J.Enright are other figures from the 1950s who have continued to write important poetry.


The Theatre was introduced to England from Europe by the Romans, and auditoriums were constructed all over the country by this purpose. The theatre is an important genre inside the English literature, his maximum literary figure is William Shakespeare, who supported English drama tradition.

The Irishman George Bernard Shaw was the leading figure in English drama from the 1890s until his dead in 1950. He was known for his use of the theatre to discuss issues, and from prostitution to language itself.

Edwardian musical comedy held the London stage (together with foreign operetta imports) until World War I and was then supplanted by increasingly popular American musical theatre and comedies by Noel Coward, Ivor Novello and their contemporaries. The motion picture mounted a challenge to the stage. At first, films were silent and presented only a limited challenge to theatre. But by the end of the 1920s, films like The Jazz Singer could be presented with synchronized sound, and critics wondered if the cinema would replace live theatre altogether. Some dramatists wrote for the new medium, but playwriting continued.

Postmodernism had an important effect on English drama in the latter half of the 20th Century. This can be seen particularly in the work of Samuel Beckett (most notably in Waiting for Godot), who in turn influenced writers such as Harold Pinter and Tom Stoppard.

Today the West End of London has a large number of theatres, particularly centred around Shaftesbury Avenue. A prolific writer of music for musicals of the 20th century, Andrew Lloyd Webber, has dominated the West End for a number of years, and his works have travelled to Broadway in New York and around the world, as well as being turned into film. After T.S. Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral in 1935 , there was a short period when poetic drama became popular. Eliot’s plays such as The Family Reunion (1939) and The Cocktail Party (1950), were very successful. Christopher Fry was the other main poetic dramatist. Terence Rattigan’s plays were not poetic.They enjoyed great success , especially in the 1940s and early 1950s,with audiences who shared their middle-class background and concerns.

During the 1950s a new kind of drama began to reach the theatres of Europe.There were two new trends in drama : absurd drama and social drama.

Absurd drama began in France in the 1940s and reached Britain with Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett in 1955.The term absurd was first used by the critic Martin Esslin to describe the new kind of drama , which showed how meaningless life was.Esslin has now decided the term was wrong , and has tried to find another way of describing these plays ,however no suitable name has been found , apart from the adjective Beckettian , from the author’s name.

The new social drama of the 1950s brought into drama the young generation after the war , often from the lower classes.The most famous play of the time was Look Back in Anger by John Osborne,staged at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 1956.


1. en.wikipedia.
2. Encarta.

Crédito de la imagen:

Guide to English Literature: Britain and Ireland. Ed.Penguin

Posted by Maria José Palacios, Marcos Pascual and Alicia Blanco.

George Bernard Shaw

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) was an important figure in the 20th century theatre, and in 1925 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Shaw was born on 26 July 1856, in Dublin. Shaw's childhood was difficult.
He studied in a lot of different schools. At the age of 15 he started to work as a junior clerk. In Ireland he began his literaty career.

In 1884 Shaw joined a middle-class socialist group and served on its executive committee.

In 1895 Shaw became a drama critic.He also wrote music, art and drama criticism.
Shaw was considerer unpatriotic.

Shaw died on November 2, 1950 at Ayot St.Lawrence.
During his long career he wrote over 50 plays.


1. The Literature Network.
2. Three Plays of the Absurd.
3. en.wikipedia.

By Anabel, Claudia and Jessica

Shaw's plays

His early plays were published as Plays Pleasant and Unpleasant (2 vol., 1898).
The “unpleasant” plays were Widower's Houses (1892), on slum landlordism; The Philanderer (written 1893, produced 1905); and Mrs. Warren's Profession (written 1893, produced 1902), a jibe at the Victorian attitude toward prostitution.
The “pleasant” plays were Arms and the Man (1894), satirizing romantic attitudes toward love and war; Candida (1893); and You Never Can Tell (written 1895).

In 1897 The Devil's Disciple, a play on the American Revolution, was produced with great success in New York City. It was published in the volume Three Plays for Puritans (1901) along with Caesar and Cleopatra (1899), humorous portraits of historical figures, and Captain Brassbound's Conversion(1900).

