Julian Barnes’s writing: the peculiarities of the author’s creative method and writing style.

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Julian Barnes’s writing: the peculiarities of the author’s creative method and writing style.

J. Barnes (born 1946) is a contemporary, postmodernist, English writer. Julian Barnes has written numerous novels, short stories, and essays.

He has also written crime fiction under the pseudonym Dan Kavanagh, though has published nothing under that name for more than twenty-five years. His fiction is very alive, with word-games, jokes.


ü “Metroland” (1980)

ü “Before She Met Me” (1982)

ü “Flaubert’s Parrot” (1984)

ü “A History of the World in 10 and a half Chapters” (1989)

ü “Talking It Over” (1991)

ü “England, England” (1998)

ü “Love, etc. ” (2000)

His novels are satires, comic-ironical novels, bildungsroman, historiographical, metafictional texts, novels of ideas. Main device used in novels – irony.

In addition to novels, Barnes has published collections of essays and short stories.

Julian Barnes is a contemporary writer that is postmodern in many essential aspects of his work. His spiritual affinities with French writers and French culture simplify the theorist’s attempt to have a general view of contemporary fiction.

His writing has earned him considerable respect as an author who deals with the themes of history, reality, truth and love.


The biographical novel and P. Ackroyd’s writing

The biographical novel is a genre of novel which provides a fictional and usually entertaining account of a person's life. This kind of novel concentrates on the experiences a person had during his lifetime, the people he met and the incidents which occurred are detailed and sometimes trimmings are done to give it the appearance of a novel. Names and accounts may be changed as and when necessary.

It was the most significant genre of novel in Postmodernism literary movement of the second half of the 20th century. Peter Ackroyd (born 1949) is the brightest representative of the biographical novel at that time. He is an English biographer, novelist, and critic with a particular interest in the history and culture of London. For his novels about English history and culture and his biographies of, among others, Charles Dickens, T. S. Eliot and Sir Thomas More he won the Somerset Maugham Award .

Ackroyd's literary career began with poetry. In 1982 he published The Great Fire of London, his first novel which is a reworking of Charles Dickens's novel Little Dorrit.

In his novels he often contrasts historical segments with segments set in the present-day (e.g. The Great Fire of London, Hawksmoor, The House of Doctor Dee). Many of Ackroyd's novels play in London and deal with the ever changing, but at the same time stubbornly consistent nature of the city. Often this theme is explored through the city's artists, especially its writers: Oscar Wilde in “The Last Testament of Oscar Wilde” (1983), a fake autobiography of Wilde; Thomas Chatterton and George Meredith in “Chatterton” (1987).

One of Ackroyd's best known works, “London: The Biography”, is an extensive and thorough discussion of London through the ages.

His fascination with London literary and artistic figures is also displayed in the sequence of biographies he has produced of “Ezra Pound” (1980), “T. S. Eliot” (1984), “Charles Dickens” (1990),” William Blake”(1995), “Thomas More” (1998), “Chaucer” (2004), “William Shakespeare” (2005), and “J. M. W. Turner”. The city itself stands astride all these works, as it does in the fiction.

39. The campus novel in the English literature of the second half of the 20th century: D. Lodge and M. Bradbury.

A campus novel, also known as an academic novel, is a novel whose main action is set in and around the campus of a university. The genre in its current form dates back to the early 1950s. “The Groves of Academe” by Mary McCarthy, published in 1952, is often quoted as the earliest example. Many well-known campus novels, such as Kingsley Amis's “Lucky Jim” and those of David Lodge, are comic or satirical, often counterpointing intellectual pretensions and human weaknesses. The novels are usually told from the viewpoint of a faculty member (e.g., Lucky Jim) or the viewpoint of a student. Campus novels exploit the closed world of the university setting, with characters inhabiting unambiguous hierarchies. They may describe the reaction of a fixed socio-cultural perspective (the academic staff) to new social attitudes (the new student intake).The most significant representatives of the campus novel in the English literature of the second half of the 20th century are postmodernists: Malcolm Bradbury “Eating People is Wrong” (1959), “The History Man” (1975) and David Lodge “ Changing Places” (1975), “Small World” (1984),etc.

