THE NOVEL AND POETRY
Some of the world’s most illustrorious authors, such a Chaucer, Shakespeare, Charles Dikens, Jane Austen and Virginia Wolf, have established a long and distinguihed tradition which is internationally recognised and widely praised.
Early influences on English literature
Until the late 1800’s religious belief exerted a powerful influence over the literaryworld. Christianity had traditionally provided the principal system of values which supported literary ideas. There was a reaction against the traditional certainties which it offered an enthusiasm for the exploration of new subjects and experimentation with new forms. A growing knowledge of the natural and social world provided important new influences.
As literary themes changed, so did ways ofstorytelling, and during the early twentieth century many writers began to experiment with different techniques.
James joyce and Virginia Woolf wanted a more liberating style of expresion and developed a technique known as “stream of consciousness”. This seamed a more natural, authentic way to represent human thoughts and impressions. New techniques of expresions extended to poetry.
During the1960s some of the most highly praised authors of recent times began to receive critical recognition as major writers. However, their themes are diverse and have little in common. Many still did not openly identify with the new intellecutal current of feminism.
Feminism and fiction
In the politics, law and social life of the mid 1960s, the impact of feminism was widely felt. Tradition attitudestoward women’s sexuality, marriage, work and many other aspects of their lives began to change and there was a new recognition of women’s role in society.
The impact of The Female Eunuch (Germaine Geers) was enormus and soon afterwards a significant new body of women’s literature emerged. This contained powerful descriptions of women’s experience and feminist writing quikcly became an influentialnew genre.
The position of women in society, social injustice and their research for equality with men were some of the challenging themes in the early novels of many new authors.
Women’s writing since 1980
At a time when women’s writing was becoming increasingly diverse and experimental, several highly regarded authors such as Penelope Lively and Anita Brookner continued to write about women’sissues in a simple, direct way.
The braking of social barriers during previous decades led to a vigorous expansion of literary themes in the 1980s and techiques of storytelling continued to diversify. Some writers looked to the past and took inspiration form earlier traditions, while other began to combine different narrative styles, such as fact and fiction, the past and thepresent in the same story.
ARCHITECTURE AND INTERIORS
Britain has been a heavily urbanised society since the late eighteenth century and now moere than 90 per cent of the population lives in towns and cities. Small, old terraced houses stand in the shadow of high-rise modernists aparment blocks.
Some of the most desirable and expensive styles of housing are farmhouses and ruralcottages in villages whose architecture goes back several centuries.
Movements and influences
During the industrial revolution of the eighteenth century and nineteenth centuries, Britain’s cities quiclky grew in size and architecture styles such as gotich and Georgian were common.
But in around 1850 architects began taking inpiration from earliers styles intead of creating new ones. Thisbecame know as neo-classical architecture, whose imposing appearance made many town halls, courts, bancks,schools, etc look like cathedrals of earlier centuries.
By 1900 most cities were dirty, overcrowded and chaotic. They creted an “unnatural society.” With the 1909 Housing and Town Planinnign Act, urban growth was more strictly managed.
Today Britain is a heavily urbanised society. However,...
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