During the early 20th century, Shaw wrote his greatest and most popular plays: Man and Superman (1903), in which an idealistic, cerebral man succumbs to marriage (the play contains an explicit articulation of a major Shavian theme—that man is the spiritual creator, where as woman is the biological “life force” ).

Major Barbara (1905), which postulates that poverty is the cause of all evil.

Androcles and the Lion (1912; a short play), a charming satire of Christianity.

Pygmalion (1913), which satirizes the English class system through the story of a cockney girl's transformation into a lady at the hands of a speech professor. The latter has proved to be Shaw's most successful work—as a play, as a motion picture, and as the basis for the musical and film My Fair Lady (1956; 1964).

Of Shaw's later plays, Saint Joan (1923) is the most memorable; it argues that Joan of Arc, a harbinger of Protestantism and nationalism, had to be killed because the world was not yet ready for her.

In 1920 Shaw, much criticized for his antiwar stance, wrote Heartbreak House, a play that exposed the spiritual bankruptcy of the generation responsible for World War I.



By Rubén Téllez

Arms and the Man

Shaw wrote Arms and the man. It was his first comercial success as a playwritter although Shaw considered it a failure.
True success didn´t come until 1898, when it was published as part of Shaw's Plays Pleasant volume.

The play takes place during the 1885 Serbo-Bulgarian War.
Raina Petkoff is a romantic young girl who has an idealistic view of war. She is engaged to Sergius, a handsome ineffectual young officer with an equally romantic attitude towards war.

In the first act an escaping enemy soldier, Bluntschli, breaks into Raina's bedroom. He is a practical man and tries to convince her of the realities of war. It makes more sense to carry chocolates than ammunition he tells her. She lets him escape; clearly she has become attracted to him.

In the second act the soldiers return and bring with them Bluntschli who has helped them in moving their armies, since as a pragmatist, he is willing to fight for whichever side pays. Now he has to deal with the romantic Sergius for the love of Raina.

A British film adaptation of 1932 was directed by Cecil Lewis.
A filmed version of Arms and the Man in German entitled Helden in 1958.

1. en.Wikipedia.
2. Allreaders.

Crédito de la imagen:

By Alejandro, Eric and Juan

Saint Joan

Saint Joan (1923), is generally considered to be one of his better works. Shaw had long considered writing about Joan of Arc, and her canonization supplied a strong incentive. The play was an international success.

Published not long after the canonization of Joan of Arc by the Roman Catholic Church, Saint Joan is a dramatization based on her life and on the substantial records of her trial. The actual trial and burning of Joan in 1431 at the age of 19 was recorded in great detail by reporters of the day.

Shaw portrays Joan as refusing to accept any authority by the Catholic Church, many have taken his play as an argument that Joan of Arc was the first protestant.

Shaw described her as a simple peasant girl who hears voices.

The first act begins in the person of a lowly soldier to whom she gives news of these voices. She tells him that her voices have commanded her to help him become a true king in order to eliminate the English population and to restore France.Joan succeeds in doing this through her excellent powers of flattery, negotiation, leadership, and skill on the battlefield.

She is betrayed, and captured by the English at the siege of Compiègne.

The last act treats by his trial and on his inevitable end.
She at the hands of her oppressors, agrees to sign a confession relinquishing the truth behind her voices although, later on she changes her mind saying these dramatic words as she is leading to the stake:

"You think that life is nothing but not being dead? It is not the bread and water I fear. I can live on bread. It is no hardship to drink water if the water be clean. But to shut me from the light of the sky and the sight of the fields and flowers; to chain my feet so that I can never again climb the hills. To make me breathe foul damp darkness, without these things I cannot live. And by your wanting to take them away from me, or from any human creature, I know that your council is of the devil."'

Fuente: en.Wikipedia.

By Raquel


Pygmalion is a legendary figure of Cyprus. In Ovid's narrative, Pygmalion is a Cypriot sculptor who carves a woman out of ivory. But his statue is so realistic that he falls in love with it.Venus takes pity on him and brings the statue to life. They marry and have a son.

