Monday, March 3, 2008

1900 Literature

"Ariel." Jose Enrique Rodo. Spanish. 1900. Essay. Aspire to spirituality, idealism, rationality symbolized by Shakespeare's Ariel (Tempest).

Dom Casmurro. Joachim de Assis Machado. Brazil. 1900. Novel. "Mr. Peevish." Middle class lawyer reflects on his adolescence and his youthful romance.

The Flame of Life. Gabriele D'Annunzio. Italian. 1900. Novel. Passion consumes and destroys both lovers. Based on novelist's affair with Eleanora Duse.

"In the Ravine." Anton Chekhov. Russian. 1900. Story. Brutal lives of the peasantry in a small provincial town.

Leutnant Gustl. Arthur Schnitzler. German. 1900. Novel. Early experiment in the stream of consciousness. Mind of conceited officer who must decide between suicide or resignation for lost honor. Satire on the military honor code.

Lord Jim. Joseph Conrad. British. 1900. Novel. Lifelong effort to atone for an act of instinctive cowardice. Wandering outcast. Betrayed by whites who kill Jim's best friend, the son of an old chief. Jim gives himself up to tribal justice and regains honor as he loses his life.

"The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg." Mark Twain. American. 1900. Story. Comic story with grim ending. People abandon their integrity to gain a treasure that turns out to be lead.

Sister Carrie. Theodore Dreiser. American. 1900. Novel. Innocent country girl exposed to the impersonal cruelty of Chicago in the 1890s. Rescued first by a traveling salesman. Then a wealthy married man embezzles funds and takes her to New York. As her star rises, his sinks. He commits suicide, a destitute Bowery bum.

When We Dead Awaken. Henrik Ibsen. Norwegian. 1900. Play. Artist had feared to love because he thought it would interfere with his art. Meets again the model for his masterpiece. She says they have both been dead for many years. To regain the spirit of life, they go up into the mountains and are swallowed up in a storm. Spiritual death is the price of denying love.

Whilomville Stories. Stephen Crane. American. 1900. Stories. Thirteen stories set in a town thought to be Port Jervis, New York. Realistic, unsentimental sketches of childhood. Less nostalgic than most stories about childhood.

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