From Victorianism to the Second World War. A brief History of English Literature between 1830 and 1950
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This book is an introduction to the creative literature written in the United Kingdom from the beginning of the Victorian era until the end of the Second World War. Its periodisation, structure and style are mostly conditioned by its educational purpose and by the type of readers it is primarily intended for, that is, advanced students of English as a foreign language who have had very little or no exposure to the British classics so far. It provides a concise and selective survey of authors and works within the fields of prose fiction and poetry, with a short historical introduction to each period as an aid to understanding how the different authors were a product of, and interacted with, their epochs. The transformation of culture, thought and society —and the corresponding reflection in literature— in the more than one hundred years under observation is so radical and profound that it would be impossible to understand our present age without a basic knowledge of it. The Victorian Age saw the climax of Britain as the world’s leading country, with all its economical, industrial, technological, financial, geographical, ideological or cultural implications. But this powerful empire entered the 20th century taking a decisive role in the two bloodiest wars in the history of the human kind, and henceforth the world would never be the same. L.P. Hartley defined the first half of the 20th as “the most changeful half a century in history”, and he was probably right (along, perhaps, with the 1st, A.D.). Only by being acquainted with its literature will we be in a position to begin to understand who we are, and what we (dis)believe, today.