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Brian W. Shaffer is Professor of English and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for Faculty
Development at Rhodes College, USA. His previous publications include Understanding Kazuo
Ishiguro (1998), and Reading the Novel in English 19502000 (Wiley-Blackwell 2006). He is the
co-editor of Approaches to Teaching Conrads Heart of Darkness and The Secret Sharer (2002),
and Conversations with Kazuo Ishiguro (2008), and the editor of A Companion to the British and
Irish Novel 19452000 (Wiley-Blackwell 2005).

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Literature

The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Literature is a comprehensive, scholarly, authoritative, and
critical overview of literature and theory comprising individual titles covering key literary genres,
periods, and sub-disciplines. Available both in print and online, this groundbreaking resource
provides students, teachers, and researchers with cutting-edge scholarship in literature and
literary studies.
The Encyclopedia of Literary and Cultural Theory, General Editor: Michael Ryan
The Encyclopedia of the Novel, General Editor: Peter Melville Logan
The Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Fiction, General Editor: Brian W. Shaffer
The Encyclopedia of English Renaissance Literature, General Editors: Garrett A. Sullivan, Jr.
and Alan Stewart
The Encyclopedia of Romantic Literature, General Editor: Frederick Burwick
The Encyclopedia of the Gothic, General Editors: William Hughes, David Punter, and Andrew
The Encyclopedia of Postcolonial Studies, General Editors: Sangeeta Ray and Henry Schwarz

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The Encyclopedia of
Twentieth-Century Fiction
General editor: Brian W. Shaffer

Volume I

British and Irish Fiction
Volume II

American Fiction
Volume III

World Fiction

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

This edition first published 2011

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
The encyclopedia of twentieth-century fiction / general editor, Brian W. Shaffer.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-1-4051-9244-6 (hardcover : alk. paper)
1. English fiction20th centuryHistory and criticismEncyclopedias. 2. American fiction20th
centuryHistory and criticismEncyclopedias. 3. Commonwealth fiction (English)History and
criticismEncyclopedias. 4. Authors, English20th centuryBiographyDictionaries. 5. Authors, American20th
centuryBiographyDictionaries. 6. Authors, Commonwealth20th centuryBiographyDictionaries. I. Shaffer,
Brian W., 1960- II. ODonnell, Patrick, 1948- III. Ball, John Clement, 1960- IV. Title: Encyclopedia of
20th-century fiction.
PR881.E48 2011
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
Set in 9.5/11.5 Minion by Thomson Digital, Noida, India
01 2011

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

To Rachel, Hannah, and Ruth

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Volume I: Twentieth-Century British and Irish Fiction
Edited by Brian W. Shaffer
List of entries
Preface to The Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Fiction
Notes on contributors to volume I
Introduction to volume I
British and Irish Fiction: AZ


Volume II: Twentieth-Century American Fiction

Edited by Patrick ODonnell, David W. Madden, and Justus Nieland
List of entries
Notes on contributors to volume II
Introduction to volume II
American Fiction: AZ


Volume III: Twentieth-Century World Fiction

Edited by John Clement Ball
List of entries
Notes on contributors to volume III
Introduction to volume III
World Fiction: AZ

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


List of Entries
Volume I: Twentieth-Century British and Irish Fiction
Ackroyd, Peter 7
Aldington, Richard 8
Amis, Kingsley 10
Amis, Martin 13
Angry Young Man Fiction 15
Awards and Prizes 19
Bainbridge, Beryl 24
Ballard, J. G. 26
Banville, John 28
Barker, Pat 29
Barnes, Julian 31
Beckett, Samuel 34
Bennett, Arnold 39
Berger, John 40
Bolger, Dermot 42
Bowen, Elizabeth 44
Boyd, William 46
Brooke-Rose, Christine 47
Brookner, Anita 49
Byatt, A. S. 51
Campus Novel 54
Carswell, Catherine 57
Carter, Angela 58
Cary, Joyce 62
Censorship and the Novel 63
Chicklit and Ladlit 68
Childrens and Young Adult Fiction 71
Coe, Jonathan 75
Colonial Fiction 77
Compton-Burnett, Ivy 82
Conrad, Joseph 83
Crace, Jim 88
Critical Theory and the Novel 90
Doyle, Roddy 98
Drabble, Margaret 99
Durrell, Lawrence 102
Edwardian Fiction 106
Fantasy Fiction 113
Farrell, J. G. 117
Feminist Fiction 119
Figes, Eva 123
The Film Industry and Fiction 125

Firbank, Ronald 129

Fitzgerald, Penelope 130
Ford, Ford Madox 132
Forster, E. M. 136
Fowles, John 140
Frayn, Michael 143
Galloway, Janice 146
Galsworthy, John 147
Gibbon, Lewis Grassic 151
Globalization and the Novel 152
Golding, William 156
Graves, Robert 159
Gray, Alasdair 161
Green, Henry 162
Greene, Graham 165
Gunn, Neil M. 170
Hamilton, Patrick 172
Historical Fiction 174
Hollinghurst, Alan 178
Huxley, Aldous 180
Irish Fiction 184
Isherwood, Christopher 189
Ishiguro, Kazuo 192
James, P. D. 195
Jenkins, Robin 196
Jewish Fiction 198
Jhabvala, Ruth Prawer 202
Johnson, B. S. 203
Joyce, James 205
Kelman, James 211
Kennedy, A. L. 213
Kiely, Benedict 214
Kureishi, Hanif 217
Lawrence, D. H. 219
Lehmann, Rosamond 225
Lewis, Wyndham 227
Lively, Penelope 230
London in Fiction 232
Lowry, Malcolm 237
Macaulay, Rose 241
Manning, Olivia 242
Mantel, Hilary 244

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Maugham, W. Somerset 246

McCabe, Patrick 249
McEwan, Ian 250
McGahern, John 253
McLiam Wilson, Robert 254
Mo, Timothy 256
Modernist Fiction 257
Moore, Brian 262
Murdoch, Iris 264
Mystery/Detective/Crime Fiction 267
OBrien, Edna 272
OBrien, Flann 275
OConnor, Frank 278
OFlaherty, Liam 279
Orwell, George 281
Phillips, Caryl 287
Politics and the Novel 288
Postcolonial Fiction of the African
Diaspora 294
Postcolonial Fiction of the British South
Asian Diaspora 298
Postcolonial Fiction of the West Indian/
Caribbean Diaspora 303
Postmodernist Fiction 308
Powell, Anthony 313
Priestley, J. B. 314
The Publishing Industry: The Rise of the
Paperback 316
Pym, Barbara 320
Queer/Alternative Sexualities in
Fiction 322

Richardson, Dorothy 328

Science Fiction 332
Scott, Paul 337
Scottish Fiction 339
Self, Will 344
Sinclair, Iain 346
Sinclair, May 348
Smith, Zadie 350
Spark, Muriel 352
Storey, David 355
Swift, Graham 357
Thomas, D. M. 359
oibn, Colm 361
Trevor, William 364
Upward, Edward 367
Utopian and Dystopian Fiction
Warner, Alan 374
Waugh, Evelyn 376
Weldon, Fay 380
Wells, H. G. 382
Welsh Fiction in English 385
Welsh, Irvine 390
West, Rebecca 392
Wilson, Angus 394
Winterson, Jeanette 397
Wodehouse, P. G. 398
Woolf, Virginia 401
Working-Class Fiction 406
World War I in Fiction 412
World War II in Fiction 416

Volume II: Twentieth-Century American Fiction

Acker, Kathy 427
Agee, James 428
Alexie, Sherman 430
Algren, Nelson 432
Anaya, Rudolfo 434
Anderson, Sherwood 435
Auster, Paul 438
The Avant Garde Novel 439
Baker, Nicholson 445
Baldwin, James 446
Banks, Russell 449
Barnes, Djuna 451
Barth, John 454
Barthelme, Donald 458
Bellow, Saul 459
Berger, Thomas 464
Border Fictions 465

Boyle, Kay 469

Brautigan, Richard 471
Buck, Pearl S. 472
Bukowski, Charles 474
Burroughs, William 476
Butler, Octavia 479
Cain, James M. 481
Canfield, Dorothy 482
Carver, Raymond 484
Castillo, Ana 486
Cather, Willa 487
Chabon, Michael 491
Chandler, Raymond 493
Cheever, John 494
Chesnutt, Charles W. 496
Cisneros, Sandra 499
The City in Fiction 500

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



Coover, Robert 505

Dahlberg, Edward 508
Danticat, Edwidge 509
Davenport, Guy 511
Delany, Samuel 513
DeLillo, Don 514
Dick, Philip K. 517
Didion, Joan 519
Dixon, Stephen 520
Doctorow, E. L. 522
Dos Passos, John 524
Dreiser, Theodore 528
Du Bois, W. E. B. 531
Ducornet, Rikki 534
Dybek, Stuart 536
Elkin, Stanley 538
Ellison, Ralph 540
Ellroy, James 544
Erdrich, Louise 545
Ethnicity and Fiction 547
Eugenides, Jeffrey 552
Everett, Percival 553
Expatriate Fiction 555
Farrell, James T. 560
Faulkner, William 561
Fauset, Jessie Redmon 566
Ferber, Edna 568
Fitzgerald, F. Scott 569
Foer, Jonathan Safran 574
Ford, Richard 575
Frank, Waldo 576
Franzen, Jonathan 578
Gaddis, William 581
Gaines, Ernest J. 584
Gardner, John 585
Gass, William H. 587
Gender and the Novel 590
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins 594
Glasgow, Ellen 597
Gold, Mike 599
Gordon, Mary 600
H.D. (Hilda Doolittle) 603
Hagedorn, Jessica 604
Hammett, Dashiell 606
The Harlem Renaissance 607
Harrison, Jim 612
Hawkes, John 613
Heller, Joseph 615
Hemingway, Ernest 616
Herbst, Josephine 620
Highsmith, Patricia 622

Himes, Chester 624

Historiographic Metafiction 626
Howard, Maureen 630
Hughes, Langston 631
Hurston, Zora Neale 633
Irving, John 637
James, Henry 639
Johnson, Charles 643
Johnson, Denis 644
Jones, Edward P. 646
Jones, Gayl 647
Kennedy, William 650
Kerouac, Jack 651
Kingston, Maxine Hong 654
Kosinski, Jerzy 656
Larsen, Nella 658
Lee, Chang-rae 659
Le Guin, Ursula K. 661
Lethem, Jonathan 662
Lewis, Sinclair 664
The Little Magazines 666
London, Jack 671
Mailer, Norman 676
Major, Clarence 680
Malamud, Bernard 681
Markson, David 684
Marshall, Paule 686
Maso, Carole 688
Mathews, Harry 689
Maupin, Armistead 691
McCarthy, Cormac 692
McCarthy, Mary 695
McCullers, Carson 697
McElroy, Joseph 698
McKay, Claude 700
Miller, Henry 702
Millhauser, Steven 705
Minimalist/Maximalist Fiction 706
Modern Fiction in Hollywood 710
Modernist Fiction 715
Momaday, N. Scott 719
Moore, Lorrie 721
Morris, Wright 722
Morrison, Toni 724
Nabokov, Vladimir 729
Naturalist Fiction 733
Naylor, Gloria 738
Noir Fiction 739
Norris, Frank 743
The Novel and War 745
Oates, Joyce Carol 750

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.




OConnor, Flannery 753

Olsen, Tillie 756
Ortiz, Simon J. 757
Ozick, Cynthia 759
Paley, Grace 761
Parker, Dorothy 762
Percy, Walker 764
Petry, Ann 765
Phillips, Jayne Anne 767
Piercy, Marge 768
Porter, Katherine Anne 770
Postmodernist Fiction 773
Powell, Dawn 777
Powers, Richard 779
Price, Reynolds 780
Proulx, Annie 782
Purdy, James 783
Pynchon, Thomas 785
Queer Modernism 790
Rand, Ayn 795
Rechy, John 796
Reed, Ishmael 798
The Road Novel 799
Robinson, Marilynne 804
Roth, Henry 805
Roth, Philip 808
Russ, Joanna 812
Salinger, J. D. 815
Schuyler, George S. 816
Scott, Joanna 818
Selby, Hubert, Jr. 819
Silko, Leslie Marmon 821
Sinclair, Upton 823
Singer, Isaac Bashevis 824
Smiley, Jane 826
Social-Realist Fiction 827
Sontag, Susan 832
Sorrentino, Gilbert 833
The Southern Novel 835
Speculative Fiction 840

Spiegelman, Art 844

Stegner, Wallace 846
Stein, Gertrude 847
Steinbeck, John 852
Stephenson, Neal 855
Stone, Robert 856
Styron, William 858
Tan, Amy 862
Television and Fiction 863
Thompson, Jim 868
Toomer, Jean 869
Traven, B. 872
Tyler, Anne 873
Updike, John 876
Utopian and Dystopian Fiction 879
Van Vechten, Carl 884
Vidal, Gore 885
Viramontes, Helena Mara 887
Vizenor, Gerald 888
Vollmann, William T. 890
Vonnegut, Kurt 892
Walker, Alice 894
Wallace, David Foster 895
Warren, Robert Penn 897
Welch, James 899
Welty, Eudora Alice 900
West, Nathanael 903
West, Paul 906
Wharton, Edith 908
White, Edmund 912
Whitehead, Colson 913
Wideman, John Edgar 915
Wilder, Thornton 916
Wolfe, Thomas 918
Wolfe, Tom 921
WPA and Popular Front Fiction 922
Wright, Richard 927
Wright, Stephen 930
Yezierska, Anzia 933
Young, Marguerite 935

Volume III: Twentieth-Century World Fiction

Abrahams, Peter 942
Achebe, Chinua 943
Aidoo, Ama Ata 948
Ali, Ahmed 949
Amadi, Elechi 950
Anand, Mulk Raj 952
Anderson, Jessica 955
Anthony, Michael 956

Antoni, Robert 958

Arasanayagam, Jean 959
Armah, Ayi Kwei 961
Aslam, Nadeem 963
Astley, Thea 964
Atwood, Margaret 965
Australian Fiction 970
Awards and Prizes 973

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Awoonor, Kofi 977

Bail, Murray 980
Baratham, Gopal 981
Bissoondath, Neil 983
Black British Fiction 985
Boyd, Martin 986
Brand, Dionne 988
Brink, Andre 989
Brodber, Erna 991
Callaghan, Morley 995
Canadian Fiction 996
Carey, Peter 1000
Censorship and Fiction 1002
Chandra, Vikram 1007
Chaudhuri, Amit 1008
Childrens and Young Adult Fiction 1010
The City in Fiction 1014
Clarke, Austin 1017
Cliff, Michelle 1020
Coetzee, J. M. 1022
Collins, Merle 1026
Coupland, Douglas 1027
Critical Theory and Fiction 1029
Dabydeen, David 1034
Dangarembga, Tsitsi 1035
Davies, Robertson 1037
de Lisser, Herbert G. 1040
Desai, Anita 1041
Desani, G. V. 1044
Detective/Crime Fiction 1046
Duggan, Maurice 1048
Duncan, Sara Jeannette 1050
East African Fiction 1052
East Asian Fiction 1055
Ekwensi, Cyprian 1057
Emecheta, Buchi 1058
English Studies, the Academy,
and Fiction 1061
Fantasy, Science Fiction, and
Speculative Fiction 1066
Farah, Nuruddin 1070
Feminism and Fiction 1071
Fernando, Lloyd 1074
Fictional Responses to Canonical
English Narratives 1076
Film/Television Adaptation and Fiction 1081
Findley, Timothy 1085
Frame, Janet 1088
Franklin, Miles 1092
Gallant, Mavis 1094
Gee, Maurice 1097

Ghose, Zulfikar 1099

Ghosh, Amitav 1100
Gibson, William 1103
Gilroy, Beryl 1105
Gooneratne, Yasmine 1107
Goonewardene, James 1108
Gordimer, Nadine 1110
Grace, Patricia 1114
Grenville, Kate 1115
Grove, Frederick Philip 1117
Gunesekera, Romesh 1118
Harris, Wilson 1121
Head, Bessie 1124
Heath, Roy 1126
Herbert, Xavier 1127
Historical Fiction 1129
Hodgins, Jack 1134
Hosain, Attia 1135
Hospital, Janette Turner 1137
Hulme, Keri 1138
Humor and Satire 1140
Ihimaera, Witi 1145
Indian Fiction 1146
Indigenous Fiction 1149
James, C. L. R. 1154
Jin, Ha 1155
Joaquin, Nick 1157
Johnston, Wayne 1158
Jolley, Elizabeth 1160
Jose, F. Sionil 1163
Joshi, Arun 1164
Keneally, Thomas 1167
Kincaid, Jamaica 1170
King, Thomas 1173
Kogawa, Joy 1174
Kroetsch, Robert 1176
La Guma, Alex 1180
Lamming, George 1181
Laurence, Margaret 1183
Leacock, Stephen 1186
Lessing, Doris 1187
Lim, Catherine 1192
Lim, Suchen Christine 1194
Lovelace, Earl 1196
MacLennan, Hugh 1198
MacLeod, Alistair 1200
Mais, Roger 1201
Malgonkar, Manohar 1202
Malouf, David 1204
Maniam, K. S. 1207
Mansfield, Katherine 1209

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.




Maracle, Lee 1212

Marechera, Dambudzo 1213
Markandaya, Kamala 1215
Marlatt, Daphne 1218
Melville, Pauline 1219
Migration, Diaspora, and Exile
in Fiction 1221
Miller, Alex 1225
Min, Anchee 1227
Mistry, Rohinton 1229
Mitchell, W. O. 1231
Mittelholzer, Edgar 1233
Montgomery, L. M. 1235
Moorhouse, Frank 1238
Mphalele, Eskia 1239
Mudrooroo 1241
Mukherjee, Bharati 1244
Munro, Alice 1247
Naipaul, V. S. 1252
Narayan, R. K. 1256
New Zealand Fiction 1260
ug~ wa Thiongo 1262
Nkosi, Lewis 1266
Nwapa, Flora 1267
Okara, Gabriel 1270
Okri, Ben 1271
Ondaatje, Michael 1273
Pakistani Fiction 1277
Paton, Alan 1279
Politics/Activism and Fiction 1280
Postcolonialism and Fiction 1284
Prichard, Katharine Susannah 1289
The Publishing Industry and Fiction 1291
Queer/Alternative Sexualities in Fiction 1296
Rao, Raja 1300
Realism/Magic Realism 1303
Reid, V. S. 1305
Rhys, Jean 1307
Richards, David Adams 1310
Richardson, Henry Handel 1311
Richler, Mordecai 1313

Riley, Joan 1316

Ross, Sinclair 1317
Roy, Arundhati 1318
Rushdie, Salman 1320
Sahgal, Nayantara 1325
Salkey, Andrew 1326
Sarachchandra, Ediriwira 1328
Sargeson, Frank 1329
Saro-Wiwa, Ken 1331
Scott, Kim 1333
Sealy, I. Allan 1334
Selvon, Sam 1336
Senior, Olive 1338
Seth, Vikram 1340
Shadbolt, Maurice 1342
Shields, Carol 1343
Sidhwa, Bapsi 1345
Singh, Khushwant 1348
South Pacific Fiction 1349
Southeast Asian Fiction 1351
Southern African Fiction 1353
Soyinka, Wole 1356
Sri Lankan Fiction 1360
Stead, Christina 1361
Stow, Randolph 1363
Tharoor, Shashi 1365
Tlali, Miriam 1366
Tutuola, Amos 1368
Urquhart, Jane 1370
Vanderhaeghe, Guy 1373
Vassanji, M. G. 1374
Vera, Yvonne 1376
Wendt, Albert 1378
West African Fiction 1379
West Indian Fiction 1382
White, Patrick 1385
Wiebe, Rudy 1390
Wilson, Ethel 1391
Winton, Tim 1393
Wiseman, Adele 1396
Zameenzad, Adam 1398

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Preface to The Encyclopedia of

Twentieth-Century Fiction
Salman Rushdie, that most international of novelists, has famously remarked that the novel has never been
a more international form.1 This is particularly true of fiction written in the
English language within the last several
decades. Feroza Jussawalla and Reed Way
Dasenbrock elaborate upon this point:
The single most important development
in literature written in English over the
past century has been its increasingly
international indeed, global nature.
Once the language of a few million people
on a small island on the edge of Europe,
English is now spoken and written on
every continent and is an important language inside at least one-quarter of the
worlds one hundred sixty countries.
As English has become an important
international language, it has also become
an important international literary

It is no mystery why this shift occurred.

World War II helped accelerate the
break-up of the British Empire (and further rise of American prestige), and
Britains abortive intervention in the
Suez crisis of 1956 marked the decline of
British imperial standing. If London
dominated 25 percent of the earths surface at the turn of the nineteenth century,
with control of nearly four million square
miles, this dominance, in the three decades following World War II, would
shrink to a tiny fraction of that figure.
As one observer remarked, Britains
major historical experience in the
twentieth century, other than the two
World Wars, was the final flourishing,

later decline and eventual loss of the

Britains political empire in Africa,
South Asia, and the West Indies may be
gone, but its linguistic empire is stronger than ever. As Jussawalla & Dasenbrock
observe, The Sun may now have set on
the British empire, but that empire, in
establishing English as a language of trade,
government, and education in that sizable
part of the world ruled by the British,
helped create what may be a more enduring empire of the English language.4
Rushdie casts this linguistic dominance
in yet more favorable terms. While it is
true that English is the global language as
a result of the physical colonization of a
quarter of the globe by the British, Rushdie eschews viewing this language as an
unwanted imposition of formerly colonized peoples, instead regarding it as a
gift of the British colonizers, a legacy that
in any case ceased to be the sole possession of the English some time ago.5
Rushdies point, coupled with the reality of a globalized world in which
English-language authors on different
continents so readily read and respond
to each others works, provides the rationale for a major reference text such as The
Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Fiction, which brings together the major
English-language fiction, figures, debates, rubrics, and movements of the
period from around the world. Novelists
and short story writers are currently
transcending geographical boundaries in
their work; research tools are therefore
called for which transcend these

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



same boundaries. The Encyclopedia of

Twentieth- Century Fiction, with its total
of more than 550 entries, accomplishes
this very goal. The work provides a convenient and authoritative point of departure for undergraduate and graduate
student research, teachers and scholars
preparing course syllabi, and general
readers in search of reliable, up-to-date
Indeed, The Encyclopedia of TwentiethCentury Fiction, which in separate volumes covers British and Irish fiction; US
fiction; and world fiction in English
(from Africa, Australia/New Zealand,
Canada, South Asia, the West Indies, and
East and Southeast Asia) is the most
comprehensive single-resource mapping
of this vast, rich, spectacularly heterogeneous field yet undertaken. The three
volumes treat not only key authors and
texts from the period but also crucial
aesthetic and cultural, socioeconomic
and political, and national and supranational contexts out of which the novels,
novellas, and short fictions emerged. Put
simply, The Encyclopedia of TwentiethCentury Fiction aims to elucidate the
most important texts and contexts of
twentieth-century fiction novels, novellas, and short fiction in English. It is
also the most technologically sophisticated work of its kind in that it is being
published both in print and in electronic
formats, the latter of which allows for
advanced cross-referencing between and
among entries and for the periodic updating of entries.
A word on the division of twentiethcentury fiction in English into three volumes is merited. The authors have been
divided up across the volumes of the
encyclopedia, with very few exceptions,
based on their place of geographical origin rather than on their national and
ethnic affiliations, cultural influences, or

place(s) of residence (as practicing writers of fiction). Without this guiding

principle of organization, it would have
been difficult to decide where to place the
large number of authors of the last century who traversed standard cultural,
geographic, and/or ethnic boundaries
(Kazuo Ishiguro, Jean Rhys, Henry
James, V. S. Naipaul, Malcolm Lowry,
and Salman Rushdie, for example, might
have fitted in either of two volumes). The
three volumes of the encyclopedia are
nevertheless designed to speak to each
other and be consulted together; the
boundaries between them as they are
between the various authors and movements covered within are porous rather
than absolute. In this spirit, entries in all
three volumes are cross-referenced, as
appropriate, to entries both within their
own volume and in the other two
volumes of the encyclopedia. Crossreferenced entries are designated as either
(BIF), (AF), or (WF) corresponding to
British and Irish Fiction, American Fiction, or World Fiction in order to make
it instantly clear to readers in which
volume the listed entry can be found.
As far as the content of the volumes
entries are concerned, those entries devoted to individual authors address the
authors life, literary milieu, influences,
key prose works, and reception. These
entries conclude with a bibliography of
major primary texts, critical works, and,
where appropriate, film and video adaptations of the fictions in question. Entries
on broad topics movements, debates,
rubrics, and the like by necessity must
be even more surgical in focus. They are
nevertheless intended to provide a substantial, reliable, engaging overview of the
topic in question and to point the reader
in the direction of major primary works
and recommended secondary reading.
Many of these broader subject entries

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


also implicitly advance an argument

about the topic in question, although
never at the expense of coverage and
balance. All of the entries strive to communicate the richness and depth of their
subjects as fully and clearly as possible
given the necessary constraints of
Contributors to these volumes come
from both sides of the Atlantic and be-


yond and have been chosen in accordance

with their expertise. It is logical that an
encyclopedia with a genuinely global
scope would attract a global scholarly
authorship. Collectively, the contributors
demonstrate the vitality and diversity of
the critical and contextual lenses through
which the field of twentieth-century fiction in English is being explored and
mapped today.

1 Salman Rushdie, Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism 19811991 (London: Granta, 1991), p. 20.
2 Feroza Jussawalla & Reed Way Dasenbrock, Introduction, in Interviews with Writers of the Post-Colonial
World (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1992), p. 3.
3 Randall Stevenson, A Readers Guide to the Twentieth-Century Novel in Britain (Lexington: University
Press of Kentucky, 1993), p. 126.
4 Jussawalla & Dasenbrock, Introduction, p. 4.
5 Rushdie, Imaginary Homelands, pp. 64, 70.

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

A project of this magnitude could not possibly
have come to fruition without the input and
efforts of many people over a number of years.
My debts are as great as they are numerous. At
Wiley-Blackwell, Emma Bennett and Isobel
Bainton nurtured this project from its earliest
through its final stages. Without their experience, wisdom, and patience these volumes
would not have materialized. Four anonymous readers for Wiley-Blackwell helped me
hone the conception and design of these
volumes and refine the entries list. Special
thanks are also due the project manager of the
Encyclopedia, Amy Clark, whose intelligence,
professionalism, and technical savvy kept
things humming along through thick and
thin; and Barbara Duke, Janey Fisher, Jacqueline Harvey, and other members of the production and editorial teams for their invaluable input. My fellow volume editors John
Ball, Patrick ODonnell, David Madden, and
Justus Nieland turned what might have been

a tedious editorial process into a welcome

voyage of intellectual discovery: I learned
much from them about the fiction we all prize
during the preparation of these volumes. At
Rhodes College, my capable research assistant,
Molly Ryan, provided much appreciated organizational and editorial assistance. I am
grateful as well to many faculty colleagues, in
particular Jennifer Brady, for their friendship
and encouragement during my work on this
project, and to the Dean of the Faculty, Michael Drompp, for his support. Members of
my family my wife Rachel, daughters Hannah and Ruth, and mother Dorothy make
everything possible and worthwhile, and so I
wish to thank them, as always, for their inspiration and example. Finally, a word of thanks
to my brother-in-law and fellow malt advocate
David for talking books with me during the
years in which this project was taking shape.

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Brian W. Shaffer

The Encyclopedia of
Twentieth-Century Fiction
General editor: Brian W. Shaffer

Volume I

British and Irish Fiction
Volume editor:
Brian W. Shaffer

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Notes on Contributors to Volume I

Fiona Becket is a senior lecturer at the University of Leeds. She has written widely on the
work of D. H. Lawrence and her publications
include a study of the language of his major
novels and his books on the unconscious,
D. H. Lawrence: The Thinker as Poet (1997),
as well as a critical guide to D. H. Lawrence
(2002). Other publications include studies of
twentieth-century and contemporary fiction,
poetry, and drama.
Nick Bentley lectures in English literature at
Keele University. His main research interests
are in post-1945 British literature and literary
and cultural theory, and especially in intersections of postmodernism, postcolonialism,
and contemporary fiction and culture. He is
author of Contemporary British Fiction (2008)
and Radical Fictions: The English Novel in the
1950s (2007), and editor of British Fiction of
the 1990s (2005). He has also published
essays on Julian Barnes, Doris Lessing, Colin
MacInnes, Zadie Smith, Sam Selvon, Alan
Sillitoe, and the representations of youth in
British New Left writing. He is currently
working on a book on Martin Amis.
Christine Berberich is senior lecturer in English literature at the University of Portsmouth. She is the author of The Image of the
English Gentleman: Englishness and Nostalgia
(2007), and has published extensively on
Englishness and national identity, as well as
on George Orwell, Evelyn Waugh, Anthony
Powell, Kazuo Ishiguro, Julian Barnes, and W.
G. Sebald.
Stephen Bernstein is professor of English at
the University of MichiganFlint. His publications include the book Alasdair Gray
(1999), and articles and book chapters on
Gray, James Kelman, Samuel Beckett, Don
DeLillo, and a variety of other writers.

