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Emily Bjorkman

on 5 May 2015

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Transcript of Postmodernism

"Like all superlative works of comedy-and i am ready to argue that this is one of the most bitterly funny works in the language- Catch-22 is based on an unconventional but utterly convincing internal logic. In the very opening pages, when we come upon a number of Air Force officers malingering in a hospital= one censoring all of the modifiers out of enlisted men's letters and signing the censor's name 'Washington Irving', another pursuing tedious conversations with boring Texans in order to increase his life span by making time pass slowly, still another storing horse chestnuts in his cheeks to give himself a look of innocence- it seems obvious that an inordinate number of Joseph Heller's characters are, by all conventional standards, mad. It is a triumph of Mr. Heller's skill that he is so quickly able to persuade us 1) that the most lunatic are the most logical, and 2) that it is our conventional standards which lack any logical consistency."
The Logic of Survival in a Lunatic World by Robert Brunstein.
Born March 11, 1911 to an alcoholic salesman and a Southern belle with high social aspirations
Attended The University of Missouri, left junior year to work at shoe company
Spent spare time writing and left after nervous breakdown
Attended Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Iowa, and the Dramatic Workshop of the New School in NYC to study English and playwriting
Worked for Federal Writer's Project
First gained notice for "The Glass Menagerie" in 1945
By 1959 he had won two Pulitzer Prizes, three New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards, three Donaldson Awards, and a Tony Award, and many were made into films
By 1960s, his career was declining and his shows were box office flops due to his depression and time in and out of rehab
Alcoholic with addiction to amphetamines and barbituates
Sister Rose had schizophrenia and was institutionalized in 1943
Accepted homosexuality in 1930s and fell in love with Frank Merlo
Williams died on February 25, 1983 from acute secotonal intolentence (i.e. a barbiturate)
Tennessee Williams
Joseph Heller
Arthur Miller
Arthur Miller
Born in Harlem, New York City, October 17, 1915. He was raised in a successful Jewish family and studied at the University of Michigan.
Wrote many plays including
All my Sons
Death of a Salesman,

The Crucible, A View from the Bridge,
The Mitfists
starring Marilyn Monroe shortly after marrying Miller.
He was awarded the Pulitzer prize for Drama
By Emily, Shannon, Faith, and Gwen
Economic, Social, and Political Influences
Historical Background
John Irving