‘’Pygmalion Effect’’

Pygmalion effect is more or less saying that “not treat people by what appear to be but what they can become”

Ovidio says about the myth in the book of X Metamorphoses, "Pygmalion went to the statue and, to touch her, he thought he was hot, that the ivory was softening and that, laying down his toughness, assigned to the fingers gently, as the wax of Mount Himeto is to soften the rays of the sun and let it handle with his fingers, taking various shapes and becoming more docile and soft handling. To see him, Pygmalion was filled with great joy mix of fear, believing it was deceived. He returned to play the statue again, and ascertained that it was a flexible body and the veins gave their keystrokes to explore them with his fingers. “

When he woke up in place of the statue was Aphrodite, who told him "You deserve happiness, a happiness that you've captured. Here's the queen you've searched. Defend her love and protect her from the evil." Galatea was thus transformed into a real woman.

This story gives its name to the "Pygmalion Effect."


Ovid's Pygmalion has inspired several works of literature, including

• Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion
• Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein
• Isaac Asimov's novel "The Positronic Man"

Stage plays

W. S. Gilbert's stage version, 1871
There have also been successful stage-plays based upon the work, such as W. S. Gilbert's Pygmalion and Galatea (1871).

George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion (1912, staged 1914) owes something to both the Greek Pygmalion and the legend of "King Cophetua and the beggar maid"; in which a King lacks interest in women, but one day falls in love with a young beggar-girl, later educating her to be his Queen.

Pygmalion tells the story of Henry Higgins, a professor of phonetics, who makes a bet with his friend Colonel Pickering that he can successfully pass off a Cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, as a refined society lady by teaching her how to speak with an upper class accent and training her in etiquette. In the process, Higgins and Doolittle grow close, but she ultimately rejects his domineering ways and declares she will marry Freddy Eynsford-Hill – a young, poor, gentleman.
Shaw's comedy of manners in turn was the basis for the Broadway musical My Fair Lady (1956)


Notable 20th century feature films are My Fair Lady (1964, based on the stage play); Mighty Aphrodite by director Woody Allen; Weird Science directed by John Hughes; and the 1987 film Mannequin, a remake of the 1948 classic One Touch of Venus, as well as S1m0ne (featuring a computer-generated artificial intelligence as the love object); Many films have dealt collaterally with this theme.: Vertigo, and more recently Lars and the Real Girl, depicting an introverted man who falls in love with a plastic sex doll.
The popular horror genre in film has also had an interest in 'bringing to life' waxwork figures and show-room dummies (see: Waxworks: A Cultural Obsession by Michelle Bloom). Many horror films deviate considerably from the original story; for example, in The Stepford Wives (1975) the creators turn their living wives into inanimate (robotic, compliant) wives. Likewise, the legend serves as the inspiration for one of the Lineages, the Galatea, that appears in the White Wolf role-playing game Promethean: The Created.


• The American TV series My Living Doll portrayed a female robot whose creators attempted to transform her into a "perfect woman".
• The Aerosmith music video for Hole in My Soul features a nerdy college student who tries to find the girl of his dreams by creating one in a lab only to have her leave him.
• The Japanese anime series Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040 includes a character named Galatea, an artificial life form designed to be the next evolution of the human race.
• In Justice League Unlimited, Emile Hamilton creates a clone of Supergirl, that he names Galatea.
• In Philippine TV series Love Spell presents: Barbie-cute features a teenage boy who falls in love with a mannequin who comes to life when lightning strikes it.
• In the music video for This Time by K-pop group Wonder Girls,a designer falls in love with his mannequin, and she comes to life.She runs away,leaving the designer to chase after her.

Re-interpretations of Pygmalion

The basic Pygmalion story has been widely transmitted and re-presented in the arts through the centuries. In the Middle Ages Pygmalion was held up as an example of the excesses of idolatry, probably spurred by Clement of Alexandria's suggestion that Pygmalion had carved an image of Aphrodite herself. Although, by the 18th century it was a highly influential love-story, seen as such in Rousseau's musical play of the story. By the 19th century, the story often becomes one in which the awakened beloved rejects Pygmalion; although she comes alive, she is initially cold and unattainable.

William Shakespeare has a version of the legend in The Winter's Tale when Hermione is seen as a lifelike statue in the final scene.

A twist on this theme can also be seen in the story of Pinocchio where a wooden puppet is transformed into a real boy, though in this case the puppet possesses sentience prior to its transformation, and it is the puppet and not the woodcarver (sculptor) who beseeches the miracle.