Nicholas Birns is the author of Understanding Anthony Powell (2004) and coeditor of A
Companion to Australian Literature Since 1900
(2007). He teaches literature at Eugene Lang
College, The New School for Liberal Arts.
Howard J. Booth teaches English Literature at
the University of Manchester. He is the author
of articles on male homosexuality in John
Addington Symonds, E. M. Forster, Compton
Mackenzie, and D. H. Lawrence. The coeditor
of Modernism and Empire (2000), he has
edited New D. H. Lawrence (2009) and The
Cambridge Companion to Rudyard Kipling
Martine Watson Brownley is Goodrich C.
White Professor of English and Director of
the Bill and Carol Fox Center for Humanistic
Inquiry at Emory University, where she works
in eighteenth-century English literature and
womens studies. Her eighteenth-century
publications include Clarendon and the
Rhetoric of Historical Form, an edition of
Clarendons Dialogues, and numerous articles.
In the field of womens studies, in addition to
her book Deferrals of Domain: Contemporary
Women Novelists and the State, she has
coedited two essay collections and published
articles on women writers ranging from Aphra
Behn to Christina Rossetti.
Bradley W. Buchanan is associate professor
of English at California State University, Sacramento. His work has appeared in Canadian Literature, Twentieth Century Literature,
the Journal of Modern Literature, the Seattle
Review, and Fulcrum. He also edits the Tule
Review and is the founder of Roan Press.
Gerard Carruthers is reader and head of the
Department of Scottish Literature at the University of Glasgow. His publications include
Robert Burns (2006), (as editor) The Devil to

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



Stage: Five Plays by James Bridie (2007), and

(as coeditor) Beyond Scotland: New Contexts
for Twentieth Century Scottish Literature
(2004). He has recently been appointed general editor of the new Oxford University Press
multivolume edition of the works of Robert
Ian Carter is professor of sociology at the
University of Auckland, New Zealand. Ruthlessly exploiting university teachers dwindling academic freedom, he has spent 40 years
indulging personal interests by writing books
about the eclipse of peasant agriculture in
Victorian and Edwardian northeast Scotland;
British university fiction; railways, culture,
and amateur enthusiasm in Britain; and New
Zealands first director of broadcasting.
Deborah Cartmell is a reader in English and
director of the Centre for Adaptations at De
Montfort University. She is editor of Shakespeare and Adaptation and has published in
Shakespeare on screen and adaptations. She is
currently writing a monograph of Pride and
Prejudice on Screen for the Methuen Screen
Adaptations Series for which she is a general
Winnie Chan teaches colonial and postcolonial Anglophone literatures at Virginia Commonwealth University, where she recently
completed her second book, Imperial Gastronomy, which examines relationships among
eating, empire, and literary representation.
Peter Childs is professor of modern English
literature and dean of research at the University of Gloucestershire where he teaches twentieth-century and postcolonial literature. He
has published widely in the areas of modern
writing, British culture, and critical theory,
specializing in the English novel post-1900.
Michael Copp is an independent scholar and
former tutor at the Institute of Continuing
Education, Cambridge University. He is the
author/editor of Cambridge Poets of the Great
War: An Anthology (2001), An Imagist at War:
The Complete War Poems of Richard Aldington
(2002), and The Fourth Imagist: Selected
Poems of F. S. Flint (2007). He has also
contributed the entry on F. S. Flint for The

Literary Encyclopedia. He is currently editing

the letters of Richard Aldington and F. S.
Michael Cotsell is the author of Barbara Pym
(1989) and of books on Charles Dickens and
American drama. He was associate editor of
the Dickens Companions and general editor
of the series English Literature and the Wider
World. He teaches at the University of
Ralph Crane is professor of English and
head of the School of English, Journalism
and European Languages at the University
of Tasmania. He has published widely
in the areas of Indian and Anglo-Indian
literatures. His recent books include scholarly editions of four Raj novels Charles
Pearces Love Beseiged, Maud Divers Lilamani, Margaret Wilsons Daughters of
India, and A. E. W. Masons The Broken
Road all published by Oxford University
Press India.
Sara Crangle is a lecturer at the University of
Sussex, and a former research fellow of
Queens College, Cambridge. She has published work on Hardy, Woolf, and Christine
Brooke-Rose, among others. She is currently
completing a book entitled Prosaic Desires:
Modernist Knowing, Boredom, Laughter, and
Anticipation, which focuses on intersections
between high modernist writers and philosophical thought. She is also coediting an
essay collection on bathos.
Alice Crawford wrote her PhD thesis on Rose
Macaulay at the University of Glasgow, and
her book, Paradise Pursued: The Novels of Rose
Macaulay was published in 1995. She is academic liaison librarian for arts and divinity at
the University of St. Andrews.
Paul Crosthwaite is lecturer in English literature at Cardiff University. He has published on topics including the postmodernist
novel, fictions of globalization, trauma theory, and the significance of speed and acceleration in contemporary culture. His book,
Trauma, Postmodernism, and the Aftermath
of World War II, is published by Palgrave

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Alison Cullingford is special collections librarian at the University of Bradford, home to

the archives of J. B. Priestley, Jacquetta
Hawkes, and other collections on peace,
Yorkshire history, and archaeology.
Elke DHoker is assistant professor at the
Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. She
has written a critical study on the works of John
Banville (2004) and has published widely in the
field of Irish and British fiction. Her articles have
appeared in Contemporary Literature, Modern
Fiction Studies, Critique, Journal of the Short
Story in English, and Irish University Review.
She is currently writing a book on the short story
by Irish women writers.
Alistair Davies teaches English literature at
the University of Sussex. He has coedited,
with Alan Sinfield, British Culture of the Postwar: An Introduction to Literature and Society
19451999 (2000).
Damon Marcel Decoste is associate professor
of English at the University of Regina, where
he teaches twentieth-century British and
American literature. He has published essays
on Ford Madox Ford, Richard Wright, Evelyn
Waugh, Graham Greene, Malcolm Lowry,
and Graham Swift. Author of The Literary
Response to World War II, in Blackwells
Companion to the British and Irish Novel,
19452000, DeCoste has recently completed
a book-length manuscript on British wartime
fiction and is currently at work on a detailed
study of Waughs postwar writings.
Brian Diemert is a full professor of English at
Brescia University College in London, Ontario. He is the author of Graham Greenes
Thrillers and the 1930s (1996) and of several
articles. He specializes in modern British and
American literature, especially the 190050
period, and is interested in detective fiction
and popular studies.
Paul Edwards is professor of English and
history of art at Bath Spa University. Besides
writing extensively on Wyndham Lewis, he
has published articles on Tom Stoppard, Ian
McEwan, and World War I fiction and literary
memoirs, and has contributed to the Cambridge History of Twentieth Century English


Literature. He co-curated the National Portrait Gallerys exhibition, Wyndham Lewis

Portraits, in 2008 and wrote the accompanying catalogue.
John Eustace is an associate professor in
English at Acadia University in Wolfville,
Nova Scotia, where he teaches postcolonial
literature and theory. He has published articles on Joyce Cary, Peter Cary, Margaret
Lawrence, Rohinton Mistry, and Australian
Chris Ferns is a professor of English at Mount
Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Nova
Scotia. He is the author of Aldous Huxley:
Novelist (1980) and Narrating Utopia (1999),
as well as numerous articles on utopian literature and the historical novel.
Lisa Fluet is an assistant professor of English
at Boston College, specializing in twentiethcentury literatures in English. She is currently
working on a manuscript, Brilliant Career:
Modernism, Class and Knowledge-Work in
the Twentieth Century, and has published
articles in Novel, Twentieth-Century Literature, and the collection Bad Modernisms
Dennis A. Foster has published two books
with Cambridge University Press: Confession
and Complicity in Narrative (1987) and Sublime Enjoyment: On the Perverse Motive in
American Literature (1997). In addition he
has edited a collection of essays with Molly
 zek, Perversion and
Rothenberg and Slavoj Zi
the Social Relation (2003), and a dozen essays
on literary theory and contemporary fiction.
He is currently the D. D. Frensley Professor of
English at Southern Methodist University.
Oona Frawley lectures in English at the
National University of Ireland, Maynooth,
and has held positions at Trinity College
Dublin and Queens University Belfast. She
is the author of Irish Pastoral: Nostalgia in
Twentieth Century Irish Literature (2005), and
the editor of A New and Complex Sensation:
Essays on Joyces Dubliners (2004), New
Dubliners (2005), and Selected Essays of Nuala
N Dhomhnaill (2005). She is currently
editing a four-volume project for Syracuse

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



University Press, Irish Cultural Memory

(201011) and completing a book on Edmund Spenser, Spensers Trace.
Ariela Freedman is an associate professor at
the Liberal Arts College, Concordia University, Montreal. Her research interests include
memory studies, World War I, James Joyce,
and postcolonialism. She has published
articles in numerous journals, including
Modernism/Modernity and Journal of Modern Literature, and her book Death, Men, and
Modernism appeared in 2003.
Hedda Friberg-Harnesk is associate professor of English at Mid Sweden University,
osand. She is coeditor of Recovering
Memory: Irish Representations of Past and
Present (2007). She has contributed to ReMapping Exile (2005) and to publications
such as Nordic Irish Studies (NIS) and, with
pieces on Banville, to the Irish University
Review and An Sionnach, in 2006 and 2005,
respectively. A monograph, tentatively entitled The Fleetingly Real: Simulation in John
Banvilles Work 19972007, is in the pipeline
and she is coeditor of a forthcoming collection on cross-culturality in Irish writing.
James Gifford is assistant professor of English
and Director of the University Core at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Vancouver. He
edited critical editions of Lawrence Durrells
first novels, Pied Piper of Lovers and Panic
Spring, and has published widely on twentieth-century British and American literature.
He is equally active in opera and chamber
music performance.
David Goldie is a senior lecturer in the Department of English Studies at the University
of Strathclyde. He is the author of A Critical
Difference: T. S. Eliot and John Middleton
Murray in English Literary Criticism,
19191928 (1998); and, with Gerard Carruthers and Alastair Renfrew, the editor of
Beyond Scotland: New Contexts for TwentiethCentury Scottish Literature (2004) and of
the forthcoming Scotland in the NineteenthCentury World.
Sebastian Groes is lecturer in English literature at Roehampton University, London. He

specializes in modern and contemporary culture and literature, and representations of

cities. He is the author of The Making of
London (2011), the editor of Ian McEwan
(2009), and the coeditor of Kazuo Ishiguro
(2009), Julian Barnes (2009), and Kazuo
Ishiguro: Critical Visions of the Novel (2010).
Dave Gunning lectures in English literature at
the University of Birmingham. He is
the author of the forthcoming books Race
and Antiracism in Black British and British
Asian Literature (Liverpool University Press)
and Postcolonial Literature (Edinburgh University Press).
Scott Hames lectures on Scottish literature at
the University of Stirling. He is the editor of
the Edinburgh Companion to James Kelman
(2010) and has published articles on Kelman,
William McIlvanney, Don Paterson, and
Robert Louis Stevenson. He coedits the International Journal of Scottish Literature.
Tracy Hargreaves is a senior lecturer in the
School of English, University of Leeds where
she teaches twentieth Literature. She has written on Donna Tartts The Secret History
and published a critical study, Androgyny in
Modern Literature (2004). She is currently
researching the twentieth English family
saga and has also published on Woolf and
Graeme Harper is professor of creative writing and director of the National Institute for
Excellence in the Creative Industries at Bangor University, UK. Chair of the International
Centre for Creative Writing Research
(ICCWR), he is also editor-in-chief of New
Writing: The International Journal for the
Practice and Theory of Creative Writing. His
latest works are the novel Moon Dance (2008),
published under his pseudonym, Brooke
Biaz, and The Creative Writing Guidebook
Sara Haslam is lecturer in English at the Open
University. She is the author of Fragmenting
Modernism: Ford Madox Ford, the Novel and
the Great War (2002), and editor of Fords
England and the English (2003), as well as Ford
Madox Ford and the City (2005), the fourth

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


volume of International Ford Madox Ford

Studies. She has published a number of articles on Ford, Henry James, and modernism.
Current projects include a book, Victims of
Time and Train: From Victorian Invention to
Modernist Novel and an essay for the forthcoming Edinburgh Companion to TwentiethCentury English and American War Literature.
Janis Haswell is a professor of English at
Texas A&M UniversityCorpus Christi,
where she teaches British literature and composition and directs the honors program. She
has published monographs on W. B. Yeats
and Paul Scott, along with numerous articles
on teaching literature and composition.
M. Hunter Hayes is an assistant professor at
Texas A&M UniversityCommerce, where he
specializes in contemporary and twentiethcentury British literature. The author of
Understanding Will Self (2007), he has also
published articles on Martin Amis, Ian McEwan, and other British writers. He is currently
working on a book about Elmore Leonard, the
American crime novelist.
Elaine Yee Lin Ho has published articles on
Renaissance literature, Anglophone world literatures, and Hong Kong literature and culture in journals including SEL, Literature and
History, Journal of Commonwealth Literature,
Wasafiri, Ariel, PMLA, and contributed chapters to edited collections of essays by Rodopi,
University of Minnesota Press, and Hong
Kong University Press. Besides the monograph on Timothy Mo, she is author of Anita
Desai (2006), and has just finished editing a
collection of essays China Abroad: Travels,
Subjects, Spaces, to be published by Hong
Kong University Press.
Philip Holden is associate professor in the
Department of English Language and Literature, National University of Singapore. He is
the author of several books and many articles
on colonial and postcolonial fiction. His most
recent book is Autobiography and Decolonization: Modernity, Masculinity, and the NationState (2008).
Chris Hopkins is professor of English studies
at Sheffield Hallam University, and head of


the Humanities Research Centre there. He has

published Thinking about Texts: An Introduction to English Studies (2001, rev. edn. 2009)
and English Fiction of the 1930s: Language,
Genre and History (2006), and contributed
chapters to a number of books, including,
most recently, Critical Essays on Sylvia Townsend Warner, English Novelist 18931978
(2006) and New Versions of Pastoral (2009).
Robert Ellis Hosmer, Jr. has been a member
of the English faculty at Smith College since
1989. He teaches courses on Muriel Spark,
Virginia Woolf, and contemporary British
women writers. His work has been published
in the Paris Review, the Chicago Tribune, and
London Magazine. His most recent book,
Shall We Say I had Fun with My Imagination: Essays in Honor of Muriel Spark, is
due to be published in 2010.
Alex Houen is a university lecturer in the
Faculty of English, University of Cambridge.
He has published numerous articles on modern political literature, critical theory, and
avant-gardism, and is the author of Terrorism
and Modern Literature: From Joseph Conrad to
Ciaran Carson (2002).
William Hutchings is a professor of English
at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
He is the author of The Plays of David Storey: A
Thematic Study (1988) and the editor of
David Storey: A Casebook (1992). His most
recent book, Samuel Becketts Waiting for
Godot: A Reference Guide was published by
Praeger in 2005.
Simon J. James is senior lecturer in Victorian
literature at Durham University. He is the
author of Unsettled Accounts: Money and
Narrative Form in the Novels of George Gissing
(2003) and of articles on Charles Dickens and
H. G. Wells. He has edited Gissings Charles
Dickens: A Critical Study (2004) and four H.
G. Wells novels for Penguin Classics.
Rosemary Erickson Johnsen is associate professor of English at Governors State University. She publishes in the areas of twentiethcentury British and Irish literature, crime
fiction, and publishing history. Her book,
Contemporary Feminist Historical Crime

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



Fiction, was published in 2006. She is currently working on a book project on non-modernist British literature between the wars,
supported by research in the Mass Observation Archive (Sussex) and the Penguin
Archive (Bristol).
William A. Johnsen is professor of English at
Michigan State University and editor of Contagion and the Michigan State University
Press series Studies in Violence, Mimesis, and
Culture. Recent publications include Violence
and Modernism. Ibsen, Joyce, and Woolf
(2003); To My Readers in America: Conrads
1914 Preface to The Nigger of the Narcissus,
Conradiana (2003); Freres amis, Not Enemies: Serres between Prigogine and Girard,
in N. Abbas (ed.), Mapping Michel Serres
(2005); The Religious Turn: Rene Girard,
in English Language Notes (2006).
Richard A. Kaye is associate professor of
English at Hunter College and the Graduate
Center of the City University of New York. He
is the author of The Flirts Tragedy: Desire
without End in Victorian and Edwardian
Fiction (1992).
Aaron Kelly is a lecturer at the University of
Edinburgh. He is author of The Thriller and
Northern Ireland Since 1969 (2005), Irvine
Welsh (2005), Twentieth-Century Irish Literature (2008), and James Kelman: Politics and
Aesthetics (2010). He is guest editor of a
special issue of the Irish Review entitled
Contemporary Northern Irish Culture
(2009) and coeditor, with Alan Gillis, of
Critical Ireland (2001) and, with Nicholas
Allen, of Cities of Belfast (2003).
Gavin Keulks is professor of English and
director of the honors program at Western
Oregon University, where he specializes in
contemporary British and Irish literature. His
scholarly books include the monograph Father
and Son: Kingsley Amis, Martin Amis, and
the British Novel Since 1950 and the edited
collection Martin Amis: Postmodernism and
Beyond. He has also published essays on
Salman Rushdie, Jeanette Winterson, and
other twentieth-century writers, and is the
webmaster for the Martin Amis Web.

Stephen Knight is distinguished research

professor at Cardiff University. He has published widely on medieval and modern literature, notably on Robin Hood and on crime
fiction. In 2004 he published the first full
study of Welsh fiction in English, One Hundred Years of Fiction, initiating the Writing
Wales in English series of the University of
Wales Press.
Kurt Koenigsberger is associate professor of
English and director of writing programs at
Case Western Reserve University, where he
teaches courses in twentieth-century British
literature, postcolonial literatures, and research methods. He has written a book-length
study titled The Novel and the Menagerie:
Totality, Englishness, and Empire (2007) and
edited a special issue of Genre: Forms of
Discourse and Culture on Globalization and
the Image. He has published essays and
articles on Arnold Bennett, Virginia Woolf,
Henry James, and William Hazlitt. From 2001
to 2008 he served as associate director of the
Society for Critical Exchange.
Brooke Lenz is an assistant professor of English at Saint Marys University of Minnesota,
where she teaches contemporary literature,
womens literature, and writing. Her book
John Fowles: Visionary and Voyeur (2008)
employs feminist standpoint theory in its
investigation of cinematic conventions and
point of view in the works of John Fowles. Her
next scholarly project will explore the relationship between narrative theory and feminist standpoint theory.
Barry Lewis earned his BA (Hons.) at Kings
College, Cambridge, and his doctorate at the
University of Sunderland. A senior lecturer at
the University of Sunderland, he has also held
posts at the University of Newcastle, the
University of Trondheim, and Stavanger College in Norway. Lewis is the author of Kazuo
Ishiguro (2000) and My Words Echo Thus:
Possessing the Past in Peter Ackroyd (2007).
Marina Mackay is associate professor of
English at Washington University in St. Louis.
She is the author of Modernism and World
War II (2007), coeditor of British Fiction After

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Modernism (2007), and editor of the Cambridge Companion to the Literature of World
War II (2009).
Eamon Maher is director of the National
Centre for Franco-Irish Studies in Institute of
Technology Tallaght (Dublin). He is the author of a number of monographs and is editor
of two series with Peter Lang: Reimagining
Ireland (Oxford) and Studies in Franco-Irish
Relations (Frankfurt am Main).
David Malcolm is professor of English literature and chair of the Department of Literary
Studies at the University of Gdansk. He is the
author of studies of Ian McEwan (2002),
Graham Swift (2003), and John McGahern
(2007), and co-author of a study of Jean
Rhyss short fiction (1996). He is coeditor
of British and Irish Short-Fiction Writers,
19452000 (2006) and the Blackwell Companion to the British and Irish Short Story
J. Edward Mallot is an assistant professor of
English at Arizona State University. His current book project focuses on memory, nationalism, and narrative in contemporary
South Asian literatures in English. His forthcoming research examines British Asian literature and culture. Mallot earned his doctorate
from the University of Iowa.
Kevin Mccarron is reader in American Literature at Roehampton University, London. He
has published numerous articles in scholarly
journals and has contributed chapters to
nearly 50 books on subjects including tattooing, cyberpunk, popular music, horror fiction, dystopian literature, drug addiction,
alcoholism, and blasphemy. He is the author
of William Golding (1995; 2nd edn. 2006), The
Coincidence of Opposites: William Goldings
Later Fiction (1996), and he co-authored
Frightening Fictions (2001), a study of adolescent horror narratives.
Dermot Mccarthy is a professor of English
language and literature at Huron University
College, University of Western Ontario and
the author of Roddy Doyle: Raining on the
Parade and A Poetics of Place: The Poetry of
Ralph Gustafson.


Patrick A. Mccarthy is professor of English

and chair of the English department at the
University of Miami. His recent publications
include a scholarly edition of Olaf Stapledons
classic science fiction novel, Star Maker
(2004); Modernisms Swansong: Malcolm
Lowrys Under the Volcano, in B. Shaffer
(ed.), A Companion to the British and Irish
Novel 19452000 (2005); Joyce, Family,
Finnegans Wake (2005); and Making
Herself Tidal: Chapter I.8, in L. Crispi &
S. Slot (eds.), How Joyce Wrote Finnegans
Wake: A Chapter-by-Chapter Genetic Guide
Scott Mccracken is professor of English literature at Keele University. He is the author of
Pulp: Reading Popular Fiction (1998), Masculinities, Modernist Fiction, and the Urban Public Sphere (2007), and, with Peter Buse, Bertrand Taithe, and Ken Hirschkop, of
Benjamins Arcades: An Unguided Tour
(2006). He is secretary of the Dorothy Richardson Society.
Margery Palmer Mcculloch is senior research fellow in Scottish literature at the
University of Glasgow. Her most recent
books include Modernism and Nationalism:
Literature and Society in Scotland 19181939
(2004) and her Scottish Modernism and Its
Contexts 19181959 is forthcoming from
Edinburgh University Press. She is currently
coediting a Hugh MacDiarmid Companion
to be published by Edinburgh University
Roderick Mcgillis is a professor of English at
the University of Calgary. He is the author
most recently of Les Pieds Devant (2007) and
He Was Some Kind of a Man (2008). He was
one of the senior editors of the four-volume
Oxford Encyclopedia of Childrens Literature
Matthew Mcguire has published widely on
both Scottish and Irish literature. His work
has appeared in the Edinburgh Review and
Scottish Studies Review, as well as The Edinburgh Companion to Contemporary Scottish
Literature (2007). He is the author of The
Essential Guide to Contemporary Scottish

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



Literature (2008) and coeditor of The Edinburgh Companion to Contemporary Scottish

Poetry (2009).
Dorothy Mcmillan is an honorary senior
research fellow in English literature, former
head of the School of English and Scottish
Language and Literature, University of Glasgow, and past president of the Association for
Scottish Literary Studies. She currently works
mainly on writing by women, especially Scottish women. With Douglas Gifford she has
edited A History of Scottish Womens Writing
(1997). Her most recent publications include
the anthology Modern Scottish Women Poets
(2003) and, with Richard Cronin, an edition of
Emma for the Cambridge Edition of Austens
works (2005).
Kaye Mitchell is lecturer in contemporary
literature at the University of Manchester.
She is the author of A. L. Kennedy (2007)
and Intention and Text (2008), and of numerous articles on twentieth-century and
contemporary literature, critical theory,
gender and sexuality, and popular culture.
Her current research addresses questions of
desire, signification, and intelligibility in
the representation of female sexuality in
contemporary literature and theory.

Michael Valdez Moses is associate professor

of English at Duke University. He is the
author of The Novel and the Globalization of
Culture (1995), editor of The Writings of J. M.
Coetzee (1994), and coeditor of Modernism
and Colonialism: British and Irish Literature,
18991939 (2007). He is coeditor of the journal Modernist Cultures, published in electronic and print formats by Edinburgh University
Alex Murray is a lecturer in English at the
University of Exeter. He is the author of
Recalling London (2007) and Giorgio Agamben
(2009); the editor, with Justin Clemens and
Nick Heron, of The Work of Giorgio Agamben
(2008) and, with Phil Tew, of The Modernism
Handbook (2009).
Bran Nicol is reader in modern and contemporary literature at the University of
Portsmouth. His publications include
The Cambridge Introduction to Postmodern
Fiction (2009), Iris Murdoch: The Retrospective Fiction (2nd edn. 2004), D. M. Thomas
(2004), Postmodernism and the Contemporary Novel: A Reader (2002).

Robert Morace teaches at Daemen College in

Amherst, New York. His publications include
John Gardner: Critical Perspectives, coedited
with Kathryn VanSpanckeren (1982), John
Gardner: An Annotated Secondary Bibliography (1984), The Dialogic Novels of Malcolm
Bradbury and David Lodge (1989), Irvine
Welshs Trainspotting (2001), and Irvine
Welsh, a study of the Welsh phenomenon
(2007). His Life and Times of Death and the
Maiden won the 1997 Berger Prize for best
theater essay.

Margot Norris is Chancellors Professor at

the University of California, Irvine, where she
teaches modern literature. Her books include
The Decentered Universe of Finnegans Wake
(1976), Beasts of the Modern Imagination:
Darwin, Nietzsche, Kafka, Ernst, and Lawrence
(1985), Joyces Web: The Social Unraveling of
Modernism (1992), Writing War in the Twentieth Century (2000), Suspicious Readings of
Joyces Dubliners (2003), and a monograph
on the 1967 Joseph Strick film of Joyces
Ulysses (2004). She has also edited or coedited
a number of volumes including the Norton
Critical Edition of James Joyces Dubliners

Merritt Moseley is professor of literature at

the University of North Carolina at Asheville.
He has written critical books on Michael
Frayn, Julian Barnes, Kingsley Amis, and
David Lodge and edited four volumes of the
Dictionary of Literary Biography on British
Novelists Since 1960 and one on Booker Prize
Novels, 19692005.

Joseph Nugent has presented papers in English and Irish on nineteenth- and twentiethcentury Irish literature. His articles appear in
Victorian Studies, The Senses and Society, and
Eire-Ireland. His current project is a cultural
history of smell in nineteenth-century Ireland. He is currently an adjunct assistant
professor of English at Boston College.

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Thomas OGrady is a professor of English at

the University of Massachusetts Boston, where
he has been director of Irish studies since 1984.
His essays and reviews on Irish literary and
cultural matters have been published in a wide
variety of journals, including Eire-Ireland,
James Joyce Quarterly, Etudes Irlandaises, Irish
University Review, Canadian Journal of Irish
Studies, New Hibernia Review, An Sionnach: A
Journal of Literature, Culture, and the Arts,
Studies in Short Fiction, Studies in the Novel,
and Poetry Ireland Review.
Kirby Olson is an associate professor of humanities at State University of New York at
Delhi. He is the author of three book-length
critical studies: Comedy after Postmodernism
(2000); Gregory Corso: Doubting Thomist
(2002); and Andrei Codrescu and the Myth of
America (2005). He has been the editor of
To Wit: Newsletter of the American Humor
Studies Association since 2003. He has also
published a novel entitled Temping (2006)
and many poems, and has been the recipient
of the SUNY Chancellors Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities.
Adam Parkes is an associate professor of
English at the University of Georgia, where
he teaches modern British and American
literature. He has two books in print, Modernism and the Theater of Censorship (1996)
and Kazuo Ishiguros The Remains of the
Day (2001), as well as various articles on
modern fiction and poetry. His forthcoming
book Literary Impressionism in Its Time: From
James to Bowen examines a range of British
impressionist writers in historical context.
Other research interests include modernism
and the aristocracy and modernism and
Daphne Patai is a professor at the University
of Massachusetts Amherst. She is the author
and editor of numerous books, including The
Orwell Mystique (1984) and What Price Utopia? Essays on Ideological Policing, Feminism,
and Academic Affairs (2008).
Allison Pease is chair of gender studies and
associate professor of English at John Jay
College of Criminal Justice, City University


of New York. She is the author of Modernism,

Mass Culture, and the Aesthetics of Obscenity
(2000) and writes about late Victorian and
modernist literature and culture.
John G. Peters is the author of Conrad and
Impressionism (2001) and The Cambridge
Introduction to Joseph Conrad (2006) and the
editor of Conrad in the Public Eye (2008) and
the Oxford Historical Guide to Joseph Conrad
(2009). He has also published a number of
scholarly articles on Conrad and other literary figures and has translated the Japanese
poet Takamura K
os book The Chieko
Poems (2007). He is currently an associate
professor of English at the University of
North Texas.
Martin Priestman is a professor of English at
Roehampton University in London, and edited The Cambridge Companion to Crime Fiction (2003). Other works on crime fiction
include Detective Fiction and Literature: The
Figure on the Carpet (1990) and Crime Fiction
from Poe to the Present (1998). Works on
romantic period literature include Cowpers
Task: Structure and Influence (1983) and
Romantic Atheism: Poetry and Freethought,
17801830 (1999).
Bryony Randall is lecturer in English literature at the University of Glasgow. She is the
author of Modernism, Daily Time and Everyday Life (2007), and has also published on
Imagist poetry, Gertrude Stein, life writing,
and the proto-modernist writer George Egerton. She is coediting a collection of essays
entitled Woolf in Context, and working on a
monograph provisionally entitled The Working Woman Writer 18801920.
Virginia Richter is chair of modern English
literature at the University of Berne. She
wrote her doctoral dissertation on the eighteenth-century novel and her second dissertation (Habilitation) on Darwinism in
English literature. She taught English and
comparative literature at the universities of
Munich and G
ottingen, and was a visiting
fellow at the University of Kent and the
University of Leeds. Her research interests
include Victorian and modernist fiction,

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



gender studies, literature and science, and

animals in literature.
Jeffrey Roessner serves as dean of the arts and
humanities at Mercyhurst College, where he is
an associate professor of English. His scholarly interests include cultural studies, contemporary British historical fiction, and creative writing. He has published essays on
works by John Fowles, Angela Carter, Jeanette
Winterson, and the Beatles, among others.
Nancy Rosenfeld teaches in the English Studies Unit, Max Stern College of Jezreel Valley,
and is a researcher in the Department of
English Language and Literature, University
of Haifa. Her areas of scholarly interest are
seventeenth-century English literature and
the British soldier-poets of World War I.
Rosenfeld is the author of The Human Satan
in Seventeenth-Century English Literature:
From Milton to Rochester (2008). She has
published journal and book articles on the
writings of John Milton, John Bunyan, John
Wilmot, earl of Rochester, John Keats, and
Robert Graves.
Elodie Rousselot is a senior lecturer in English
literature at the University of Portsmouth,
where she has been teaching contemporary
literature and postcolonial writing since 2006.
Her main research interests are womens writing, historical fiction, the neo-Victorian novel,
and postcolonial studies. She is currently researching the function of history in the work of
contemporary postcolonial women writers.
Her monograph entitled Re-Writing Women
into Canadian History: Margaret Atwood and
Anne Hebert is to be published by Editions de
Linstant m^eme.
Nicholas Ruddick is a professor of English at
the University of Regina, where he teaches
courses on science fiction, horror fiction, and
fairy tales. He is the author or editor of nine
books; his most recent works include The Fire
in the Stone: Prehistoric Fiction from Charles
Darwin to Jean M. Auel (2009) and a new
edition of Jack Londons The Call of the Wild
in the Broadview series (2009).
Richard Ruppel is a professor of English at
Chapman University in Orange, California.

Most of his writing has been devoted to the

life and work of Joseph Conrad. His most
recent publication, Homosexuality in the Life
and Work of Joseph Conrad: Love between the
Lines (2008), was published by Routledge. He
is currently at work on a book on Conrads
politics and a hypertext version of Heart of
Lorena Russell received her PhD in English
from the University of North Carolina at
Chapel Hill and is an associate professor in
the Literature and Language Department
at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. Her interests include feminist, queer,
and postcolonial theories. She has published
articles on Fay Weldon, Angela Carter,
Michael Ondaatje, and J. M. Coetzee as well
as on the HBO series Six Feet Under and The
Randi Saloman is a Mellon Post-Doctoral
Fellow and visiting assistant professor of English at Cornell University. She has previously
taught at Wesleyan University and at Yale
University, where she received her PhD in
2006. She has published articles, notes, and
reviews on Virginia Woolf, Arnold Bennett,
and modern literature. She is currently completing a book, Virginia Woolf, Essayism, and
the Question of Genre, and working on her
upcoming project, a study of hotels in modern literature.
Margaret Scanlan is professor of English at
Indiana University South Bend. Her books
include Traces of Another Time: History and
Politics in Postwar British Fiction (1990), Plotting Terror: Novelists and Terrorists in Contemporary Fiction (2001), and Culture and
Customs of Ireland (2006).
Bernard Schweizer is associate professor of
English at Long Island University, Brooklyn
Campus. Among his publications are two
monographs, Radicals on the Road (2001) and
Rebecca West: Heroism, Rebellion, and the
Female Epic (2003); two essay collections,
Approaches to the Anglo and American Female
Epic (2006) and Rebecca West Today: Contemporary Critical Approaches (2007); a special
issue of Studies in the Humanities (December

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



2008); and an edition of a primary text,

Survivors in Mexico by Rebecca West
(2003). Schweizer is president of the International Rebecca West Society.

