A Shrinking Island: Modernism and National Culture in by Jed Esty

By Jed Esty

This ebook describes an important literary tradition stuck within the act of turning into minor. In 1939, Virginia Woolf wrote in her diary, "Civilisation has shrunk." Her phrases captured not just the onset of global warfare II, but in addition a longer-term reversal of nationwide fortune. the 1st finished account of modernism and imperialism in England, A Shrinking Island tracks the joint eclipse of modernist aesthetics and British energy from the literary experiments of the Thirties during the upward thrust of cultural experiences within the 1950s.

Jed Esty explores the consequences of declining empire on modernist form--and at the very that means of Englishness. He levels from canonical figures (T. S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf) to influential midcentury intellectuals (J. M. Keynes and J.R.R. Tolkien), from cultural reports pioneers (Raymond Williams and E. P. Thompson) to postwar migrant writers (George Lamming and Doris Lessing). targeting writing that converts the aptitude strength of the contracting British kingdom into the language of insular integrity, he argues that an anthropological ethos of cultural holism got here domestic to roost in late-imperial England. Esty's interpretation demanding situations renowned myths concerning the dying of English literature. It portrays the survivors of the modernist iteration no longer as aesthetic dinosaurs, yet as individuals within the transition from empire to welfare country, from metropolitan artwork to nationwide tradition. blending literary feedback with postcolonial idea, his account of London modernism's end-stages and after-lives presents a clean tackle significant works whereas redrawing the traces among modernism and postmodernism.

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