Rewriting the Thirties questions the myth of the 'anti-modernist' decade. Conversely, the editors argue it is a symptomatic, transitional phase between modern and post-modern writing and politics, at a time of cultural and technological change.
The text reconsiders some of the leading writers of the period in the light of recent theoretical developments, through essays on the ambivalent assimilation of Modernist influences, among proletarian and canonical novelists including James Barke and George Orwell, and among poets including Auden, MacNeice, Swingler and Bunting, and in the work of feminist writers Vera Brittain and Winifred Holtby. In this substantial remapping, the complexity and scope of literary-critical debate at the time is discussed in relation to theatrical innovation, audience attitudes to the mass medium of modernity - cinema - the poetics of suburbia, consumerism and national ideology, as well as the discursive strategies of British and American documentarism.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements 1. Introduction 2. The Age of Anxiety and Influence; or Tradition and the Thirties Talents 3. Illusion and Reality: the Spectre of Socialist Realism in Thirties Literature 4. 'Alien Experiences': Virginia Woolf, Winifred Holtby and Vera Brittain in the Thirties 5. Remembering Bryden's Bill: Modernism from Eliot to Auden 6. Believing in the Thirties 7. 'A Marvellous Drama out of Life': Yeats, Pound, Bunting and Villon at Rapallo 8. Thirties Poetry and the Landscape of Suburbia 9. Politics and Beauty: the Poetry of Randall Swingler 10. 'Irritating Tricks': Aesthetic Expermentation and Political Theatre 11. Modernism and the People: the View from the Cinema Stalls 12. Post/Modern Documentary: Orwell, Agee and the New Reportage 13. Blood and Marmalade: Negotiations between the State and Domestic in George Orwell's Early Novels Works Cited Index
Keith Williams is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Dundee, UK.
Steven Matthews is Professor of English Literature at the University of Reading, UK.