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World War II


Title: World War II & Aftermath Author: Cora Agatucci Last modified by: Cora Agatucci Created Date: 5/19/1999 4:46:04 AM Document presentation format – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: World War II

VirginiaWoolfU.K. b.1882d.1941
Virginia Woolf (U.K. 1882-1941)A Room of Ones
Own (1929)
  • Mental instability, abuse
  • 1905 Bloomsbury Group 1912 m. Leonard Woolf
  • Brilliant innovative Modernist writer
  • Hogarth Press
  • Angel in the House
  • 1928 Lectures on Women Creativity, Newnham
  • Shakespeares Sister Essay genre Anglo-American
    Feminist Literary Criticism
  • Rec. Films The Hours, Orlando, Mrs. Dalloway

World War I 1914-1918See 20th Cent. Timeline
(Davis et al. 1346-1351)
  • 1917-1922 Bolshevik Revolution, Civil War in
  • 1920 Womens Suffrage in U.S. Irish
    independence Gandhi leads Indian independence
  • 1922 Soviet Union
  • 1924 Lenin dies, Stalin comes to power
  • 1925 Hitler, Mein Kampf U.S. Scopes monkey
  • Late 1920s German Black Friday U.S. Stock
    Market crash1930s Depression

1924 Lenin dies Joseph Stalin gains
power.Stalin perfects Lenins tactics of
terror.Communist rule becomestotalitarian
dictatorship fueled by paranoia.1930's
Stalinist Terror peaksPurges claim millions of
victimsAkhmatovas friends, fellow writers,
her only son, Lev Gumilev.1933, 1935 Lev
Gumilev arrested, imprisoned, threatened with
Anna Ahkmatova b. Anya GorenkoRussia, 1889-1966
Akhmatovas Requiem(wr. 1935-1940 banned in
  • Alienated by sick dehumanized society
  • Realist protest death of individual freedom,
    negation of family ties
  • Realist subject social realities, misery of
    ordinary peoples lives
  • Arts critical function
  • Romantic individ-ualism of visionary
    (confessional) poet as national conscience I
    (controlled) emotion to remember bear witness
    for silenced community.

Requiem, cont.
  • Organicism poetic expression creates its own
    poetic forms Mixed points of view, style, form -
    varies among poems in cycle
  • Modernist fragments comprise the cohesive whole
  • Readers co-create meaning, but Akhmatova not
    distainful of general audience
  • Powerful simplicity, directness, concrete imagery
    (rejects obscure symbolism)

World War II (1939-1945)
  • WWI not war to end all wars tensions brew
  • economic conflicts competition among colonial
  • rise of dictators ultra-nationalism
  • world-wide depression
  • Fascism (Hitler, Mussolini, Franco) reverse
    decline of West, preserve pure European
    culture Axis incl. Japan
  • Democracies Allies
  • Communism Stalin, totalitarianism

Where Are the War Poets?
  • 1939Appeasement fails, war begins
  • TLS chastises U.K. poets for failing to do their
    duty, calling upon them to sound trumpet call
    to fight this monstrous threat to belief
  • Cecil Day Lewis responds for many writers in
    Where Are the War Poets?. . . .

Where Are the War Poets? cont.
  • They who in folly mere greed
  • Enslaved religion, markets, laws,
  • Borrow our language now bid
  • Us to speak up in freedoms cause.
  • It is the logic of our times,
  • No subject for immortal verse
  • That we who lived by honest dreams
  • Defend the bad against the worst.

WW II, cont.
  • Unprecedented scale of world conflict
    devastation (aerial bombing)
  • Science, technology, industrialism used for mass
  • Genocide in the Death Camps
  • Atomic bomb (Hiroshima, Nagasaki) power to bring
    on apocalypse
  • Civilian casualties, nightmare of suffering
  • United Nations re-build hope for future?