Women (1990), Rosamond Lehmann (1992),

and (with Shirley Foster) What Katy Read:
Feminist Re-readings of Classic Stories for
Girls (1995).

Charity Scribner has held teaching and research positions at Columbia University,
Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut NRW,
Humboldt University, University of Oxford,
and Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
where she was granted the Class of 1954
Career Development Professorship in
2005. Scribner is currently assistant professor of English at LaGuardia Community
College, City University of New York and
a faculty fellow at the CUNY Graduate
Center. Her scholarship examines modern
European literature, art, and intellectual life,
and her first book, Requiem for Communism
(2003), analyzes the aesthetic response to the
collapse of communism in Europe.

Claire Squires is professor of publishing

studies and director of the Stirling Centre
for International Publishing and Communication at the University of Stirling. She is
author of Marketing Literature: The Making
of Contemporary Writing in Britain (2007)
and Philip Pullman, Master Storyteller: A
Guide to the Worlds of His Dark Materials
(2006). She is volume editor of volume 7
(19142000) of the Cambridge History of the
Book in Britain (forthcoming) and associate
editor for the Twentieth Century Book in
Britain for the Oxford Companion to the Book

W. A. Senior has a PhD in medieval and

Renaissance literature from the University of
Notre Dame. A past president of the International Association of the Fantastic in the Arts
and the editor of the Journal of the Fantastic in
the Arts from 1998 to 2007, he is also the
author of scholarly articles on medieval literature, modern fantasy, and science fiction and
of Stephen R. Donaldsons Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Variations on the Fantasy Tradition (1995).
James Sexton is adjunct professor and Social
Sciences and Humanities Research Council of
Canada Fellow at the University of Victoria.
He has published numerous articles on Huxley, and is the editor of Selected Letters of
Aldous Huxley (2007) and Graham Greenes
No Mans Land (2005), and coeditor of the
six-volume Complete Essays of Aldous Huxley
(20002). He has taught at the University of
Toulon as a visiting associate professor
(20025), and continues to lecture in the
English Department of Camosun College,
Victoria during fall terms.
Judy Simons is emeritus professor of English
at De Montfort University, Leicester. She has
published widely on womens writing. Her
books include Diaries and Journals of Literary

Axel StAhler
is lecturer in comparative literary studies in the School of European Culture
and Languages at the University of Kent,
Canterbury. He is the editor of Anglophone
Jewish Literature (2007) and the coeditor of
Writing Fundamentalism (2009).
Theodore L. Steinberg is distinguished teaching professor in the English Department at the
State University of New York at Fredonia.
Although his primary interests lie in the Middle Ages, he has published in a number of
areas. His most recent books are Reading the
Middle Ages, Twentieth-Century Epic Novels,
and Jews and Judaism in the Middle Ages.
Michael L. Storey is the Sister Maura Eichner
Professor of English at the College of Notre
Dame of Maryland in Baltimore. He is the
author of Representing the Troubles in Irish
Short Fiction (2004) as well as articles and
reviews on Frank OConnor, Sean OFaolain,
Elizabeth Bowen, John McGahern, William
Trevor, Bernard MacLaverty, and other Irish
John J. Su is associate professor of contemporary Anglophone literature at Marquette
University. He is the author of Ethics and
Nostalgia in the Contemporary Novel (2005).
Philip Tew is professor of English (post-1900
literature) at Brunel University, the elected

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



director of the UK network for Modern Fiction

Studies, director of the Brunel Centre for
Contemporary Writing (BCCW), coeditor of
Critical Engagements and Symbiosis: A Journal
of Anglo-American Literary Relations, a fellow
of the Royal Society of Arts, and a member of
the Royal Society of Literature. He has published B. S. Johnson: A Critical Reading (2001),
The Contemporary British Novel (2004; rev.
edn. 2007), and Jim Crace: A Critical Introduction (2006).

Timothy Weiss is a professor at the Chinese

University of Hong Kong; his books include
Translating Orients: Between Ideology and
Utopia (2004), English and Globalization: Perspectives from Hong Kong and Mainland China, coedited with Kwok-kan Tam (2004), and
On the Margins: The Art of Exile in V. S.
Naipaul (1992). He has been a Peace Corps
Volunteer in Liberia, West Africa, and a Senior Fulbright Scholar in Tunisia, Algeria,
and Morocco.

Pamela Thurschwell is a senior lecturer in

English at the University of Sussex. She is the
author of Sigmund Freud (2000) and Literature, Technology and Magical Thinking,
18801920 (2001), and coeditor, with Nicola
Bown and Carolyn Burdett, of The Victorian
Supernatural (2004) and, with Leah Price, of
Literary Secretaries/Secretarial Culture (2005).

Juliette Wells, an assistant professor of English at Manhattanville College, is the author

of the entry on Eva Figes in British and Irish
Novelists Since 1960. She contributed a chapter on chicklit and womens literary history to
Chick Lit: The New Womans Fiction (2006)
and has published articles on postmodern
reworkings of the novels of Jane Austen and
Charlotte Bronte. She coedited The Brontes in
the World of the Arts (2008).

Richard Todd is professor of British literature

after 1500 at the University of Leiden. His
books include a monograph on A. S. Byatt
(1997) and two on Iris Murdoch (1984, 1979).
His Consuming Fictions: The Booker Prize and
Fiction in Britain Today was published in
1996. In 2007 he was elected a member of
the International Association of University
Professors of English (IAUPE).
Kathleen Wall is professor of English at the
University of Regina. Her books include The
Callisto Myth from Ovid to Atwood (literary
criticism), and Without Benefit of Words and
Times Body (poetry). She has published on
Virginia Woolf in the Journal of Narrative
Theory and Texas Studies in Literature and
Language. She is working on a book about
Woolfs use of aesthetic form to articulate a
practice that is fully engaged with her society
and her historical moment.
Patricia Waugh is a professor in the Department of English Studies, Durham University.
She has written numerous books and essays
on modern fiction, literary theory, modernist
and postmodernist aesthetics. She is currently
completing two monographs, Humanising:
English Literary Studies and the Biologisation
of Culture and History of the British and Irish
Novel: 1945 to the Present.

Lynn Wells is an associate professor of English

at the University of Regina, where she specializes in contemporary British fiction and contemporary culture. Her first book, Allegories of
Telling: Self-Referential Narrative in Contemporary British Fiction, was published by
Rodopi in 2003 and her book on Ian McEwan
will be published by Palgrave Macmillan. She
is currently associate vice president (academic) at the University of Regina.
Imelda Whelehan is professor of English and
womens studies and director of the Centre
for Adaptations at De Montfort University in
Leicester. She is coeditor of Adaptation and
has published extensively on feminism, chicklit and adaptations. Her co-authored book,
Screen Adaptation: Impure Cinema is due to be
published by Palgrave Macmillan.
Anne Whitehead is senior lecturer in the
School of English at Newcastle University.
She is the author of Memory (2008) and
Trauma Fiction (2004). She has also coedited
Theories of Memory: A Reader (2007) and W.
G. Sebald: A Critical Companion (2004).
Peter Wolfes shorter work has appeared in
the New York Times Book Review, the Chicago
Tribune, the Nation, Modern Fiction Studies,

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


the New Zealand Listener, the Calcutta Statesman, and the Weekend Australian. A Fulbright
lecturer in India and Poland, he has also
served as a visiting professor in Canada,
New Zealand, Taiwan, the Soviet Union, and
Australia. His twentieth book, Havoc in the
Hub: A Reading of George V. Higgins, was
published in 2007.


Sue Zlosnik is professor of English and head

of the English Department at Manchester
Metropolitan University. Her publications
include three books co-authored and one
coedited with Avril Horner on womens writing and Gothic fiction. She is currently copresident of the International Gothic

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Introduction to Volume I

The subject of the British and Irish volume of The

Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Fiction is as
vast as it is rich and heterogeneous. I will therefore
resist the temptation, in my introductory remarks, of summing up or surveying all of what
follows; the bringing together of the field of
twentieth-century British and Irish fiction is, after
all, the task of the volumes 140 entries. Instead, I
will offer a few remarks intended merely to set the
stage for a portion of what follows. The years
following the start of the twentieth century saw
the rise of what in due course would come to be
called literary modernism a transatlantic cultural phenomenon that impacted early twentiethcentury fiction and that engaged with myriad
extraliterary developments of its day. Features of
high modernist fiction, in particular the novel,
that predominated between the turn of the century (Conrads Lord Jim of 1900) and the late
1940s (Malcolm Lowrys Under the Volcano of
1947) included radical experiments with point of
view and with the representation of time and
space; the shattering of the illusion of a unified,
omniscient narrator; linguistic pyrotechnics, textual self-referentiality, and literary allusiveness;
narrative fragmentation, replete with disorienting
stream-of-consciousness and interior monologue
narration; and the frank (arguably Freudian)
treatment of human sexuality. In comparison to
the late nineteenth-century novels of Thomas
Hardy, the mature works of Conrad, Joyce,
Lawrence, Wyndham Lewis, Dorothy Richardson,
and Woolf seemed not a few years but rather lightyears away.
The impetus for modernist fictions radical
experimentation with language, form, and point
of view had less to do with the joys of aesthetic
innovation for its own sake than with a particular

frustration, as the antihero of George Bernard

Shaws Major Barbara (1905) puts it, that the
world at present . . . scraps its obsolete steam
engines and dynamos yet wont scrap its old
prejudices and its old moralities and its old religions and its old political constitutions.1
George Orwell was by this light misguided to
associate literary modernism with art-for-arts
saking, with the worship of the meaningless,
with the mere manipulation of words in the
service of an art divorced from the urgent problems of the moment.2 Orwell, who penned this
accusation in 1940, was probably thinking of
James Joyce, who had a year earlier published
Finnegans Wake, a supremely modernist work
that parades, indeed fetishizes, its arcane linguistic and narrative dimensions.
Joyces sui generis 1939 text notwithstanding,
modernist fiction was less about the joys of experimentation and iconoclasm for its own sake
what Orwell calls the frivolous notion that art is
merely [about] technique3 than it was about
overthrowing novelistic forms and structures,
and by extension social forms and structures, that
were felt to be repressive and outmoded. Novelty
and innovation per se were less important than
making the new fiction faithful to contemporary
social, technological, psychological, epistemological, and aesthetic currents. Put another way,
modernist novelists such as Conrad, Joyce, Lawrence, Lewis, Woolf, and, to a lesser extent, Ford
and Forster, were less interested in art for arts
sake than they were in creating works of fiction
that comported with their new understanding of
the world around them. What T. S. Eliot in
1921 argued of present-day poets also applied
to novelists: they must be difficult because
Our civilization comprehends great variety and

The Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Fiction General editor: Brian W. Shaffer

2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


complexity, and this variety and complexity,

playing upon a refined sensibility [that of the
literary artist of merit], must produce various
and complex results.4 In other words, modernist
fiction should not be dismissed as an autotelic or
narcissistic retreat from modern life so much as an
attempt to face and depict it unflinchingly.
Perhaps the most important influences on
modernism in the novel were a series of revolutionary ideas in European thought that contributed to a heady zeitgeist. The principal idea was a
crisis lamented by Matthew Arnold in his midVictorian poem, Dover Beach: the retreat of the
Sea of Faith and the seeming disappearance of
God,5 an anxiety that emerges full-blown in
Yeatss celebrated 1919 poem The Second
Coming, with its theologically resonant title.6
Three seminal modern intellectuals Karl Marx,
Friedrich Nietzsche, and Sigmund Freud all
speculated that humans created God out of their
need for a protecting father and to explain an
otherwise inexplicable, threatening, chaotic
world. Marx saw religion as the sigh of the
oppressed, the opium of the people7 as a
means for the haves of society to keep the havenots mystified and downtrodden; Nietzsche
famously asserted that God is dead. God remains
dead. And we have killed him;8 and Freud likened our devotion to the fairy-tale of religion to
a childhood neurosis, and, following Marx,
likened the effects of religious consolations to
a narcotic.9 While some found the prospect of a
godless universe liberating, others found the absence of transcendental meaning and teleological
human history to be frightening prospects.
Unsurprisingly, this shift in thinking had important implications for the ways in which novels
were written; many novelists now took it for
granted that the traditional view of the world
one subject to a single overarching interpretation,
corresponding to Gods intention was obsolete.
Objectivity was an illusion; subjectivity reigned.
Many legitimate truths and perspectives replaced
the notion of a single Truth; reality was
supplanted by a series of competing realities. In
short, how one saw things now was determined by
ones unique perspective, put in dialogue with
other individuals and their unique perspectives.
This notion informed many modernist novels
among these, Conrads Nostromo, Joyces Ulysses,
Woolfs The Waves, and Lowrys Under the

Volcano in which multiple narrators and shifting perspectives force readers to reconstruct
events by negotiating between the various possible ways in which those events can be understood.
Put another way, the multiple points of view in
these modernist texts are offered not to impede
our grasp of the novels meaning so much as they
are the very point of it. As Orwell argues, seemingly contradicting his above indictment of the
modernists for their escapist avoidance of politics:
Ulysses could not have been written by someone
who was merely dabbling with word-patterns; it
is the product of a special vision of life, the vision
of a Catholic who has lost his faith. What Joyce is
saying is Here is life without God. Just look at
it! and his technical innovations, important
though they are, are there primarily to serve this

Another development that influenced the modernist novel and that which followed in the
second half of the twentieth century was the late
Victorian emergence of the discipline of psychology, which further eroded traditional faith in
objective norms of perception, knowledge, and
certainty. The year 1890 marked the appearance
of William Jamess Principles of Psychology, a work
that reoriented our purchase on reality. Rather
than being something objectively given, reality
was to be understood as something subjectively
perceived through the stream of human consciousness. If Jamess terrain was consciousness
and perception, Freuds, more radically, was the
unconscious, which he defined as that area of the
mind that is inaccessible to conscious scrutiny,
the refuge of repressed wishes too dangerous for
us to acknowledge consciously.11 Although such
novelists as Joyce and Lawrence expressed skepticism about Freudian thought Lawrence declared
in 1914, I am not Freudian and never was and in
1916, following the publication of psychoanalytic/oedipal readings of Sons and Lovers, I think
that complexes are vicious half-statements of the
Freudians;12 and Joyce in 1921 referred to Jung
and Freud as, respectively, the Swiss Tweedledum
and the Viennese Tweedledee13 Freuds impact
upon the modernist novel was nevertheless considerable and obvious. (It is surely relevant that Virginia Woolf published Freud in English at her and
Leonard Woolf s Hogarth Press.) One critic even

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


went as far as to attribute the shift in the basis of

characterization in fiction after about 1900 largely
to the revolutionary impact of Freudian concepts
of the unconscious.14
It is against this background that British and
Irish fiction of the second half of the twentieth
century took shape. The response in particular to
modernism took two divergent paths, resulting
in the flourishing of two conflicting fictional
modes: anti-modernist realism and postmodernist experimentation. In the 1950s and early
1960s, the novel in Britain and Ireland tended
to reject literary modernist innovations (notable
exceptions included Flann OBrien, Samuel
Beckett, and B. S. Johnson), reacting against the
modernist novels conspicuous, overly precious,
complexity. Kinglsey Amis, Iris Murdoch, Angus
Wilson, and many others countered in their
novels with an anti-modernist, anti-avant-garde
neo-realism. As Malcolm Bradbury characterizes the mood between 1945 and 1960:
Modernism was over, even tainted; the deaths
of Joyce, Woolf, Yeats and Freud had reinforced
the feeling. In critical circles, it was already being
historicized, defined, monumentalized, given its
name and structure; it was no longer avant . . .
but arriere.15 While realistic novels continued to
be written over the next few decades and of
course prevail today (consider, for example, the
work since 1980 of Anita Brookner, Margaret
Drabble, John McGahern, Iris Murdoch, and
Muriel Spark), a second and divergent response
to modernism and its anti-modernist wake in the
British and Irish novel the postmodernist
novel evolved between the early 1970s and the
present. Indeed, as divergent in their formal,
linguistic, and thematic dimensions as the novels
of Martin Amis, J. G. Ballard, John Banville,
Julian Barnes, A. S. Byatt, Angela Carter, John
Fowles, Ian McEwan, and Graham Swift may be,
it is reasonable to group their fictions under the
banner of the postmodern novel. This novel
rejects the anti-modernist backlash; indeed, it
internalizes many of the attitudes and perspectives
of modernism, yet also takes further and revises a
number of modernisms tenets. As Gerald Graff
argues, postmodernism should be seen not as
breaking with romantic and modernist assumptions but rather as a logical culmination of the
premises of these earlier movements.16 The
American novelist John Barth puts the relationship

between modernism and postmodernism similarly: the ideal postmodernist author has the
first half of the [twentieth] century under his belt
[even if] not on his back.17
Allow me to consider the responses to modernist fiction in the British and Irish novel of
19502000 in a bit more detail. The first reaction
was blazed in England in the 1950s by the prickly,
anti-modernist backlash of traditionalist novelists
such as Kingsley Amis, John Braine, Iris Murdoch
(early in her career), C. P. Snow, John Wain, and
Angus Wilson, who rejected both the narrative
and stylistic experiments associated with Joyce
and the refined literary aesthetics associated with
Virginia Woolf, either on the grounds that these
were arcane and mystifying or that they had been
worthwhile experiments in a now exhausted vein
(interestingly, a number of these figures wrote
campus novels). For example, John Wain, writing
in 1963, insisted that the experimental novel
died with Joyce. Since Ulysses, Wain argued,
there has been very little experimental-writing
that strikes one as serious, or motivated by anything more than faddishness or the irritable
search for new gimmicks.18 According to C. P.
Snow, Joyces way was at best a cul-de-sac,19
and the literary doctrine of Virginia Woolf and
others culminated in the novel becoming totally
meaningless in a very short time.20
If there was an anti-modernist movement in
the English novel of the time it was to be found
in the so called angry young men comprised
of Wain, Braine, Kingsley Amis, and others
whom Amis deemed reactionaries rather than
rebels because they sought a return to the
pre-Joycean tradition21 of broadly accessible
and relevant literary works. Amis was at his
most strident and outspoken in this regard in a
1958 piece in The Spectator. There, he famously
The idea about experiment being the life-blood
of the English novel is one that dies hard.
Experiment, in this context, boils down pretty
regularly to obtruded oddity, whether in construction multiple viewpoints and such or in
style . . . Shift from one scene to the next in
midsentence, cut down on verbs or definite
articles, and you are putting yourself right up in
the forefront, at any rate in the eyes of those who
were reared on Joyce and Virginia Woolf . . . 22

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


However differently Amiss Lucky Jim, Murdochs

Under the Net, and Wilsons Hemlock and After
(all from 1952 or 1953) respond to literary modernism, each of these works represents a desire to
return the novel to an earlier, more realistic and
chronologically linear model.
The anti-modernist reaction to modernism
in the British and Irish novel was followed by
another reaction, beginning in the early 1970s
(though, again, presaged most importantly in
the work of Samuel Beckett and Flann
OBrien). Born of what David Lodge characterized as the pressure of skepticism on the
aesthetic and epistemological premises of literary realism,23 the postmodern novel of the
final three decades of the twentieth century
continued and furthered the modernist critique of traditional realism.24
Just as Amis and other traditionalists of the
1950s and 1960s registered their frustration with
the modernist novels lack of accessibility and
relevance, so the early postmodernists, in an
anti-antimodernist backlash, registered their
frustration with the realistic, chronologically linear novels lack of artistic courage and innovation.
The English avant garde novelist B. S. Johnson, for
example, writing 10 years after John Wain argued
that the experimental novel died with Joyce,
lamented that while Joyce was the Einstein of
the novel,25 very few novelists in Britain now
followed his lead. For Johnson, It is not a question of influence, of writing like Joyce. It is a
matter of realizing that the novel is an evolving
form, not a static one, of accepting that for
practical purposes where Joyce left off should
ever since have been regarded as the starting
point.26 Why then, Johnson demanded, do
so many novelists still write as though the revolution that was Ulysses had never happened . . .?27
Johnson concluded by quoting the French author
Natalie Sarrautes description of literature as a
relay race, the baton of innovation passing from
one generation to another, and then by accusing
the vast majority of British novelists today with
having dropped the baton.28 Johnsons reference to Sarraute here is telling, as many avant
garde English novelists of the 1970s gained their
inspiration from French writers and intellectuals
specifically from Sarraute, Samuel Beckett (born
in Ireland but living in Paris and writing in French
and English), and Alain Robbe-Grillet (theorist of

le nouveau roman) rather than from British

ones. John Fowles, for example, the author of
one of the earliest important English postmodernist novels, The French Lieutenants Woman
(1969), admits to finding himself much more
at home in French than in English literature.29
Be this French connection as it may, British
and Irish postmodernist novels among them
Fowless French Lieutenants Woman, Goldings
Darkness Visible (1979), Grays Lanark (1981),
Swifts Waterland (1983), Barness Flauberts
Parrot (1984), Martin Amiss Money (1984), A.
S. Byatts Possession (1990), McCabes Butcher Boy
(1992), and Angela Carters Nights at the Circus
(1994) built upon many modernist novelistic
innovations. While postmodernism as a theoretical construct defies easy definition Malcolm
Bradbury has called the term a moveable
feast,30 and Hans Bertens has characterized it as
exasperating for being several things at
once31 it is clear that postmodern novels, in
practice, deliberately blur categories that were
formerly thought to be antithetical. That is, they
blur elite and demotic narrative forms, author and
reader, fiction and fact, and they attack realistic
conventions of representation, notions of generic
purity, and the feasibility of a unified subject.
In his exhaustive The Idea of the Postmodern
Hans Bertens observes that postmodernism
has meant different things to different people at
different conceptual levels, rising from humble
literary-critical origins in the 1950s to a level of
global conceptualization in the 1980s. . . . If there
is a common denominator to all these postmodernisms, it is that of a crisis in representation: a
deeply felt loss of faith in our ability to represent
the real, in the widest sense. No matter whether
they are aesthetic, epistemological, moral, or political in nature, the representations that we used
to rely on can no longer be taken for granted.32

This crisis of representation that representations create more than they reflect reality is
discernible in the work of the most important
French theorizers of the postmodern, JeanFrancois Lyotard and Jean Baudrillard. Although
these French theories of the postmodern had little
direct influence on the British novels of the period, they nevertheless contributed to a postmodernist intellectual and artistic climate out of
which the novels evolved. And they impacted

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


conversations in critical theory, which also, at

least indirectly, influenced as well as reflected
developments in postmodernist fiction.
It is also worth emphasizing that postmodernist
narrative experimentation in the novel, like that of
modernist experimentation before it, was undertaken not in the spirit of absurdist or fabulist antirealism, as many assumed, but in the spirit of
hyperrealism, one which accounts for the new
theories of perception, knowledge, and consciousness alluded to above. What Virginia Woolf argued
of the modernist Joyce and other authors of his ilk is
also true of the postmodernist Fowles and other
authors of his ilk: they all attempt, in their fictions,
to come closer to life, and to preserve more
sincerely and exactly what interests and moves
them, even if to do so they must discard most
of the conventions which are commonly observed
by the [realist] novelist. Let us record the atoms as
they fall upon the mind in the order in which they
fall, let us trace the pattern, however disconnected
and incoherent in appearance, which each sight or
incident scores upon the consciousness.33

Woolf s point is clear: Joyce and other modernists wrote out of a sense of fidelity to things as they
are subjectively and fragmentarily experienced
rather than out of an unfeasible stance of objectivity
and omniscience. As Woolf hints here, Joyces use
of interior monologue narration worked as a means
of plumbing the depths and shallows of character
as never before, a device allowing for the direct
representation of the psyche in action. However,
one important difference between the modernism
of Joyce and Woolf and the postmodernism of
Fowles and Swift is that whereas the Modernist
aimed at providing a valid, authentic, though
strictly personal view of the world in which he
lived, the Postmodernist appears to have abandoned the attempt toward a representation of the
world that is justified by the convictions and
sensibility of any single individual consciousness34
or historical account. Indeed, such observably

postmodern novels as Fowless French Lieutenants

Woman, Swifts Waterland, Grays Lanark, and
Byatts Possession deconstruct traditional notions
of subjectivity and history, and problematize the
distinction between fact and fiction, in ways that
go beyond what Joyce and other modernists envisioned. Another clear difference is that postmodernist novels tend to be far more demotic and less
elitist in orientation than their modernist forerunners. John Careys observation that the literary
intelligentsia in the years leading up to 1939 was
distinctly elitist and anti-democratic hostile to the
large reading public that came into being following nineteenth-century educational reforms35
no longer holds sway in recent years, as the postmodernist novels abundant use of popular cultural
discourse suggests. It is difficult, given the postmodern novels demotic orientation, to imagine
its practitioners defining their art in the terms
hazarded by D. H. Lawrence: [B]eing a novelist,
I consider myself superior to the saint, the scientist,
the philosopher, and the poet . . . The novel is the
one bright book of life.36
One could elaborate further about twentiethcentury British and Irish fiction along these aesthetic and philosophic lines. Alternately, one
could approach the field through the prism of
national (English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh) literatures; from the perspective of supranational considerations that account for patterns of immigration, colonialism, war, and globalization; through
the lens of gender and sexuality, class, ethnicity, or
religion; via a consideration of the business of
publishing, filmic adaptation, and literary prizes;
and in a host of other ways. Which is the very
point and purpose of the British and Irish volume,
and indeed its two companion volumes, of The
Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Fiction: to offer readable, authoritative, illuminating assessments of twentieth-century fiction, figures, debates, rubrics, and movements that point readers
in the direction of further avenues by which to
explore this fertile, heterogeneous literary terrain.

1 George Bernard Shaw, Major Barbara [1905] (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1960), pp. 1401.
2 George Orwell, Inside the Whale, in A Collection of Essays by George Orwell (San Diego: Harcourt Brace
Jovanovich, 1954), pp. 2289.
3 Orwell, Inside the Whale, p. 245.

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


4 T. S. Eliot, The Metaphysical Poets, in Selected Prose, ed. F. Kermode (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich,
1975), p. 65.
5 Matthew Arnold, Dover Beach, in M. H. Abrams (gen. ed.), The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 7th edn.,
vol. 2 (New York: Norton, 2000), p. 1492.
6 W. B. Yeats, The Second Coming, in Collected Poems (New York: Macmillan, 1956), p. 184.
7 Karl Marx, Contribution to the Critique of Hegels Philosophy of Right: Introduction, in Robert C. Tucker (ed.),
MarxEngels Reader, 2nd edn. (New York: Norton, 1978), p. 54.
8 Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science (New York: Vintage, 1974), p. 181.
9 Sigmund Freud, Future of an Illusion (New York: Norton, 1961), pp. 53, 49.
10 Orwell, Inside the Whale, p. 228.
11 For more on this see Sigmund Freud, Five Lectures on Psycho-Analysis (New York: Norton, 1961), pp. 1827.
12 Collected Letters of D. H. Lawrence, 2 vols., ed. Harry T. Moore (London: Heinemann, 1962), pp. 291, 475.
13 Letters of James Joyce, 3 vols., ed. Stuart Gilbert (New York: Viking, 1957), vol. 1, p. 166. For more on the
JoyceFreud connection see Brian W. Shaffer, Joyce and Freud: Discontent and Its Civilizations, in Vincent J.
Cheng & Timothy Martin (eds.), Joyce in Context (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), pp. 7388.
14 Kenneth Graham, Conrad and Modernism, in J. H. Stape (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Joseph Conrad
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), p. 211. Interestingly, Woolf says something similar in her essays
of the period. In Modern Fiction (1919) she makes the case for the new novels focus on the interior, not
exterior, lives of its characters; and in Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown (1924) she famously quips that, in or about
December, 1910, human character changed (105). Both are reprinted in Peter Faulkner (ed.), The English
Modernist Reader, 19101930 (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1986).
15 Malcolm Bradbury, The Modern British Novel (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1994), p. 268.
16 Gerald Graff, The Myth of the Postmodernist Breakthrough, in Malcolm Bradbury (ed.), The Novel Today:
Contemporary Writers on Modern Fiction (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1977), p. 219.
17 John Barth, The Literature of Replenishment, in Michael Hoffman & Patrick Murphy (eds.), Essentials of the
Theory of Fiction (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1988), p. 430.
18 John Wain, quoted in Rubin Rabinovitz, The Reaction against Experiment in the English Novel, 19501960 (New
York: Columbia University Press, 1967), p. 8.
19 C. P. Snow, quoted in Randall Stevenson, A Readers Guide to the Twentieth-Century Novel in Britain (Lexington:
University Press of Kentucky, 1993), p. 96.
20 C. P. Snow, quoted in Frank Kermode, The House of Fiction: Interviews with Seven Novelists, in Bradbury
(ed.), The Novel Today, p. 129.
21 Kingsley Amis, quoted in Michael Barber, The Art of Fiction LIX, Kingsley Amis (interview), Paris Review, 64
(1975), 46.
22 Quoted in Rabinovitz, The Reaction against Experiment, pp. 401.
23 David Lodge, The Novelist at the Crossroads and Other Essays on Fiction and Criticism (Ithaca, NY: Cornell
University Press, 1971), p. 19.
24 David Lodge, Postmodernism, Antimodernism and Postmodernism (published lecture) (Birmingham: University
of Birmingham, 1977), p. 10.
25 B. S. Johnson, Introduction to Arent You Rather Young to be Writing Your Memoirs? in Bradbury (ed.), The
Novel Today, p. 152.
26 Johnson, Introduction, p. 152.
27 Johnson, Introduction, p. 155.
28 Johnson, Introduction, p. 167.
29 John Fowles, Notes on an Unfinished Novel, in Bradbury (ed.), The Novel Today, p. 147.
30 Bradbury, Modern British Novel, p. 408.
31 Hans Bertens, The Idea of the Postmodern: A History (London: Routledge, 1995), p. 3.
32 Bertens, Idea of the Postmodern, pp. 1011.
33 Virginia Woolf, Modern Fiction, in Faulkner (ed.), English Modernist Reader, pp. 1089.
34 Douwe W. Fokkema, Literary History, Modernism, and Postmodernism (Amsterdam: Benjamins, 1984), p. 40.
35 John Carey, The Intellectuals and the Masses: Pride and Prejudice among the Literary Intelligensia, 18801939 (New
York: St. Martins, 1992), p. vii.
36 D. H. Lawrence, Why the Novel Matters, in Faulkner (ed.), English Modernist Reader, p. 145. For a fuller
discussion of these and related concerns, see the Introduction to my Reading the Novel in English, 19502000
(Oxford: Blackwell, 2006), pp. 134.

