VIII. Literature of the Last Decade of the XIX Century

At the end of the 19th century Great Britain became the leading colonial power of the world. By the end of the century Britain control­led much of the land areas (territory) of the world. The English colonists arrived in Canada, Australia and New Zealand to take over the land and to farm it. In all three coun­tries British settlers killed the local population. Most British strongly believed in their right to an empire, but at the same time they understood that every new area conquered provoked new troubles and fears which involved in all sorts of contra­diction and the colonies began to demand their freedom. At the end of the 19th century the struggle between the realistic and antirealistic trends in art and litera­ture came to its peak. Some writers continued the traditions of the brilliant school of novelists. They were Thomas Hardy, George Bernard Shaw, Herbert George Wells, and John Galsworthy. Their criticism of the social wrongs reached its highest degree in their works. On the other hand, the growth of those writers who didn’t want to give the realistic description of the society but tried to escape from reality, indulging in the world of their imagination, was observed. They created the theory, the main motto of which was “Art for Art’s Sake”. They refused from any kind of struggle. They just hated the bourgeois system. Their theory was reactionary; it took away people from reality. These writers called themselves symbolists, or aesthetes. But all the progressive people named them decadents. The most famous of the decadents was Oscar Wilde.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

Oscar Wilde was born in Ireland, in Dublin, on 16 October, 1854 in the family of a prominent Irish surgeon....

Lewis Carroll (1832-1898)

Close to the name of Oscar Wilde stands the name of Lewis Carroll, whose book “Alice in Wonderland” became no...

Kenneth Grahame (1859-1932)

Kenneth Grahame was born in Edinburgh in 1859. His mother died when he was little, and the boy was sent...

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)

The moral problems of the bourgeois society and the spirit of adventure flour­ished side by side in English literature in...

Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

Thomas Hardy was born and brought up in Dorsetshire. At 15 he was apprenticed to an ar­chitect who rebuilt old...

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