Age of anxiety, modernism, new realism, interior monologue, james joyce, Ulysses e analisi brano "Ah



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The age of anxiety
In the last two decades of the 19th century the positivistic faith in progress and science had led people believe that human misery would be swept away. The first World War left the country in a disillusioned and cynical mood. Nothing seemed to be right or certain; even science and religion seemed to offer little comfort. The first set of new ideas was introduced by Sigmund Freud with the power of the unconscious and the introduction of “relativity” in science by Albert Einstein. The problem that stay behind all these manifestation of uncertainty was the inability to arrive at a commonly accepted picture of Man.

The term Modernism refers to a movement which dominated the sensibility and aesthetic choices of the great artists. It implied an assumptions of introspection and technical skill. In painting Fauvism with its stress on the supremacy of color. In 1907 Pablo Picasso and George Braque began to develop Cubism. After we have the Abstract Painting with Kandinsky, the Vorticism in England with Lewis and the Italian Futurism with Tommaso Marinetti. In music Igor Stravinsky with Fireworks and his first ballet The Firebird.

A new realism
The second decade of our century seen a shift from Victorian to modern novel. This change was characterized by a gradual transformation of British society. This new “realism” was influenced by French and Russians writers. Two factors that helped to produce the modern novel were the new concept of time and the new theory of unconscious. The novelist rejected omniscient narration, there is the creation of new narrative techniques, the stream of consciousness or interior monologue. It’s possible to distinguish three groups of novelists:
• Psychological novelists who concentrated their attention on the development of character’s mind
• the second group includes the modernist novelists like James Joyce or Virginia Wolf
• the social and political problems with writers like George Orwell

The interior monologue
The 20th century writers understood it was impossible to reproduce the complexity of the human mind using traditional techniques. Then they adopted the interior monologue to represent the activities of mind. The interior monologue is often confused with the stream of consciousness: in fact the former is the verbal expression of a psychic phenomenon, while the latter is the psychic phenomenon itself. The internal monolog was characterized by different forms like the soliloquy and the dramatic monologue.

James Joyce
James Joyce was born in Dublin in 1882, he was educated at the Jesuit schools. His most important work are Dubliners, A portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses. Joyce set all his work in Ireland and in Dublin to give his home town literary importance, to give a realistic portrait to represent the whole man’s mental, emotional and biological reality.
Joyce was influenced by Jesuits and he was in conflict with the Church. James Joyce was almost blind so sound of words was very important to him. Joyce’s novels open in media res and the character is based on introspection. Impersonality is used by the artist to render life objectively. Joyce in his style underlines the exploration of the characters ‘impressions, the free direct speech and the interior monologue.

The central character, Leopold Bloom, is Joyce’s common man, a parody of the wandering Odysseus and an embodiment of the wandering Jew. He leaves his home at eight o’clock on a Thursday morning in June to buy his breakfast and return finally a two o’clock the following morning. In these hours he lands on many streets, endures misadventures and delight, recalls the unfaithfulness of his wife and the death of his little son.

Joyce’s Ulysses was a new form of prose based on “the mythical method”, this method allowed the author to make a parallel with the Odyssey. Ulysses is the climax of Joyce’s creativity. He planned everything, everyplace, every moment of the work and he set the work in places where he had been. Ulysses, like the Odyssey, is the story of a journey, it is divided into three parts, “Telemachiad”, “Odyssey” and “Nostos”. Ulysses is divided into eighteen chapters related to a Homeric episode and behind every episode there is a theme alluding to a color, a symbol, an organ of the body. The narrative techniques used in the work are the stream of consciousness, the cinematic technique, questions and answer and dramatic dialogue. In Ulysses he brought to perfection the interior monologue.

Text analysis [Ah Yes!]
This passage is the conclusion of Ulysses and it is the most celebrated example of stream of consciousness, in fact, thoughts are reproduced directly in their fragmentary structure. The first line are made up of simply thought. The places where the events Molly remembers took place are Dublin [line 6] and Gibraltar [line 46]. The main topic of Molly’s memories is the beginning of her love story with Leopold and the years of her youth. In the monologue two episodes are described: the man’s declaration to her and the description of their love. “Yes” is a key word in this passage. It is repeated several times.