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Ackroyd, Peter

Peter Ackroyd is a prolific writer whose novels,

biographies, and works of non-fiction have attracted a wide audience and sustained acclaim. He
started out as a poet and a critic, but soon found
his niche as a novelist who delights in ransacking
the past and rewriting its literary and cultural
histories in a manner associated with postmodernist fiction. The majority of his novels center on
London, as does most of his other work. The
English capital is the site for delving into a number of recurring themes: the influence of place
upon the psyche, the spiral nature of time, impersonation and imitation, the Catholic heritage of
England, Englishness, occult beliefs, and strained
fatherson relationships. His characters are often
transformations of real-world figures such as the
poet Thomas Chatterton, the music hall performer
Dan Leno, and the essayist Charles Lamb.
Ackroyd was born on October 5, 1949 and
brought up on a modest East Acton council estate
in west London. His parents separated not long
after he was born and his maternal grandmother
played an important role in his upbringing.
A precocious child, he excelled at school and
entered Clare College, Cambridge in 1968 to
study English literature. There he was exposed to
the Cambridge poets group (J. H. Prynne and
others) whose experimental approach toward
language was later to inform his own poetry and
fiction. His year of postdoctoral study in 1972 as a
Mellon Fellow at Yale University furthered these
interests. Here he came into contact with the poet

John Ashbery and drafted an aesthetic manifesto

(Ackroyd 1976).
It is London, though, that has had the biggest
impact upon his writings. He often refers to it as
the landscape of his imagination and it functions
like a character in its own right in his work. Many
of the subjects of his biographies have London in
common, too. He has dealt with Cockney visionaries such as Dickens (1990) and Blake (1995);
writers to whom the capital is significant, such as
T. S. Eliot (1984) and Shakespeare (2004b); and
the city itself (2000). Ackroyd is one of a number
of contemporary British writers among them
Iain Sinclair, J. G. Ballard, and (to a lesser extent)
Martin Amis who focus upon London as a
source of inspiration. These novelists follow in
the footsteps, sometimes literally, of their literary
ancestor Charles Dickens. They bring to their
explorations of London a sense of the capital as
a labyrinth of possibility as it stretches infinitely
through space and time. Ackroyds first novel,
The Great Fire of London (1982), picks up on the
citys historical echoes and artfully deploys
Dickenss Little Dorrit as an intertext. His later
substantial biography of Dickens merges factual
and imaginative material to examine its subject.
Ackroyds novels show a fascination with the
wide range of English discourses that have existed
in history. A good example of his mastery of
mimicry is Hawksmoor (1985). This compares
and contrasts the opening decades of the eighteenth century, when the rational procedures of
science began to supersede the more ancient
forces of animistic magic, with the urban squalor
of 1980s London. The chapters narrated in the

The Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Fiction General editor: Brian W. Shaffer

2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


first person by Nicholas Dyer, loosely modeled on

the historical figure of the architect Nicholas
Hawksmoor, present a convincing pastiche of the
prose of the earlier period. Ackroyd spent six
months in the British Library reading texts relevant to his setting. He recorded phrases and
sentences into his notebooks until their language
became second nature. In doing so, he followed
the method established in his previous novel, The
Last Testament of Oscar Wilde (1983), of building
upon a specific literary style as a template for his
own inventions. It is a technique associated with
T. S. Eliot. Eliots influence is particularly noticeable in Hawksmoor as events from the late sixteenth/early seventeenth century are juxtaposed
with a series of murders in the present day.
Subsequent fictions expand Ackroyds thematic and stylistic concerns. Several probe the subject of fakes, forgeries, and plagiarism (1987,
2004a). Some focus on the occult and the paranormal (1989, 1993, 1994). Other novels excavate
the past to present alternate histories (1996, 1999,
2003, 2006, 2008). Perhaps his keynote novel,
though not the most successful artistically or
commercially, is English Music (1992). This novel
features chapters that imitate the styles of many
English writers, such as Bunyan, Defoe, Blake, and
Carroll. It, too, is set in London, the source of
Ackroyds vibrant muse. With unflagging vitality,
he continues to celebrate the capital in his numerous books, reviews, television series, and
plays for both radio and the stage.

Ackroyd, P. (1990). Dickens. London: SinclairStevenson.

Ackroyd, P. (1992). English Music. London: Hamish
Ackroyd, P. (1993). The House of Doctor Dee. London:
Hamish Hamilton.
Ackroyd, P. (1994). Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem.
London: Sinclair-Stevenson.
Ackroyd, P. (1995). Blake. London: Sinclair-Stevenson.
Ackroyd, P. (1996). Milton in America. London:
Ackroyd, P. (1999). The Plato Papers. London: Chatto
and Windus.
Ackroyd, P. (2000). London: The Biography. London:
Chatto and Windus.
Ackroyd, P. (2003). The Clerkenwell Tales. London:
Chatto and Windus.
Ackroyd, P. (2004a). The Lambs of London. London:
Chatto and Windus.
Ackroyd, P. (2004b). Shakespeare: The Biography.
London: Chatto and Windus.
Ackroyd, P. (2006). The Fall of Troy. London: Chatto
and Windus.
Ackroyd, P. (2008). The Casebook of Victor
Frankenstein. London: Chatto and Windus.
Lewis, B. (2007). My Words Echo Thus: Possessing the
Past in Peter Ackroyd. Columbia: University of South
Carolina Press.
Onega, S. (1999). Metafiction and Myth in the Novels of
Peter Ackroyd. New York: Camden House.

SEE ALSO: Historical Fiction (BIF); London in

Fiction (BIF); Postmodernist Fiction (BIF)

Richard Aldington (18921962) left an extensive

literary legacy. As poet, novelist, biographer, essayist, anthologist, critic, editor, and translator
(from Greek, Latin, French, and Italian), he wrote
assiduously for five decades. His breakthrough as
a man of letters started with his association with
Ezra Pound, H.D. (his first wife, to whom he was
married for 25 years), and F. S. Flint. Under
Pounds leadership Imagism was launched, with
Aldington contributing to all four of the Imagist
anthologies published between 1914 and 1917.
His army service in World War I interrupted
his writing career, and he took time to readjust
to civilian life. Aldington wrote biographies
on, among others, Voltaire (1925), Remy de
Gourmont (1928), the duke of Wellington
(1946), D. H. Lawrence (1950), T. E. Lawrence
(1955), and Robert Louis Stevenson (1957).


Ackroyd. P. (1976). Notes for a New Culture: An Essay on
Modernism. London: Vision.
Ackroyd, P. (1982). The Great Fire of London. London:
Hamish Hamilton.
Ackroyd, P. (1983). The Last Testament of Oscar Wilde.
London: Hamish Hamilton.
Ackroyd, P. (1984). T. S. Eliot. London: Hamish
Ackroyd, P. (1985). Hawksmoor. London: Hamish
Ackroyd, P. (1987). Chatterton. London: Hamish
Ackroyd, P. (1989). First Light. London: Hamish

Aldington, Richard

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Between 1929 and 1946 Aldington wrote eight

novels and three collections of short stories. With
the exception of the first novel, Death of a Hero
(his greatest commercial success), less critical
attention has been paid to these than to his poetry.
In the Prologue to Death of a Hero Aldington
informs of us of the outcome his hero, George
Winterbourne, dies at the end of the novel. It is
through a fellow officers voice that we follow the
causes that lead up to that death. The Prologue
and Parts I and II constitute a wide-ranging attack
on the values of Edwardian society. Georges
parents, his fellow officers, his wife Elizabeth, his
mistress Fanny, and various literary personalities
are subjected to a fierce satirical assault. Part III
concentrates on the front-line experience of Winterbourne, and is written in a more restrained
mode, much of it strictly controlled documentary
narrative. There is general agreement that this is
the most successful part of a novel that is one of
the outstanding fictions of World War I.
Aldington continued the war theme in his
collection of 13 stories, Roads to Glory (1930).
He used the form to experiment with technique,
for example, interweaving prose poems and
realistic narrative.
Much of Aldingtons fiction is satirical caricature. In The Colonels Daughter (1931a), Georgina
Smithers, constrained by Victorian rules of conduct, wishes to marry, but convention prevents
her from seeking a husband. Her lowly station in
life, her dullness, and her plainness serve further
to condemn her to spinsterhood, a social reality
for so many young women who heavily outnumbered the eligible war survivors. The various
subplots are treated by Aldington in a less angry
manner than in Death of a Hero. Instead of
interjecting his furious condemnation he allows
the failings of his characters to be self-evident. The
epilogue, a conversation between two Beckettian
characters, Bim and Bom, provides an abrupt shift
of tone, from romance to the absurd.
All Men are Enemies (1933) and Women Must
Work (1934) are also novels of social satire. In All
Men are Enemies Antony Clarendon struggles
to achieve a finer, more fulfilled life. Part 1
(190014) is firmly pastoral, as Aldington sets
the natural cycle of organic growth against
the hectic artificiality of a machine-mad society.
The war years are represented by a fragmented
collage of verse snippets, one for each year of the

war (taken as a whole they comprise Aldingtons

most formally modernist poem). Part 2, starting
in 1919, and depicting the passing of the old
order, is in sharp contrast. Antony, finding the
contemporary world senseless, attempts to rediscover his youthful idealism, and his first love.
Parts 3 and 4 continue this theme, but, with their
surfeit of detail, dialogue, and authorial comment, are weaker than Parts 1 and 2.
In Women Must Work, Etta Morrison, unlike
Georgina in The Colonels Daughter, is an emancipated woman. When she moves to London she
pretends that her illegitimate childs father died in
the war. She marries, is successful financially, and
dominates her husband. Aldingtons message is
that her success is illusory, based as it is on the
deceptive goals of emancipation and a hollow
For many years Aldington lived abroad, mainly
in America and France. His later years were
blighted by the hostile reception of his biography
of T. E. Lawrence in which Aldington sought to
lay bare the truth as he saw it about this overmythologized hero figure. Toward the end of his
life he achieved considerable success in the
Soviet Union where a number of his books were
translated in substantial editions. In February 1962
he was feted by the Soviet Writers Union on the
occasion of his seventieth birthday. He died soon
after this visit and was buried in Sury-en-Vaux.
SEE ALSO: H.D. (AF); Lawrence, D. H. (BIF);
Modernist Fiction (BIF); World War I in
Fiction (BIF)
Aldington, R. (1929). Death of a Hero. London: Chatto
and Windus.
Aldington, R. (1930). Roads to Glory. London: Chatto
and Windus.
Aldington, R. (1931a). The Colonels Daughter. London:
Chatto and Windus.
Aldington, R. (1931b). Last Straws. Paris: Hours.
Aldington, R. (1932). Soft Answers. London: Chatto and
Aldington, R. (1933). All Men are Enemies. London:
Chatto and Windus.
Aldington, R. (1934). Women Must Work. London:
Chatto and Windus.
Aldington, R. (1937). Very Heaven. London:

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



Aldington, R. (1938). Seven against Reeves. London:

Aldington, R. (1939). Rejected Guest. London:
Aldington, R. (1946). The Romance of Casanova.
London: Heinemann.
Blayac, A., & Zilboorg, C. (eds.) ( [1993] ). Richard
Aldington: Essays in Honour of the Centenary of His
Birth. Montpellier: Universite Paul Valery.
Cecil, H. (1995). The Flower of Battle: British Fiction
Writers of the First World War. London: Secker and
Doyle, C. (1989). Richard Aldington: A Biography.
Basingstoke: Macmillan.
Fitzmaurice, G. (dir.) (1934). All Men are Enemies
(script by S. Hoffenstein & L. Coffee). Fox.
Kelly, L. (ed.) (1987). Richard Aldington: Papers from the
Reading Conference. Reading: University of Reading.
Kempton, D., & Stoneback, H. R. (eds.) (2003). Writers
in Provence: Proceedings of the First and Second
International Richard Aldington Conferences. SaintesMaries-de-la-Mer: Gregau.
Kempton, D., & Stoneback, H. R. (eds.) (2005). New
Places: Proceedings of the Third International Richard
Aldington Conference. Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer:
Kempton, D., & Stoneback, H. R. (eds.) (2008).
Locations and Dislocations: Proceedings of the Fourth
International Richard Aldington Conference. SaintesMaries-de-la-Mer: Gregau.
Klein, H. (ed.) (1976). The First World War in Fiction.
Basingstoke: Macmillan.
Parfitt, G. (1988). Fiction of the First World War: A
Study. London: Faber and Faber.

Amis, Kingsley

One of Englands most popular, controversial,

and versatile writers, Sir Kingsley Amis was born
in London on April 16, 1922. From his earliest
publication Bright November (1947) to the last
during his lifetime The Biographers Moustache
(1995) Amis functioned as a moral barometer
for the rapidly shifting mores of his time. His
more than 40 books include 24 novels, seven
editions of poetry, four short story collections,
and hundreds of reviews and essays; and his
opinions were often central to post-World War
II debates, ranging from university expansion and
political correctness to the vitality of the comic
and realistic novel.

Although Amis remained skeptical of the critical labels with which he was associated (Movement poetry; angry young men), his literary
values confirmed the traditional realist precepts
of these groups. Throughout his life he condemned narrative indulgence, taking special
issue with such celebrated stylists as James Joyce,
D. H. Lawrence, Dylan Thomas, and Vladimir
Nabokov. In his article Communication and the
Victorian Poet (1954a) he explained that an
orderly contract exists between reader and writer
a pact that must be preserved at all cost. He
consequently faulted most modernist (and certainly postmodernist) authors for linguistic exhibitionism, for elevating technique over plot,
tone of voice over characterization. Given the
significance of the modernist and postmodernist
periods to the publishing and higher education
industries, Amiss comments threatened to obscure his own artistry, detracting from the fact
that he remains the greatest satirist since Evelyn
Waugh and one of the most successful comic
writers in history.
Amiss career can be effectively grouped into
three periods. The first period encompasses the
early work from Lucky Jim (1954) until the mid1960s. Beginning with The Anti-Death League
(1966), however, Amiss work becomes increasingly dark and meditative. Controversy deepens
during this period as well, culminating in the
furor surrounding Stanley and the Women
(1984b), which struggled to find an American
publisher because of its anti-feminist overtones.
The last period of Amiss career is distinguished
by his most critically acclaimed novel The Old
Devils (1986) and includes The Biographers
Moustache and all posthumous publications.
Throughout each of these periods Amis challenged himself to write in different genres, ranging from comic and satirical novels to more
fantastical forms such as alternative world fictions, detective stories, murder mysteries, and
ghost tales. Under two pseudonyms William
Tanner and Robert Markham Amis wrote a
critical study of the James Bond novels (The Book
of Bond; or, Every Man His Own 007, 1965) as well
as his own contribution to the series (Colonel Sun:
A James Bond Adventure, 1968a). Among his nonfiction writing, he published a critical survey of
science fiction (New Maps of Hell, 1960a); a
handful of political pamphlets (Socialism and the

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Intellectuals, 1957; Lucky Jims Politics, 1968; An

Arts Policy, 1979); a childrens book (We are All
Guilty, 1992); and numerous light-hearted monographs on drinking (On Drink, 1972; Every Day
Drinking, 1983; Hows Your Glass?, 1984a). While
it is true that Amis wrote much that fell below
his usual level of achievement, no one can deny
his productivity or his influence, despite the
critical reappraisals that haunted him from the
mid-1980s until his death.
Although Amis began his career as a poet in the
late 1940s, fame would have to wait until 1954,
when Lucky Jim was released. Over the course of
his life, this novel would never go out of print, be
translated into over 20 languages, and elevate him
to the status of chief literary spokesman for his
generation. As David Lodge and others noted, the
novel perfectly depicts the conflicting values that
suffused English culture during the 1950s. Due
to the expanded opportunities afforded by the
Education Act of 1944, scores of people, often
from lower-middle-class upbringings, found
themselves newly appointed to the professions.
These people remained skeptical of the cultural
values from which they were traditionally excluded, and in many ways Lucky Jims denunciation
of snobbery, pretension, and hypocrisy crystallized their attitudes. A half-century after its release,
the novel continues to receive mention as the
greatest comic novel of the twentieth century,
and its hero Jim Dixon ranks among the most
popular antiheroes in contemporary literature.
The four novels that followed Lucky Jim continued Amiss assault on intellectual pomposity
and affectation. Appealing to a form of middlebrow common sense, That Uncertain Feeling
(1955), I Like It Here (1958), Take a Girl Like
You (1960b), and One Fat Englishman (1963)
satirized conventional platitudes regarding foreign travel, religion, immigration, and shifting
gender relations, especially sexuality. Stylistically
similar to Lucky Jim, these novels feature numerous verbal jokes, cultural puns, and situational
humor, usually invoking dialects or accents.
Many critics have come to recognize that such
stylistic mimicry is one of Amiss greatest achievements, but at the time some reviewers wondered
whether Amis wasnt simply recasting Lucky Jim
with different characters and voices. Even more
troubling, Amiss satirical skills seemed to have
grown diffuse: whereas the targets of Jim Dixons


ire were clearly rendered and defined, the attitudes of lead characters like Patrick Standish
(in Take a Girl Like You) and Roger Micheldene
(in One Fat Englishman) led to speculation that
Amis had started to champion the intellectual
traits that Lucky Jim would have leveled.
Discussions of artistic decline would plague
Amis throughout his career, as critics continually
questioned whether his satirical skills had devolved into misanthropy. Despite his comic brilliance, Amis certainly proved he could dive into
the dark, as the works of his middle period
confirm. The Anti-Death League is a deeply meditative inquiry into the potential meaninglessness
of life, death, and faith. Ending Up is a poignant
tale of friendship, aging, and loss, and netted Amis
his first Booker nomination. The Alteration,
which followed in 1976, was arguably the bleakest
of Amiss books to date.
As Amiss equally famous, equally controversial son, Martin, has noted, anger would continue
to afflict Kingsley Amiss subsequent novels,
especially Jakes Thing (1978) and the infamous
Stanley and the Women. Both novels offer extended masculinist critiques of the shifting gender
relations inspired by womens liberation and the
feminist movement. More worrisome, many felt
the sexism of its characters had started to mirror
Amiss attitudes. Amiss biographers Eric
Jacobs, Richard Bradford, and Zachary Leader
record the underlying reasons: during the composition of Stanley and the Women, Amiss marriage to fellow writer Elizabeth Jane Howard
dissolved, souring him on love. Separated since
1980, the couple made their divorce final in 1983,
as the novel neared completion.
As Martin Amis suggests in his memoir Experience (2000), Stanley and the Women functioned
as a literary catharsis, exorcising Amiss bitterness
toward romance. Two years later he would publish his most acclaimed novel, The Old Devils,
which garnered him the Booker Prize in 1986.
Significantly, the book is dedicated to his first
wife, Hilary (Hilly), whom Amis had married in
1948 and who was at the time married to Alastair
Boyd, Lord Kilmarnock. When Amiss marriage
to Howard collapsed, the Kilmarnocks took him
in, a surprising arrangement that he comically
spoke of as something out of an Iris Murdoch
novel. Triumphantly, the novel depicts the most
constructive loving relationships in Amiss canon,

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



and its tonal and structural refinements remain

without equal among his other works.
No other work in this concluding period
of Amiss career ever equaled the quiet grandeur
of The Old Devils. The Russian Girl (1992), a
consideration of reconcilable differences in marriage, literature, and love, stands as the finest
other novel of this period. Reflecting back upon
a 40-year career, Amis also published numerous
non-fiction works in the final decade of his life,
reconfirming his staunch opinions. From 1988 to
1992 three anthologies appeared. Two assembled
his essays and reviews (The Amis Collection,
1991a; The Pleasure of Poetry, 1990b); the
other collected his personal favorites in poetry
(The Amis Anthology, 1989). Amis was knighted in
1990, and in 1991 he published his Memoirs,
inflaming some new controversies. Amis died on
October 22, 1995, leaving behind two sons, Philip
and Martin. A daughter, Sally, was later revealed
to be another mans child.
Over the course of his lengthy career, Amis
helped return the English novel to its realist roots,
opposing the heavily allusive, technically complex
work that defines the modernist and postmodernist periods. His comic satires remain among the
most incisive and lively in twentieth-century literature, for they capture the contemporary world
as it wished never to be seen: with its fragmented
ideals and smug complacencies exposed.
SEE ALSO: Amis, Martin (BIF); Angry Young
Man Fiction (BIF); Campus Novel (BIF)


Amis, K. (1954a). Communication and the Victorian
Poet. Essays in Criticism, 4, 38699.
Amis, K. (1954b). Lucky Jim. London: Gollancz.
Amis, K. (1955). That Uncertain Feeling. London:
Amis, K. (1957). Socialism and the Intellectuals. London:
Fabian Society.
Amis, K. (1958). I Like It Here. London: Gollancz.
Amis, K. (1960a). New Maps of Hell: A Survey of Science
Fiction. New York: Harcourt Brace.
Amis, K. (1960b). Take a Girl Like You. London:
Amis, K. (1963). One Fat Englishman. London: Gollancz.
Amis, K. (1965). The James Bond Dossier. London:
Jonathan Cape.

Amis, K. (1966). The Anti-Death League. London:

Jonathan Cape.
Amis, K. (as Markham, R.) (1968a). Colonel Sun:
A James Bond Adventure. London: Jonathan Cape.
Amis, K. (1968b). I Want It Now. London: Jonathan
Amis, K. (1969). The Green Man. London: Jonathan
Amis, K. (1970). What Became of Jane Austen? And
Other Questions. London: Jonathan Cape.
Amis, K. (1971). Girl, 20. London: Jonathan Cape.
Amis, K. (1972). On Drink. London: Jonathan Cape.
Amis, K. (1974). Ending Up. London: Jonathan
Amis, K. (1976). The Alteration. London: Jonathan
Amis, K. (1978). Jakes Thing. London: Hutchinson.
Amis, K. (1980). Russian Hide and Seek. London:
Amis, K. (1983). Every Day Drinking. London:
Amis, K. (1984a). Hows Your Glass? A Quizzical Look at
Drinks and Drinking. London: Weidenfeld and
Amis, K. (1984b). Stanley and the Women. London:
Amis, K. (1986). The Old Devils. London: Hutchinson.
Amis, K. (1988). Difficulties with Girls. London:
Amis, K. (1989). The Amis Anthology: A Personal
Collection of Verse. London: Arena.
Amis, K. (1990a). The Folks that Live on the Hill.
London: Hutchinson.
Amis, K. (1990b). The Pleasure of Poetry: From His Daily
Mirror Column. London: Cassell.
Amis, K. (1991a). The Amis Collection: Selected NonFiction 19541990. London: Penguin.
Amis, K. (1991b). Memoirs. London: Hutchinson.
Amis, K. (1992). The Russian Girl. London:
Amis, K. (1995). The Biographers Moustache. London:
Amis, K. (1997). The Kings English: A Guide to Modern
Usage. London: HarperCollins.
Amis, M. (2000). Experience: A Memoir. London:
Jonathan Cape.
Bradford, R. (2001). Lucky Him: The Life of Kingsley
Amis. Chester Springs, PA: Peter Owen.
Fussell, P. (1994). The Anti-Egotist: Kingsley Amis, Man
of Letters. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Jacobs, E. (1995). Kingsley Amis: A Biography. London:
Hodder and Stoughton.
Keulks, G. (2003). Father and Son: Kingsley Amis,
Martin Amis, and the British Novel Since 1950.
Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Leader, Z. (ed.) (2000). The Letters of Kingsley Amis.

London: HarperCollins.
Leader, Z. (2006). The Life of Kingsley Amis. London:
Jonathan Cape.
Lodge, D. (1966). The Modern, the Contemporary, and
the Importance of Being Amis. In Language of Fiction.
London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, pp. 24367.
McDermott, J. (1989). Kingsley Amis: An English
Moralist. New York: St. Martins.
Moseley, M. (1993). Understanding Kingsley Amis.
Columbia: University of South Carolina Press.
Salwak, D. (ed.) (1990). Kingsley Amis: In Life and
Letters. New York: St. Martins.
Salwak, D. (1992). Kingsley Amis: Modern Novelist.
Lanham, MD: Barnes and Noble.

Amis, Martin

Born on August 25, 1949, the second son of writer

Kingsley Amis and wife Hilary, Martin Amis has
long lived a life of literary celebrity. Spanning
three and a half decades, 11 novels, seven works
of non-fiction, two short story collections, and
nearly 400 reviews and essays, his career has been
prolific, hugely profitable, and consistently controversial. His awards include the Somerset
Maugham Award and the James Tait Black
Memorial Prize for biography, and his work is
routinely shortlisted for other awards, most
notoriously the annual Man Booker Prize for
Fiction. From the appearance of his first novel,
The Rachel Papers (1973), to his most recent book,
The Second Plane: September 11: Terror and Boredom (2008), Amis has inflamed some of the most
incendiary debates of the contemporary era.
His words have prompted new considerations of
realism, feminism, politics, and culture, and his
personal life has provided fodder for gossip and
tabloid journalism. As is true of anyone whose life
has careened into fame, such assessments have not
always been cordial. They have, however, always
been lively, always been edifying, and easily confirm Amiss status as one of Englands most
important living writers.
From the bleak satires of his early period
through the sweeping epics of the 1980s,
which solidified his reputation, to the ongoing
evolution of his latest work, Amis routinely attracts international attention sometimes for the


wrong reasons. His well-publicized divorce and

remarriage and the late discovery of an illegitimate daughter have sometimes overshadowed his
novels. When he changed literary agents in the
mid-1990s, securing a massive financial advance,
he was accused of selfishness and greed by some
prominent English writers. Such petit scandals
aside, few writers can match the spectacle of
Amiss literary ascension throughout the 1980s.
After establishing his name with a series of dark
comedies and satires that centered upon hip,
sarcastic, urban youths The Rachel Papers, Dead
Babies (1975), Success (1978), and Other People: A
Mystery Story (1981) Amis expanded his stylistic
and thematic repertoire to produce his masterpiece, Money: A Suicide Note, in 1984. Twentiethcentury literary history stills bears the imprint
of this work, which represents for many scholars
the commencement of Amiss middle and decidedly major period. Through the voice of its
charming antihero narrator, John Self, the novel
exposes the intricate betrayals and falsehoods that
support a culture enslaved to money. The novel
succeeds by blending the idiosyncratic with
the universal: John Self s miscalculations and
illusions are exponentially manifest in the wealthobsessed mindsets of England and America
during this decade.
Following a collection of essays (The Moronic
Inferno and Other Visits to America, 1986) and a
book of short stories grouped around the theme
of nuclear weapons (Einsteins Monsters, 1987),
London Fields appeared in 1989, joining Money as
two of the decades most incisive portraits of
apocalyptic anxieties, nuclear fear, and egocentric
individualism. Indeed, Amis considers these
works to form with The Information (1995)
an informal trilogy. Literary scholars have largely
agreed, ranking this triptych of novels among
Amiss major achievements, a showcase for his
distinctive themes, influences, and techniques.
Of course such classifications obscure the intervening Times Arrow; or, The Nature of the
Offence (1991), a taut yet forceful novel that
examines Nazi atrocities through the structural
lenses of reverse chronology and split consciousness. Such a work also exemplifies the grounds
upon which Amiss detractors have often congregated: some objected to Amiss subjugation of
history to style, labeling his efforts artistically
callous or indulgent. Like Money, Times Arrow

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



is a tour de force of technique, a showcase for

reimagining literary frameworks and forms.
A highly influential, often imitated stylist, Amis
has engendered more than his share of literary
rivalry, and as is true of most authors, he has
struggled to maintain the momentum of his
middle, major period. Literary history features
relatively few W. B. Yeatses or Saul Bellows,
perennial producers of exceptional work, literary
longevitists. Indeed the author of Yellow Dog
(2003) bears little resemblance to the author of
The Rachel Papers as one would expect or hope,
given the weight of experience. After refining his
trademark characteristics and assuming the pinnacle of literary celebrity, Amis took a semi-hiatus
from fiction after 1995, inaugurating a transitional period that would ultimately produce his best
non-fiction writing. Although two works of fiction appeared Night Train (1997) and Heavy
Water and Other Stories (1998) the triumph of
this most recent period remains his memoir,
Experience (2000), a poignant rumination upon
the most pressing relationships in his life: those
with his father, his mentors and friends, wives and
children, and perhaps most important his own
aging. Significantly, his authorial perspective is
divided in Experience. Often he peers at the specter
of literary immortality; other times he languishes
upon lower terrain mortality, celebrity, feuds.
Of course, it is tempting to argue that there
remains only one unsettled feud in Experience,
and that is Amiss quarrel with death.
Besides Experience, the early years of the twentyfirst century witnessed the publication of two
additional non-fiction books: a collection of previously published work The War against Cliche:
Essays and Reviews, 19712000 (2001) and the
controversial political memoir Koba the Dread:
Laughter and the Twenty Million (2002). In 2003
Amis returned to fiction with Yellow Dog, an
ambitious and at times sprawling novel that many
people consider his least successful work. Fueling
the controversies that his work always seems to
inflame, the novel spawned new debates regarding
the evolution of Amiss career, his prodigious
talent, and his literary reputation. Perhaps in time
Yellow Dog will undergo a critical revaluation, but
it remains for now the nadir of Amiss career.
Any lingering questions about the state of
Amiss talent were silenced with the appearance
of House of Meetings (2006), a succinct political

novel that is also in many ways a companion text

to Koba the Dread. It depicts the contrasting
experiences and recollections of two half-brothers
imprisoned in a Soviet gulag. As with many of
Amiss novels, the complexities of love suffuse
the narrative, but whereas earlier works such as
London Fields once sought to depict the symbolic
death of love, later novels such as Yellow Dog
and House of Meetings work to resuscitate it as a
force of healing, equally personal and political.
This is not to say that Amis has softened or
mellowed as hes aged satirists in general do
not. Rather, the author who once so gleefully
discredited sentimentality and emotional cliche
now sought to refine the moral and humanist
imperatives of his writing.
This reinvigorated moral humanism also
figured more prominently in his non-fiction writings after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United
States and the 7/7 bombings in England. A series
of essays Fear and Loathing, The Voice of
the Lonely Crowd, The Palace of the End, The
Age of Horrorism, Terrorisms New Structure,
among others described Amiss conviction that
Islamic extremism (or Islamism, as he termed it)
ranked as the greatest threat in global politics.
A smattering of book reviews and short stories
appeared on similar topics, highlighted by
The Last Days of Muhammad Atta and The
Unknown Known.
As with most of Amiss writings, reactions to
this overt politicizing were divided. Some people
argued that it should be seen as extending the
political commentary in his earlier work, when
the recurring subjects were nuclear weapons and
the shifting balance of power in the post-Cold
War era. Other people lamented the swerve in
Amiss thinking from liberal castigator of greed,
corruption, and hypocrisy to reactionary neoconservative alarmist, who often seemed to minimize the crucial distinction between Islamic faith
and Islamic extremism.
The strengths that serve Amis so well in his
fiction he is an exceptionally inventive stylist,
following the tradition of James Joyce and
Vladimir Nabokov sometimes work against him
in these essays. Islamism and Horrorism are
two such examples, as are more elaborate phrasings like sourly mineral incredulity. In 2008, the
best of these writings were assembled in his
most opinionated collection The Second Plane:

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


September 11: Terror and Boredom, which was

poorly received, especially in the US. Regardless
of ones political leanings, these writings did serve
to confirm one inescapable fact: in addition to
being viewed as one of Englands greatest living
novelists, Amis now had to be considered one of
its foremost men of letters too. Amiss next major
publication a novel titled The Pregnant Widow
was published in 2010.
Now that Martin Amis has assumed his position
amid the established orders, the older guard of
contemporary literature, it has become easier to
regard him as a literary father in his own right,
someone against whom younger writers are compelled to react or inveigh. It has also become easier
to contextualize his achievements within literary
genres and movements. After more than three
decades of controversial, critically acclaimed, and
popular work, Amis remains a writer who is not
afraid to leverage his reputation and integrity by
speaking his mind. In this regard, he remains also a
writer in transition, one whose risk-taking has
never failed to captivate readers interest and imaginations. Beneath the clamoring of controversy
and the triumphalism of prizes that interest alone
ensures an audience and, possibly, fame. Although
he has written much that has fallen below his best
efforts, he has remained a force in the literary
vanguard for nearly four decades. As he continues
to refine his legacy, one thing seems certain to
persist: his words will be closely considered and
debated. Few writers are afforded that luxury, and
fewer still would ask for anything more.
SEE ALSO: Amis, Kingsley (BIF); Chicklit and
Ladlit (BIF); London in Fiction (BIF); Politics and
the Novel (BIF); Postmodernist Fiction (BIF)


Amis, M. (1987). Einsteins Monsters. London: Jonathan

Amis, M. (1989). London Fields. London: Jonathan Cape.
Amis, M. (1991). Times Arrow; or, The Nature of the
Offence. London: Jonathan Cape.
Amis, M. (1993). Visiting Mrs. Nabokov and Other
Excursions. London: Jonathan Cape.
Amis, M. (1995). The Information. London: HarperCollins.
Amis, M. (1997). Night Train. London: Jonathan Cape.
Amis, M. (1998). Heavy Water and Other Stories.
London: Jonathan Cape.
Amis, M. (2000). Experience: A Memoir. London:
Jonathan Cape.
Amis, M. (2001). The War against Cliche: Essays and
Reviews, 19712000. London: Jonathan Cape.
Amis, M. (2002). Koba the Dread: Laughter and the
Twenty Million. London: Jonathan Cape.
Amis, M. (2003). Yellow Dog. London: Jonathan Cape.
Amis, M. (2006). House of Meetings. London: Jonathan
Amis, M. (2008). The Second Plane: September 11: Terror
and Boredom. London: Jonathan Cape.
Amis, M. (2010). The Pregnant Widow. London:
Jonathan Cape.
Dern, J. A. (2000). Martians, Monsters, and Madonnas:
Fiction and Form in the World of Martin Amis. New
York: Peter Lang.
Diedrick, J. (2004). Understanding Martin Amis.
Columbia: University of South Carolina Press.
Finney, B. (2008). Martin Amis. New York: Routledge.
Keulks, G. (2003). Father and Son: Kingsley Amis,
Martin Amis, and the British Novel Since 1950.
Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.
Keulks, G. (ed.) (2006). Martin Amis: Postmodernism
and Beyond. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Tredell, N. (ed.) (2000). The Fiction of Martin Amis: A
Readers Guide to Criticism. Basingstoke: Palgrave

Angry Young Man Fiction



Amis, M. (1973). The Rachel Papers. London: Jonathan

Amis, M. (1975). Dead Babies. London: Jonathan Cape.
Amis, M. (1978). Success. London: Jonathan Cape.
Amis, M. (1981). Other People: A Mystery Story.
London: Jonathan Cape.
Amis, M. (1982). Invasion of the Space Invaders.
London: Hutchinson.
Amis, M. (1984). Money: A Suicide Note. London:
Jonathan Cape.
Amis, M. (1986). The Moronic Inferno and Other Visits
to America. London: Jonathan Cape.

