Wednesday, October 17, 2012


This period observes the end of the long reign of Queen Victoria (1901) and of the stability which the country had so long enjoyed. Political protection, Votes for Women, the Zenith of Scientific activities (Theory of Evolution, Photon Theory, Quantum Theory, theory of Relativity, Uncertainty Principal), the advancement of Medical Science (Heart Plantation, Sex change), the Decline of AGRICULTURE AND THE GROWING Urbanization, Psycho-Analysis and Dream Interpretation become the order of the day. Simultaneously this period is completely overshadowed by the two World Wars (1914-1918 and 1939-1945). “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 traditional values of Western civilization, which the Victorians had only begun to question, came to be questioned seriously by a number of new writers, who saw society breaking down around them. Traditional literary forms were often discarded, and new ones succeeded one another with bewildering rapidity, as writers sought fresher ways of expressing what they took to be new kinds of experience, or experience seen in new ways.” -Encarta. The Neo-Vedantism of Swami Vivekananda also has shaken the world.

Now take a look of the salient features of this period:

The Expansion of Education- “Expansion life and contraction is death.” The education Act of 1870, supported by the Act take advantage of it. On literature the effect is profound. As a profession and as a business, literature offers better financial prospects.

 Enormous output of Books and Journals- Authors and publishers are ready to supply many books with astonishing rapidity. The great writers also cannot resist the temptation of over-rapid and over-frequent production. 

The Literature of social purpose- The literacy rate in this age improves with a new dimension. Radio, Television, Cinema help the literature to maintain the principals of social purpose. The problem or discussion play and the novel of social purpose. May be regarded as the literary products of the period. 

The importance of novel Novel has become the dominant literary from for the first time in this period. The novel is suitably fitted as a vehicle for sociological studies. 

 The rejuvenation of drama –After a hundred years sleep of Leviathan, drama again appears as an important literary from. One act play and poetic drama are the typical literary products of this period.  

The breakdown of Traditional Values- The two world wars ransack the sentiments of the established values. And now it is significant that in the literature of our period there is an attempt to find new values in every sphere of life . 

The resurgence of Poetry- Poetry again becomes a vital literary force of this period. T .S. Eliot, W.B. Yeats, Ezra Pound, Wilfred Owen, - these poets begin to write about the deterioration of values and simultaneously try to mitigate the spiritual crisis of the world. 



  1. It is a mature but short estimation of what it states about.

  2. i am looking for good literary criticism books, can you suggest me some authors names?


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