The Post Modern period (1939- -)

9. The Post Modern period (1939- -)

The Post Modern period (1939- -)

The literary trends of the Modern Age started changing after 1939 when the Second World War devastated the social values. After 1939 the new trends in English literature come to light. The writers of the age continued the experimentation of the modernist writer but at the same time reacted against many of the ideas implicit in modernist literature. Moreover, these writers kept on changing their theories of art. Consequently, it has become very difficult to specify the exact characteristics of post – modern Period. It is believed that the Post – modern age has not yet ended.

Main Literary Features of the Age

  1. Literary voices from across the globe – Canada, New Zealand, India, the Caribbean, and Africa – appear in English so profusely that “English literature” seems to be “literatures in English.”
  2. ”Angry young man” has remained a recurrent theme for years.
  3. Social realism dominates creativity for decades.
  4. However, after 1950 some novelists shift their interest from realistic problems to entertaining subjects. Science fiction and thriller become more popular.
  5. The Post –modern dramas deal with the absurdity of human existence and reveal the “nothingness” or “meaninglessness” of human efforts.
  6. Literary criticism has become theory based.
  7. Mass media have become an inseparable part of literary propaganda.
  8. Creative writing cross national boundaries in the way they never did before.
  9. No philosophical theory runs for a long time.
  10. Forms and techniques frequently change throughout the period.
  11. Formlessness in art replaces whatever residues of harmony and organic form remained of the previous age.
  12. Mixed genres, fragments in texts and collages have come into practice.
  13. Diaspora writings occupy a large chunk of literary production.
  14. A huge number of post – colonial texts appear
  15. Awareness of cultural exploitation grows
  16. Gender issues find stronger voice
  17. Themes of restlessness and “free of forms” characterize poetry
  18. Elitists language is absent
  19. A wide spectrum of social issues find place
  20. Several contradictions prevail throughout the age


Major Authors and their works of the post-modern period


1. George Orwell

Birth: 25 June, 1903, Bengal Presidency, British India

Death: 21 January 1950, London, England

Important Information:

-He was a Novelist, Political writer and journalist

-His full name is Eric Arthur Blair

Famous Novel:

Nineteen Eighty Four – a dystopian Novel

Animal form – An allegorical novella

Homage to Catalonia – written on Spanish civil war

Burmese days

A clergyman’s Daughter

Keep the Aspidistra Flying


2. Doris May Lessing

Birth: 22 October 1919 Persia (Now Iran)

Death: 17 November 2013, London, England

Important information:

-His pen Name was Jane Somers

-British women Novelist, Playwright, Librettist, and Poet

-He was awarded Nobel Prize in 2007

Famous Novels:

The Grass is singing

Retreat to innocence

The Golden Notebook

Briefing for a Descent into Hell

The summer before the Dark

The Good Terrorist

Canopus in Argos

The Cleft


Memoirs of a survivor

Children of Violence

The Cleft

The Sweetest Dream

The Ripple from the storm

Famous Dramas:

Play with a Tiger

Playing with the Game (Comic)

Each His Own wilderness


Other authors and their works of post - modern Period

Henry Miller (1891 -1980):

            The Rosy Crucifixion (1949 - 59), a trilogy

John Steinbeck (1902 - 68):

            The Grapes of Wrath (1939)

            East of Eden (1952)

Graham Greene (1904 - 91):

            The Heart of the Matter (1948)

            The End of the Affair (1951)

Jean- Paul Charles Aymard Sartre (1905 - 1980): A French philosopher, playwright, novelist and political activist. He was one of the exponents of the philosophy of existentialism and phenomenological.

            Nausea (1938)

            Being and Nothingness: an Essay on Phenomenological

            Ontology (1943)

            No Exit (1944)

            The Roads to Freedom (1949)

Philip Larkin (1922 - 1985):

             The Less Deceived (1955)

            The Whitsun Weddings (1964)

            High windows (1974)

Joseph Heller (1923 - 1999):

            Catch - 22 (1961)

John James Osborne (1929 - 94):

            Look Back in Anger (1956)

            The Entertainer (1957)

            Epitaph for George Dillon (1957)

Ted Hughes (1930 - 1998):

            The Hawk in the Rain (1957)

            Crow (1970)

Harold Pinter (1930 - 2008):

            The Birthday Party (1958)

            The Homecoming (1965)

            The Care Taker (1960)

John Simmons (1930…)

            Giles Coat – Boy (1966)

            Sabbatical (1982)

            The Sot – Weed Factor (1960)

Derek Alton Walcott (1930…)

            Dream on Monkey Mountain (1967)

            Omeros (1990)

Chinua Achebe (1930 - 2013): Full name Albert Chinualumogu Achebe

            No Longer at Ease (1960)

            A Man of the People (1966)

            Things Fall Apart (1958)

            Arrow of God (1964)

Toni Morrison (1931…)

            The Bluest Eye (1970)

            Beloved (1987)

Sylvia Plath (1932- 63):

            The Colossus (1960)

            Crossing the Water (1971)

John Hoyer Updike (1932 - 2009):

            Rabbit, Rum (1960)

            Couples (1968)

Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul (1932…)

            A House of Mr. Biswas (1961)

Wole Soyinka (1934…)

            The Lion and the jewel (1959)

            The Interpreters (1965)

            Idanre and Other Poems (1967)

Thomas Ruggles Pynchon (1937…)

            The Crying of Lot 49 (1966)

            Gravity’s Rainbow (1973)

            Mason and Dixon (1997)

Seamus Justin Heaney (1939 - 2013):

            Selected Poems 1966 – 1987 (1990)

            Preoccupations (1980)

Saul Bellow (1915 - 2005):

            The Adventures of Augie March (1953)

            Seize the Day (1956)

Jerome David Salinger (1919 - 2010):

            The Catcher in the Rye (1951)

            Franny and Zooey (1961)

R. K. Narayan (1906 - 2001): full name- Rasipuram Krishnaswami

            Iyer Narayanaswmi

            The Dark Room (1938)

            The Guide (1958)

            The Financial Expert (1952)

            A Tiger for Malgudi (1983)

Samuel Beckett (1906 - 89), a French Dramatist:

            Waiting for Godot (1952)

            Happy Days (1661)

            Endgame (1955)

Wystan Hugh Auden (1907 - 1973):

            The Age of anxiety (1948)

William Gerald Golding (1911 - 93), a novelist:

            Load of the Flies (1954)

            The Scorpion God (1971)

Albert Camus (1913 - 1960):

            The outsider or The Stranger (1942)

            The Plague (1947)

Dylan Marlais Thomas: (1914 - 53):

            The Map of love (1939)

            Under Milk Wood (1954)

            Deaths and Entrances (1946)

Arthur Asher Miller (1915 - 2005):

            Death of a Salesman (1949)

            The Price (1968)

            After the Fall (1964)

Ahmed Salman Rusdie (1947…)

            Midnight’s Children (1981)

            Shame (1983)

            The Satanic Verses (1988)     


Some other Contemporary Writers and their Works



Vikram Seth (Indian)

A suitable boy

Gunnar Myrdal

Asian Drama

Monica Ali

Brick Lane

Alexander Solshenitsin

Cancer World

Boris Paslernak

Dr. Zivago

J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter series

Abul Kalam Azad

India Wins Freedom

Aldous Huxley

Point Counter Point

Alex Haley

Roots (Novel)

J. K. Galbraith

The Affluent Society

Bertold Brecht

The Cowcasion Chalkcircle (play)

Arundhuty Roy

The God of small things

Anthony Masaarenhus

The Rape of Bangladesh

Ralph hodgson

Time, you old gipsy Man



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