The term angry young man refers to a loose

grouping of British writers, mainly dramatists and
novelists, who emerged in the mid- to late 1950s.
As the term suggests, most of the writers associated with the group were relatively young
and male, and their anger was generally directed
toward what they perceived as the establishment
or the prevailing ideologies of British society in
the 1950s. That most of them (and their fictional
heroes) came from working- or lower-middleclass backgrounds suggests that class distinction

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



was one of the main causes of the anger they

presented in their work. The term also refers to
some of the characters that appeared in the texts
they produced. Therefore, it assumed a wider
cultural significance and was applied, often uncritically, to any young, predominantly white,
male figure who had some sense of grievance
against his parents generation, or the establishment, or both.
The term was coined in 1956 after the opening
of John Osbornes play Look Back in Anger at the
Royal Court Theatre and has been attributed by
Harry Ritchie to the theaters press officer at the
time, George Fearon (Ritchie 26). The term related to the main protagonist in the play, Jimmy
Porter, and was quickly taken up by the media to
refer to those whose frustration and annoyance
was perceived as symptomatic of a common
feeling in certain quarters in the 1950s. Although
it was never an organized group, several writers
found themselves associated with the term, including the novelists Stan Barstow, John Braine,
William Cooper, Alan Sillitoe, David Storey, and
Keith Waterhouse; the dramatists John Arden,
Harold Pinter, John Osborne, and Arnold
Wesker; and the existential philosophers and
cultural commentators Stuart Holroyd, Bill
Hopkins, and Colin Wilson. Although the term
was coined in the mid-1950s many writers became
attached in hindsight to the new group, including
those associated with the Movement poets and
novelists that had emerged in the early 1950s such
as Kingsley Amis, Philip Larkin, and John Wain.
An early collection of essays under the title
Declaration, edited by Tom Maschler (1957),
brought together ideas by many in the group
including Osborne, Holroyd, Hopkins, Wilson,
and Wain, as well as others such as the filmmaker
Lindsay Anderson, the theater critic Kenneth
Tynan, and the novelist Doris Lessing.
The anger expressed had complex causes but
was linked by a general sense of disillusionment
that many young, working- or lower-middle-class
writers felt with the failure of the 1945 Clement
Attlee Labour government to deliver its promise
of establishing a more egalitarian and democratic
society. Many in the late 1950s felt that the old
class prejudices, which reserved the best jobs
in government, industry, and public life for a
privileged few, were still entrenched in British
society. Although the general trend among the

angry young men was toward a resistance to

dominant society, politically they were more diverse than one might expect. Many, like Kingsley
Amis, had flirted with the Communist Party
during their university days, and many in the
group were associated with the rise of the British
New Left in the second half of the 1950s. This was
a group of intellectuals who coalesced (in a British
context) around the academic journal Universities
and Left Review (which later became the New Left
Review) and included figures such as Raymond
Williams, E. P. Thompson, Richard Hoggart,
Ralph Samuel, and Stuart Hall. They were influenced by Marxist theory but tended to focus more
on the cultural than the economic aspects of social
class. It is unfair to say, however, that the group
was wholly left-leaning politically. Many in the
group tended, especially as they got older, to move
to the right politically. Kingsley Amis, for example, became a supporter of the Conservative Party
in the 1970s, and Philip Larkin claimed to be a fan
of Margaret Thatcher.
In the 1950s, the work produced by the angry
young men tended toward realism as a literary
(and filmic) mode. The settings of the plays and
novels they produced tended to be urban, often
Northern, and distinctly working class. In the
theater, the term kitchen-sink drama was
coined to express something of the tawdry domestic environment in which much of the action
took place. Many of the angry writers adopted
realism as a form that they felt best expressed the
political commitment they wanted their writing
to convey. This return to realism was in fact often
articulated as a reaction against the modernist
experimentalism of the pre-World War II literary
establishment. After its initial radical experimentation in the 1920s and 1930s many of the angry
writers felt modernism was too elitist and esoteric
to communicate directly with a popular readership. Modernism was seen to be too closely associated with the established literary scene, which
was often felt to be conservative and allied with
establishment views of society. William Cooper,
for example, regarded modernism as an attack
from the inside on intellect in general, made by
intellectuals so decadent that they no longer mind
if intellect persists in fact some of them sound as
if they would be happier if it didnt (1959, 36).
The identification, however, of a return to
realism in the angry texts is often complicated,

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


especially upon close analysis of some of the

writers works. For example, in his 1950s texts
Alan Sillitoe often uses interior monologues and a
mode of narration called free indirect discourse
which was more associated with modernist than
realist conventions; and the use of fantasy and
dream narratives in Keith Waterhouses Billy Liar
offers an alternative imaginative location to the
gritty, Northern, working-class environment in
which the character is placed.
It is a mark of the fluid nature of the term that
in the popular imagination angry young men
was understood to refer not only to writers but
also to the emblematic set of male heroes and
antiheroes they produced: Arthur Seaton in Alan
Sillitoes Saturday Night and Sunday Morning
(1958), and the unnamed borstal boy of his short
story The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner
(1959); Joe Lampton, the ambitious lowermiddle-class hero of John Braines Room at the
Top (1957); Arthur Machin, the hard-playing and
hard-drinking rugby player in David Storeys This
Sporting Life (1960); the jazz trumpeter Jimmy
Porter in Osbornes Look Back in Anger (1957);
and Billy Liar, the eponymous hero of Keith
Waterhouses 1959 novel. Jim Dixon in Kingsley
Amiss Lucky Jim (1953) and Charles Lumley
in John Wains Hurry on Down (1953) were
retrospectively associated with this group of antiheroes. As can be seen by this range of characters
Alan Sillitoes borstal boy is a far remove from Jim
Dixon, the disillusioned university lecturer their
differences are often as great as their similarities,
even if they share a distrust of authority and the
old order.
As well as the anger, it is important to contextualize the angry young men with respect to
gender and age. Although the term clearly refers
mainly to male writers, a few women writers were
also associated with the group. Doris Lessing, for
example, because of her association with left-wing
politics, and works such as In Pursuit of the English
(1960) that concentrated on working-class life in
the Britain in the 1950s, were associated with the
group. Shelagh Delaneys play A Taste of Honey
(1956) also became identified as angry writing,
as did Lynne Reid Bankss The L-Shaped Room
(1960). The concentration in these novels
of exploring the female experience of British
working-class culture made them closely allied
to the angry ethic, while at the same time


identifying aspects of patriarchy and misogyny

within working-class culture and the male writers
who were recording it. Indeed, women were often
seen as simply wives and mothers by the male
writers, and thus allied to the forces of society that
threatened to contain the potentially radical
stances taken by the male protagonists. Lynne
Segal, in Look Back in Anger: Men in the Fifties
(1990), argues convincingly that the barely
concealed misogyny in much angry writing was
part of a resistance to changing models of masculinity, which sought to domesticate a generation of men who had been brought up to believe in
the manliness and excitement of war. Women
were too often presented as prizes for what Eve
Kosofsky Sedgwick (27) calls the homosocial
competition between rival male characters from
different classes. The model for this is established
in Lucky Jim, where Jim Dixon succeeds, eventually, in wresting the affections of the beautiful
Christine away from his class enemy Bertrand
Welch. This theme is repeated often enough
to show the importance of gender in angry
writing. Joe Lampton, in Braines Room at the
Top, for example, sees his conquest of Susan
Brown, the daughter of a wealthy businessman,
as part of his process of climbing the class ladder.
Much of the most interesting recent research
on the angry young men has concentrated on
the representation of masculinity in the texts,
especially in relation to the way it was being
redefined during this period, suggesting that
much of the anger can be attributed to men trying
to reassert their manhood as a consequence of the
perceived feminization of a postwar society.
Brook (2007), for example, is interested in the
way masculinity becomes a complex subject in
fiction in the 1950s and centered on the male body
as a site for feeling and vitality; and Ferrebe (2005)
explores the cultural and philosophical contexts
informing the representation of masculinity in
the angry novels.
In terms of age, the phenomenon of the angry
young men connected in the 1950s with an
emerging sense of a youthful and rebellious
cultural consciousness that was felt to be invading
Britain, especially from America. Richard
Hoggart (1957), for example, wrote of what he
called the shiny barbarism (193) of American
popular culture and its effect on the Juke-Box
boys (246). He lamented an older sense of the

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



organic working class that he felt was under threat

from the new attractions of (Americanized) consumerism. Rock n roll and other new musical
styles such as jazz were sweeping Britain and
attracting youth in the late fifties. The concentration on fashion and looking good is a key feature,
for example, of Arthur Seaton, the young rebellious character in Alan Sillitoes Saturday Night
and Sunday Morning. Colin MacInnes, a writer
not always associated with the angry young
men, but clearly emerging from the same contexts and with a similar disgruntled attitude
toward the establishment, focused on youth,
homosexuality, and emerging black culture in his
trilogy of London novels that included Absolute
Beginners (1959) and City of Spades (1957). For
MacInnes youth represented an oppositional and
potentially radical voice that challenged the
dominant ideologies and beliefs of 1950s Britain.
As with gender, much recent critical work has
been done on the place of youth and subcultures
in the angry writing of the 1950s. Bentley
(2007), for example, has identified British youth
culture, with its gaze on America, as one of the
ways in which frustration with the British establishment sought alternative cultural forms and
MacInness book also relates to another recent
direction taken in the research done on the
angries: the way in which race and ethnicity
were represented. Although the dominant image
of the angry young men is white British, the
establishment of immigrant communities in Britain in the 1950s begin to interest those writers
associated with the group. Sillitoe in Saturday
Night and Sunday Morning, for example, introduces a black character as the friend of one of
Arthur Seatons brothers; and despite the racial
banter that occurs, theres a clear attempt to show
the connections between the working classes
across a racial divide. One of the most important
1950s writers in this context is Sam Selvon, a black
Caribbean writer who came to Britain in the 1950s
and, in his novel The Lonely Londoners (1956),
attempted to articulate the experiences of the first
generation of (usually male) immigrants that
came to Britain during this period. His focus on
urban working-class life in 1950s Britain has
affinities with much of the angry writing of the
period, although, like MacInnes, he has only
recently been associated with the group.

SEE ALSO: Modernist Fiction (BIF); Politics

and the Novel (BIF); Working-Class Fiction (BIF)
Amis, K. (1953). Lucky Jim. London: Gollancz.
Banks, L. R. (1960). The L-Shaped Room. London:
Chatto and Windus.
Bentley, N. (2007). Radical Fictions: The English Novel
in the 1950s. Oxford: Peter Lang.
Bergonzi, B. (1993). Wartime and Aftermath: English
Literature and Its Background 19391960. Oxford:
Oxford University Press.
Bradbury, M. (2001). No, Not Bloomsbury? 19541960.
In The Modern British Novel 18782001, rev. edn.
Harmondsworth: Penguin, pp. 313360.
Braine, J. (1957). Room at the Top. London: Eyre and
Brannigan, J. (2002). Literature, Culture, and Society in
Postwar England, 19451965. Lewiston, NY: Edwin
Brook, S. (2007). Literature and Cultural Criticism in the
1950s: The Feeling Male Body. Basingstoke: Palgrave
Carpenter, H. (2002). The Angry Young Men: A Literary
Comedy of the 1950s. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
Cooper, W. (1959). Reflections on Some Aspects of the
Experimental Novel. In J. Wain (ed.), International
Literary Annual, no. 2. London: John Calder, pp.
Delaney, S. (1956). A Taste of Honey. London: Methuen.
Ferrebe, A. (2005). Masculinity in Male-Authored
Fiction 19502000: Keeping It Up. Basingstoke:
Palgrave Macmillan.
Head, D. (2002). Class and Social Change. In The
Cambridge Introduction to Modern British Fiction,
19502000. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
pp. 4982.
Hewison, R. (1981). In Anger: Culture in the Cold War
194560. London: Methuen.
Hill, J. (1986). Sex, Class and Realism: British Cinema
19561963. London: BFI.
Hoggart, R. (1957). The Uses of Literacy: Aspects of
Working-Class Life with Special Reference to
Publications and Entertainments. London: Chatto
and Windus.
Kalliney, P. J. (2006). Cities of Affluence and Anger:
A Literary Geography of Modern Englishness.
Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press.
Laing, S. (1986). Representations of Working-Class Life
19571964. London: Macmillan.
Lessing, D. (1960). In Pursuit of the English. London:
MacGibbon and Kee.
MacInnes, C. (1957). City of Spades. London:
MacGibbon and Kee.

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


MacInnes, C. (1959). Absolute Beginners. London:

MacGibbon and Kee.
Maschler, T. (ed.) (1957). Declaration. London:
MacGibbon and Kee.
Morrison, B. (1980). The Movement: English Poetry and
Fiction of the 1950s. London: Methuen.
Osborne, J. (1957). Look Back in Anger. London: Faber
and Faber.
Rabinovitz, R. (1967). The Reaction against Experiment
in the English Novel 19501960. New York: Columbia
University Press.
Ritchie, H. (1988). Success Stories: Literature and the
Media in England, 19501959. London: Faber and
Sedgwick, E. K. (1985). Between Men: English Literature
and Male Homosocial Desire. New York: Columbia
University Press.
Segal, L. (1990). Look Back in Anger: Men in the Fifties.
In Slow Motion: Changing Masculinities, Changing
Men. London: Virago, pp. 125.
Selvon, S. (1956). The Lonely Londoners. London: Alan
Sillitoe, A. (1958). Saturday Night and Sunday Morning.
London: W. H. Allen.
Sillitoe, A. (1959). The Loneliness of the Long Distance
Runner. London: W. H. Allen.
Storey, D. (1960). This Sporting Life. London:
Wain, J. (1953). Hurry On Down. London: Secker and
Waterhouse, K. (1959). Billy Liar. London: Michael
Wilson, C. (2007). The Angry Years: The Rise and the
Fall of the Angry Young Men. London: Robson.

Awards and Prizes


In his 2005 study of todays prize culture, The

Economy of Prestige, James F. English argues that
even if literary prizes (in the sense of the
Greek drama and arts competitions in the sixth
century BC) seem always to have been with us,
their stunning rise . . . over the past hundred
years is one of the great untold stories of modern
cultural life (2005b, 1). This is certainly true
when one considers fiction awards and prizes in
Britain and what is customarily known as the
Booker-eligible world since about 1980. The rise
and increasing complexity of this cultural phenomenon during the past 30 years has, it may be
argued, proved even more stunning.


To illustrate this claim, a mark of the change

that has taken place in the first decade of the
twenty-first century is that a subgenre of academic
discourse on literary prizes has evolved. In 2003
Oxford Brookes University acquired the Man
Booker archive from Booktrust, a symbolic move
in which the academic environment became part
of the prize worlds hitherto cultural establishment and commercial space.
A conference was held to mark the event, and a
selection of essays from that conference later
appeared (G
ortschacher & Klein 2006). In 2006
a conference was held at the Sorbonne in Paris,
under the auspices of the ERCLA research center

du Roman Contemporaine de Langue
Anglaise), the purpose of which was to try to
understand the impact of literary prizes on the
market of literature in Great-Britain [sic] and
Commonwealth countries (Guignery 11).
In the British book trade the term Bookereligible has for some years been preferred to
Commonwealth in an attempt to avoid any
sense of Anglocentrism. Whatever the preferred
terminology, the explanation for its existence as a
category may be sought in a longstanding feature
of the Anglophone publishing world, where for
many years US fiction was specially copyrighted,
and as a result was excluded from the terms of
eligibility of the Booker Prize when it was first set
up in 1969. Since 2002 it has been known as the
Man Booker prize, but the Booker label has
tended to stick (Turner 596). Although, as has
been noted, the past century has seen a striking
series of developments, until about 1975 the
actual handing over or bestowal of a given
award was a fairly low-key affair.
For those readers accustomed during the 1980s
and 1990s to the high-profile televised celebratory
dinner, in the case of the Booker culminating in
what was usually a cliff-hanging speech at the end
of which the winner is announced, this low-key
approach may seem strange. Although throughout the past century prizes have been awarded for
particular categories of writing, the rise and rise of
the Booker during the 1980s prompted a more
politicized approach to prize-giving, and the rise
of what may be called special interests or even
logrolling may be noted here. Literary prizes
have been marked since the 1980s by sums of prize
money that (even adjusted to the values of the
time) could not have been dreamed of before

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



1950, and what is more, the effect on sales can be

(but has not consistently been) staggering, with
revenues to publishers, and thus royalties due to
prize-winning authors, exceeding by several times
the monetary value of the award itself. More
recently still, the real winners, since the abolition
of retail price maintenance on books in the UK in
1996, have been neither authors nor publishers,
but booksellers.
A painful event occurring in the ceremony of
the 2008 Wales Book of the Year, transmitted by
the BBC on July 2, 2008, serves to indicate the
plethora of awards now available, as well as illustrating what has come to be a format pioneered by
the Booker panel in the late 1970s. A dinner is
enjoyed by scores of invited guests. Unlike the
Academy Awards, the setting is not theatrical but
convivial, united with the Oscars only in the
tension that builds up as a series of shortlisted
authors is revealed, the speech from the chair
sometimes reaching agonizing lengths for the
participants (shortlisted writers, entourage, publishers, agents, and those who have bet on the
outcome). Whereas the Oscar award ceremony is
diluted by the baffling variety of awards, a
typical ceremony such as the Welsh one (apparently not the only one to go horribly wrong) is
possibly still more fraught with tension because
in the vast majority of cases only one person
will leave as winner. In this event, the Welsh
culture minister Rhodri Glyn Thomas inexplicably read out the name of the runner-up instead of
the winner. The duped Tom Bullough left the
ceremony in a huff, without waiting to see
the 10,000 cheque going to Dannie Abse for
The Presence or, apparently, claiming his 1,000
consolation cheque for The Claude Glass.
As the description of the format of the Wales
Book of the Year ceremony indicates, it is the Man
Booker ceremony format that is the big daddy of
them all. To paraphrase James English (2005b,
1978), the annual dinner and award ceremony
has long been predicated on finding a prestigious
location (for many years Londons Guildhall,
more recently the British Museum). It is customarily televised live in prime time: indeed the very
phenomenon of televising the ceremony, and the
concomitant media and global interest, is crucial
to todays prize culture. Recent Man Booker
sophistications include what English calls a roving floor reporter covering the live action. Ex-

tracts from and expert commentary on each

shortlisted title are presented by a studio team,
often also set up in the chosen location. English is
anxious to stress that a meta-commentary of the
television coverage of the event has itself apparently
become a cultural product worthy of critical
scrutiny (198; emphasis original).
In this context it is worth taking note of one of
Robert McCrums observations in an article
marking his standing down as The Observers
literary editor in May 2008 after more than 10
years on the job, which is the increasing use, and
even intermittent reputability, of the blogosphere:
commentators who are not professional critics
have an increasingly greater say on all aspects of
literary fiction, and such a say is not limited to
professional journalists and/or critics. Some
doomsayers even foresee, if not actually the
end of the culture of professional criticism, then
certainly an era in which what they consider unprofessional blogs are increasingly given authority.
The early days (the early 1980s) are now largely
remembered by single televised moments, such as
(in 1983) the very telegenic Selina Scotts asking
the chair of the Booker judges, Fay Weldon,
whether she had read all the shortlisted books
all the way through and attempting to solicit an
opinion from the late Angela Carter, another
judge; or (in 1985) Hermione Lees astonishing
coup in tracking down the one-off winner Keri
Hulme to Salt Lake City, Utah, for a brief live
telephone interview (Todd 1996, 74). The evanescence of these moments, and of the whole ceremony and the meta-ceremonies surrounding it,
has of course been made retrievable by the increasingly professional and creative use of television and the Internet. The one constant feature of
the Booker ceremony, and the events leading up
to it, has been crisply summarized: its purpose,
from its foundation by Tom Maschler and Martyn
Goff, has been not only to promote the cause of
serious fiction but, at the same time almost by
definition, to provoke rows and scandals, which
may, in due course, promote the cause of serious
fiction (Lawson 12, quoted in English 2005b,
213), and its the rows that keep the Booker
going (Lawson 12, quoted in Todd 1996, 64
n. 10). (Updates from this era are recorded in
Todd 2006, 819 and Norris 2036.)
There can have been little public ceremony
attending the prizes established in the first half

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


of the twentieth century. The James Tait Black

Memorial Prize (1918) and Hawthornden Prize
(1919) are early twentieth-century examples of
low-key ceremonies, although the prize money
(20,000 and 10,000 respectively) has soared to
dizzying heights in the twenty-first century. Postwar (and increasingly less low-key ceremonial
award) examples include: the John Llewellyn Rhys
Prize, which is awarded to fiction or poetry (it was
founded in 1942 by the widow of the eponymous
war victim; now 5,000); the Somerset Maugham
Award (1947: stipulates an age limit of 35, may be
awarded to more than one person, and is to be
used for travel the total fund is now 12,000);
and the W. H. Smith Literary Award (1959:
operated initially according to Booker-eligible
criteria but is now open to world fiction and
fiction in translation). (See English 2005b: 201
and the exhaustive catalogue in Turner 573613
which shows the exponential rise in the number of
prizes over the past decade, and how prize award
money has been increased to match the Man
Bookers 50,000.) The Booker also began (in
1969) modestly in terms of ceremony and prize
money (then a tenth of what it is now). It is
generally accepted (Todd 1996; English 2005b; etc.)
that the Booker was founded because of Maschler
and Goffs perception that no high-profile literary
award such as Frances Prix Goncourt (1903) and
Italys Premio Strega (1947) existed in Britain, an
award in which national literary prestige was intended to take pride of position over prize money;
and it is true that although the prize money for
these awards ranged from the unspectacular to the
nugatory, the effect on sales was staggering. The last
40 years have shown how variable the relationship
between prize money and sales can be where the
Booker is concerned. It cannot be doubted that the
Booker initiative (applicable to a much wider,
Booker-eligible, reading constituency, although
the early winners were almost invariably British)
is probably the single most significant cause of the
unprecedented levels to which the Anglophone
reading public now reads quality fiction.
Certain literary prizes in the early twentieth
century stipulated conditions to be met by the
winner. Thus the prize money of the Somerset
Maugham Award, as already indicated, is intended to enable the winner to travel abroad
(Turner 570). An innovative award, the David
Cohen Prize for Literature, was founded in 1993;


it is made every two years and amounts to

40,000. The beneficiary is a distinguished senior
writer (the first was V. S. Naipaul, and in 1995 the
prize went to the late Harold Pinter; the 2009
winner was Seamus Heaney). The winner of the
David Cohen Prize for Literature chooses the
recipient of the Clarissa Luard Award, which is
worth 12,500. This award is funded by Arts
Council England and is given to a literature
organization that supports young writers or an
individual writer under the age of 35. These
remarkably philanthropic terms contrast with
what may be termed the special interests lobby.
Two special interest lobbies in particular may be
noted here: the Orange Prize for Fiction and the
International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.
The Orange Prize (briefly renamed the Orange
Broadband Prize for Fiction) was first awarded in
1996 to Helen Dunmore for A Spell of Winter. It has
since spawned several subcategories, such as the
Harpers Bazaar Orange Broadband Short Story
Competition, the Penguin/Orange Readers Group
Prize, and the Reading Group Book of the Year.
Subsequent high-profile winners of the Orange
Prize have included Rose Tremains The Road
Home (2008), Zadie Smiths On Beauty (2006),
and Anne Michaelss Fugitive Pieces (1997). There
is a six-title short list, and a long list (the procedure is similar in nature to, and may even have
contributed to, a recently introduced feature of
the Man Booker) is announced some weeks previously. The two obvious differences from the
Man Booker are that the Orange is an all-women
prize, and the terms of eligibility extend to the US.
It was set up in response to a sense among a
number of senior figures in the book trade that
women were underrepresented in Britains prize
culture as it then was, and that there was room for
a prize that recognized English-language fiction
from all over the world, not just the Bookereligible parts of it. An earlier web page distanced
the ceremony from the by then traditional blacktie dinner, and described the award ceremony as
funky, informal, and accompanied by lots of
finger food a glorified reception rather than a
glorified dinner (Todd 2006, 14). The prize money remains at 30,000. The Orange Prize gained
notoriety from its initiation, with a minority of
women writers, most notably A. S. Byatt, refusing
to have their work considered, on the grounds
that the main message sent out by the conditions

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



of eligibility was ghettoization. This has proved

a legitimate argument but not one generally
subscribed to.
A year before the Orange Prize was set up, the
most lucrative prize in the English-speaking world
was launched, not from London but from Dublin.
The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award,
however, is open to writers from all over the world,
providing the title has been translated into English.
The winners since the inception of the award have
been predominantly novelists. The website is extremely informative and interactive, and since this
prize stands rather at the edge of the remit Fiction
Awards and Prizes in Britain, little more will be
said here, other than that nominations are made
mainly by public libraries worldwide, and that
the prize money is D 100,000.
There is no doubt that winners and shortlisted
writers benefit financially from literary prizes:
even such a high-profile fiasco as humiliated Tom
Bullough at the beginning of July 2008 was within
a month being reported in The Bookseller as
having enhanced sales of The Claude Glass significantly. This prompts the question who is actually
the winner in an apparently winwin situation,
and the answer must be the retail sector itself.
The same issue of The Bookseller reported that
Borders in Cardiff saw a huge increase in sales of
The Claude Glass, with the stores David Hughes
actually attributing the commercial success of
the paperback version to Rhodri Glyn Thomass
gaffe. In other words, large though prize money
amounts have become (many are now five-figure
sums in sterling), they can be and sometimes are
perversely dwarfed by sales, and thus royalties.
One of the (Man) Booker awards of which this
was true is probably the 1993 win by Roddy Doyle
for Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, which within a year
had sold 360,000 copies in hardback and within
the calendar year 1994 355,000 in paperback, a
gross revenue by the end of 1994 of 6 million
(Todd 1996, 20). Doyle would have netted well
over 750,000 in 1994: a conservative estimate
assuming the standard hardback and paperback
royalties, and their so-called escalators (royalty
percentages rise by up to 5 percent when a certain
threshold of sales is reached). That is around 50
times the amount of the award money itself by
1994 standards. And this doesnt take account of
subsidiary rights such as translations, radio and
television adaptations, and even film rights. Other

notable commercial successes include Salman

Rushdies 1981 winner Midnights Children, and
A. S. Byatts 1990 win Possession.
However, with the abolition of retail price maintenance in Britain in 1996, everything began to
change, first slowly, then dramatically. By the first
decade of the twenty-first century, retail chains
such as Waterstones were offering 30 to 40 percent
discounts on prize-winning and/or shortlisted
titles (more often in paperback) or grouping them
together in a 3 for 2 offer; and the online supplier
Amazon was following suit. As a result, the picture
that is now emerging is that the real power which
has always tended to be with the retailer has
become entrenched as never before. While it is still
possible for individual authors who win or are
shortlisted for literary prizes to earn enormous
amounts, in a more average or conventional situation their income through royalties has decreased
considerably (Todd 2005).
SEE ALSO: Awards and Prizes (WF);
Globalization and the Novel (BIF); Politics and
the Novel (BIF); The Publishing Industry and
Fiction (WF)


Most if not all of the prizes mentioned here have

their own websites. However, as their contents
change from year to year, website references are
given only in instances where the URL may be
considered stable.
BBC News (2008). Error as Book Award Announced
(July 2). At http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/
wales/7485572.stm, accessed July 3, 2008.
English, J. (ed.) (2005a). Companion to Contemporary
British Literature. Oxford: Blackwell.
English, J. (2005b). The Economy of Prestige: Prizes,
Awards, and the Circulation of Cultural Value.
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
ortschacher, W., & Klein, H. (eds.) (2006). Fiction and
Literary Prizes in Great Britain. Vienna: Praesens.
Guignery, V. (2006). Introduction: The Infinite Journey
of Books. In Guignery & Gallix (2006), pp. 1119.
Guignery, V., & Gallix, F. (eds.) (2006). Pre- and PostPublication Itineraries of the Contemporary Novel in

English. Paris: Editions
Lawson, M. (1994). Never Mind the Plot, Enjoy the
Argument. Independent, p. 12 (Sept. 6).
McCrum, R. (2008). A Thriller in Ten Chapters.
Observer, ch. 8 (May 25). At www.guardian.co.uk/

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


books/2008/may/25/fiction.culture, accessed
Jan. 24, 2010.
Norris, S. (2006). Recontextualising the Booker. In
ortschacher & Klein (2006), pp. 2036.
Todd, R. (1996). Consuming Fictions: The Booker Prize
and Fiction in Britain Today. London: Bloomsbury.


