Book Announcements

Check out the new book publications by Space Between members!

PAULA DERDIGER, Reconstruction Fiction: Housing and Realist Literature in Postwar Britain, Oct. 2020.

DerdigerReconstruction Fiction: Housing and Realist Literature in Postwar Britain by Paula Derdiger assesses the impact of World War II and the welfare state on literary fiction by focusing on one of the defining issues of the postwar period: housing. Through compelling close readings and lively historical and cultural analysis, Derdiger argues that literary realism was a necessary, generative response to the war and welfare state since they impacted the built environment and landscape. Wartime decimation of buildings and streets called for reconstruction, and reconstruction called not just for bricks and mortar, architectural drawings, town plans, preservation schemes, and new policies but also for fiction that invited particular ways of inhabiting an environment that had been irrevocably changed. Derdiger argues that fiction, like actual buildings, creates a sheltered space for the mediation between individual subjects and the social and geographical environments that they encounter. Realist fiction, specifically, insists that such mediation is possible and that it is socially valuable. Covering writers spanning various social positions and aesthetic tendencies—including Elizabeth Bowen, Graham Greene, Patrick Hamilton, Doris Lessing, Colin MacInnes, and Elizabeth Taylor—Derdiger shows how these authors responded to the war with realistic technique, investing in external conditions just as much as or more than their characters’ interior lives. In doing so, their reconstruction fiction helped to shape postwar life.

KRISTEN BLUEMEL and MICHAEL MCCLUSKEY (Eds.), Rural Modernity in Britain: A Critical Intervention, August 2020.

rural-modernity-3

Rural Modernity in Britain argues that the rural areas of Britain were impacted by modernisation just as much – if not more – than urban and suburban areas. It is the first study of modernity and modernism to focus on rural people and places that experienced economic depression, the expansion of transportation and communication networks, the roll out of electricity, the loss of land, and the erosion of local identities. Who celebrated these changes? Who resisted them? Who documented them?

Essays in this collection make the case that the rural means more than just the often-studied countryside of southern England, a retreat from the consequences of modernity; rather, the rural emerges as a source for new versions of the modern, with an active role in the formation and development of British experiences and representations of modernity.

SUE KENNEDY and JANE THOMAS (Eds.), British Women’s Writing, 1930 to 1960: Between the Waves, July 2020.

Kennedy

This volume contributes to the vibrant, ongoing recuperative work on women’s writing by shedding new light on a group of authors commonly dismissed as middlebrow in their concerns and conservative in their styles and politics. The neologism ‘interfeminism’ – coined to partner Kristin Bluemel’s ‘intermodernism’ – locates this group chronologically and ideologically between two ‘waves’ of feminism, whilst also forging connections between the political and cultural monoliths that have traditionally overshadowed them. Drawing attention to the strengths of this ‘out-of-category’ writing in its own right, this volume also highlights how intersecting discourses of gender, class and society in the interwar and postwar periods pave the way for the bold reassessments of female subjectivity that characterise second and third wave feminism.

KATHERINE COOPER, War, Nation and Europe in the Novels of Storm Jameson, April 2020.

cooper-jameson-5

The novels of Storm Jameson and their depictions of Britain’s relationship to Europe around the Second World War represent a crucial departure from the work of her contemporaries. As the first female President of English PEN, Jameson led her country’s wartime literary community through turbulent times in history by focusing on European – rather than pointedly British – experiences of war.

War, Nation and Europe in the Novels of Storm Jameson is a timely critique situated within the historical and theoretical contexts so fundamental to understanding her work. Presenting previously unpublished archival material that documents her work as an ambassador for British writers during a time of national upheaval, Katherine Cooper reveals how the novelist’s pacifism and evolving attitudes to war and peace were underpinned by her overarching vision for the post-war world. Drawing comparisons to the works of Virginia Woolf, Arthur Koestler, Graham Greene and others, this study shows how Jameson’s novels gesture towards prevalent internationalist perspectives and reshapes how we view the literary history of the period.

BOB BROWN, Readies for Bob Brown’s Machines: A Critical Facsimile Edition, edited by Craig J. Saper and Eric B. White, Feb. 2020.

2020BrownSapreWhite

This new edition of Bob Brown’s groundbreaking collection of modernist writing experiments has been out of print since 1931, when Brown’s Roving Eye Press originally published it. Only a few copies exist in archives today. The contributors include major modernist writers such as Gertrude Stein, William Carlos Williams, F. T. Marinetti, Eugène Jolas and Ezra Pound, key social realists like Kay Boyle and James T. Farrell and daring queer novelists and artists including Charles Henri Ford and Sidney Hunt.

ALEX BELSEY, Image of a Man: The Journal of Keith VaughanJan. 2020.

Belsey

Post-war British artist Keith Vaughan (1912-77) was not only a supremely accomplished painter; he was an impassioned, eloquent writer. Image of a Man provides a comprehensive critical reading of his extraordinary journal, uncovering the attitudes and arguments that shaped and reshaped Vaughan’s identity as a man and as an artist.

ERICA DELSANDRO (Ed.), Women Making Modernism, Jan. 2020.

Delsandro

Challenging the tendency of scholars to view women writers of the modernist era as isolated artists who competed with one another for critical and cultural acceptance, Women Making Modernism reveals the robust networks women created and maintained that served as platforms and support for women’s literary careers.

The essays in this volume highlight both familiar and lesser-known writers including Virginia Woolf, Mina Loy, Dorothy Richardson, Emma Goldman, May Sinclair, and Mary Hutchinson. For these writers, relationships and correspondences with other women were key to navigating a literary culture that not only privileged male voices but also reserved most financial and educational opportunities for men. Their examples show how women’s writing communities interconnected to generate a current of energy, innovation, and ambition that was central to the modernist movement. Contributors to this volume argue that the movement’s prominent intellectual networks were dependent on the invisible work of women artists, a fact that the field of modernist studies has too long overlooked.

Amplifying the reality of women’s contributions to modernism, this volume advocates for an “orientation of openness” in reading and teaching literature from the period, helping to ease the tensions between feminist and modernist studies.

PHYLLIS LASSNER and VICTORIA AARONS (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Holocaust Literature and Culture, Jan. 2020.

Lassner Aarons

The Palgrave Handbook of Holocaust Literature and Culture reflects current approaches to Holocaust literature that open up future thinking on Holocaust representation. The chapters consider diverse generational perspectives—survivor writing, second and third generation—and genres—memoirs, poetry, novels, graphic narratives, films, video-testimonies, and other forms of literary and cultural expression. In turn, these perspectives create interactions among generations, genres, temporalities, and cultural contexts. The volume also participates in the ongoing project of responding to and talking through moments of rupture and incompletion that represent an opportunity to contribute to the making of meaning through the continuation of narratives of the past. As such, the chapters in this volume pose options for reading Holocaust texts, offering openings for further discussion and exploration. The inquiring body of interpretive scholarship responding to the Shoah becomes itself a story, a narrative that materially extends our inquiry into that history.