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Post WWII Literature:

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Emma Miller-Richards

on 27 October 2016

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Transcript of Post WWII Literature:

Post WWII Literature:
The Emergence of New Genres

Development of New Genres
As Europe attempted to climb from the rubble left behind by WWII, England saw the emergence of new genres such as: science fiction, fantasy fiction, children's literature, crime novels, and thrillers.

Also, political allegories and satires were extremely common and attempted to point out the failings of those who had been in power during the war

The combination of the variance in emerging genres in Great Britain created a late modernist literary period for the country, birthing some of the world's most celebrated writers of all time.
Roald Dahl
Emma Miller-Richards
Historical Background
• In August 1944, Paris was relinquished from German control, but many European cities still remained under Nazi control. Finally in March 1945, General Alfred Jodl signed paperwork acknowledging Germany's defeat. Japan's defeat followed five months later in August 1945.

• Although WWII had ended, the destruction of England by Nazi forces caused rationing to increase to a level higher than during the war.

• Despite the overwhelming amount of aid from the US, austerity still filled civilian life across the continent.

Dystopian and Allegorical Novels: Orwell, Burgess, and Golding
George Orwell
• Best known for his 1949 dystopian novel
Nineteen Eighty-Four
and 1945 allegorical novel
Animal Farm
• Animal Farm:
o Analyzes Allie’s action of turning blind eye as Joseph Stalin murdered millions in his own country
o All characters are animals: pigs, horses, birds, and cows
o Uses animals to criticize central ideas of Russian revolution by casting Russian leaders as pigs
o By using animals, Orwell was able to convey his opposition to the social injustice and totalitarianism practiced by Soviet Union
• Nineteen Eighty-Four
o Depicts struggle of a civil officer who works under a totalitarian regime in which opinion-controlling practices were unbridled
o Essentially warns society against the dangers of totalitarianism through the exposition of forces compliance and brainwashing that occurs .
Anthony Burgess
• Best known for 1962 dystopian novel
A Clockwork Orange

o Analyzes whether or not the traits of free will and determinism can coexist without wreaking havoc upon the human soul
o Grapples with the idea of brainwashing and how it stems from the misuse of power
o The protagonist’s loss of free will exemplifies Hitler’s domination of the lives of his own people as well as those who serves in the war such as Burgess
o The opening question “What’s it going to be then, eh?” helps Burgess reinforce need for free will

William Golding
• Published works following his service in the British Navy during WWII
• In 1954
Lord of the Flies
became Golding’s “claim to fame” and most haunting work of literature
o Group of school boys are stranded on a deserted island, without societal structure, authorities, or consequences
o Focuses on the inherent evil which lives inside every human
o Explored the idea that humans are not all savage or all civilized, instead that they are a balance of the two and leaning too far toward either extreme can lead to polarization and division
o Effectively explored the psychological nature of the Holocaust by illustrating what becomes of a culture when man fails to recognize his own innate evil

Mystery and Crime Novels: Christie and Sayers
"Children's Novels: Dahl and Rowling
Science-Fiction: Clarke and Adams
Arthur Clarke
Douglas Adams
J.K. Rowling
Fantasy: Tolkien and Lewis
J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S Lewis
Agatha Christie
• Authored over 80 short stories, novels, and plays
• Christie became intrigued by potions and concoctions while serving as nurse during WWII
• Most well-known characters are Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot
o Miss Marple and Poirot became beloved characters in the literary world because they contrast each other so much
• Christie’s play
is the longest running play ever
• Some of her most popular works are: T
he Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Murder on the Orient Express, And Then There Were None, and The ABC Murders

• In sales, she is the third most popular author, following only Shakespeare and the Bible
• Opened the door for crime novelists

Dorothy Sayers
• Close friends with (and inspired by) Agatha Christie
• Best known her
Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries
• Focused more on her religion than writing
o More proud of her translation of
Divine Comedy
by Dante than any of her crime novels

Ian Fleming
• Served as naval intelligence officer during WWII, where he drew much of his inspiration for his novels
• Over the course of 14 novels, Fleming created one of the world’s most indulgent, ruthless, and beloved heroes: James Bond
o Wrote many of his James Bond books at his estate in Jamaica, Goldeneye
o The antagonists in his books are portrayed as Eastern European—most likely inspired by the Cold War conflict between Soviet Union and US
• Also authored

• Well-known works include:
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, The Witches
, and

o Also the most heavily criticized for promoting racism and general inappropriate material for children
• Popularized a new type of children’s literature with dark humor in his stories that contained lessons geared more toward young adults
• The revenge delivered to all the “beastly” characters in his stories made Dahl’s work different from other fairytale ending stories
• Dahl’s children’s books are some of the world’s most celebrated due to their nearly violent content
• Dahl’s fresh take on children’s literature inspired others such as J.K. Rowling

• Many critics have drawn similarities between characters in the Harry Potter series and Dahl’s books
• Antagonists are punished, similar to Dahl’s villains, but the bigger lesson learned is “good always trumps evil”
• Many parallels can be drawn from Harry Potter series and WWII
o Voldemort mirrors the megalomaniacs of the War, especially Hitler and Stalin as they sought to wipe out entire ethnic groups
• Her books can also serve as a parable for what can happen when society no longer accepts differences in individuals
• Deeper analysis shows a critical effort to educate adults

• Avid supporter of space travel and undersea exploration
• After writing “The Sentinel,” Clarke realized how much he enjoyed science-fiction and went on to write 2001: A Space Odyssey, The City and the Stars, and Childhood’s End.
• Considered an expert in science and was asked to testify against the Strategic Defense Initiative in US Congress
• Completely immerses himself in a science-fiction life

• Appeared on science-fiction scene with the release of The
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
in 1977 on a BBC radio show
o After success on BBC and NPR, Adams wrote four more novels for the radio series
• Different from Clarke due to his tendency to turn in works late to publishers and lax approach to writing
• Also known for
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
• Caught interest of the public due to his dramatic lifestyle and attitude about writing

• Two of the most profound writers who helped to disseminate the fantasy genre
• Tolkien published
The Hobbit
in 1937 and his world renowned three volumes of
The Lord of the Rings
The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers
, and
The Return of the Rings
• In 1950 Lewis published
The Chronicles of Narnia

o Contained:
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chain, The Horse and His Boy, The Magicians Nephew
, and
The Last Battle

• Both appear to draw influence from European and Greek mythologies such as
and The
• Lewis and Tolkien were able to draw interest in the fantasy genre from different generations
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