Todd, R. (2005). Literary Fiction and the Book Trade.

In English (2005a), pp. 1938.
Todd, R. (2006). How Has the Booker Prize Changed
Since 1996? In G
ortschacher & Klein (2006), pp. 818.
Turner, B. (ed.) (2007). The Writers Handbook 2008.
London: Macmillan.

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Bainbridge, Beryl

Beryl Bainbridges fiction centers on crisis, ranging from private incidents teenage rebellion
leading to incest or murder (An Awfully Big
Adventure, 1989; Harriet Said, 1972), twisted love
relationships (Sweet William, 1975), disintegrating families suddenly confronted with violence
and death (The Dressmaker, 1973; Injury Time,
1977) to highly public and even national
disasters such as Robert F. Scotts doomed Antarctic expedition (The Birthday Boys, 1991) or the
sinking of the Titanic (Every Man for Himself,
1996). Bainbridges work can be divided into
roughly two groups. The first, which includes
most of her earlier fiction, draws on workingclass life in her native Liverpool. These texts are
partly based on autobiographical experience,
but they also incorporate historical characters
transposed into the Bainbridge universe of stifling
working-class domesticity, such as Hitler in
Young Adolf, depicted on a spurious visit to his
relatives living in Liverpool in 1910. Bainbridges
interest in historical characters and events deepened in the second group of her novels, written
mostly from the 1990s onwards and including, in
addition to the books on Scott and the Titanic,
Master Georgie (1998), set during the Crimean
War, and According to Queenie (2001), about the
relationship between Samuel Johnson and Hester
Thrale, viewed through the eyes of Thrales
daughter Queenie. Her latest novel, The Girl in
the Polka Dot Dress (2008), is the first to move
beyond an exploration of Englishness and to turn

to an American topic, the assassination of Robert

Born in Liverpool on November 21, 1933,
Bainbridge disclosed early the two aspects of her
talent that would dominate her career: an aptitude for performing and for writing. Aged 15, she
ran away from home and joined the Liverpool
Repertory Theatre (the setting for An Awfully Big
Adventure). Her career as an actress included an
appearance in the popular television series Coronation Street. In the 1960s, Bainbridge decided to
focus on her literary work. After experiencing
initial rejection by publishers, critics, and the
public alike mostly because her characters were
considered repellent her third novel Harriet
Said, in fact the first to be written, was accepted by
Duckworth, initiating a successful publishing
partnership which lasted into the late 1990s.
Harriet Said introduces a typical Bainbridge configuration: two adolescent girls bent on collecting
Experience begin to stalk a middle-aged neighbor; their growing obsession with his far from
glamorous sexual life culminates, unexpectedly
and chillingly, in his wifes murder at the hands
of the naive narrator. Repression, neurotic sexuality, self-deception, the desire to break free, and
the unpredictability of life are leitmotifs in
Bainbridges work.
At first sight, her novels follow a trajectory from
marginalized, troubled characters to figures occupying major positions in British intellectual history, such as Samuel Johnson, or embodiments
of heroism, such as the explorer Captain Scott.
However, by consistently adopting the perspective
of subaltern characters, for example young

The Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Fiction General editor: Brian W. Shaffer

2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Queenie Thrale or the crew members of Scotts

Antarctic voyage, the shortcomings of these
great British heroes are disclosed, their respective claim to fame debunked as the effect of a selfserving, neurotic personality. In all her writings,
the British class system is regarded from a dispassionate, ironically subversive position. This critical concern for the iniquities of British society and
history is carried over into Bainbridges non-fiction, as in her travelogue English Journey in which
she retraces J. B. Priestleys classic Depression-era
journey. Apart from her fiction, her non-fictional
explorations of contemporary England, and her
theater reviews (now collected in Front Row,
2005), Bainbridge is also known for her work for
television, both as a presenter and a scriptwriter.
Over the years, Beryl Bainbridge has established
herself as a leading English novelist, achieving
both critical and commercial success. Five of her
books were shortlisted for the Booker Prize; for
Every Man for Himself she received the Whitbread
Novel Award, and for Master Georgie she was
awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize,
the Commonwealth Writers Prize, and the W. H.
Smith Literary Award. In 2000, Bainbridge was
made a Dame of the British Empire. Her novels,
unostentatious and economical in style, and often
bleak in their outlook, capture their readership
by the authors sharp, unflinching observation,
her precise rendering of dialogue, and, last but not
least, her (often black) humor.
SEE ALSO: Feminist Fiction (BIF); Historical
Fiction (BIF); Working-Class Fiction (BIF)


Bainbridge, B. (1967). A Weekend with Claude
(Rev. edn. 1981). London: Hutchinson.
Bainbridge, B. (1968). Another Part of the Wood
(Rev. edn. 1979). London: Hutchinson.
Bainbridge, B. (1972). Harriet Said. London:
Bainbridge, B. (1973). The Dressmaker. London:
Bainbridge, B. (1974). The Bottle Factory Outing.
London: Duckworth.
Bainbridge, B. (1975). Sweet William. London:
Bainbridge, B. (1976). A Quiet Life. London:


Bainbridge, B. (1977). Injury Time. London:

Bainbridge, B. (1980). Winter Garden. London:
Bainbridge, B. (1984a). English Journey; or, The Road to
Milton Keynes. London: Duckworth.
Bainbridge, B. (1984b). Watsons Apology. London:
Bainbridge, B. (1985). Mum and Mr. Armitage. London:
Bainbridge, B. (1986). Filthy Lucre; or, The Tragedy of
Andrew Ledwhistle and Richard Soleway. London:
Bainbridge, B. (1987). Forever England: North and
South. London: Duckworth.
Bainbridge, B. (1989). An Awfully Big Adventure.
London: Duckworth.
Bainbridge, B. (1991). The Birthday Boys. London:
Bainbridge, B. (1993). Something Happened Yesterday.
London: Duckworth.
Bainbridge, B. (1994). Collected Stories. London:
Bainbridge, B. (1996). Every Man for Himself.
London: Duckworth.
Bainbridge, B. (1998). Master Georgie. London:
Bainbridge, B. (2001). According to Queeney.
London: Little, Brown.
Bainbridge, B. (2005). Front Row: Evenings at the
Theatre. London: Continuum.
Bainbridge, B. (2008). The Girl in the Polka Dot Dress.
London: Little, Brown.
Becket, F. (2005). Singular Events: The As If of Beryl
Bainbridges Every Man for Himself. In N. Bentley
(ed.), British Fiction of the 1990s. London: Routledge:
pp. 17991.
Grubisic, B. J. (2008). Understanding Beryl
Bainbridge. Columbia: University of South
Carolina Press.
Marsh, H. (2008). Lifes Nasty Habit: Time, Death and
Intertextuality in Beryl Bainbridges An Awfully Big
Adventure. Critical Engagements: A Journal of
Criticism and Theory, 2, 85110.
Newell, M. (dir.) (1995). An Awfully Big Adventure.
Portman Productions/BBC Films.
OBrian, J. (dir.) (1988). The Dressmaker. Film Four
Richter, V. (1996). Grey Gothic: The Novels of
Beryl Bainbridge. In I. Maassen & A. M. Stuby (eds.),
(Sub)versions of Realism: Recent Womens Fiction
in Britain. Heidelberg: Universitatsverlag Winter,
pp. 15972.
Walker, C. (dir.) (1998). Beryl Bainbridge. The South
Bank Show. London Weekend Television.

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



o, E. (1993). Ironic Formula in the Novels of
Beryl Bainbridge. Gothenburg: Acta Universitatis
Whatham, C. (dir.) (1980). Sweet William. Boyds

Ballard, J. G

J. G. Ballard could best be described as a visionary

anthropologist whose fiction explores contemporary social trends by projecting them into extreme
situations. From his reinvention of the science
fiction genre in the early 1960s to his exploration
of sexual perversion in Crash (1973) and his
meditations on meaningless violence in the
twenty-first century, Ballards idiosyncratic, often
controversial, body of work is one of the most
original and powerful to have emerged from the
postwar period.
James Graham Ballard was born in Shanghai,
China in 1930, and grew up in a suburban enclave
of wealthy colonial emigrants. Key cultural influences were the American cinema, comic books,
and classic childrens adventure novels, and all
were to have a role in shaping Ballards imagination. In 1942 his comfortable upbringing came
to an abrupt halt when World War II came to
Shanghai and the Ballard family was interned in
a Japanese camp, which formed the basis for
Ballards bestselling and critically acclaimed novel, Empire of the Sun (1984). This experience
made a lasting impression on his imagination,
and the work that was to follow stages obsessive,
repetitive transfigurations of his war ordeal.
When Ballard returned to England after the
war, he felt, and would remain, an outsider, both
in terms of his Englishness and, later, in his
relationship to the literary establishment. Ballard
lived and wrote in Shepperton, a Thames-side
town at a safe distance from Londons literary
circles. After abandoning his medical studies and
a brief career in the Royal Air Force, he started
publishing science fiction stories in New Worlds,
an avant garde magazine for speculative fiction.
In 1962 the magazine published Ballards manifesto, Which Way to Inner Space? in which he
urges writers to explore the complexities and
contradictions of the modern self rather than the

extraterrestrial worlds of traditional science fiction. Ballard himself put this into practice in
short story collections such as The Voices of Time
(originally published as The Four-Dimensional
Nightmare, 1963) and (post-)apocalyptic disaster
novels such as The Drowned World (1962), a
prophetic work set after the polar ice caps have
In 1964, Ballards wife died suddenly of pneumonia during a holiday in Spain, forcing him to
bring up their three children on his own. He
produced three more short story collections during the decade but the publication of the radically
experimental exploration of modern life in 15
condensed novels (on pornography, American
imperial power, sexual perversion, Vietnam, and
dead American idols such as JFK and Marilyn
Monroe), The Atrocity Exhibition (1970), brought
the author greater literary acclaim and renown:
the first American edition was banned by court
order and pulped by Doubleday. Ballards reputation as an important if controversial author was
cemented with the cautionary novel Crash (1973),
a work now regarded as a postwar classic, which
explores the disturbing sexual power of the car
crash. The novel is symbolic of the decentering of
anthropocentric thinking in postmodernity,
while foregrounding the death of affect, the
Ballardian notion that we have become desensitized through the overwhelming sensory violence
inflicted on us by mass media. Ballards characters
no longer distinguish between the human body
and the car, and between body fluids and engine
coolant. This is part of an increasing inability to
distinguish between the real and fiction in a
postwar period shaped by technologies that
fuse (military) violence, science and technology,
Hollywood, advertising, and pornography into a
complex and surreal world.
Crash also mythologizes Londons peripheral
areas, and Heathrow Airport in particular. In an
interview Ballard states: In the suburbs you find
uncentred lives. The normal civic structures are
not there. So that people have more freedom to
explore their own imaginations, their own obsessions. . . . Theres a sort of airport culture with its
transience, its access to anywhere in the world.
Social trends of various kinds tend to reveal
themselves first in the suburbs (Sinclair 84).
Concrete Island (1974), in which an architect
becomes trapped in a slice of no mans land

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


wedged in between Londons motorways, continues Ballards meditation on modernity by rewriting Robinson Crusoe. The wealthy residents of
a hypermodern tower block regress into violence
and anarchy in High-Rise (1975), which forms
both a criticism of utopian experiments in postwar town planning and housing, and of the
decline in spirituality in the postmodern world.
In the surreal novel The Unlimited Dream Company (1979) the deranged pilot Blake crashes an
airplane into the Thames and wakes to finds
himself possessing divine powers, which allow
him to transform Shepperton from a consumerist
hell into a Blakean utopia.
Ballard reached a mainstream audience with
the bestselling and critically acclaimed novel Empire of the Sun (1984), which concerns how the
comfortable Shanghai life of the fictional character Jim is dismantled by World War II when he
gets separated from his parents and needs to fend
for himself in a Japanese internment camp. In
1987 this novel was turned into a Hollywood
blockbuster film by Steven Spielberg. Ballard
continues this semiautobiographical mode in The
Kindness of Women (1991), which chronicles his
life following his wartime experiences in China.
Running Wild (1988) investigates why a group
of children in a gated community murder their
parents and is the first of a series of quasi-detective
novels that explore how the contemporary culture
of leisure and boredom leads to random eruptions
of meaningless violence. Ballards parodies of
airport novels, Cocaine Nights (1996a) and SuperCannes (2000), both explore the Mediterranean
scene of the nouveau riche, whose amoral, desensitized culture leads to racism, adultery, and
murder. This dark undercurrent within late capitalism comes home to Britain in Millennium
People (2003), which depicts the revolt of residents in a bourgeois gated community, and in
Kingdom Come (2006), which connects random
violence to the globalized consumer culture.
Although at first his reputation as a science
fiction writer hampered his critical reception by
the academe, the late 1990s and, in particular, the
early 2000s have seen an increased and serious
critical appreciation of Ballards work, with the
publication of several monographs and edited
collections, and a conference, on the authors
work. In 2008, Ballard published the memoir
Miracles of Life, which gives us yet another version


of the life of one of the most fascinating and

original literary imaginations present in English
postwar fiction. Ballard died from prostate cancer
on April 19, 2009.
SEE ALSO: Censorship and the Novel (BIF);
London in Fiction (BIF); Postmodernist
Fiction (BIF); Science Fiction (BIF); Sinclair,
Iain (BIF); Utopian and Dystopian Fiction
(BIF); World War II in Fiction (BIF)


Ballard, J. G. (1962). The Drowned World.
Harmondsworth: Penguin.
Ballard, J. G. (1963). The Four-Dimensional Nightmare.
London: Gollancz. (Subsequently published as The
Voices of Time.)
Ballard, J. G. (1970). The Atrocity Exhibition.
London: Jonathan Cape.
Ballard, J. G. (1973). Crash. London: Jonathan Cape.
Ballard, J. G. (1974). Concrete Island. London:
Jonathan Cape.
Ballard, J. G. (1975). High-Rise. London: Jonathan
Ballard, J. G. (1979). The Unlimited Dream Company.
London: Jonathan Cape.
Ballard, J. G. (1984). Empire of the Sun. London:
Ballard, J. G. (1988). Running Wild. London:
Century Hutchinson.
Ballard, J. G. (1991). The Kindness of Women.
London: HarperCollins.
Ballard, J. G. (1996a). Cocaine Nights. London:
Ballard, J. G. (1996b). A Users Guide to the Millennium:
Essays and Reviews. London: HarperCollins.
Ballard, J. G. (1996c). Which Way to Inner Space?
[1962] In Ballard (1996b), pp. 1958.
Ballard, J. G. (2000). Super-Cannes. London:
Jonathan Cape.
Ballard, J. G. (2001). The Complete Short Stories.
London: Flamingo.
Ballard, J. G. (2003). Millennium People. London:
Ballard, J. G. (2008). Miracles of Life: Shanghai to
Shepperton: An Autobiography. London: Fourth
Baxter, J. (2009a). J. G. Ballard: Contemporary Critical
Perspectives. London: Continuum.
Baxter, J. (2009b). J. G. Ballards Surrealist Imagination:
Spectacular Authorship. Aldershot: Ashgate.
Gasiorek, A. (2005). J. G. Ballard. Manchester:
Manchester University Press.

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



Luckhurst, R. (1997). The Angle between Two Walls:

The Fiction of J. G. Ballard. Liverpool: Liverpool
University Press.
Pringle, D. (1979). Earth is the Alien Planet: J. G.
Ballards Four-Dimensional Nightmare. San
Bernadino, CA: Borgo.
Sinclair, I. (1999). Crash: David Cronenbergs
Post-Mortem on J. G. Ballards Trajectory of Fate.
London: BFI.
Spielberg, S. (dir.) (1987). Empire of the Sun. Amblin

Banville, John

John Banvilles reputation as one of Irelands

finest prose artists has grown steadily since his
debut in 1970, and few were surprised when The
Sea won the 2005 Man Booker Prize. Banvilles
novels, taking shape in language as elegant as any
written in the transatlantic world today, open up
to paraphrase Banville on Beckett to lifes chaos
and painful comedy. They enact the tension
between art and nature (Imhof 234) and record
the life of the imagination (McMinn 1). Their
cold vision is warmed by humor and intellectual
Born in 1945 in Wexford in the Irish southeast,
Banville studied with the Christian Brothers and
at St. Peters College there. His parents were
Martin and Agnes Banville. As a boy, John was
taken by Joyces Dubliners, whose grayed-over
tone caught exactly the ennui and paralysis of the
lower-middle class milieu in which he was
struggling to grow up (Banville 2004, 26). Although Banville shuns the overtly autobiographical, a Wexford light filters through novels such as
Birchwood (1973) and Eclipse (2000a) and the
sandy dunes of Rosslare give The Sea (2005b) its
salt-bleached shade.
As a young man, Banville (who did not attend
a university) worked for Aer Lingus, the Irish
airline. Offered cut-rate travel, he could spend
time in Greece, Italy, and the US. In San Francisco
in 1968 he met his wife, American textile artist
Janet Dunham. Back in Dublin, he published his
first book, the short story collection Long Lankin
(1970), and worked for the Irish Press and the Irish
Times, where he became literary editor in 1998.
He has contributed to the New York Review of

Books since 1990. With his wife, Banville has two

grown sons. He also has two daughters from his
relationship with Patricia Quinn, former head of
the Arts Council of Ireland.
While some critics have deplored a perceived
lack of Irishness in Banvilles work, others have
praised its European qualities and his affinity
to such writers as Fowles and Nabokov. As for the
high modernists, Banville denies Joyce as a major
influence, but acknowledges indebtedness to
Henry James and Samuel Beckett (Schwall 17).
Banvilles first novel, Nightspawn (1971), is a
psychological spy thriller set in Greece. In Birchwood, he gives the Anglo-Irish big house genre a
postmodernist turn. In a surreal nineteenth-century Irish setting, the narrator, Gabriel Godkin,
tells the history of his family and ancestral house.
As Gabriel leaves home to travel through an
Ireland torn by famine and unrest, an ironically
distorted, disturbing, version of Irish history is
In his science tetralogy Banville focuses on
the historical figures of Copernicus, Kepler, and,
more indirectly, Newton, and in Mefisto (1986) he
returns, with a Faustian young mathematician
Gabriel Swan, to the realm of pure imagination.
The masterly European novels, Doctor Copernicus (1976) and Kepler (1981), are works of
historiographic metafiction which, while reinventing the lives of the two astronomers, raise
epistemological and ontological questions. Returning to a contemporary Irish setting, The
Newton Letter (1982) revisits the big house genre.
Here, a post-peasant Catholic (Banville 2000c,
516) historian, viewing the big house tradition
through a different lens than did Godkin in Birchwood, helps set the scene for a culture clash.
With the art trilogy, Banvilles production
enters a new phase, moving from world pictures to pictureworlds (Berensmeyer 204). In
The Book of Evidence (1989), based on a 1982
Dublin murder, Freddie Montgomery confesses
to having killed a woman because of a failure of
imagination (215). In the dreamy Ghosts (1993),
Freddie reappears, having served his prison term.
Sitting Prospero-like on an island, he controls the
story of a group of shipwrecked actors. In Athena
(1995), where Freddie makes a third appearance,
art and forgery are central concerns.
While Banvilles later novels The Untouchable
(1997), Eclipse, and Shroud (2002) turn inward,

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


toward singular consciousnesses or voices

(Hand 2006, p. viii), they also turn outward to
engage with twentieth-century figures such as
the Cambridge Five spy Anthony Blunt (The
Untouchable) and critic Paul de Man (Shroud),
and to spin stories of spying, acting, crime, and
betrayal. These novels can be seen to form a new
trilogy, one of guises and simulacra (see Friberg
248 n.). In the first, Victor Maskell negotiates his
many selves in a life of scholarship, homosexuality, and high treason. Eclipse, with its troubled
fatherdaughter relationship, is told by Alex
Cleave, an actor with stage fright; and Shroud,
primarily set in Antwerp and Turin and narrated
by the formidable, protean, impostor Axel Vander, is a self-invented mans tale. With Shroud,
Banville seems to have taken certain narrative
concerns as far as they go, and The Sea signals
a new turn. Set in Wexford, this is a comparatively
straightforward story about memory and grief.
Compared to Axel Vander, Max Morden is an
altogether more human protagonist, inside
whom the past beats . . . like a second heart
(2005b, 13).
Banville also writes for the stage (notably The
Broken Jug, 1994a; Gods Gift, 2000b; and Love in
the Wars, 2005a English versions of plays by
Heinrich von Kleist) and the screen. As Benjamin
Black, he has launched a line of noir crime fiction
including Christine Falls (2006) and The Silver
Swan (2007), both set in the 1950s and centered
on Dublin pathologist Quirke. The Lemur (2008)
is set in contemporary New York.
SEE ALSO: Beckett, Samuel (BIF); Irish
Fiction (BIF); Joyce, James (BIF);
Postmodernist Fiction (BIF)
Banville, J. (1970). Long Lankin. London: Secker and
Banville, J. (1971). Nightspawn. London: Secker and
Banville, J. (1973). Birchwood. London: Secker and
Banville, J. (1986). Mefisto. London: Secker and
Banville, J. (1989). The Book of Evidence. London:
Secker and Warburg.
Banville, J. (1994a). The Broken Jug. Oldcastle,
Co. Meath: Gallery.


Banville, J. (1994b). Seachange. Dublin: Radio Telefs

Banville, J. (1997). The Untouchable. London:
Banville, J. (2000a). Eclipse. London: Picador.
Banville, J. (2000b). Gods Gift. Oldcastle, Co. Meath:
Banville, J. (2000c). The Revolutions Trilogy, comprising
Doctor Copernicus, Kepler, The Newton Letter.
London: Picador.
Banville, J. (2001). Frames Trilogy, comprising Athena,
The Book of Evidence, Ghosts. London: Picador.
Banville, J. (2002). Shroud. London: Picador.
Banville, J. (2003). Prague Pictures. London:
Banville, J. (2004). [No title.] Bloomsday Magazine,
p. 26.
Banville, J. (2005a). Love in the Wars. Oldcastle,
Co. Meath: Gallery.
Banville, J. (2005b). The Sea. London: Picador.
Banville, J. (as Black, B.) (2006). Christine Falls.
London: Picador.
Banville, J. (as Black, B.) (2007). The Silver Swan.
London: Picador.
Banville, J. (as Black, B.) (2008). The Lemur. London:
Berensmeyer, I. (2000). John Banville: Fictions of Order.
Heidelberg: Universitatsverlag Winter.
Dhoker, E. (2004). Visions of Alterity. Amsterdam:
Friberg, H. (2007). Sites of Memory in John Banvilles
The Sea. In H. Friberg, I. Gilsenan-Nordin, &
L. Yding-Pedersen (eds.), Recovering Memory: Irish
Representations of Past and Present. Newcastle:
Cambridge Scholars.
Hand, D. (2002). John Banville: Exploring Fictions.
Dublin: Liffey.
Hand, D. (ed.) (2006). John Banville Irish University
Review, 36(1).
Imhof, R. (1989). John Banville: A Critical Introduction.
Dublin: Wolfhound.
McMinn, J. (1999). The Supreme Fictions of John
Banville. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
Schwall, H. (1997). An Interview with John Banville.
European English Messenger, 4(1), 1319.

Barker, Pat

Pat Barkers writing powerfully explores themes

of trauma and recovery, and the violence that war
has inflicted on individuals throughout the twentieth century is of central importance in her work.

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



Barker addresses the effects of trauma in her

novels through characters whose pasts have not
been laid to rest, and ghosts appear throughout
her fiction to indicate a disturbance of temporality. The history of twentieth-century Britain represents for Barker a history of traumatic experience, which encompasses not only the two World
Wars, and the Falkland, Gulf, and Northern
Ireland conflicts, but also the long-term effects
of economic recession. In this context, the task of
the novelist is to recover from this history the
suffering of those whose lives have been marginalized by official, national narratives. Viewed in
this light, Barker can be located as a leading voice
among a number of contemporary British novelists, including Graham Swift, Ian McEwan, and
Kazuo Ishiguro, whose writing explores the spectrality of history and the local impact of broader
historical changes.
Born Patricia Margaret Drake on May 8, 1943,
Barker grew up near the industrial town of Middlesbrough in northeast England. Barker seems to
have been affected by the history of World War I
from an early age: her grandfather had a bayonet
wound, although he did not talk about the war,
while her stepfather had served in the trenches as
a boy of 15. Another early influence came from
her grandmothers first husband who had been a
spiritualist medium. There were books on spiritualism around the house, which seem to have
made a lasting impact on Barkers imagination
and are felt as an undercurrent in her work in
recurrent motifs of haunting.
Attending a creative writing course at the
Arvon Foundation in Yorkshire in 1979, Barker
was taught by Angela Carter who encouraged her
to write about the topics she knew best. Her early
fiction correspondingly addresses working-class
lives in northeast England. In Union Street (1982),
Blow Your House Down (1984), and Lizas England
(originally published as The Centurys Daughter,
1986), Barker represents an alternative front line
in which women battle against poverty for survival and suffer the traumas of rape, murder,
abortion, and prostitution. Although Lizas England represents Barkers closest tribute to Carter
(Liza, like Fevvers in Nights at the Circus, is a
midnight child), it also marks the distinctiveness of Barkers voice: her novels remain
predominantly realist in style and incorporate
extensive speech and dialogue. Thus they lend

themselves well to film adaptation, most notably

in Gillies Mackinnons Regeneration.
Barkers second group of novels explore the
relation between masculinity and war. The Man
Who Wasnt There (1988) narrates three days in
the life of 12-year-old Colin Harper, who has
never known his father and fills his absence with
fantasies derived from war films. Barker demonstrates that the Hollywood version of war presents
a highly idealized version of masculinity. The
Regeneration trilogy extends Barkers critique of
war and masculinity. Regeneration (1991) focuses
on the relationship between W. H. R. Rivers and
his patient Siegfried Sassoon, and brings to light
the ways in which the traumatic responses to
World War I effected a crisis of masculinity. The
Eye in the Door (1993) examines the mobilization
of gender in the discourse of war, so that pacifism
was aligned with homosexuality and thereby demonized and criminalized. In The Ghost Road
(1995), winner of the 1995 Booker Prize for
Fiction, Riverss memories of his prewar experiences in Melanesia offer him an alternative
model of masculinity and war, allowing him to
challenge dominant narratives of patriotism. Although Barkers shift from womens experiences
to themes of masculinity has been seen as a
break in her writing, it is clear that the themes
of gender, class, and trauma remain constant
across her work.
In her next phase of writing, Barker set her
novels in the present and explored ideas of regeneration in relation to the landscapes of northeast
England. Her work of this period also displays
a fascination with the child murderer. Another
World (1998) is set in Newcastle and Barker
focuses on derelict areas of the cityscape to explore ideas of economic and urban regeneration.
Border Crossing (2001) highlights the question of
accountability in questioning whether Danny
Miller, who murdered an elderly woman when
he was a child, should be deemed responsible
for his actions and stand trial. The setting shifts
to the rural landscape of Northumberland, which
is seen not as a pastoral retreat but as infected with
violence. This is echoed in Double Vision (2003),
in which the war reporter Stephen Sharkey,
haunted by what he has witnessed in Afghanistan,
seeks peace in Northumberland. Again, Barker
makes clear that the region is haunted by its own
violent past and can offer little solace. If Barkers

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


recent fiction draws attention to her as a regional

writer, it is to refigure the border as a site not of
marginality but of dissidence and transgression.
The northeastern landscapes are not distant from
the concerns of the metropolitan center, but
forcibly bring them back into view.
Barkers latest novel, Life Class (2007), returns
to the setting of World War I. Barker pays particular attention to the intersection between art
and medicine and probes the detachment from
suffering that is required in both disciplines.
Although this interest informs both Regeneration
and Double Vision, Barker has intimated that this
focus is also central to her next novel, which
suggests that Life Class marks a new phase in her
writing. Again, however, the novel does not depart from her central interests but remains intimately concerned with gender, class, war, trauma,
and the possibility of recovery or regeneration.
SEE ALSO: Carter, Angela (BIF); Feminist
Fiction (BIF); Historical Fiction (BIF);
Working-Class Fiction (BIF); World War I in
Fiction (BIF)
Barker, P. (1982). Union Street. London: Virago.
Barker, P. (1984). Blow Your House Down. London:
Barker, P. (1986). The Centurys Daughter. London:
Virago. (Reissued as Lizas England, 1996.)
Barker, P. (1988). The Man Who Wasnt There. London:
Barker, P. (1991). Regeneration. London: Penguin.
Barker, P. (1993). The Eye in the Door. London:
Barker, P. (1995). The Ghost Road. London: Viking.
Barker, P. (1998). Another World. London: Viking.
Barker, P. (2001). Border Crossing. London: Viking.
Barker, P. (2003). Double Vision. London: Hamish
Barker, P. (2007). Life Class. London: Hamish
Brannigan, J. (2005). Pat Barker. Manchester:
Manchester University Press.
Mackinnon, G. (dir.) (1997). Regeneration.
Artificial Eye.
Monteith, S. (2002). Pat Barker. Plymouth:
Northcote House.
Monteith, S., Jolly, M., Yousaf, N., & Paul, R. (eds.)
(2005). Critical Perspectives on Pat Barker. Columbia:
University of South Carolina Press.