Information and pictures taken from:



By Catalina, Laura and Lidia

Shaw anecdotes and quotes


On his ninetieth birthday, George Bernard Shaw was visited by Scotland Yard's celebrated Detective Fabian. To mark the occasion, Fabian suggested that Shaw's fingerprints be recorded for posterity. Incredibly, so faint were Shaw's prints that no impression could be made. "Well," Shaw playfully declared, "had I known this sooner I should certainly have chosen another profession!"

En su diecinueve cumpleaños, Bernard Shaw fue visitado por la Policía Escocesa, y un detective sugirió que las huellas dactilares de Shaw fueran recordadas para la posteridad. Pero increiblemente, las huellas de Shaw eran tan tenues que a penas podían imprimirse, y Shaw juguetonamente dijo: 'Si lo llego a saber, hubiera elegido otra profesión'

Classic Shaw

While he was directing Caesar and Cleopatra on Broadway, Sir Cedric Hardwicke took his son Edward to meet George Bernard Shaw. As they prepared to leave, Shaw turned to address the boy. "Young man, you will be able to tell your grandchildren that you met Bernard Shaw," he declared, "and they will say, 'Who the hell was he!?'"

Mientras estaba dirigiendo 'César y Cleopatra' en Broadway, Cedric Hardwicke llevó a su hijo Edward a conocer a Bernard Shaw. Tan pronto como estaban preparados para salir, Shaw fue en dirección hasta el chico. 'Joven hombre, podrás decirle a tu nieto que conociste a Bernard Shaw' Le dijo, 'y ellos dirán, ¿Quién demonios fue?'

Game For Music?

While visiting a restaurant one evening, George Bernard Shaw and a friend found their conversation drowned by a noisy orchestra. "Could you play something if I asked you to?" Shaw called to the leader. "But certainly Monsieur," the man replied. "Well would you either play poker or dominoes - whichever you like - until I have finished my dinner?

Mientras visitaba un restaurante una tarde, Shaw y un amigo encontraron su conversación ahogada por una ruidosa orguesta. '¿Podrías tocar algo que te pida?' Le dijo Shaw al líder. 'Ciertamente, señor' Le dijo el hombre, A lo que Shaw contestó '¿Podría jugar al poker o al dominó -el que le guste- hasta que termine mi cena?'

Herbicidal Maniacs?

Arnold Bennett, visiting George Bernard Shaw's apartment one day, expressed surprise - in light of the playwright's love of plants - at the absence of vegetation within his home. "I thought," he remarked, "you were so fond of flowers." "I am," Shaw replied, "and I'm very fond of children too, but I don't chop their heads off and stand them in pots about the house."

Arnold Bennet, visitando a Shaw un día en su apartamento, se sorprendió -sabía que el dramaturgo amaba las plantas-, de no ver ninguna en su casa. Y Dijo: 'Creía que le encantaban las flores', y Shaw le contestó: 'Y también me encantan los niños, pero no voy a ir por ahí, cortando sus cabezas y poniéndolas en tiestos por mi casa'


Quotations by Bernard Shaw

"The man who listens to the reason is lost. The reason enslaves all those who are not strong enough to dominate it".

("El hombre que escucha la razón está perdido. La razón esclaviza a todos los que no son bastante fuertes para dominarla").

"You see things and say, " why? " But I dream things that were never and say, " why not? "

("Ves cosas y dices,"¿Por qué?" Pero yo sueño cosas que nunca fueron y digo, "¿Por qué no?")

"When a stupid man does something that shames him, always he(she) says that it(he,she) expires with his(her,your) duty"

("Cuando un hombre estúpido hace algo que le avergüenza, siempre dice que cumple con su deber")

"Happy it(he) is that one that supports a profession that coincides with his(her,your) interest"

("Dichoso es aquel que mantiene una profesión que coincide con su afición")

"The mirrors use for the face turns; the art for turns the soul"

("Los espejos se emplean para verse la cara; el arte para verse el alma")

Fuente: The Quotations Page.

Crédito de la imagen:


By Alejandro López, Carlos Romero and Jesús Grande.