Malcolm Bradbury(1932 –2000)

was an English author and academic. Bradbury was born in Sheffield. In 1943 Bradbury attended West Bridgford Grammar School, where he remained until 1950. He read English at University College, Leicester and gained a first-class degree in English in 1953. He continued his studies at Queen Mary College, University of London.

From 1961 to 1965 he taught at the University of Birmingham. Bradbury published Possibilities: Essays on the State of the Novel in 1973, The History Man in 1975, Who Do You Think You Are? in 1976, Rates of Exchange in 1983, Cuts: A Very Short Novel in 1987, retiring from academic life in 1995.

Bradbury was a productive academic writer as well as a successful teacher; an expert on the modern novel, he published books on Evelyn Waugh, Saul Bellow and E. M. Forster, as well as editions of modern classics.However, he is best known to a wider public as a novelist. He also wrote extensively for television.

David Lodge (1935)

is an English author and literary critic. He is best known for his novels satirizing academic life, particularly the “Campus Trilogy”: ” Changing Places: A Tale of Two Campuses” (1975), “Small World: An Academic Romance” (1984), and “Nice Work” (1988). Another major theme in his work is Roman Catholicism, beginning from his first published novel “The Picturegoers” (1960).He has also written several television screenplays and three stage plays. Since retiring from academia he has continued to publish works of literary criticism, which often draw on his own experience as a practicing novelist and scriptwriter.

In 1959-1960, Lodge worked in London as an English teacher for the British Council. In 1960, he obtained a job as a lecturer at the University of Birmingham.

Lodge's first published novels evoke the atmosphere of post-war England (for example, “The Picturegoers” (1960)). This theme recurs in other later novels through the childhood memories of certain characters. Several of Lodge's novels are satirical depictions of the world of academia. The so-called "Campus Trilogy" (Changing Places, Small World, Nice Work) are all set at a fictional university in the English Midlands town of "Rummidge", modelled after Birmingham in the UK.

Other fictional universities appear in Lodge's novels. Likewise, another campus novel, “Thinks...”, was set at the fictional University of Gloucester before the foundation of a real-life University of Gloucestershire.

Amongst his contemporaries, he has most often been compared to his friend Malcolm Bradbury, also an exponent of the campus novel.

40. English drama and theatre during the second half of the 20th century.

An important cultural movement in the British theatre which developed in the late 1950s and early 1960s was Kitchen sink realism (or "kitchen sink drama"), a term coined to describe art (the term itself derives from an expressionist painting by John Bratby), novels, film and television plays.

During the 1950s a new kind of drama began to reach the theatres of Europe. There were two new trends in drama : absurd drama and social drama. The new social drama of the 1950s brought into drama the young generation after the war , often from the lower classes.The most famous play of the time was “Look Back in Anger” by John Osborne,staged at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 1956.

Absurd drama began in France in the 1940s and reached Britain with “Waiting for Godot” by Samuel Beckett in 1955.The term absurd was first used by the critic Martin Esslin to describe the new kind of drama , which showed how meaningless life was. Esslin has now decided the term was wrong , and has tried to find another way of describing these plays ,however no suitable name has been found , apart from the adjective Beckettian , from the author’s name.

Postmodernism had an important effect on English drama in the latter half of the 20th century. This can be seen particularly in the work of Samuel Beckett (most notably in Waiting for Godot), who in turn influenced writers such as Harold Pinter and Tom Stoppard. The Theatre of the Absurd influenced Harold Pinter (1930-), (The Birthday Party, 1958), whose works are often characterised by menace or claustrophobia. Beckett also influenced Tom Stoppard (1937-) (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead,1966). Stoppard's works are however also notable for their high-spirited wit and the great range of intellectual issues which he tackles in different plays. Both Pinter and Stoppard continued to have new plays produced into the 1990s. Michael Frayn (1933- ) is among other playwrights noted for their use of language and ideas. He is also a novelist.


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