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Week 13: Literature and national culture in the Second World War

Primary source

George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius (1941), Part I: England Your England


Key reading 

Robert Hewison, Culture and Consensus: England, Art and Politics since 1940 (London, 1995), ch.2

Sonya Rose, Which People’s War? National Identity and Citizenship in Britain 1939-1945 (Oxford, 2003), Introduction (pp.1-28)

Christopher Hilliard, To Exercise Our Talents: The Democratization of Writing in Britain (Cambridge, MA/ London, 2006), chs.6-7

Additional reading

Sean Latham, ‘Cyril Connolly’s Horizon and the End of Modernism’ in Peter Brooker & Andrew Thacker, eds., The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines, Volume I: Britain and Ireland 1880-1955 (Oxford, 2009)

Peter Marks, George Orwell the Essayist: Literature, Politics and the Periodical Culture (London, 2011), ch.3

John Baxendale, Priestley’s England: J.B. Priestley and English Culture (Manchester/ New York, 2007), ch.5

Kristine A. Miller, British Literature of the Blitz: Fighting the People’s War (Basingstoke, 2009)

Mark Rawlinson, British Writing of the Second World War (Oxford, 2000), ch.5

Marina MacKay, Modernism and World War II (Cambridge, 2007)

Caroline Levine, ‘Propaganda for Democracy: The Curious Case of Love on the Dole’, Journal of British Studies 45:4 (2006), 846-874

Geoffrey Field, Blood, Sweat and Toil: Remaking the British Working Class, 1939-1945 (Oxford, 2011), esp. Introduction, ch.6, Conclusion

F.M. Leventhal, ‘“The Best for the Most”: CEMA and State Sponsorship of the Arts in Wartime, 1939-1945’, Twentieth Century British History 1:3 (1990), 289-317

Richard Weight, ‘State, Intelligentsia and the Promotion of National Culture in Britain, 1939-1945’, Historical Research 69 (1996), 83-101

Robert Hewison, Under Siege: Literary Life in London, 1939-45 (London, 1977)

Janet Minihan, The Nationalization of Culture: The Development of State Subsidies to the Arts in Great Britain (New York 1977), ch.7