Barnes, Julian

One of the most celebrated British novelists

from the generation of celebrated novelists born
between 1945 and 1950 (e.g., Amis, McEwan,
Ackroyd), Julian Barnes is noted for his intellectual qualities, his cosmopolitan interests, and his
restlessly inventive approach to fiction. Though
he has written important non-fiction and four
detective novels, his exemplary achievement is
in what the British call the literary novel (by
contrast with the popular novel). Julian
Barness works may well be the defining illustration of the literary novel.
Born on January 19, 1946, in Leicester, he was
the younger son of parents who both taught
French. When he was 10 the family moved to
Northwood, a northern suburb of London. He
commuted by train to the City of London School
and then went on to Magdalen College, Oxford.
He spent one year, 19667, teaching English at a
school in Rennes, France, and in 1968 graduated
with a BA in modern languages.
Barnes then worked first as a lexicographer for
the Oxford English Dictionary, then as a journalist
in London, for the Times Literary Supplement, The
Observer, and the Tatler. Something of a late
starter by contrast with precocious contemporaries like Amis, he published his first novel in 1980;
in fact he published two. One was Metroland
(1980b), a coming-of-age book about a Frenchobsessed, middle-class youth from the north
London suburbs and his adjustment to life. The
author has said that the seven- or eight-year
gestation of this book was the result of lack of
confidence. The other was Duffy (1980a), a detective thriller published under the name Dan Kavanagh. Barnes has said that he used a pseudonym
to avoid confusion with his mainstream fiction
(Smith 74). The Kavanagh name is a tribute to his
wife, Pat Kavanagh, whom he married in 1979 and
to whom most of his books are dedicated. He
eventually published three more Duffy novels
Fiddle City (1981), Putting the Boot In (1985), and
Going to the Dogs (1987) which, by repeating a
main character, sharply diverge from the pattern,
in his mainstream novels, of doing something
quite different with each one.
Between 1980 and 1984 he published another
Duffy book and another mainstream novel, Before

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



She Met Me (1982). None of the early books,

though well received, created much of a critical
stir. That changed in 1984 with Flauberts Parrot
(1984), which was an immense critical success and
was on the short list of finalists for the Booker
Prize. Barnes has said its the book that launched
me (Smith 74).
On the strength of his growing achievement in
fiction he largely retired from journalism in 1986,
the year in which Staring at the Sun (1986) was
published. Since then he has published one more
Duffy book, Going to the Dogs (Putting the Boot In
had appeared in 1985); six literary novels; three
books of non-fiction essays; a book of short
stories; and Nothing to be Frightened Of (2008),
which is part autobiography and part philosophical meditation.
Like many first novels the charming Metroland
incorporates autobiography and coming-of-age
themes. First-person narrator Christopher Lloyd
moves through three phases; in the first, youth
and school days, he and his friend Toni mock
middle-class English culture by deploying French
language and culture, seeking to epater le bourgeois; in the second, living in Paris in 1968, he has
an affair with a French girl and meets his future
wife; in the third, now grown up and back in
Metroland, he endures Tonis mockery for selling
out to bourgeois values, but seems to choose
contented acceptance over permanent rebellion.
Metroland won the Somerset Maugham Award
for a first novel.
When Christopher learns that his wife has been
unfaithful, he decides that it is nevertheless all
right (1980b, 163). In Before She Met Me (1982),
by contrast, Graham Hendrick becomes obsessed
with his wifes infidelities peculiar ones, as
these affairs all happened before they met to the
point of mania. Having ended his own first marriage for Ann, an actress, he finds himself driven
to learn more about Anns affairs during her
acting career, including both real and on-screen
ones; finally he seeks out films throughout
London to watch her in flagrante, in celluloid
artifice, and he ends in disaster. Before She Met Me
is a subtle, troubling, and morbidly funny study
of jealousy and the reptilian brain.
Flauberts Parrot was the first of Barness books
to be widely celebrated and the first to attract
the charge that it is not really a novel. Admittedly,
its construction, with chapters on The Flaubert

Bestiary, Braithwaites Dictionary of Received

Ideas, and Examination Paper, gives ammunition to critics who call it a book of essays. It grew
out of a projected biography of Gustave Flaubert,
Barness master; and it developed into a brilliantly
original book that combines facts and speculations about Flaubert, art, love, and the possibilities of finding the truth about the past with the
poignant personal story of the narrator, Geoffrey
Braithwaite, an English widower whose pursuit
of Flaubert is a medicine for, or a device for
forgetting, his own sadness, including a modest
parallel with the events of Madame Bovary.
Staring at the Sun disappointed many reviewers
because it was so different from Flauberts Parrot.
Another triptych like Metroland, it is the story of
Jean Serjeant, covering her 99-year life. Her life is
devoid of world-historical events; its satisfactions
are modest. She demonstrates the kind of courage
that ordinary lives require, living without much
love or consolation, but with resolve and integrity. Jean is briefly married, but comes to think of
marital sex as just part of running the house, and
compares men (favorably, at least) with mosquitoes. The novel avoids any of the self-referential
fabulation of Flauberts Parrot, and the author
has said that he thinks it was underrated because
readers saw it as less adventurous than its
The next novel took many more obvious risks.
A History of the World in 10 12 Chapters (1989) was,
like Flauberts Parrot, accused of not being the
novel it claimed to be. Its 10 chapters are enormously disparate (from the story of a woodworm
on Noahs ark to an account of heaven), and
linked only loosely by persistent themes of the
difficulty of understanding the past, the presence
of reindeer and woodworms, and different versions of the ark. The half chapter is, to all
appearances, in the voice of Julian Barnes and is
a moving celebration of love, particularly as a stay
against history that is, the long parade of
hatred and injustice and a refuge from relativism
and indecidability.
Talking It Over (1991) followed. Another study
of marital stress and infidelity, it was distinguished by its method: three primary voices, those
of Stuart, his wife Gillian, and Oliver, Stuarts
friend and ultimately successful rival for Gillians
love, talk directly to the reader. Reminiscent of the
alternative versions of Flauberts story, these three

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


(and a few minor speakers) give different accounts of what happened and, more importantly,
how it felt and how it should be judged. The story
and its presentation challenge the readers allocation of sympathy in this complex affair.
In 1992 Barnes published his most unexpected
novel yet, The Porcupine. It appeared first in
Bulgaria, in Bulgarian, and is his most overtly
political book. Written when communist regimes
were falling all over eastern Europe, The Porcupine
is the story of a deposed leader, Stoyo Petkanov, in
a country much like, though never identified as,
Bulgaria. What is seems to show is that life and
history are complicated and that, though the end
of communism counts as progress, whatever succeeds it is also compromised. And Petkanov is
a more interesting and larger figure than those
who replace him.
England, England (1998) combines the life
story of Martha Cochrane with a satire on a
larger-than-life tycoon, Sir Jack Pitman, who
launches a tourist venture consisting of an alternative England located on the Isle of Wight.
Building on market research showing the 50
characteristics respondents associated with England (1) Royal Family; (3) Manchester United
Football Club; (17) Shakespeare; (49) Not Washing/Bad Underwear the new England is so
successful it supplants the old one, which reverts
to a rural state under the name Albion. Like
Flauberts Parrot, England, England was shortlisted for the Booker Prize.
Love, Etc. (2000) is a sequel to Talking It Over,
showing Stuarts growing self-awareness and
growing ruthlessness and his schemes to replace
Oliver as Gillians husband: that is, his plan to
reverse the motion of Talking It Over and return
to the status quo ante. It employs the same documentary style of characters speaking directly to
the reader as its predecessor.
In 2005 Barnes published Arthur and George,
another striking departure, being a historical
novel about the separate lives of a famous man,
Arthur Conan Doyle, and an obscure one, George
Edalji; when George is unjustly accused of a
horrible crime, apparently in part because he is
of mixed race, the famous author intervenes to try
to restore justice, in a role like that of Anatole
France in the Dreyfus affair. The results for Edalji
are ambiguous. Barnes has built the novel on a
basis of fact and documentation, and there is


considerable interesting material on Conan

Doyles later infatuation with spiritualism. Like
many of his books, including England, England,
this one investigates the difficulty of establishing
the truth and the real.
Barnes has written two books of short stories:
Cross Channel (1996), all of which are in some
way about encounters between the English and
the French, and The Lemon Table (2004), many of
which are about aging and decline. His elegant
journalism appears in Letters from London (1995),
thoughtful and often very funny dispatches written while he was London correspondent for the
New Yorker, and in Something to Declare (2002).
This is a more miscellaneous collection, including
memoir, book reviews, and reporting (on the
Tour de France, for instance), but all of it about
France, a crucial aspect of Barness life and work.
The Pedant in the Kitchen (2003) is about cooking.
Nothing to be Frightened Of (2008) is an unusual combination of a memoir, in which his
philosopher brother plays an important role;
a revealing discussion of French author Jules
Renard; and most of all a personal meditation
on aging and death and its finality. There is much
here about faith: the book opens with I dont
believe in God, but I miss Him (1). Christopher
Lloyd was thinking about God and death in
Metroland the arrival in my head of the fear of
Big D, and the departure of God (53) and it is
one of the achievements of Nothing to be Frightened Of that it invites the reader to think back over
his career, to reflect on the persistence of this
concern with last things in Barness fiction running alongside his continued exploration of love,
his determined intelligence, and a fluidity of
exploration of the formal possibilities of the
modern novel.
Barnes lives in London, combining the cheerful
pessimism derived from his agnostic fear of death
with a saving dedication to art that is evidenced in
his own appreciation of artists like Flaubert and
his production of original and profound fictions.
SEE ALSO: Mystery/Detective/Crime Fiction
(BIF); Postmodernist Fiction (BIF)
Barnes, J. (as Kavanagh, D.) (1980a). Duffy. London:
Jonathan Cape.

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



Barnes, J. (1980b). Metroland. London:

Jonathan Cape.
Barnes, J. (as Kavanagh, D.) (1981). Fiddle City.
London: Jonathan Cape.
Barnes, J. (1982). Before She Met Me. London: Jonathan
Barnes, J. (1984). Flauberts Parrot. London: Jonathan
Barnes, J. (as Kavanagh, D.) (1985). Putting the Boot In.
London: Jonathan Cape.
Barnes, J. (1986). Staring at the Sun. London: Jonathan
Barnes, J. (as Kavanagh, D.) (1987). Going to the Dogs.
London: Viking.
Barnes, J. (1989). A History of the World in 10 12 Chapters.
London: Jonathan Cape.
Barnes, J. (1991). Talking It Over. London:
Jonathan Cape.
Barnes, J. (1992). The Porcupine. London:
Jonathan Cape.
Barnes, J. (1995). Letters from London. London: Picador.
Barnes, J. (1996). Cross Channel. London:
Jonathan Cape.
Barnes, J. (1998). England, England. London:
Jonathan Cape.
Barnes, J. (2000). Love, Etc. London: Jonathan Cape.
Barnes, J. (2002). Something to Declare. London:
Barnes, J. (2003). The Pedant in the Kitchen. London:
Barnes, J. (2004). The Lemon Table. London:
Jonathan Cape.
Barnes, J. (2005). Arthur and George. London:
Jonathan Cape.
Barnes, J. (2008). Nothing to be Frightened Of. London:
Jonathan Cape.
Gitzen, J. (2001). How to Be Postmodern: The Fiction
of Julian Barnes and Alain de Botton. Essays in Arts
and Sciences, 30(Oct.), 4561.
Guignery, V. (2006). The Fiction of Julian Barnes: A
Readers Guide to Essential Criticism. Basingstoke:
Palgrave Macmillan.
Henke, C. (2003). Remembering Selves, Constructing
Selves: Memory and Identity in Contemporary
British Fiction. Journal for the Study of British
Cultures, 10(1), 77100.
Higdon, D. L. (1991). Unconfessed Confessions: The
Narrators of Graham Swift and Julian Barnes. In
J. Achison (ed.), The British and Irish Novel Since
1960. New York: St. Martins, pp. 17491.
Janik, D. I. (1995). No End of History: Evidence from
the Contemporary English Novel. Twentieth Century
Literature, 41(Summer), 16089.
McGrath, P. (1987). Julian Barnes. Bomb,
21(Fall), 203.

Millington, M. I., & Sinclair, A. S. (1992). The

Honourable Cuckold: Models of Masculine Defence.
Comparative Literature Studies, 29(19), 119.
Moseley, M. (1997). Understanding Julian Barnes.
Columbia: University of South Carolina Press.
Pateman, M. (2002). Julian Barnes. Tavistock:
Northcote House.
Schiff, J. (2007). A Conversation with Julian Barnes.
Missouri Review, 30(3), 6080.
Sesto, B. (2001). Language, History, and Metanarrative
in the Fiction of Julian Barnes. New York: Peter Lang.
Smith, A. (1989). Julian Barnes. Publishers Weekly,
236(Nov. 3), 734.
Stout, M. (1992). Chameleon Novelist. New York Times
Magazine pp. 29, 6872, 80 (Nov. 22).
Wilson, K. (2004). Julian Barnes and the
Marginalization of Metropolitanism: The Suburban
Centre in Metroland and Letters from London.
In L. Philips (ed.), The Swarming Streets: TwentiethCentury Representations of London. Amsterdam:
Rodopi, pp. 15367.

Beckett, Samuel

Samuel Barclay Beckett, the younger son of William Frank and Maria Roe Beckett, was born on
Good Friday, April 13, 1906, in Foxrock, south of
Dublin. He came to regard the date as significant
because it linked his birth with suffering and
death. In Company the narrator, also born on
Good Friday (You first saw the light and cried at
the close of the day when in darkness Christ at the
ninth hour cried and died, 4: 447), conjures up
a scene, described previously in The End and
Malone Dies, in which a small boy walking hand
in hand with his mother asks if the sky is not in
reality much more distant than it appears. She
replies angrily, shaking off his hand and making
a cutting retort [he has] never forgotten
(4: 428). Scenes like this in his works imply that
Becketts childhood, as recalled much later, was
often unhappy. Even so, he was close to his
brother, Frank, and to his father, a quantity
surveyor for a Dublin construction firm. Like his
father, Beckett excelled at sports, including swimming, golf, rugby, tennis, boxing, and above all,
cricket; the two also enjoyed long hikes. Their
shared interests, and Bill Becketts acceptance of
their differences, helped to establish a bond of

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


genuine affection between father and son. Becketts relationship with his rigid and devout
mother, however, was riddled with conflict and
guilt. As Malone says of his own mother, We
were not often of the same mind (2: 261).
At age 13 Beckett was sent to the Portora Royal
School, in Enniskillen; four years later he entered
Trinity College Dublin, where he excelled in
French and Italian and became infatuated with
another student, Ethna MacCarthy. The Alba, a
character in Dream of Fair to Middling Women
and More Pricks Than Kicks, is based on Ethna
while another character, the Smeraldina, is
drawn from Becketts first cousin Peggy Sinclair,
whose family lived in Kassel, Germany. In 1928 he
and Peggy fell in love when she visited Ireland.
Unlike his relationship with Ethna, which remained platonic despite his wishes, the relationship with Peggy quickly became sexual. Beckett
characterized their fictional counterparts accordingly: the Alba is chaste and intelligent, the
Smeraldina sensual. He visited Kassel several
times, continuing after the love affair with Peggy
ended on New Years Eve 1929, and was distressed
by Peggys struggle with tuberculosis from 1930
until her death in May 1933. The Alba and the
Smeraldina offer opposing caricatures of women
in the early fiction, but in Krapps Last Tape
(1958) Beckett combines memories of Ethna
MacCarthy with those of Peggy Sinclair in creating Krapps more complex memories of a woman
he once loved.
In November 1928 Beckett moved in Paris to
serve as an exchange lecturer at the Ecole Normale
Superieure. One of his first acquaintances there
was Thomas MacGreevy, the previous lecturer,
who became his closest friend. Through MacGreevy he met James Joyce, who suggested that
Beckett then just 22 contribute an article on
Joyces Work in Progress, installments of what later
became Finnegans Wake, to a book of essays
intended to explain and publicize the project.
When Becketts Dante . . . Bruno. Vico. Joyce
appeared in May 1929, Joyce was impressed with
the essay (although he found the part on Bruno
weak) and asked Beckett to help in translating the
Anna Livia Plurabelle episode of Work in Progress
into French. In 1930, however, Joyce broke off
contact with Beckett for two years after Beckett
told Joyces troubled daughter Lucia that he
was not romantically interested in her. Even so,


Beckett regarded Joyce as a role model and began

imitating his mannerisms and style of dress. Yet
his own work is fundamentally different from
Joyces: in a 1937 letter to Axel Kaun, Beckett
contrasted his dissatisfaction with language with
the apotheosis of the word in Work in Progress
(Beckett 2009, 519). Joyces development of the
full resources of the word and Becketts parsimonious style are two faces of modernist literature.
After publishing an obscure poem about Descartes, Whoroscope (1930), with mock erudite
notes perhaps parodying The Waste Land in that
respect Beckett began writing a critical monograph, Proust, which appeared in 1931. By then he
was a lecturer at Trinity, but he was unsuited for
academic life, and after a year he resigned. For
several years afterwards Beckett suffered from
depression, partly for personal reasons: the rupture in his relations with Joyce; the deaths of
Peggy Sinclair and Bill Beckett; disagreements
with his mother about everything, including his
writing; and debilitating physical ailments. Moreover, despite early success in Paris, his writing
career sputtered when he returned to Dublin. He
could not find a publisher for Dream of Fair to
Middling Women (written 19312), a picaresque
satire in which the protagonist is named Belacqua
after an indolent character in Dantes Purgatorio;
other rejections followed until the 1950s, when
the success of Waiting for Godot helped to secure a
market for his other works. The publication of a
story collection, More Pricks than Kicks, in 1934
might have reassured Beckett if not for the poor
sales and his anxiety about the impression the
book would make on those close to him. (The
portrayal of Peggy Sinclair as the Smeraldina
seems particularly insensitive.) Belacqua is again
the protagonist, and we follow his misadventures
through the penultimate story, Yellow, where
he dies of a heart problem that his doctors had
failed to notice: They had clean forgotten to
auscultate him! (they had not listened to his
heart, 4: 212). In the final story, Draff, we learn
belatedly that Belacquas second wife, Thelma
nee bboggs, had been killed on her honeymoon
at the end of What a Misfortune and that the
widow who is shocked at reading his obituary
in the paper, even though she placed it herself, is
the Smeraldina, the only sail in sight after
Thelmas death (4: 213). Innovative and irreverent, More Pricks had the honor of being banned

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



in Ireland but did little to establish Beckett as a

fiction writer.
In 1934 Beckett moved to London to undergo
psychoanalysis with Dr. Wilfred Bion at the Tavistock Clinic in order to explore the basis of his
abnormally fast heart rate. He told MacGreevy
that his heart problems, narcissism, and isolation
all stemmed from arrogance and feelings of superiority (2009, 2589), and he soon described
such a narcissistic character in Murphy (1938), his
first published novel. The emphasis on Murphys
mind, the little world to which Murphy claims
to belong I am not of the big world, I am of the
little world (1:107) anticipates the inward turn
of Becketts narratives in the 1940s, and chapter 6,
which describes how Murphys mind imagines
itself, is an example of the reflection on the self
that continues through Stirrings Still (1988). In
Murphy, which is set mainly in London and was
composed there in 19356, Beckett also used
minute details (one of the characters calls them
demented particulars, 1:11) with an assurance
not seen before in his fiction.
Beckett returned to Paris in October 1937 and
lived there for virtually the rest of his life. In
January 1938, while recuperating in the hospital
after being stabbed by a pimp who later said that
he didnt know why he had done it, Beckett was
visited by friends, including James and Nora Joyce
as well as Peggy Guggenheim, with whom he
had had a brief affair. Another visitor, Suzanne
Deschevaux-Dumesnil, had met Beckett in 1929
and remembered him when she saw a newspaper
story about the attack. Soon they became a couple,
and they lived together for 50 years, although they
did not marry until 1961. Suzanne was an essential
part of Becketts life, even after they stopped
having sexual relations (he filled the void with
other women). Several years older than Beckett,
she was a mother figure who believed in his work
as May Beckett never had, as well as an independent woman whose opinions he respected.
When World War II began, Beckett was in
Dublin but returned at once to Paris. Two years
later, after his friend Paul Leon was arrested by the
Germans, he joined the Resistance, but eventually
the group was infiltrated and betrayed. In August
1942, warned that the Gestapo would soon arrest
them, he and Suzanne left Paris and spent the next
two years in Roussillon, in Vichy France. There,
Beckett worked on his next novel, Watt, partly to

keep his mind occupied. Watt seems to have been

the most difficult novel for him to write, and the
notebooks show that it only slowly assumed its
published form (the famous Addenda are virtually all remnants of discarded drafts). Watt is not
easily described, but it is among other things a
failed quest for meaning in a world that seems
incomprehensible. Watt himself is a straight man
who observes human behavior as if from the
outside: Watt had watched people smile and
thought he understood how it was done
(1: 187). Completed in the mid-1940s, Watt was
not published until 1953, after the three novels
that constitute Becketts greatest achievement in
fiction: Molloy, Malone meurt (Malone Dies), and
LInnomable (The Unnamable).
Like virtually all his works between Watt and
From an Abandoned Work (composed 19545),
Beckett wrote these novels in French, partly to free
himself from familiar phrases and rhythms in
English: he claimed that en francais cest plus
facile decrire sans style (in French, it is easier to
write without style: Ackerley & Gontarski 206).
Later, he wrote sometimes in English, sometimes
in French, almost always translating the texts
himself, so that each work extends beyond the
bounds of either version. In translating, Beckett
often introduced intriguing differences between
the French and English versions. Molloy, referring
to the sequence of novels of which his narrative is
the first, says either Cette fois-ci, puis encore une
je pense, puis cen sera fini je pense, de ce mondela aussi (1988 [1951] ) or This time, then once
more I think, then perhaps a last time, then I think
itll be over, with that world too (2:4). The
passages are almost identical except for the insertion of then perhaps a last time, indicating that
before Beckett translated Molloy into English, the
series that he had planned to end with Malone
meurt had been extended to LInnomable. Another crucial addition appears at the end of the series:
LInnomable concludes, dans le silence on ne sait
pas, il faut continuer, je vais continuer (1953,
262), but The Unnamable ends, in the silence you
dont know, you must go on, I cant go on, Ill go
on (2:407; my emphasis). At times, Beckett
keeps both languages in sight: a phrase in
LInnomable, en faisant bien attention paying
close attention (1953, 118) becomes on the qui
vive in The Unnamable (2:338), and le struggle
for life ou elan vital, in Malone meurt (1951, 130),

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


is barely altered to the elan vital or struggle for

life in Malone Dies (2:236). Becketts translation
may introduce a new overtone, as when Malones
Alors je jouerai tout seul, je ferai comme si je me
voyais (Then I shall play all alone, I shall act as if I
saw myself: 1951, 10) becomes Then I shall play
with myself (2:175) or when, in the second part
of Molloy, la vie est une bien belle chose, Gaber,
une chose inoue life is a very beautiful thing,
Gaber, an incredible thing (224) alludes, in
English, to Keatss Endymion: life is a thing of
beauty, Gaber, and a joy for ever (2:158). In
either language, the novels parody narrative progression, the quest for knowledge, even the possibility of saying anything clearly or accurately,
and the existence of two versions of each text
further complicates the readers search for definitive meanings.
Between Malone meurt and LInnomable, Beckett wrote En attendant Godot, a simple play that,
under that title and as Waiting for Godot, became
the most famous play of the twentieth century
(well enough known to be parodied on Sesame
Street) and a major reason for the critical praise
that contributed to Becketts selection for the
Nobel Prize in 1969. Although he thought his
novels and shorter fiction were more important,
the dramatic works including mimes, radio
plays, television plays, and a film presented
Beckett with formal problems that were more
manageable than those of fiction; moreover, directing productions of his own plays allowed him
to maintain control over his work much as selftranslation did. The concern with control may
also be seen in the tendency of his works, dramatic
and otherwise, to become more focused or economical. Of the longer plays, Godot (first performed 1953) has five characters, Endgame (1957)
four, Happy Days (1961) two. Some of the finest of
the later plays are varieties of monologue: Not I
(1972), A Piece of Monologue (1979), Rockaby
(1981), and Ohio Impromptu (1981), for example.
Likewise, the fiction written after The Unnamable,
from Texts for Nothing (composed in French,
1951) through How It Is (published in French,
1961; English, 1964), and on to the second
trilogy of Company (1980), Ill Seen Ill Said
(1981), and Worstward Ho (1983), is invariably
reduced to a single voice. The focus on voice in
Becketts fiction and drama alike indicates an
overlapping of genres, as does the fact that some


of the fictional monologues (especially Company)

have been adapted for the stage, while A Piece of
Monologue, without stage directions, could easily
have been published as fiction.
The pivotal turn in Becketts work came after
the end of the war, when his realization of his own
folly allowed him to write Molloy and the
others. Again, the contrast with Joyce is important: Beckett later said that Joyce went as far as
one could in the direction of knowing more,
[being] in control of ones material. He was
always adding to it, whereas Becketts own way
was in impoverishment, in lack of knowledge and
in taking away, in subtracting rather than in
adding. Knowlson remarks that for Beckett this
meant embracing a darkness that extended to
folly and failure, impotence and ignorance
(319). Beckett described his concept of art as
failure in an exchange with Georges Duthuit,
Three Dialogues (1949), saying that he preferred the expression that there is nothing to
express, nothing with which to express, nothing
from which to express, no power to express, no
desire to express, together with the obligation to
express (4:556). Failure, fragmentation, weakness, and incomprehension become the norm in
Becketts fiction from the 1940s on, as announced
by such titles as Texts for Nothing, Imagination
Dead Imagine, Enough, Ping, Lessness, Fizzles, Ill
Seen Ill Said, and Worstward Ho, whose narrator
aims to Try again. Fail again. Fail better (4:471).
To put it differently, the prose represents a movement toward what Beckett called the literature of
the non-word (2009, 520). In The Unnamable,
the narrator cannot imagine existence without
words you must say words, as long as there
are any (2:407) and words flow from him as
incessantly as tears. How It Is, Becketts next long
work, reads quite differently, for instead of a voice
that cannot stop speaking we have one that stops
and starts, speaking in bursts of unpunctuated
blocks of words, the white space between blocks
perhaps indicating silence while the narrator
catches his breath. The voice necessarily begins
again and again (the French title, Comment cest,
means how it is but also puns on commencer
and commencez, infinitive and imperative forms
of begin), its clusters of words are never complete, and there is no more than a remnant of
narrative even though one is implied by its tripartite structure, broken into before Pim with

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



Pim after Pim (2:411); yet the obligation to

speak continues throughout the novel and the
remainder of the Beckettian corpus. The narrator
of The Unnamable surely speaks for Beckett when
he says that he must speak of things of which [he]
cannot speak and that he will never be silent.
Never (2:2856).
S. E. Gontarski has observed that in his later
closed space fiction, Rather than rejecting
language, [Beckett] seems to have continued to
explore its tenacious power to represent even as
it was being reduced, denuded, stripped bare
(1996, p. xvii). Language continued to have a hold
on Beckett, even in Ill Seen Ill Said, where, when he
searches for a word, it is the wrong word, as in
On its what is the wrong word its uptilted face
obscure graffiti (4:465); Flauberts search for le
mot juste long abandoned, the wrong word will
have to do. Yet in a late work such as Company,
when the eye closes and freed from pore the
mind inquires, What does this mean? What finally
does this mean that at first sight seemed clear?
the mind does not shut down altogether: No.
Unhappily no. Pangs of faint light and stirrings
still. Unformulable gropings of the mind. Unstillable (4:4334).
When Beckett died on December 22, 1989, five
months after Suzanne, he left behind a body of
work that is remarkable, and probably unmatched, for its candid examination of the
unformulable gropings of the mind and the
limitations of language. Now that Im entering
night I have kinds of gleams in my skull. Stony
ground but not entirely, says the narrator of
Enough (1967), adding, Given three or four lives
I might have accomplished something (4:366).
What Beckett accomplished in his single life
is considerable. His example influenced other
fiction writers and dramatists, including such
nouveau roman writers as Claude Mauriac and
such playwrights as Harold Pinter; moreover,
beginning in the 1950s, Beckett has been studied
by an ever-growing community of scholars whose
interest attests to his standing as a major writer.
The first book-length study of his writings,
Hugh Kenners Samuel Beckett: A Critical Study,
appeared in 1961 (an updated version with a
supplementary chapter was published in 1967),
and there soon followed studies by Ruby Cohn
(Samuel Beckett: The Comic Gamut, 1964), John
Fletcher (The Novels of Samuel Beckett, 1964;

Samuel Becketts Art, 1967), Raymond Federman

(Journey to Chaos: Samuel Becketts Early Fiction,
1965), Ihab Hassan (The Literature of Silence:
Henry Miller and Samuel Beckett, 1967), and
others. The number of books on Beckett, which
now exceeds that on any other twentieth-century
writer apart from Joyce, includes three substantial
biographies, the most thorough and accurate of
which is James Knowlsons Damned to Fame: The
Life of Samuel Beckett (1996). The biannual Journal of Beckett Studies founded in 1967 by James
Knowlson, subsequently edited by John Pilling
and, later, by S. E. Gontarski, and now published
at the University of Edinburgh with Anthony
Uhlmann as chief editor remains the journal
of record for Beckett studies, while the annual
volumes of Samuel Beckett Today/Aujourdhui,
founded in 1991 by Marius Buning and now
edited by Sjef Houppermans, feature articles in
French and English on topics of special interest to
Beckett scholars.
SEE ALSO: Irish Fiction (BIF); Joyce, James
(BIF); Modernist Fiction (BIF); Postmodernist
Fiction (BIF)
All quotations from Becketts English works are from
Samuel Beckett: The Grove Centenary Edition, 4 vols.,
ed. P. Auster (2006).
Abbott, H. P. (1996). Beckett Writing Beckett: The
Author in the Autograph. Ithaca, NY: Cornell
University Press.
Ackerley, C. J., & Gontarski, S. E. (2004). The Grove
Companion to Samuel Beckett. New York: Grove.
Beckett, S. (1951). Malone meurt. Paris: Minuit.
Beckett, S. (1953). LInnomable. Paris: Minuit.
Beckett, S. (1988). Molloy [1951; French text]. Paris:
Beckett, S. (2006). Samuel Beckett: The Grove
Centenary Edition 4 vols. (ed. P. Auster).
New York: Grove.
Beckett, S. (2009). The Letters of Samuel Beckett vol. 1:
19291940 (ed. M. D. Fehsenfeld & L. M. Overbeck).
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Brater, E. (1994). The Drama in the Text: Becketts Late
Fiction. New York: Oxford University Press.
Brienza, S. D. (1987). Samuel Becketts New Worlds:
Style in Metafiction. Norman: University of
Oklahoma Press.
Cohn, R. (2001). A Beckett Canon. Ann Arbor:
University of Michigan Press.

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Cousineau, T. J. (1999). After the Final No: Samuel

Becketts Trilogy. Newark: University of Delaware
Gontarski, S. E. (1996). Introduction. In S. Beckett,
Nohow On: Three Novels. New York: Grove.
Gontarski, S. E. (ed.) (in press). A Companion to Samuel
Beckett. Oxford: Blackwell.
Hill, L. (1990). Becketts Fiction: In Different Words.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Knowlson, J. (1996). Damned to Fame: The Life of
Samuel Beckett. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Locatelli, C. (1990). Unwording the World: Samuel
Becketts Prose Works After the Nobel Prize.
Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
McCarthy, P. A. (ed.) (1986). Critical Essays on Samuel
Beckett. Boston: G. K. Hall.
Murphy, P. J. (2009). Becketts Dedalus: Dialogical
Engagements with Joyce in Becketts Fiction. Toronto:
University of Toronto Press.
OHara, J. D. (1997). Samuel Becketts Hidden Drives:
Structural Uses of Depth Psychology. Gainesville:
University Press of Florida.
Pilling, J. (1997). Beckett Before Godot. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.
Pilling, J. (2006). A Samuel Beckett Chronology.
Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Rabinovitz, R. (1992). Innovation in Samuel Becketts
Fiction. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
Ricks, C. (1993). Becketts Dying Words. Oxford:

Bennett, Arnold

Enoch Arnold Bennett (May 27, 1867March 27,

1931) was a British novelist, critic, essayist, and
playwright. He was born in the town of Hanley,
Staffordshire, in the heart of the Potteries district of northern England a region so named for
its industrial character and preeminence in the
making of ceramics. This area was immortalized
by Bennett as the Five Towns of his best-known
works, which include the novels Anna of the Five
Towns (1902a), The Old Wives Tale (1908b),
Clayhanger (1910a), Hilda Lessways (1911), and
These Twain (1916), along with numerous short
stories. His representations of life in the region
in which he grew up were largely influenced by
the naturalism of the French writers who inspired
Bennett, most notably Balzac, Zola, de Maupassant, Flaubert, and the Goncourt brothers.


