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Modernism and World War II
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  • Page extent: 202 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.47 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 820.9/112
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: PR478.M6 M33 2007
  • LC Subject headings:
    • English literature--20th century--History and criticism
    • Modernism (Literature)--Great Britain
    • World War, 1939-1945--Great Britain--Literature and the war
    • World War, 1939-1945--Influence
    • War and literature--Great Britain

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521872225)

World War II marked the beginning of the end of literary modernism in Britain. However, this late period of modernism and its response to the war have not yet received the scholarly attention they deserve. In this full-length study of modernism and World War II, Marina MacKay offers historical readings of Virginia Woolf, Rebecca West, T. S. Eliot, Henry Green and Evelyn Waugh set against the dramatic background of national struggle and transformation. In recovering how these major authors engaged with other texts of their time - political discourses, mass and middlebrow culture - this study reveals how World War II brought to the surface the underlying politics of modernism's aesthetic practices. Through close analyses of the revisions made to modernist thinking after 1939, MacKay establishes the significance of this persistently neglected phase of modern literature as a watershed moment in twentieth-century literary history.

• An insightful study of the impact of World War II on mid-century literature • Offers close readings of Woolf, West, Eliot, Waugh and others • Explains why World War II is a crucial turning-point in literary history


Introduction: modernism beyond the Blitz; 1. Virginia Woolf and the pastoral Patria; 2. Rebecca West's anti-Bloomsbury Group; 3. The situational politics of Four Quartets; 4. The neutrality of Henry Green; 5. Evelyn Waugh and the ends of minority culture; Coda: national historiography after the post-War settlement; Bibliography.

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