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British Literature in Transition, 1940–1960: Postwar


Part of British Literature in Transition

  • Editor: Gill Plain, University of St Andrews, Scotland
Gill Plain, Marina MacKay, Nigel Alderman, Rebecca D'Monté, Katie Gramich, James Procter, Mark Rawlinson, Adam Piette, Thomas S. Davis, Ina Habermann, Lucy Pearson, Alice Ferrebe, Leo Mellor, Victoria Stewart, Tracy Hargreaves, Charlotte Charteris, Claire Cochrane, James Smith, Petra Rau, Allan Hepburn, Kate McLoughlin
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  • Date Published: December 2018
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107119017

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About the Authors
  • 'Postwar' is both a period and a state of mind, a sensibility comprised of hope, fear and fatigue in which British society and its writers paradoxically yearned both for political transformation and a nostalgic re-instatement of past securities. From the Labour landslide victory of 1945 to the emergence of the Cold War and the humiliation of Suez in 1956, this was a period of radical political transformation in Britain and beyond, but these changes resisted literary assimilation. Arguing that writing and history do not map straightforwardly one onto the other, and that the postwar cannot easily be fitted into the explanatory paradigms of modernism or postmodernism, this book offers a more nuanced recognition of what was written and read in the period. From wartime radio writing to 1950s travellers, cold war poetry to radical theatre, magazine cultures to popular fiction, this volume examines important debates that animated postwar Britain.

    • Challenges the dominance of 'modernism' as a category for reading the period
    • Uses thematic approaches to introduce new texts and generate fresh perspectives on well-known writers
    • Challenges the conventional assumption that 1945 represents a break in literary and cultural practice
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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2018
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107119017
    • length: 438 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 159 x 28 mm
    • weight: 0.76kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction Gill Plain
    Part I. Aftermath: The Beginning or the End?: Introduction
    1. Slender means: the novel in the age of austerity Marina MacKay
    2. Impossible elegies: poetry in transition 1940–1960 Nigel Alderman
    3. Democracy and decentralisation: the Renaissance of British theatre? Rebecca D'Monté
    4. National transitions: Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland Katie Gramich
    5. Heroes of austerity: genre in transition Gill Plain
    6. Wireless writing, World War II and the West Indian literary imagination James Procter
    Part II. The Politics of Transition: Introduction
    7. Narrating transitions to peace: fiction and film after war Mark Rawlinson
    8. Poetry, the early Cold War and the idea of Europe Adam Piette
    9. Horizon, encounter and mid-century geopolitics Thomas S. Davis
    10. Public intellectuals and the politics of literature: the causes and collaborations of J. B. Priestley and Jacquetta Hawkes Priestley Ina Habermann
    11. Prizing the nation: postwar children's fiction Lucy Pearson
    12. Artists of their time: the postwar battle for realism in literature and painting Alice Ferrebe
    Part III. Reconfigurations: Introduction
    13. Demob: the postwar origins of the new nature writing Leo Mellor
    14. Old haunts: childhood and home in postwar fiction Victoria Stewart
    15. New uses of literacy: the blank page and writing in the aftermath of war Tracy Hargreaves
    16. The pursuit of love: writing postwar desire Charlotte Charteris
    17. Creating vital theatre: new voices in a time of transition Claire Cochrane
    Part IV. No Directions: Introduction
    18. Covert legacies in postwar British fiction James Smith
    19. 'The sights are worse than the journeys': travel writing at the mid-century Petra Rau
    20. The future and the end: imagining catastrophe in mid-century British fiction Allan Hepburn
    21. Exhausted literature: the postwar novel in repose Kate McLoughlin.

  • Editor

    Gill Plain, University of St Andrews, Scotland
    Gill Plain is Professor of English at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. She has research interests in British literature and culture of the 1940s, war writing, crime fiction, British cinema, feminist theory and gender studies. Her publications include Women's Fiction of the Second World War (1996), Twentieth-Century Crime Fiction (2001), Ian Rankin's 'Black and Blue': A Reader's Guide (2002), John Mills and British Cinema: Masculinity, Identity and Nation (2006) and Literature of the 1940s: War, Postwar and 'Peace' (2013). She has also edited a number of volumes including A History of Feminist Literary Criticism (co-edited with Susan Sellers, Cambridge, 2007) and Scotland and the First World War: Myth, Memory and the Legacy of Bannockburn (2016). She is General Editor of the British Literature in Transition series.


    Gill Plain, Marina MacKay, Nigel Alderman, Rebecca D'Monté, Katie Gramich, James Procter, Mark Rawlinson, Adam Piette, Thomas S. Davis, Ina Habermann, Lucy Pearson, Alice Ferrebe, Leo Mellor, Victoria Stewart, Tracy Hargreaves, Charlotte Charteris, Claire Cochrane, James Smith, Petra Rau, Allan Hepburn, Kate McLoughlin

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