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Ch 14: 20th Century Literature

About This Chapter

Watch 20th century literature video lessons and learn about the works of Oscar Wilde, Joseph Conrad, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and more. These lessons are just a portion of our online study guide and video collection.

20th Century Literature - Chapter Summary and Lesson Objectives

This chapter explores important novels, plays, poems and short stories from the 20th century. Lessons cover the biography and writings of Virginia Woolf, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner and Eugene O'Neill. You'll receive summaries and interpretations of important works of literature, including books like The Grapes of Wrath, For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Great Gatsby and Mrs. Dalloway. You can also study poems, including 'The Waste Land', as well as novellas such as Of Mice and Men. After finishing this chapter, you'll be able to:

  • Recall the biographies and major influences of important 20th century writers
  • Explore the themes, issues and historical elements found in famous 20th century novels, poems and plays
  • Explain how structure, style and symbolism impact different writings
  • Provide a summary and analysis for major 20th century literary works

Video Objective
Introduction to Oscar Wilde: Plays, Novels, and Sexuality Explore Oscar Wilde's major plays and novels, looking at the role of sexuality throughout his works.
Conrad's Heart of Darkness: Plot, Characters, and Style Analyze the plot, character development and writing style of Joseph Conrad's novella, Heart of Darkness.
'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock': Overview and Analysis Summarize and interpret T.S. Eliot's 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.'
'The Waste Land': Structure and Style Explained Learn about the structure and style of T.S. Eliot's poem, 'The Waste Land.'
Introduction to Virginia Woolf: Life and Works Study the biography and major works of Virginia Woolf.
Mrs. Dalloway: Analysis of Characters and Style Examine the characters and writing style of Virginia Woolf's novel, Mrs. Dalloway.
F. Scott Fitzgerald: Biography, Works, and Zelda Explore the life of F. Scott Fitzgerald, his relationship with his wife, Zelda, and the impact of these elements on his works.
The Great Gatsby: Summary, Themes, Symbols, and Character Analyze the themes, symbols and characters of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, The Great Gatsby.
Ernest Hemingway: Biography, Works, and Style Study the life, works and writing style of 20th century writer, Ernest Hemingway.
Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms: Summary and Analysis Recount the plot of Ernest Hemingway's novel, A Farewell to Arms, and its literary significance.
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Hemingway: Summary and Analysis Summarize and interpret Ernest Hemingway's novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls.
William Faulkner: Biography, Books, and Style Examine the life, novels and writing style of William Faulkner.
John Steinbeck: The Grapes of Wrath and Other Works Learn about John Steinbeck's major literary works, including The Grapes of Wrath.
Of Mice and Men: Summary and Analysis of Steinbeck's Style Analyze the style and structure of John Steinbeck's novella, Of Mice and Men.
Eugene O'Neill: Biography and Major Plays Understand the life of writer Eugene O'Neill and his important plays.

15 Lessons in Chapter 14: 20th Century Literature
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Introduction to Oscar Wilde: Plays, Novels, and Sexuality

1. Introduction to Oscar Wilde: Plays, Novels, and Sexuality

From ''The Picture of Dorian Gray'' to the ''Importance of Being Earnest'', Oscar Wilde left an indelible mark on literature and theater. In this lesson, you'll learn all about the Victorian author.

Conrad's Heart of Darkness: Plot, Characters, and Style

2. Conrad's Heart of Darkness: Plot, Characters, and Style

Joseph Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness' is one of the most read and taught stories in the English language. It also inspired a hugely popular film. Watch our lesson to learn all about this horrifying classic.

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock: Overview and Analysis

3. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock: Overview and Analysis

This video introduces T.S. Eliot's poem, 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.' It outlines the general setup of the poem, its enigmatic lead character and its stylistic characteristics. It also highlights key passages.

The Waste Land: Structure and Style Explained

4. The Waste Land: Structure and Style Explained

As an introduction to T.S. Eliot's landmark poem, 'The Waste Land,' this lesson will outline some of the key Modernist features of the work. We'll address nonlinearity, irony and juxtaposition, voice, and allusions. Through taking a look at each of these features, we'll try to understand why 'The Waste Land' is as strange as it is important.

Introduction to Virginia Woolf: Life and Works

5. Introduction to Virginia Woolf: Life and Works

This lesson introduces Virginia Woolf's life and works. We'll cover her involvement with the Bloomsbury Group and the evolution of her experimental style across works like Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, and the Waves.

Mrs. Dalloway: Analysis of Characters and Style

6. Mrs. Dalloway: Analysis of Characters and Style

This lesson outlines the characters, major plot points and style of Virginia Woolf's 1925 novel 'Mrs. Dalloway.' We'll discuss how free indirect discourse informs both the style and substance of the novel, and how memory and interpretation are valued more highly than relaying concrete events.

F. Scott Fitzgerald: Biography and Works

7. F. Scott Fitzgerald: Biography and Works

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote one of the defining American novels: 'The Great Gatsby.' Yet, his personal life was tumultuous and filled with struggles. In this lesson, we'll explore his major works and his life story.

The Great Gatsby: Summary, Themes, Symbols, and Character

8. The Great Gatsby: Summary, Themes, Symbols, and Character

F. Scott Fitzgerald's 'The Great Gatsby' is considered by many critics to be the greatest American novel. Watch our video lesson on the novel to find out why!

Ernest Hemingway: Biography, Works, and Style

9. Ernest Hemingway: Biography, Works, and Style

American author Ernest Hemingway used the experiences from his rich and colorful life to inform his novels and short stories. Learn about how life and major works.

Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms: Summary and Analysis

10. Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms: Summary and Analysis

Ernest Hemingway's ''A Farewell to Arms'' is considered by some critics to be the best novel written in the WWI era. Learn why readers still love this story almost a century later.

For Whom the Bell Tolls by Hemingway: Summary and Analysis

11. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Hemingway: Summary and Analysis

Civil war in Spain, love in the woods, and death everywhere. It's Ernest Hemingway's 'For Whom the Bell Tolls.' In this lesson, we'll explore the acclaimed novel about an American in the Spanish Civil War.

William Faulkner: Biography, Books, and Style

12. William Faulkner: Biography, Books, and Style

William Faulkner towers above American literature, particularly American literature of the South. In this lesson, we'll explore his life and review his major works and style.

John Steinbeck: Grapes of Wrath and Other Works

13. John Steinbeck: Grapes of Wrath and Other Works

John Steinbeck is one of the 20th century's most celebrated authors. In this lesson, we'll look at Steinbeck's most famous work, 'The Grapes of Wrath.' We'll also discuss his style and consider his other major works.

Of Mice and Men: Summary and Analysis of Steinbeck's Style

14. Of Mice and Men: Summary and Analysis of Steinbeck's Style

John Steinbeck's 'Of Mice and Men' is one of the most enduring American stories of friendship. Watch this video lesson to learn about its characters, main plot events and key themes.

Eugene O'Neill: Biography and Major Plays

15. Eugene O'Neill: Biography and Major Plays

Winner of four Pulitzer Prizes and one Nobel Prize, playwright Eugene O'Neill is a major figure in American drama. In this lesson, we'll look at his tumultuous life and review the most notable plays from his acclaimed career.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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