The Works of Tennessee Williams
The Glass Menagerie
A Streetcar Named Desire
A Streetcar Named Desire
Summer and Smoke
The Rose Tattoo
Camino Real
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Orpheus Descending
Garden District
Sweet Bird of Youth
Influences: William Shakespeare, William Faulkner, Emily Dickinson, James Joyce, and Ernest Hemingway
Often added his own challenges, like alcoholism, sexuality, and drugs
Plays were often very violent and explored extreme human brutality and sexual behavior
Setting was usually in the South
Used poetic realism (using everyday objects symbolically) and romanticism
Wrote about individualism suffocated by the American cliche
A Streetcar Named Desire
, Blanche and Stella embody the feminist struggle to be a socially-accepted housewife or to take charge of one's life
Human experience personified by Southern culture, characters torn by their inner good and evil
Often criticized for obsession with sex and violence
Literary Elements
Dark humor
Magic Realism
Art/architecture/musical influences
Contradicting modernism and putting a twist on traditional form.
Shift to individuality and creativity, away from focus on skill, very abstract.
Art incorporated into buildings, abandoning only serving one purpose.
Music began to leave behind rules that restricted creativity.
The HUAC Controversy With
The Crucible
Miller wrote
The Crucible
in response to the star of
Death of a Salesman
, Elia Kazan, going to the HUAC (House of Un-American Activities Committee) and revealing the names of 8 former Communists belonging to their group theater. After Miller's testimony he traveled to Salem, Massachusetts to begin researching the witch trials inspiring
The Crucible.
After the release of The Crucible the HUAC took interest in Miller, and was taken to court. When tried Miller was forced to describe his political affairs but refused to name any other people who participated in similar activities. He was found guilty of Competent of Congress and fined $500 or thirty days in prison along with being blacklisted and not allowed a passport. In 1958 the court ruling was overturned.
Arthur Miller's career as a writer expanded over many decades and at the time of his death he was considered to be one of the greatest dramatists of the twentieth century. Miller was a member of the American Theatre Hall of Fame, inducted in 1979, and in 1993 he received the Four Freedom Award for Freedom of speech.
Born March 2, 1942
Never knew his biological father
Phillips Exter Academy
University of New Hampshire and University of Iowa
Married Shyla Leary and Janet Turnbell Blunt
The World according to Garp
Born on May 1, 1923 in Brooklyn, New York to Russian-Jewish immigrants.
Father died when he was five.
Critics believe that his dark humor comes from growing up near Coney Island.
Enlisted in Army Air Corps in 1942 (experience as a fighter pilot would influence Catch 22)
1945 he married his wife Shirley Held, while also pursuing a college education.
Bachelor in English from NYU, Masters from Columbia University, and attended Oxford as a Fullbright scholar. Went on to teach at University of Pennsylvania.
Worked as an advertising copywriter.
Worked in magazines like Time, Look, and McCall's, also writing short stories and scripts for television and films (also working on Catch 22)
Diagnosed with Guillain-Barr disease, but recovered.
Died of a heart attack on December 12, 1999
A late twentieth century movement of art, architecture, and literature, expanding from Modernism.
The term was first used in art in the 1870s, and again used to describe art and literature in the 1920s.
Postmodernist ideas in philosophy and the analysis of culture and society led to the discovery of the importance of literature, architecture, and design in everyday culture.
Postmodernism led to the re-evaluation of everyday life and culture, resulting in a social revolution.
Criticism of Miller
This play is not history in the sense in which the word is used by the academic historian. Dramatic purposes have sometimes required many characters to be fused into one; the number of girls involved in the 'crying out' has been reduced; Abigail's age has been raised; while there were several judges of almost equal authority, I have symbolized them all in Hathorne and Danforth. However, I believe that the reader will discover here the essential nature of one of the strangest and most awful chapters in human history. The fate of each character is exactly that of his historical model, and there is no one in the drama who did not play a similar - and in some cases exactly the same - role in history.
Margo Burns
(Arthur Miller's The Crucible:Fact & Fiction)
"I have here in my hand a list of 205 . . . a list of names that were made known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department. . . . " Joseph R. McCarthy
Miller died in 2005, February 10th.
All American family (Even when the American dream fails.
Life, death, and human purpose.
Characters are formed by the pressures of society.
Modernism vs. Postmodernism
Both explored stream-of-consciousness
Postmodernism plays in chaos, finding meaning and order is not the central task
Setting Free the Bears(1968)
The Water Method Man(1972)
The 158-lb Marriage(1974)
The World According to Garp(1978)
The Hotel New Hampshire(1981)
The Cider House Rules(1985)
A Prayer for Owen Meany(1989)
A Son of the Circus(1995)
A Widow for One Year(1998)
The Fourth Hand(2001)
Until I Find You(2005)
Last Night in Twisted River(2009)
In One Person(2012)
Notable Works
"In Garp, we note especially the richness of its many layers, the extraordinary flexibility and grace of its prose, and the fulfillment of Garp's-and-Irving's-criteria for good fiction; the novel makes the reader wonder what will happen next, and what happens is not so much real but "true."-Josie P. Campbell(John Irving A Critical Companion)
July 9, 1978-March on Washington for the Equal Rights Amendment(ERA)
Charles Dickens
Kurt Vonnegut
Gunter Grass
Nathanial Hawthorn
Baby Boomers
Countercultural Movement
Ideal Home Life
Gender Roles
Post war economy
Containment/fight against communism
Notable Works
Catch 22
Something Happened
Good as Gold
Picture This
God Knows
No laughing Matter
A Portrait of an Art as an Old Man
"She was nothing but kind. In fact, she had dropped out of college when she suspected that the chief purpose of her parents' sending her to Wellesley had been to have dated by and eventually mated to some well-bred man. The recommendation of Wellesley had come from her older brothers, who had assured her parents that Wellesley women were not thought of loosely and were considered high in marriage potential."
Criticism of Catch-22
"Before describing the theme of Catch-22, I must make this point which I trust will not be considered trifling- this author cannot write." Roger H. Smith, Catch 22
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