British Literature: 20th Century
British Literature in the 20th century witnessed the Edwardian period, Modernism, and Postmodernism. The Edwardian period lasted from Queen Victoria's death in 1901 until the start of World War I in 1914, a transitional period that pushed back at conservative values. Modernism emerged in response to the World Wars, a time of confusion and discovery. This literary text set includes pre-independence Irish authors.
The Land of Story-Books
Robert Louis Stevenson
A child is immersed in imaginative play while his parents "sit at home and talk."
Using a paternal tone, the speaker makes a list of rules to live by.
A young boy's obsession with the girl next door leads him on a journey that ends in a harsh realization.
Two bitter enemies are trapped in the woods together, and the lines between friendship and enmity are tested.
Hermann the Irascible
A king living during the Edwardian Era makes it mandatory for women to vote in every election.
William Butler Yeats
Yeats reveals his torn emotions about the Easter Rising, an armed rebellion against British rule in Ireland.
This sonnet, written during WWI, describes an English soldier's dying wish.
Sassoon, who was himself a soldier in WWI, describes a soldier's perspective on the battlefield.
The Machine Stops
E. M. Forester
In this eerily prophetic science fiction story from 1909, E.M. Forster creates a world ruled by 'The Machine' in which isolated people are spoiled with convenience and starved of human interaction.
Robert Louis Stevenson
In this whimsical poem, Stevenson describes the adventures he will have in his youth - adventures that will sustain him when he is old.
Excerpt from Peter Pan: "When Wendy Grew Up"
In this final chapter of the classic novel Peter Pan, Wendy and the boys finally grow up, leaving Peter behind in Neverland.
The Elephant's Child
An insatiably curious baby elephant goes on a journey to find the crocodile — an encounter that will change him forever.
An ironworks manager leads his friend on an eerie tour of his company shortly after discovering a secret.
A man is put in a rather uncomfortable situation when he discovers that he and his female companion are not alone inside of a train compartment.
The Open Window
An anxious man is prescribed rest for his nervous condition but encounters a devious host during his retreat.
Anthem for Doomed Youth
A soldier laments the loss of his fellow young combatants during the First World War.
Dulce et Decorum Est
The horrors of chemical warfare during World War I are described in this gripping poem.
Lamb to the Slaughter
A woman betrayed by her husband retaliates in an extreme way.