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Intermodernism

Literary Culture in Mid-Twentieth-Century Britain

Edited by Kristin Bluemel

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These 10 original critical essays examine the fascinating writing of the Depression and World War II. Divided into four sections -Work, Community,War, and Documents - the volume focuses on texts that are typically ignored in accounts of modernism or The Auden Generation.

Chapters examine writing by Elizabeth Bowen, Storm Jameson, William Empson, George Orwell, J. B. Priestley, Harold Heslop, T. H. White, Sylvia Townsend Warner, Rebecca West, John Grierson, Margery Allingham and Stella Gibbons. These authors were politically radical, or radically 'eccentric', and tended to be committed to working- and middle-class cultures, non-canonical genres, such as crime and fantasy, and minority forms of narrative, such as journalism, manifestos, film, and travel narratives, as well as novels. The volume supports further research with an appendix, 'Who Were the Intermodernists?', a listing of archival sources and an extensive bibliography.

Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction: What is Intermodernism?, Kristin Bluemel
Part I: Work
1. A Cassandra with Clout: Storm Jameson, Little Englander and Good European,
Elizabeth Maslen
2. Englands Ancient and Modern: Sylvia Townsend Warner, T. H. White and the Fictions of Medieval Englishness, Janet Montefiore
3. 'A Strange Field': Region and Class in the Novels of Harold Heslop, John Fordham
Part II: Community
4. Stella Gibbons, Ex-Centricity and the Suburb, Faye Hammill
5. Intermodern Travel: J. B. Priestley's English and American Journeys, Lisa Colletta
Part III: War
6. Under Suspicion: The Plotting of Britain in World War II Detective Spy Fiction,
Phyllis Lassner
7. Trials and Errors: The Heat of the Day and Postwar Culpability,
Allan Hepburn
8. Rebecca West's Palimpsestic Praxis: Crafting the Intermodern Voice of Witness, Debra Rae Cohen
Part IV: Documents
9. The Intermodern Assumption of the Future: William Empson, Charles Madge and Mass-Observation, Nick Hubble
10. 'The creative treatment of actuality': John Grierson, Documentary Cinema and 'Fact' in the 1930s, Laura Marcus
Appendix: Who Are the Intermodernists?
Select Bibliography
Notes on Contributors
Index.

About the Author

Kristin Bluemel is Professor of English at Monmouth University in New Jersey. She is author of George Orwell and the Radical Eccentrics: Intermodernism in Literary London (2004) and Experimenting on the Borders of Modernism: Dorothy Richardson's Pilgrimage (1997). She edits the interdisciplinary journal The Space Between: Literature and Culture 1914-1945 and is one of the founding members of the journal's sponsoring body, The Space Between Society.

Reviews

This collection offers more than a series of case studies illustrating what Bluemel (Monmouth Univ.) calls "intermodernism." It creates a new paradigm for the study of 20th-century literature and culture. Building on her own George Orwell and the Radical Eccentrics (CH, Sep'05, 43-0148), the editor brings together major scholars of 1930s-40s Britain under the rubric of intermodernism, defined in her compelling introductory essay as an aesthetic, institutional, and ideological category meant to delineate the space between modernism and postmodernism and to serve as a critical tool … The extensive bibliography and appendix ("Who Are the Intermodernists?") will facilitate further research, especially by including the locations of archival material … Highly recommended.

- J. M. Utell, Widener University, Choice

'The recovery work of Intermodernism's contributors makes the case that adding another prefix to modernism will help clarify twentieth-century cultural studies and add new voices to humanities classrooms and scholarship.'

- Pennsylvania Literary Journal

Intermodernism is an attractive book in its own right, full of thoughtful and often surprising readings of particular texts, writers, and movements. It is also a welcome and substantial contribution to the ongoing rediscovery of mid-twentieth century British writing: that “fascinating, compelling and grossly neglected” body of work, as Kristin Bluemel sums it up in her opening paragraph.

- Marina MacKay, Washington University in St. Louis, Journal of British Studies

'The recovery work of Intermodernism's contributors makes the case that adding another prefix to modernism will help clarify twentieth-century cultural studies and add new voices to humanities classrooms and scholarship.'

- Pennsylvania Literary Journal

This collection offers more than a series of case studies illustrating what Bluemel (Monmouth Univ.) calls "intermodernism." It creates a new paradigm for the study of 20th-century literature and culture. Building on her own George Orwell and the Radical Eccentrics (CH, Sep'05, 43-0148), the editor brings together major scholars of 1930s-40s Britain under the rubric of intermodernism, defined in her compelling introductory essay as an aesthetic, institutional, and ideological category meant to delineate the space between modernism and postmodernism and to serve as a critical tool … The extensive bibliography and appendix ("Who Are the Intermodernists?") will facilitate further research, especially by including the locations of archival material … Highly recommended.

- J. M. Utell, Widener University

...a richly rewarding essay which will send the reader back to the original texts with new thoughts and new questions.

- Helen Southerland, The Journal of the Sylvia Townsend Warner Society