dimarts, 17 de gener de 2012

CANADIAN SHORT FICTION




Canadian short fiction has always maintained close associations with the popular markets provided by newspapers and LITERARY MAGAZINES. A pattern of first publication in periodicals and subsequent collection in book form was established in the 19th century and has continued to the present day.
Portions of Susanna Moodie's ROUGHING IT IN THE BUSH were first published in The Literary Garland before appearing in book form in 1852. Stephen LEACOCK published SUNSHINE SKETCHES OF A LITTLE TOWN in The Montreal Daily Star (Feb-June 1912), then as a book later the same year.

Since the 1920s the connections between short fiction and newspapers or magazines have remained strong, as seen in the publication of work by Morley Callaghan, Mavis GALLANT, Alice MUNRO in periodicals. Several writers have also edited newspapers, magazines or anthologies.

Some critics define the sketch as "an apparently personal anecdote or memoir which focuses on one particular place, person, or experience, and is usually intended for magazine publication." Its colloquial tone and informal structure relate it to the epistolary form employed in several early Canadian works.
One common kind is the humorous or satirical sketch, as found in the works of Leacock.
A second kind is the autobiographical, descriptive or travel sketch, as practised by Archibald LAMPMAN and Duncan Campbell SCOTT.
The most distinctive early contribution by Canadians to short fiction was the animal stories of Roberts.

Scott's work looks back to 19th-century American gothic and romantic and local-colour writing, yet its ironic tone connects it with mid-20th-century writing, and his use of imagery anticipates the poetically conceived short stories written later in the century.
Morley Callaghan was "the first and most important of the modern short-story writers in Canada". Callaghan's stories were important for his choices of subject and situation; his modern, urban, even international outlook; his understanding of the importance and the difficulty of writing about everyday life; and the intimately human moral complexities that he explored. Furthermore, the stories created a strong feeling of immediacy because of his special and new way of using words plainly. Perhaps even more important to the succeeding generation of writers was the reputation that Callaghan had made for himself.
His short stories significantly influenced Canadian writers from the late 1940s to the early 1960s, including Margaret LAURENCE and Alice Munro, both major contributors to the history of short fiction in Canada. By the 1980s, Munro had the best popular and international reputation of Canadian short story writers. She emerged as the writer most often identified with the rebirth of the Canadian short story, and as the writer most prominently concerned with trying to shape short stories into coherent books or story cycles.
The most truly international of Canadian short-story writers, however, is Mavis Gallant. Her Stories of Paris (1985) brought a more intricate internationalism, a richly textured political awareness and exquisite craft to Canadian short fiction.
Where twenty years ago Canadian stories stressed content - what a story was about - the main emphasis now is on the story as verbal and rhetorical performance. " These differences can be perceived in the evolution of some writers' conceptions of the short story. Munro's stories, for example, move from her early narrative style towards a freer, more open, more dreamlike form evident in such collections as The Progress of Love.
Canadian writers of short fiction, like authors in other genres, are subject to fluctuations in popularity. As personal likes shift back and forth between plain style and verbal play or between realism and fantasy, individual writers' reputations rise and fall accordingly - regardless of their work's quality. Furthermore, attention is rarely given to a writer's literary development, to a writer's changing views of the form of the short story.

