Modernism on Sea brings together writing by some of today’s most exciting seaside critics, curators, filmmakers and scholars, and takes the reader on a journey around the coast of Britain to explore the rich artistic and cultural heritage that can be found there, from St Ives to Scarborough. The authors consider avant-garde art, architecture, film, literature and music, from the early twentieth century to the present, setting the arrival of modernism against the background of seaside tradition.
From the cheeky postcards marvelled at by George Orwell to austere modernist buildings such as the De La Warr Pavilion; from the Camden Town Group’s sojourn in Brighton to John Piper’s ‘Nautical Style’; from Paul Nash’s surrealist benches on the promenade in Swanage to the influence of bunting and deckchairs on the Festival of Britain – Modernism on Sea is a sweeping tour de force which pays tribute to the role of the seaside in shaping British modernism.
About the Author
Lara Feigel is Lecturer in Modern Literary Studies at King’s College London. She is the author of Literature, Cinema and Politics, 1930-1945: Reading Between the Frames (2010) and the editor of A Nosegay: A Literary Journey from the Fragrant to the Fetid (2006). She is currently co-editing of the journals of Stephen Spender, with John Sutherland and Natasha Spender.
Alexandra Harris is Lecturer in English at the University of Liverpool. She studied history of art at the Courtauld Institute in London and holds a doctorate from the University of Oxford. Her recent book Romantic Moderns: English Writers, Artists and the Imagination from Virginia Woolf to John Piper (2010) won the Guardian First Book Award. In 2011 she was chosen as one of the BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinkers.
Table of Contents
Contents: Lara Feigel/Alexandra Harris: Introduction – Lara Feigel: Kiss Me Quick: The Aesthetics of Excess in 1930s Literature and Film – Michael Bracewell: Morecambe: The Sunset Coast – Andrew Kötting: Beside the Seaside, Beside the Sea – Nicola Moorby: London to Brighton: The Indian Summer of the Camden Town Group – Deborah Parsons: ‘Remember Scarborough’: The Sitwells on the Sands – William May: ‘A Good Time Was Had By All’? Stevie Smith Beside the Seaside – David Bradshaw: ‘The Purest Ecstasy’: Virginia Woolf and the Sea – Ben Morgan: Survivals of Ariel: Sea and Form in Sylvia Plath’s Poetry – Frances Spalding: In the Nautical Tradition: John Piper – Bruce Peter/Philip Dawson: Modernism at Sea: Ocean Liners and the Avant-garde – Fred Gray: 1930s Architecture and the Cult of the Sun – Edwina Keown: The Seaside Flâneuse in Elizabeth Bowen’s The Death of the Heart – Svetlin Stratiev: The Margin of the Printable: Seaside Postcards and Censorship – Paul Rennie: Postwar Promenade: Pleasure, Reconstruction and the Festival of Britain – Alan Powers: The Destructive Element: Benjamin Britten and Aldeburgh – Alexandra Harris: Seaside Ceremonies: Coastal Rites in Twentieth-Century Art.