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British Literature in Transition, 1920–1940: Futility and Anarchy
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Book description

Literature from the 'political' 1930s has often been read in contrast to the 'aesthetic' 1920s. This collection suggests a different approach. Drawing on recent work expanding our sense of the political and aesthetic energies of interwar modernisms, these chapters track transitions in British literature. The strains of national break-up, class dissension and political instability provoked a new literary order, and reading across the two decades between the wars exposes the continuing pressure of these transitions. Instead of following familiar markers - 1922, the Crash, the Spanish Civil War - or isolating particular themes from literary study, this collection takes key problems and dilemmas from literature 'in transition' and reads them across familiar and unfamiliar cultural works and productions, in their rich and contradictory context of publication. Themes such as gender, sexuality, nation and class are thus present throughout these essays. Major writers such as Woolf are read alongside forgotten and marginalised voices.

Reviews

‘The underlying editorial argument is consistently evident through the book, offering the reader a satisfying sense of congruence and coherence across parts and chapters. The authors also do justice to the aim of the ‘British Literature in Transition’ series ‘to understand literature’s role in mediating the developments of the past hundred years … there is much to admire in the way contributors manage to weave together literary works and the social and political histories of the day.’

Brian Elliott Source: Marx and Philosophy Review of Books

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