York Notes Companions: Postwar Literature: 1950 to 1990

Overview

The literature of the second half of the twentieth century is characterised by a tension between conservatism and innovation. This volume examines the key writers and genres that explore this idea, including the postmodern novels of Julian Barnes, Angela Carter and Graham Swift, the modern lyrics of Philip Larkin, Sylvia Plath and Stevie Smith, and the inventive dramas of Samuel Beckett, Caryl Churchill and Tom Stoppard. Chapters focussing on “Nostalgia and Nationality”, “Class and Education” and “Sex and ...

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Overview

The literature of the second half of the twentieth century is characterised by a tension between conservatism and innovation. This volume examines the key writers and genres that explore this idea, including the postmodern novels of Julian Barnes, Angela Carter and Graham Swift, the modern lyrics of Philip Larkin, Sylvia Plath and Stevie Smith, and the inventive dramas of Samuel Beckett, Caryl Churchill and Tom Stoppard. Chapters focussing on “Nostalgia and Nationality”, “Class and Education” and “Sex and Identity” provide important historical and social context, and combine with a range of key critical approaches to provide an indispensable guide to the era.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781408204740
  • Publisher: Longman
  • Publication date: 7/28/2010
  • Series: York Notes Companions Series
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr William May is a lecturer in Humanities at the University of Southampton. He completed a doctorate on the work of Stevie Smith at Balliol College, Oxford, and lectured at Bath Spa, Roehampton and St. Anne's College, Oxford, before joining Southampton in 2008. He has published widely on postwar British literature, co-edited the interdisciplinary essay collection From Self to Shelf: The Artist Under Construction (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007), and recently published the monograph Stevie Smith and Authorship (OUP, 2010). His current research project, 'Setting Agendas', examines the relationship between contemporary British music and literature.

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Table of Contents

Part One: Introduction.

Part Two: A Cultural Overview

Part Three: Texts, Writers and Contexts

The moral novel: William Golding, Iris Murdoch, Muriel Spark

Extended commentary: Iris Murdoch, The Black Prince (1978)

The postmodern novel: Julian Barnes, Angela Carter, Graham Swift

Extended commentary: Angela Carter, Nights at the Circus (1984)

The modern lyric: Philip Larkin, Sylvia Plath, Stevie Smith

Extended commentary: Stevie Smith, ‘Thoughts about the Person from Porlock’ (1962)

The bardic line: Tony Harrison, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes

Extended commentary: Tony Harrison, V. (1985)

Social dramas: Edward Bond, Caryl Churchill, John Osborne

Extended commentary: Caryl Churchill, Cloud Nine (1979)

New stages: Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter, Tom Stoppard

Extended commentary: Harold Pinter, The Room(1960)

Part Four: Critical Theories and Debates

Nostalgia and nationality

Immigrants and exiles

Class and education

Sex and identity

Part Five: References and resources

Timeline

Further reading

Index

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