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Writing the 1926 General Strike
Literature, Culture, Politics


  • Date Published: February 2015
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107100039

£ 59.99

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About the Authors
  • Charles Ferrall and Dougal McNeill's book analyses the vast literary response to the 1926 General Strike. The Strike not only drew writers into political action but inspired literature that served to shape twentieth-century British views of class, culture and politics. While major figures active at the time wrote on or responded to this crucial moment, this is the first volume to address their respective works. Ferrall and McNeill show how novels then in progress, such as Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse and D. H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover, were affected by the Strike, as well as the ways in which it has been remembered from the 1930s to the present. Their study sheds new light on the relationship between politics and literature of the modernist era.

    • The first book to address and analyse the literature inspired by the 1926 General Strike
    • Sheds new light on dynamic between modernist politics and literature
    • Reads major authors such as Woolf and Lawrence through a new lens
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This is an exemplary book which does exactly what it says on the tin … an excellent work of literary analysis and an even better demonstration of the continuing richness of Marxist scholarship.' Bob Light, International Socialism

    '… Writing the 1926 General Strike should be commended for the intricacy and persuasiveness of its arguments. Ferrall and McNeill succeed in the impressive task of making sense of a wealth of material while faithfully 'resist[ing] the temptation to homogenise, to press the wayward material of the writing of the General Strike into one stable story and moral fable' … A reader of this work can be assured to come away with a much more subtle understanding of this seminal event, which has suffered the ignominy of transformation into 'one of the signifiers of a particular comforting narrative of Englishness and English history …' Mika Vale, Critical Quarterly

    '… Ferrall and McNeill's book offers a captivating reading of a single historical event: the nine-day national strike of 1926, which the authors scrutinize as a benchmark in British political thought between the wars. … a vital resource not only for understanding the conflicted literary history of British labour in the 1920s and after, but also for writing literary history more generally.' The Year's Work in English Studies

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2015
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107100039
    • length: 236 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 160 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.47kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. St George and the beast: conservative responses to the Strike
    2. The aesthetic fix: Wells, Chesterton, Bennett
    3. In the middle way: Bloomsbury and the General Strike
    4. Lady Chatterley and the end of the world
    5. Poshcrats and the orphan class: the Auden circle in the General Strike
    6. The General Strike and Scottish modernism
    7. The education of desire: labour college radicals, the General Strike and the impossible bildungsroman
    8. Remembering 1926: working-class Welsh modernisms.

  • Authors

    Charles Ferrall, Victoria University of Wellington
    Charles Ferrall is Senior Lecturer in the English Programme at Victoria University of Wellington. Amongst the books he has published are Modernist Writing and Reactionary Politics and Juvenile Literature and British Society, 1850–1950, co-authored with Anna Jackson.

    Dougal McNeill, Victoria University of Wellington
    Dougal McNeill is Lecturer in the English Programme at Victoria University of Wellington. He is the author of Forecasts of the Past: Globalisation, History, Realism, Utopia and has edited special issues of the International Journal of Scottish Literature and the Journal of New Zealand Literature.

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