dissabte, 14 de gener de 2012

ROMANTICISM

The changing landscape of Britain brought about by the steam engine has two major outcomes:
- the boom of industrialism with the expansion of the city,
- and the consequent depopulation of the countryside as a result of the enclosures, or privatisation of pastures. Most peasants poured into the city to work in the new factories.
This abrupt change is revealed by the change of meaning in five key words:
1. industry (once meaning "creativity"),
2. democracy (once disparagingly used as "mob rule"),
3. class (from now also used with a social connotation),
4. art (once just meaning "craft"),
5. culture (once only belonging to farming).
But the poor condition of workers, the new class-conflicts and the pollution of the environment causes a reaction to urbanism and industrialisation prompting poets to rediscover the beauty and value of nature:
- Mother earth is seen as the only source of wisdom, the only solution to the ugliness caused by machines.
The superiority of nature and instinct over civilisation had been preached by Jean Jacques Rousseau and his message was picked by almost all European poets.
The first in England were the Lake Poets.
- a small group of friends including.
· William Wordsworth
· and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
- These early Romantic Poets brought a new emotionalism and introspection,
- and their emergence is marked by the first romantic Manifesto in English literature, the "Preface to the Lyrical Ballads":
· This collection was mostly contributed by Wordsworth, although Coleridge must be credited for his long and impressive Rime of the Ancient Mariner, a tragic ballad about the survival of one sailor through a series of supernatural events on his voyage through the south seas which involves the slaying of an albatross, the death of the rest of the crew, a visit from Death and his mate, Life-in-Death, and the eventual redemption of the Mariner.
· Coleridge and Wordsworth, however, understood romanticism in two entirely different ways:
1) while Coleridge sought to make the supernatural "real" (much like sci-fi movies use special effects to make unlikely plots believable),
2) Wordsworth sought to stir the imagination of readers through his down-to-earth characters taken from real life (for eg. in "The Idiot Boy"), or the beauty of the Lake District that largely inspired his production (as in "Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey").
The "Second generation" of Romantic poets includes:
- Lord Byron,
- Percy Bysshe Shelley,
- Mary Shelley
- and John Keats.
- Byron, however, was still influenced by 18th-century satirists and was, perhaps the least 'romantic' of the three:
· His amours with a number of prominent but married ladies was also a way to voice his dissent on the hypocrisy of a high society that was only apparently religious but in fact largely libertine, the same that had derided him for being physically impaired.
· His first trip to Europe resulted in the first two cantos of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, a mock-heroic epic of a young man's adventures in Europe but also a sharp satire against London society.
· Despite Childe Harold's success on his return to England, accompanied by the publication of The Giaour and The Corsair his alleged incestuous affair with his half-sister Augusta Leigh in 1816 actually forced him to leave England for good and seek asylum on the continent.
· Here he joined Percy Bysshe Shelley, his wife Mary, with his secretary Dr. John Polidori on the shores of Lake Geneva during the 'year without a summer' of 1816.
· Although his is just a short story, Polidori must be credited for introducing The Vampyre, conceived from the same competition which spawned Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, to English literature.
· Percy Shelley, like Mary, had much in common with Byron:
1) he was an aristocrat from a famous and ancient family, had embraced atheism and free-thinking and, like him, was fleeing from scandal in England.
2) Shelley had been expelled from college for openly declaring his atheism.
3) He had married a 16-year-old girl, Harriet Westbrook whom he had abandoned soon after for Mary (Harriet took her own life after that):
1- Harriet did not embrace his ideals of free love and anarchism, and was not as educated as to contribute to literary debate.
2- Mary was different: the daughter of philosopher and revolutionary William Godwin, she was intellectually more of an equal, shared some of his ideals and was a feminist like her late mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, author of Vindication of the Rights of Women.
· One of Percy Shelley's most prominent works is the Ode to the West Wind. Despite his apparent refusal to believe in God, this poem is considered a homage to pantheism, the recognition of a spiritual presence in nature.

dilluns, 9 de gener de 2012

ANY NOU, VIDA NOVA

Ja fa uns dies que hem començat l'any nou, però fins avui no he tingut temps per escriure un podcast nou.
He de dir que, malgrat l'any tan "diferent" que vaig tenir al 2011, enguany els Nadals no han sigut gens dolents, més ben al contrari! Hem pogut gaudir dels dies de festa en família, amb la gent que realment ens estimen, els amics de casa i els de lluny.
Pel que fa a mi, he de dir que vaig tenir l'honor de poder passar el Cap d'Any amb un grup de gent fantàstica i molt, molt generosa, que els meus amics Ana i Félix me van presentar al seu poble "d'adopció", Ayerbe, a la província d'Osca. Aquest grup de gent me van fer sentir com a casa en tot moment i espero, algun dia, poder tornar-los tot el que me van oferir quan vaig ser amb ells. Així mateix, també desitjo tenir-los com a amics per molts, molts anys!


I, en tornar, encara ens quedava la festa de Reis! I quina xalera amb els menuts de la casa! I quantes emocions i rialles nervioses en obrir els regals, en jugar la primera partida del joc pertinent, quins ullets quan han vist la pilota de futbol, ... i tantes i tantes altres emocions més. Però la més gran de totes ha sigut que tot això ho hem pogut gaudir amb la mama. Per a ella sí que han sigut uns Nadals molt especials, i per a nosaltres tota una joia poder gaudir-ne amb ella!



Ara, primer dia de cole i de feina , ens estem preparant mentalment per poder fer front a un any que se'ns presenta molt complicat a nivell professional, però hem de tirar endavant i sempre amb la veritat, el coneixement al seu lloc, les ganes de fer coses, les ànsies per continuar aprenent i cultivant-nos, i sobre tot poder ser bones persones al costat de la gent que estimem i que ens estimen. Tot això ens ajudarà a tirar endavant quan sentim que les forces ens fallen, quan sentim que no l'hi trobem sentit a la vida, quan pensem que ... En fi, no ens posem melodramàtics! Deixem tot el dolent de la'ny 2011 enrera, esborrem dels nostres cors i dels nostres caps tot allò i tots aquells que ens van ferir tant, i encarem l'any nou amb ganes, amb moltes ganes, perquè, com diu en Pep, "si ens aixequem ben d'hora, ningú no ens pot parar!".