British Fiction After Modernism: The Novel at Mid-Century by Marina MacKay, Lyndsey Stonebridge

By Marina MacKay, Lyndsey Stonebridge

This selection of essays deals a wide-ranging and provocative reassessment of the British novel's achievements after modernism. The ebook identifies continuities of preoccupation - with nationwide id, historiography and the problem to literary shape awarded by way of private and non-private violence - that span the whole century.

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But Raven is only on the verge of selfconsciousness. The profiteer Sir Marcus describes him contemptuously as ‘ “this – waste product” ’ (Gun, 110), and so he is, although not in the way this sinister figure means. For Raven, who has always been excluded from society, functions as its ‘return of the repressed’: Anne’s feeling that ‘they need never go back to the scene’ of the crime is undermined by her uneasy recognition that ‘a shade of disquiet remained, a fading spectre of Raven’ (Gun, 184). A Gun for Sale and Brighton Rock are characterized above all by a profound sense of waste.

32. 33. 34. 31 Bombardier’ Greene dismisses Eliot along with Joyce and Pound: ‘Somehow these great and good men lack, for me, the legendary excitement – perhaps a younger generation may fi nd these the most thrilling pages’ (Greene, Reflections, 52). An unconscious echo of something once read or homage to an admired writer? Compare Ford on James: ‘He gives you an immense – and an increasingly tragic – picture of a Leisured Society that is fairly unavailing, materialist, emasculated – and doomed. No one was more aware of all that than he’ (Ford Madox Ford, Return to Yesterday, ed.

The hunted man of A Gun for Sale . . was Raven, not Hannay; a man out to revenge himself for all the dirty tricks of life, not to save his country’ (Ways, 54). Yet although Raven is the most fully-fledged of Greene’s early anti-heroes, he is not the first character to be hostile to the social order, for It’s a Battlefield and England Made Me are centrally concerned with Greene’s ‘sense of capitalism staggering from crisis to crisis’ (Ways, 31). The most noticeable feature of both It’s a Battlefield and England Made Me is the extent to which their protagonists are bereft of any sustaining belief system or ideology.

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Categories: Modernism