WW II The Aftermath
  • Politically defines world powers for next 40
  • Raises profound moral. spiritual political
    questions re religious faith, human capacity for
    evil - triumph of the dark side
  • Global guilt passive immorality of people,
    nations who stood by did nothing
  • Challenges Enlighten-ment faith in progress,
    human reason, science, education

Post-WWII Existentialism
  • Existentialism (e.g. Sartre, Camus) human
    condition absurd, alienated angst-ridden
    --cast alone into a senseless alien universe
    (without meaning or value)--death our only
    certainty --radical responsibility for creating
    meaning, value of our existence Existence
    precedes essence
  • 20th-Century Literature of the Absurd (Kafka
    his heirs) depicts surreal, radically
    meaningless, randomly violent modern world, where
    ethical justice spiritual values seem to have
    no place or power.
  • The Metamorphosis (wr 1912 pub. 1915, 1948)

The books we needare the kind that act upon
uslike a nightmare,that make us sufferlike the
deathof someone we lovemore than ourselves.. .
. . A book should serveas an axfor the frozen
seainside us.Franz Kafka (1883-1924)
Post-WWII Art/Literature in Crisis
  • Survivor guilt, betrayal, withdrawal inner
    emigration (Hannah Arendt)
  • Failure of the imagination before the
    unthinkable, loss of reasons to go on living,
    make sense of senseless horrors
  • Heated debate
  • What kind of art, literature is viable, equal to
    profound issues raised by WWII?
  • Can art/lit help restore human values in
    post-WWII global society?
  • Sartre (and others) call for Post-WWII artists
    and writers to meet these challenges.

Holocaust Literature
  • Jean-Paul Sartre post- WWII arte engage
    authenticity of form and feeling paramount (vs.
    Romantic sublime egotism art for arts sake
    frivolous irresponsible)
  • New Global consciousness
  • Wiesels vow of silence (1945), then silence
    broken (Night, 1960)
  • Eye witness - Bear witness testify to the
    unthinkable horrors
  • Obligation to the dead Do not forget!

Elie Wiesel (b. 1928, Romania)
1986 Nobel Peace Prize one of the most
important spiritual leaders and guides in an age
when violence, repression and racism continue to
characterise the world.Wiesels hard-won
belief that evil can be overcome originated in
personal experience of Hitlers death camps and
soul-wrenching testimonies that Wiesel has
widenedto embrace the sufferings of all
repressed peoples and races.
Wiesels message is one of peace, atonement and
human dignity.
Wiesels Death of My Father(From Legends of
Our Time, 1968 rpt. 1982)
  • Rejects fiction for confessional memoir,
    autobiography -acts of memory with truth value,
  • Confront the past
  • Survivor guilt Healing power of storytelling
  • Pose tough, probing questions Where was God?
    What happened to ethics, justice? What meaning
    can religious rites confer?
  • Modernist search for meaning w/new urgency - will
    human imagination fail again?

Takenishis The Rite (1963)
  • Japanese children of 1945 begin to tell their
    stories of sorrow, loss, grief in 1950s-60s.
    Shares Wiesels themes death rites, acts of
  • Fictionalizes to distance? Survivors guilt,
  • Semi-autobiographical retelling of Hiroshima
    Aug. 1945, Takenishi 16-yr-old schoolgirl large
    no. of Japanese school kids killed 140,000 dead
    by end 1945 60,000 die of longer term effects
  • Long silence, denial

The Rite, cont.
  • Setting one long night 10 yrs. later when Aki
    cant sleep, suppressed memories flood back
  • Adapts Modernist narrative techniques to create
    authentic representation of psychological reality
  • Modernist rendering of Akis past memories
    present consciousness free-associational, stream
    of consciousness
  • achronological, fragmented, disjointed
    flashbacks/forwards broken pieces of film

The Rite, cont.
  • Modernist search of meaning - look back look
    within at what has been repressed
  • Remembering frees her of the past, by confronting
    its horrors, performing the death rites left
  • Readers too must experience Akis dislocation,
    confusion, alienation, etc. in search for meaning
  • World Literature(e.g. TFA, 1958)

Garcia Marquez