The same synthesis of realism, modernism and postmodernism can be observed in British poetry. Some poets (John Betjeman, Philip Larkin) were against modernism, Ted Hughes was close to modernism and Seamus Heaney – to postmodernism.
In drama the cultural tendencies are very vivid: among the masterpieces we have a realistic play Look Back in Anger by John Osborne, and the postmodernist dramas by Harold Pinter (The Birthday Party, The Caretaker) and Tom Stoppard (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead).
The most prominent American writers of the contemporary period.
Speaking about the contemporary literature the experts usually cover the period since 1945. In the Western countries this period embraces two main cultural trends: modernism (till 1965) and postmodernism (since 1965). The modern literary process of the USA is characterized by the variety of tendencies, but the most influential are the following:
2) modernist (in the 1940-60s – existentialist);
These tendencies, as a rule, are interwoven and synthesized in the works by many writers who combine the traditions of the classical literature with experimentation.
A mixture of realism and modernism can be found in the works of the prominent American writers John Steinbeck (Winter of Our Discontent), Robert Penn Warren (All the King’s Men), William Faulkner, Katherine Anne Porter, Ernest Hemingway (The Old Man and the Sea), Jerome David Salinger (The Catcher in the Rye), Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird), Ralph Ellison (Invisible Man), Norman Mailer (The Naked and the Dead), James Jones (From Here to Eternity, Just Call), Eudora Welty, Flannery O’Connor, Irving Shaw, Bernard Malamud, Truman Capote (Breakfast at Tiffany’s), John Cheever, Marry Higgins Clark, Joyce Carol Oates, Anne Tyler, James Baldwin (Sonny's Blues), William Styron (Sophie’s Choice).
More modernist are the works by the representatives of the Beat Generation, especially Jack Kerouac (On the Road). Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest became a link between the modernist literature and the postmodernist one.
The first American postmodernists are “black humorists” John Barth, Joseph Heller, Thomas Pynchon, Philip Roth, Kurt Vonnegut. Don DeLillo’s White Noise is a typical postmodernist novel.
The works by Edgar Saul Bellow (Herzog, The Adventures of Augie March), Edgar L. Doctorow (Ragtime), John Gardner (October Light), John Updike (The Centaur, The Rabbit series) and Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian) cover the field between realism and experimentation.
The USA is a country of science fiction presented by Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Robert A. Heinlein, Clifford D. Simak, Robert Sheckley, Ursula Le Guin, Samuel Delany, Philip Dick, etc.
Detective genre deals withRex Stout’s series, Sidney Sheldon’s bestselling works. One of the most famous crime novels is The Godfather by Mario Puzo.
The works by Richard Bach (Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Illusions) can be regarded as popular philosophical literature.
The rise of multiethnic culture causes the diversity of contemporary American literature. Tony Morrison and Alice Walker are the most outstanding African-American writers nowadays.
People all over the world know modern bestselling love stories by Erich Segal, Julie Garwood, Nancy Richards-Akers, techno-thrillers by Michael Crichton, legal dramas by John Grisham, political thrillers by Tom Clancy, the psychological horror fiction by Stephen King, Dan Brown’s mystical detective novels, especially The Da Vinci Code.