The English Novel at Mid-Century: From the Leaning Tower by Palgrave Macmillan

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The English Novel at Mid-Century: From the Leaning Tower by Palgrave Macmillan

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'So far as the young were concerned,' Orwell wrote of Britain in the years after the Great War, 'the official beliefs were dissolving like sandcastles.' Most critical accounts of that postwar generation have been constrained by having to deal with the myth of the 'thirties.' Michael Gorra's innovation in this exciting study of the postwar generation's major novelists lies in seeing the consequences of that dissolution in formal rather than political terms, arguing that the novelist's difficulty in representing human character in what Wyndham Lewis called a 'shell-shocked' age is itself a sign of that loss of belief. But while most studies of this generation end with the coming of World War 2, Gorra follows these novelists throughout their careers. The result is a book that not only shows how the British novel's increasing consciousness of its own limitations stands as a mirror to the country's loss of power, but also provides memorable portraits of four major twentieth century writers.