1. Representation of foreign lands, especially what came to be called the "Orient," was a popular literary subject in the nineteenth as well as the twentieth century. However, the tropes, language, and attitudes common to each period were different. Consider the selection from Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness and E. M. Forster's A Passage to India from the twentieth century. From the Romantic period, consider Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Kubla Khan (see pages 446-448 in volume D).  From the Victorian period, consider Edward Fitzgerald’s Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám (see pages 1213-21 in volume E).
  2. T. S. Eliot expressed admiration for the Metaphysical poets of the seventeenth century and can be seen to incorporate some of the rhetorical strategies common in Metaphysical poetry. Compare T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land to John Donne's exemplary metaphysical poetry, for example the selection from An Anatomy of the World (see pages 1289-94 in volume B) or The Canonization  (pages 1267-68 in volume B).
  3. James Joyce's Ulysses is a tour de force exemplifying the distinctly modernist turn inward, with the inner psychological world and experiences of a character, as well as "stream of conscious" narration, becoming the centerpiece of fictional representation. The modernists saw themselves as reacting against the worldliness of Victorian writers, preoccupied by the outside world and social problems.  Elizabeth Gaskell’s The Old Nurse’s Story (see pages 1222-36 in volume 2B) is a Victorian short story which attempts to provide insight into inner psychological states.  Consider how Joyce and Gaskell represent characters, their inner worlds, and their interactions with other characters.
  4. Comic theater took different forms over the centuries and can be classified into different subgenres. The Comedies of Manners during the Restoration employed witty lighthearted dialogue to critique social mores. William Congreve's The Way of the World (see pages 2228-84 in volume C) is an apt example. In the twentieth century, however, absurdity, farce, and darker comedy became popular theatrical modes to level scathing critiques at society. Harold Pinter's The Dumb Waiter is a good example of the use of farce in social criticism. Consider the use of comedy and the aspect of society each play is attempting to critique.

© 2010 W.W. Norton and Company :  Site Feedback  :  Help  :  Credits  :  Home  :  Top of page