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Семестр. Теоретико-методологические основы курса

Теоретико-методологические основы курса

Izaac Asimov, Robert A. Heilein, Clifford D. Simak, A.E. van Vogt.

After World War II the British tradition of scientific romance petered out. Its pessimistic tone, further encouraged by Hiroshima, culminated in such bleak works as George Orwell’sNineteen 84” (1949) and Aldous Huxley’sApe and essence” (1949).

Works owning their allergiance to this tradition have occasionally been produced since, but scientific romance was almost entirely displayed by and absorbed into American SF, which became established in Britain in the late 1940s.

The most successful of the British post-war writers of SF was Arthur C. Clarke:Childhood’s End”, “The City and the Stars ”, etc.

The popularity of SF increased dramatically with the advent of paperbacks, and there was a gradual shift from the short-story.

The most important new writers to emerge in America in the 1950s and 1960s were Frederick Pohl, James Blish, Paul Anderson, Ray Bradbury (“ The Martian Chronicles”, “Fahrenheit 451”).

70S YEARS are marked by works of:

Roger Zelazny “ The Chronicles of Amber”, Thomas M. Disch “Camp Concentation” (1968), Kurt Vonnegut “Slaughter house – 5” (1969), Ursula le Guin “The left Hand of Darkness” (1969), Thomas Pynchon “Gravity Rainbow” (1973), Y.R.R. Tolkien “The Lord of the Rings”, Gore Vidal “Kalki” (1978), “Live from Golgotha” (1992) – apocalyptic comedies, Jeremy Leven “Creator” (1980), etc.

These works differ greatly but they attracted attention because of their ingenuity in presenting images of artificial and hallucinatory worlds which dissolve into confusion, because of the moral earnestness and purity of style.

The boundaries of this genre are now more difficult to outline than ever before. Some American ‘mainstream’ novelists have begun to use science-fictional elements in their works. This reflects a considerable evolution of SF from the days when it was virtually an esoteric literary cult; its imagery has now diffused throughout contemporary culture to become familiar in some measure to everyone. This familiarity has not entirely eroded the contempt in which SF was held when it was an absurdly gaudy species of pulp fiction (much of it, in fact, remains both absurd and gaudy, especially in its film and TV manifestation) but it has enabled some writers to escape stigmatization, and has helped make the products of the scientific imagination available to reputable writers.


It took Americans many years to develop a national literature. The settlers who arrived in 1600’s had little time to write books. They were too busy clearing the wilderness and conquering the land. Gradually, as the nation grew, a rich and imaginative literature began to appear. By the mid-1800’s America was the home of many major literary achievements.

Three major characteristics:

1) American literature reflects beliefs and traditions that come from the nation’s frontier days. The pioneer ideals of self-reliance and independence appear again and again in American writings. American authors have great respect for the value and importance of the individual. They tend to reject authority and to emphasize democracy and the equality of people.

2) American writers have always had a strong tendency to break with literary tradition and to strike out in their own national directions. Many American authors have rejected the old in order to create smth new.

3) A lovely touch of humor runs through American literature from earliest times to the present. It tends to be exaggerated rather than subtle. It reflects the people’s ability to laugh at themselves even during the most difficult times.


the 17 and the first half of the 18 centuries (1608-1765)

The story of American letters has its beginnings in Europe, for the roots of their culture are grounded in the life of the Old World. Only in their surroundings were the seventeenth-century immigrants American. In race and in civilization they were merely transplanted Europeans, who brought to the colonies unchanged Old World speech, manners, politics, and religion. The Colonists thought as Europeans, and, when they wrote, they discussed issues of interest in Europe, and followed European models of style. Yet from the very beginning, their Old World manner of life was modified by their new environment.

Distinctions in social rank, which were taken for granted in Europe, had soon to be materialized by conscious effort in the colonies; and as the settlements moves westward, they tended to disappear.

Colonial literature was, therefore, the product of 2 basic forces:

1) The European cultural heritage,

2) The American environment (wilderness).

The American colonists wrote histories to record their activities, sermons to teach moral lessons, and pamphlets to argue political points. Even their poems discussed religious and moral subjects.

Thus, most of the first immigrants came from north-western Europe. Gradually during the 17th century their settlements formed three regions:

Northern Colonies (New England)

Middle Colonies

Southern Colonies

- not only climatic conditions were different in them, but also economical, social and spirituals developments differed greatly.

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