Bennett was educated in local schools and raised

in the Wesleyan Methodist tradition. His father
qualified as a solicitor late in life, having previously worked as a potter and a schoolmaster. As
an adolescent, Arnold, the eldest of the Bennetts
six children, worked in his fathers office. Bennett
would later use the knowledge he gained from this
apprenticeship to create vivid portraits of solicitors in works like Whom God Hath Joined (1906),
a novel which traces two divorce cases through the
courts. The fixation on parentchild relationships
in Bennetts work, and on the tyranny of overbearing fathers in particular, has been frequently
noted. So too has the concern with and genuine
feeling for the mundane details of everyday life,
which characterizes Bennetts particular strain of
realism, and clearly differentiates him from his
high modernist contemporaries and successors.
At the age of 21, Bennett moved to London and
began work as a solicitors clerk. In 1893 he took
an editorial position at the literary magazine
Woman. He would later become editor-in-chief
of this publication, leaving only after the publication of his first novel, A Man from the North
(1898). This book was largely autobiographical,
following a young would-be author as he moves
from the Five Towns to London and takes up an
office job, struggling for a while to keep up his
writing, but eventually abandoning it. While the
novel met with only moderate critical success, it
was enough to provide Bennett with the means
and the confidence to focus full-time on his
writing. In 1903, Bennett moved to Paris, where
he lived and worked for eight years before returning to England by way of a tour of America,
documented in Those United States (1912b). In
1907, he married Mary Marguerite Soulie
(b. 1874), a French actress. The couple separated
legally in 1921. In 1926, Bennett had a daughter,
Virginia Bennett, with Dorothy Chesterton Bennett (18911978), who took Bennetts name by
deed poll.
Bennett enjoyed widespread popularity along
with significant financial success in the early
decades of the twentieth century, producing over
three dozen novels, along with several volumes
of short stories and essays. The Old Wives Tale,
generally considered his masterpiece, was published in 1908. This book, inspired by
Maupassants Un vie, chronicles the lives of sisters
Constance and Sophia Banes. Constance remains

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



in the Five Towns family home, eventually taking

over her parents tailoring business with the help
of her husband Samuel, the stores long-time
employee, while Sophia seeks her fate in Paris,
first through marriage, then as a hotel-keeper.
Bennett was also an accomplished journalist,
writing for Academy and other publications, a
prolific book reviewer, being especially known
for the reviews he produced for the Evening
Standards Books and People section, and a
playwright, achieving moderate success with
works such as Milestones (1912a). In addition, he
produced self-help books (How to Live on 24
Hours a Day, 1908a; Literary Taste: How to Form
It, 1910b; and several others) and travel books,
along with five volumes of letters, three of personal journals, and an autobiography.
His professionalism helped Bennett to achieve
the degree of success he did, but also left him open
to charges (which he did little to dispel) of being
a middle-class hack interested only in a paycheck and not in literature per se. This was a
misguided charge, but it stuck, particularly after
Virginia Woolf attacked the Edwardian writer in
Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown (1950 [1924] ).
Declaring Bennett and his contemporaries John
Galsworthy and H. G. Wells to be materialists
unconcerned with the inner lives of their characters, Woolf created a portrait of Bennett and
his writing that was far from the reality. While
Bennett was committed to the exterior of his
characters and to material conditions in a way
that Woolf and her contemporaries were not, it
was because he believed in the need to understand
outside circumstances in order to understand
interiors and because he believed that interiors
were inaccessible to a certain degree (and hence
could be understood only through inference and
surmise) that Bennett insisted on understanding
not only his characters but their surroundings.
Nonetheless, Bennetts popularity took a sharp
dive after Woolfs dismissal, and his reputation
has yet to recover from the unfortunate blow.
There are promising signs, however. Recently
critics such as Kurt Koenigsberger and Randi
Saloman have begun to consider Bennetts work
on its own merits. John Carey declared Bennett
the hero of his study of modernism, Intellectuals
and the Masses (1992). Robert Squillace (1997)
has produced a provocative monograph offering
new insight into Bennetts novels.

SEE ALSO: Edwardian Fiction (BIF)

Bennett, A. (1898). A Man from the North. London:
John Lane.
Bennett, A. (1902a). Anna of the Five Towns. London:
Chatto and Windus.
Bennett, A. (1902b). Grand Babylon Hotel. London:
Chatto and Windus.
Bennett, A. (1906). Whom God Hath Joined. London:
David Nutts.
Bennett, A. (1908a). How to Live on 24 Hours a Day.
London: New Age.
Bennett, A. (1908b). The Old Wives Tale. London:
Chapman and Hall.
Bennett, A. (1910a). Clayhanger. London: Methuen.
Bennett, A. (1910b). Literary Taste: How to Form it.
New York: George H. Doran.
Bennett, A. (1911). Hilda Lessways. London:
Bennett, A. (1912a). Milestones. New York: George
H. Doran.
Bennett, A. (1912b). Those United States. London:
Martin Secker.
Bennett, A. (1916). These Twain. London: Methuen.
Bennett, A. (1918). The Pretty Lady. London: Cassell.
Bennett, A. (1923). Riceyman Steps. London: Cassell.
Bennett, A. (1930). Imperial Palace. London: Cassell.
Carey, John. (1992). Intellectuals and the Masses: Pride
and Prejudice among the Literary Intelligentsia,
18801939. London: Faber and Faber.
Drabble, M. (1974). Arnold Bennett. New York: Knopf.
Hynes, S. (ed.) (1968). The Authors Craft and Other
Critical Writings of Arnold Bennett. Lincoln:
University of Nebraska Press.
Squillace, R. (1997). Modernism, Modernity and Arnold
Bennett. Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press.
Woolf, V. (1950). Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown [1924].
In The Captains Death Bed. New York: Harcourt.

Berger, John

For more than a half century, John Berger has held

a unique position in British and European culture, making his mark in literature, the visual arts,
and mass media. Testing aesthetic models and
advancing a socialist critique, his work establishes
vital links between modernism and some of the
most recent tendencies in performance and

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Berger produced several works of fiction and

art criticism in the late 1950s and 1960s, but he
first attracted widespread national and international attention with Ways of Seeing (1972b), a
widely influential project on visual culture that
was broadcast on British television and concomitantly published as a bestselling paperback. Ways
of Seeing investigates the field of vision and especially the masculine gaze in both high art and
commercial advertising. In this project, Berger
was one of the first in Britain or abroad to
engage Walter Benjamins seminal thought on art
and the techniques of mechanical reproduction.
He was also one of the first to bring the early
writings of the Frankfurt School to bear on postwar society.
Despite his interdisciplinary range, Berger can
perhaps best be described as a storyteller, particularly as Benjamin understood it: his essays,
drawings, and screenplays all use narrative techniques to transmit experience and wisdom from
the past into the present. Berger was born in
London in 1926 and came of age during World
War II. After serving in the British Army from
1944 to 1946, he enrolled in art school and began
to exhibit paintings in English galleries. The New
Statesman published much of his early writing
reviews and essays edited with the red thread of
Marxism. From the start, Bergers work demonstrated a commitment to social justice; his first
novels, written in a naturalist style, thematized
problems in public health, labor relations, and
immigration in Britain. The sharp leftist slant of
A Painter of Our Time (1958) was held suspect
by Cold War censors and was briefly withdrawn
from circulation. Later, when his novel G.
(1972a), a postmodern exploration of revolution
and language, was granted the Booker Prize,
Berger donated half of the award to the Black
Although Berger remains a prominent voice in
English literature, he has lived and worked in a
farming village in France since the 1970s. He has
collaborated with filmmakers and photographers
to document vestigial peasant cultures in Europe
and his trilogy Into Their Labors (197990) surveys the passage of generations from the country
to the city. The first of these three novels, Pig Earth
(1979), draws from French oral traditions and is
inflected with elements of magical realism. Once
in Europa (1987) and Lilac and Flag (1990) move


out across the continent, uniting the stories of

migrating workers from east and west into complex narratives about recent European history,
up to and beyond the collapse of communism.
Into Their Labors became a rich resource for the
UK-based theatre company Complicite (originally the The^atre de Complicite), which adapted it
into the multimedia performance The Three Lives
of Lucie Cabrol, which toured in Britain and
abroad from 1994 to 1996.
The series Here Is Where We Meet, held in
London in 2005, staged a major retrospective of
Bergers collaborations and commitments, both
political and aesthetic. The survey spanned his
studies of Picasso and Titian, through his literary
oeuvre, to his influence on younger writers, such
as Michael Ondaatje and Emine Sevgi Ozdamar.
The 2005 series highlighted Bergers later works,
including To the Wedding, the 1995 novel about
love and AIDS that functions as a loose allegory
of the new Europe. New works of creative nonfiction, based in part on his own familys lives,
were collected and published under the series title
Here Is Where We Meet (2005). The stories demonstrate a new level of Bergers creative maturity,
as they imbricate strands of his earlier thought on
narration and art.
Besides his influence on the writers Ondaatje
and Ozdamar, Bergers thought has instilled itself
into a wide range of art and cultural criticism,
including the work of Susan Sontag. His work has
been widely translated; A Seventh Man (1975), for
example, was translated into Turkish, Portuguese,
and Panjabi. In recent interviews Berger has mentioned his own indebtedness to the fiction of
Arundhati Roy, the poetry of Gareth Evans, and
the photography of Sebasti~ao Salgado.
In 2008 Berger followed through with an experimental novel, From A to X, which was nominated for a second Booker Prize, but received
criticism for rehashing material from previous
projects. Like Into Their Labors and Here Is Where
We Meet, the later novel ventures a pastiche of
locations and historical moments; here radical
Islam and Chavezist cynicism are entered into
an experimental fiction that returns to Bergers
favored conflict between brute power and the
oppressed multitudes. Taken as a whole, Bergers
work stands out in twentieth-century and contemporary culture for its aesthetic innovation,
capacity for empathy, and critical vision.

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



SEE ALSO: Censorship and the Novel (BIF);

Critical Theory and the Novel (BIF); Politics
and the Novel (BIF); Postmodernist Fiction
(BIF); Working-Class Fiction (BIF)
Berger, J. (1958). A Painter of Our Time. London: Secker
and Warburg.
Berger, J. (1960). Permanent Red: Essays in Seeing.
London: Methuen.
Berger, J. (1972a). G. London: Weidenfeld and
Berger, J. (1972b). Ways of Seeing. Harmondsworth:
Berger, J. (1975). A Seventh Man. Harmondsworth:
Berger, J. (1979). Pig Earth. London: Writers and
Berger, J. (1980). About Looking. London: Writers
and Readers.
Berger, J. (1987). Once in Europa. New York: Pantheon.
Berger, J. (1990). Lilac and Flag. New York: Pantheon.
Berger, J. (1995). To the Wedding. New York: Pantheon.
Berger, J. (1996). Pages of the Wound. London:
Berger, J. (2005). Here Is Where We Meet. New York:
Berger, J. (2007). Hold Everything Dear: Dispatches on
Survival and Resistance. New York: Pantheon.
Berger, J. (2008). From A to X. London: Verso.
Berger, J., & Bielski, N. (1987). A Question of Geography.
London: Faber and Faber.
Dyer, G. (1986). Ways of Telling: The Work of John
Berger. London: Pluto.
Hitchcock, P. (2001). They Must Be Represented?
Problems in Theories of Working-Class
Representation. PMLA, 155(1), 2032.
McBurney, S. (dir.) (1994). The Three Lives of Lucie
Cabrol. The^atre de Complicite.
Papastergiadis, N. (1993). Modernity as Exile: The
Stranger in John Bergers Writing. Manchester:
Manchester University Press.
Scribner, C. (2003). Second World, Second Sex, and
Literature on the European Left. Comparative
Literature, 55(3), 21728.

Bolger, Dermot

Dermot Bolger was 9 years old in 1968 when

universal secondary education finally became the

law in Ireland. This belated upgrade (well behind

other modern nations) perhaps explains his bold
conviction that what he needed to do to become a
writer after secondary school at Beneavin College
was practice, not more school. He worked variously as a factory hand and as a driver/librarian
for a mobile library until he could support himself by writing. It may explain as well his remarkable non-competitive attunement to the hidden
lives of others, especially those who dont go to
university. He writes of and for this new generation, bringing it into the mainstream of Irish
literature. He currently lives in Finglas, the
Dublin working-class suburb where he was born
in 1959.
Night Shift, Bolgers first novel (1985), concerns Donal Flynn, who works the press at a
welding rod factory. He is 18, married, and lives
with his young wife in a caravan at the bottom of
her parents garden. The novel describes Donals
gradual maturing, as he outgrows the night shift
of single males carousing in favor of his marriage.
But Donals growth is too gradual, too late. After
his last night out he returns home to learn that his
wife, anxious for his return, has lost their baby in
a fall down the stairs. At the hospital we find our
own vicarious interest in Donals night life has
also left us unprepared for the realization that
Elizabeth has grown apart from him; and we are
unprepared as well for her resolute gesture of
giving him back his ring, telling him that she is
leaving him to take better care of herself. Unlike
such novels as Joyces Portrait of the Artist as a
Young Man and Lawrences Sons and Lovers,
where women are viewed as accessories or liabilities to a central male character gratifyingly resembling the author, this first novel so knowing
about young mens lives turns against its own
knowledge to observe that even a decent (and
improving) young man can forfeit the love of a
good woman forever.
The Journey Home (1990), Bolgers second
novel, established him in Ireland and Europe as
the voice of protest against Irish complacency
toward a sordid politics corrupting public life.
The 2008 publication of The Journey Home in
America restores for readers outside the market of
Penguin UK a proper historical perspective on the
fierce national resentment and self-criticism of
the Irish 1980s so muted in Roddy Doyles fiction,
with which Bolgers own is often compared.

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Bolgers novels are always formally inventive; this

novel begins with Hano and Katie running from
their murder of a member of a corrupt political
family; we read several concurrent narratives (one
from beyond the grave) in each chapter, which
bring each character up to date on each others
past lives.
Part I and sections of Part III of The Womans
Daughter (1991), Bolgers third novel, first appeared separately in 1987, introducing the
authors lifelong interest in extrasensory experience and his characters hidden lives. The
narratives intricate connection of abused daughters across generations in the same family stands
for a spiritual connection between them, even a
haunting of the present by the past. A proper
reading of Bolger will include his poetry and
drama of this period, which share characters
among them.
A Second Life (1994) is one of Bolgers greatest
novels. Sean Blakes consciousness hovers above
his car accident, but also senses a pained spirit
haunting the nearby Botanical Gardens. Like
many who have experienced near-death, Blake
recuperates reluctantly, feeling haunted by both
his biological mother who gave him up for adoption, and this unknown past spirit. Seans mother
is also haunted, hearing his car crash in Dublin
although she lives in England. As Sean works his
way back to her, the novel brings her story forward: how she was forced into an institution for
unwed mothers and forced to give up her child.
Sean wrests himself away from researching someone elses life to working harder on sorting out
his own. He finds his mother days too late, but
arranges a tender, magnificent reconciliation
scene, taking his family to the graves of his grandparents who had cast his mother out, and releases
his mothers ashes there. Bolger is never afraid of
including strong emotions and strong endings in
his fiction, or of seeming sentimental or to pander
to popular feelings. A Second Life was published
just before a long-delayed 1994 public investigation in Ireland into how women were institutionalized for real or imaginary sins.
The 10 years following A Second Life (Fathers
Music, 1997b; Temptation, 2000; and The Valparaiso Voyage, 2001) have consolidated Bolgers
national and European reputation as a highly
regarded novelist constantly extending his range
of subject and form. The Family on Paradise Pier


(2005), a chronicle of twentieth-century Ireland

and its entanglements in European wars and
politics as seen by a disintegrating Irish Protestant
family, is Bolgers most ambitious novel to date.
The main character Eva first appeared as a formative influence on Hano in The Journey Home;
her character is based on a real-life mentor (Sheila
Fitzgerald) of several Irish writers and artists,
including Bolger himself. Bolger is both elucidative and critical in his depiction of the public spirit
of this Protestant family as each member tries to
find a role in a society moving away from them.
A shared memory of the familys recreational
use of Paradise Pier haunts and strengthens each
Bolger has always been dismissive of sectarian
or confessional divisions in Ireland, and hostile to
labels such as working class and Anglo-Irish.
In 1993 he described postcolonial literature as
inappropriate to Irish writing, a decomposing
chicken in search of its head (1993, p. xiii). Yet he
has forthrightly identified himself with an Irishness as inclusive as James Joyces Leopold Bloom.
In his important play In High Germany, an Irishman working abroad finds an authentic national
identity solely in the multinational and multiracial national soccer team.
The public recognition of Bolgers novels for
contributing to a more inclusive identity for Irish
fiction is paralleled by the critical acclaim and
success of his plays; he became a member of
Aosdana (Irelands national academy of artists
and intellectuals) in 1991. He has given tireless,
unselfish support to fellow writers throughout
his career as a publisher and an impresario of
new writing. He founded the influential Raven
Arts Press in 1977 (when he was 18), publishing
first novels by Patrick McCabe and Eoin McNamee, first books by Colm Toibn and Fintan
OToole, and major books by Sebastian Barry,
Anthony Cronin, Paul Durcan, Francis Stuart,
and Michael Hartnett. He devised and edited two
novels, Finbars Hotel (1997) and Ladies Night at
Finbars Hotel (1999), gathering one chapter each
from fellow Irish writers. Attributed to all of
them collectively, these novels do not propose
the parlor game of guessing which author has
written individual chapters, but encourage a
more generous, comradely sense of Irish
writing, thoroughly in spirit with the temper of
Bolgers work.

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



SEE ALSO: Doyle, Roddy (BIF); Irish Fiction

(BIF); Joyce, James (BIF); Working-Class
Fiction (BIF)
Bolger, D. (1985). Night Shift. Dingle: Brandon.
Bolger, D. (ed.) (1986). The Bright Wave: Poetry in
Irish Now. Dublin: Raven Arts.
Bolger, D. (1991). The Womans Daughter [1987],
expanded edn. New York: Viking.
Bolger, D. (1990). The Journey Home. New York:
Bolger, D. (1992a). A Dublin Quartet (The Lament for
Arthur Cleary; In High Germany; The Holy Ground;
One Last White Horse). London: Penguin.
Bolger, D. (1992b). Emilys Shoes. New York: Viking.
Bolger, D. (ed.) (1993). The Picador Book of
Contemporary Irish Fiction. London: Picador.
Bolger, D. (1994). A Second Life. New York:
Bolger, D. (1995). A Dublin Bloom: An Original Free
Adaptation of James Joyces Ulysses. London:
Nick Hern.
Bolger, D. (1997a). April Bright and Blinded by the
Light: Two Plays. London: Nick Hern.
Bolger, D. (1997b). Fathers Music. London:
Bolger, D. (1998). Taking My Letters Back: New and
Selected Poems. Dublin: New Island.
Bolger, D. (2000). Temptation. London: Flamingo.
Bolger, D. (2001). The Valparaiso Voyage. London:
Bolger, D. (2004). From These Green Heights. Dublin:
New Island.
Bolger, D. (2005). The Family on Paradise Pier. London:
Bolger, D. (2009a). The Consequences of Lightning.
Dublin: New Island.
Bolger, D. (2009b). The Townlands of Brazil. Dublin:
New Island.
Bolger, D., Doyle, R., Enright, A., Hamilton, H.,
Johnston, J., OConnor, J., & Toibn, C. (1997).
Finbars Hotel. London: Picador.
Bolger, D., Binchy, M., Boylan, C., Donoghue, E.,
Haverty, A., N Dhuibne, E., ORiordan, K., &
Purcell, D. (1999). Ladies Night at Finbars Hotel.
London: Picador.
Foster, R. F. (2007). Luck and the Irish. London:
Imhoff, R. (2002). The Modern Irish Novel. Dublin:
Paschel, U. (1998). No Mean City? The Image of Dublin
in the Novels of Dermot Bolger, Roddy Doyle, and Val
Mulkerns. New York: Peter Lang.

Bowen, Elizabeth

Born in Dublin in 1899, novelist Elizabeth Bowen

died in Kent in 1973; she is buried in Ireland near
the site of the demolished family home, Bowens
Court. Half-orphaned at 13, she lived as she had
grown up, on both sides of the [Anglo-Irish]
hyphen. Educated at English schools, she married an Englishman, Alan Cameron, in 1923; the
couple lived in Oxford until 1935, when Cameron
accepted a position with the BBC in London. After
inheriting Bowens Court in 1930, the author
spent extended holidays at this beloved but financially ruinous big house, where her guests included Virginia Woolf, Rosamond Lehmann, and
Isaiah Berlin. During World War II, Bowen divided her time between London, where her Regents Park house was bombed twice, and neutral
Eire, where she wrote undercover reports on Irish
morale for the British Ministry of Information. At
a time when Churchill debated seizing the Irish
treaty ports lost in 1938, Bowens counsels
about respecting its neutrality reflect her affection
for Ireland and considerable political canniness.
Still, as late as 2004, the question of whether this
English spy counts as an Irish writer was debated in the Irish Times.
Bowens first short story collection, Encounters,
was published in 1923; her first novel, The Hotel,
in 1927; her work of the 1930s and 1940s To the
North (1932), The House in Paris (1935), The
Death of the Heart (1938), The Demon Lover and
Other Stories (1945), The Heat of the Day (1949)
was her most popular and remains her bestknown. After Camerons death in 1952, Bowen
published only three more novels, A World of Love
(1955), The Little Girls (1964), and Eva Trout
(1969); A Day in the Dark and Other Stories
appeared in 1969. From 1950 until her final illness
she taught in American universities and colleges
Vassar and Bryn Mawr, Princeton and Stanford,
the universities of Wisconsin and California,
Berkeley supplementing her income with lectures and magazine articles. Nonetheless she was
forced to sell Bowens Court, razed by its new
owner in 1960.
Like the author, the archetypal Bowen character is an outsider. Portia, a recently bereaved
teenager in The Death of the Heart, reminds
everyone in her half-brothers elegant London

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


house of his late fathers foolish affair with a

young woman from a flower shop. Like 9-yearold Leopold in The House in Paris, born to a young
unmarried Englishwoman of good family some
eight months after the suicide of his French Jewish
father, these aliens are surrounded by well-bred
people with secrets concerning sex and history.
Around them flow the rituals and polite conversations of upper-middle-class life, to which the
outsider listens with desperate attention for answers to questions no one dares ask directly. The
Bowen novel of manners is, in the authors phrase,
about life with the lid on, but cruelty, betrayal,
even violence, seethe just below the decorative
surface (Glendinning 82). Portia falls in love, only
to be devastated at discovering how entangled the
shallow young man is with her sister-in-law;
Leopold, yearning to see the mother from whom
he has been separated since his infancy, travels to
Paris only to receive a last-minute telegram canceling the visit. The Last September (1929) ends as
the IRA burn down the elegant big house in which
it is set; in To the North, a young woman made
homeless by her sister-in-laws decision to remarry kills herself and her estranged lover in a highspeed car crash.
The Heat of the Day, set in wartime London,
may be Bowens most accomplished novel. By
turns love story and documentary, the novel
carries traces of the gothic and spy fiction, as well
as her distinctive novel of manners. The melodramatic question on which the plot turns,
whether Stella Rodney ought to sleep with a
British intelligence agent, Harrison, in order to
postpone the arrest of her lover, Robert Kelway,
a Dunkirk veteran spying for the Nazis, gives
Bowen full scope to explore the uncertainties of
identity, betrayal, and love. In a crucial episode,
Stella visits the Irish estate her son has recently
inherited from his long-dead fathers family. Here
a recurrent Bowen theme, Anglo-Irish alienation,
deepens anxiety that the English who survive the
wartime destruction at home also face the collapse
of values that gave their culture coherence. For
two decades after her death Bowen was largely
forgotten, often dismissed as one more conventional female novelist of manners. However, recent criticism of The Heat of the Day and the later,
more experimental Eva Trout offers a vision of
Bowen as a psychologically complex, stylistically
accomplished, and politically astute writer who


deserves to be read in the context of her

contemporaries Virginia Woolf and Samuel Beckett, even as the Other of James Joyce (Bennett &
Royle, p. xv).
SEE ALSO: Irish Fiction (BIF); London in
Fiction (BIF); Politics and the Novel (BIF);
World War II in Fiction (BIF)
Bennett, A., & Royle, N. (1995). Elizabeth Bowen and the
Dissolution of the Novel: Still Lives. New York:
St. Martins.
Bowen, E. (1923). Encounters. London: Sidgwick and
Bowen, E. (1927). The Hotel. London: Constable.
Bowen, E. (1932). To the North. London: Gollancz.
Bowen, E. (1935). The House in Paris. London:
Bowen, E. (1938). The Death of the Heart. London:
Bowen, E. (1945). The Demon Lover and Other Stories.
London: Jonathan Cape.
Bowen, E. (1949). The Heat of the Day. London:
Jonathan Cape.
Bowen, E. (1955). A World of Love. London:
Jonathan Cape.
Bowen, E. (1964). The Little Girls. London:
Jonathan Cape.
Bowen, E. (1965). A Day in the Dark and Other Stories.
London: Jonathan Cape.
Bowen, E. (1969). Eva Trout. London:
Jonathan Cape.
Clifford, B., & Lane, J. (1999). Elizabeth Bowen: Notes
on Eire Espionage Reports to Winston Churchill,
19402. Aubane, Co. Cork: Aubane Historical
Corcoran, N. (2004). Elizabeth Bowen: The Enforced
Return. Oxford: Clarendon.
Ellman, M. (2003). Elizabeth Bowen: The Shadow
across the Page. Edinburgh: Edinburgh
University Press.
Glendinning, V. (1979). Elizabeth Bowen. New York:
Halperin, J. (1998). Eminent Georgians: The Lives of
King George V, Elizabeth Bowen, St. John Philby, and
Nancy Astor. New York: St. Martins.
Hoogland, R. C. (1994). Elizabeth Bowen: A
Reputation in Writing. New York: New York
University Press.
Irish Political Review (2004). Martin Mansergh and The
Irish Times: A Polemic. Irish Political Review (June).
At www.atholbooks.org/mansergh_polemic.php,
accessed June 16, 2008.

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



Jordan, H. B. (1992). How Will the Heart Endure?

Elizabeth Bowen and the Landscape of War.
Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Lee, H. (1981). Elizabeth Bowen: An Estimation.
London: Vision.
McCormack, W. J. (1993). Dissolute Characters: Irish
Literary History through Balzac, Sheridan Le Fanu,
Yeats and Bowen. Manchester: Manchester
University Press.
Moynahan, J. (1995). Anglo-Irish: The Literary
Imagination in a Hyphenated Culture. Princeton:
Princeton University Press.
Walshe, E. (ed.) (1998). Elizabeth Bowen Remembered:
The Farahy Addresses. Dublin: Four Courts.

Boyd, William

One of Britains most prolific and successful

contemporary writers, William Boyd was born
in Accra, Ghana, in 1952. His parents were Scottish expatriates, and Boyd grew up in the British
expatriate communities of Ghana and Nigeria.
At the age of 9, his parents sent him to attend
Gordonstoun boarding school in Scotland. His
education was completed with a diploma of
French studies from the University of Nice, a BA
and MA in English and philosophy from the
University of Glasgow, and studies toward a DPhil
in English literature at Jesus College, Oxford.
Between 1980 and 1983, Boyd worked as a lecturer
in English literature and critical theory at
St. Hildas College, Oxford.
Boyds career as a novelist and writer took off
in 1981 with the publication of his first novel,
A Good Man in Africa (1981a), which won the
Whitbread Novel Award and the Somerset
Maugham Award. This successful first novel was
followed in 1982 with the publication of An IceCream War (shortlisted for the Booker Prize and
winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize), Stars
and Bars (1984), The New Confessions (1987),
Brazzaville Beach (1990; winner of the James Tait
Black Memorial Prize and the McVities Prize for
Scottish Writer of the Year), The Blue Afternoon
(1993; winner of the Sunday Express Book of the
Year award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize
for Fiction 1995), Armadillo (1998a), Any Human
Heart (2002; winner of the Prix Jean Monnet),
Restless (2006; winner of the Costa Book Award:

Novel), and Ordinary Thunderstorms (2009). In

addition to his acclaimed fiction, Boyd has also
produced several volumes of short stories On
the Yankee Station (1981b), The Destiny of Nathalie X (1995), Fascination (2005b), and The
Dream Lover (2008) a memoir of his school
days (School Ties, 1985), the memoir Nat Tate: An
American Artist 19281961 (1998b), and a collection of non-fiction writing, Bamboo, in 2005.
Additionally, Boyd made a name for himself as
a successful screenwriter, adapting not only his
own novels (A Good Man in Africa and Stars and
Bars) but also those of, for example, Mario
Vargas Llosa (Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter)
and Evelyn Waugh (Scoop and Sword of Honour),
as well as writing and directing the film The
Boyds success is mainly due to his versatility.
His novels reflect his own international upbringing with a variety of settings ranging from Africa,
to America, and changing British settings. His
largely realist narrative employs varying narrative
strategies to explore a wide variety of political and
social events of the twentieth century. His second
novel, An Ice-Cream War, for example, is a biting
anti-war satire. Additionally, the novel introduces a new stylistic device by focusing on a
variety of central characters rather than on a
single protagonist. Brazzaville Beach sees a departure from Boyds previous approaches by introducing a female protagonist for the first time and
combining two different narrative strands, one
largely set in England, the other in Africa. Hope
Clearwater, the protagonist, leaves England and
a failed marriage behind to study primates in
Africa. The narrative does not only show succinct
insights into the competitiveness of and the
manipulation prevalent in animal research, but
also shows the spiraling violence of the civil war
raging in the African country that eventually ends
up with Hope as a victim of kidnapping. Boyd
thus seems to draw a parallel between human
violence (the civil war) and the escalating violence among the chimpanzees as witnessed by
Hope at the research station. The narrative
strands alternate between a first-person one that
recounts Hopes reasons for leaving England
behind and a third-person one outlining her
African experiences. Boyd similarly employs this
technique of varying narrative levels in Restless,
which also has two female protagonists: the

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


first-person narrative of Ruth is firmly set in

1970s Oxford where she is trying to come to
terms with the unraveling second narrative
strand, her mother Eva Delectorskayas memoirs
of her own secret involvement in the British secret
service during World War II.
Armadillo, by contrast, takes Boyd to a new and
diverse topic. The protagonist Lorimer Black has
taken on a new name to hide his east European
gypsy origin. While many of Boyds earlier novels
deal with the figure of the British expatriate,
Armadillo, by contrast, focuses on the experiences
of European immigrants into Britain. Identity
stands at the forefront of this novel, as most of
its characters are trying to be someone they are
not either disguising or trying to forget their
origins or their past.
Boyds work also reflects the influence of a
variety of twentieth-century writers. A Good Man
in Africa, for example, shows the influence of
F. Scott Fitzgerald and Kingsley Amis. Any Human Heart, in another stylistic departure written
in the form of a diary that spans the best part of the
twentieth century, pays homage to the literary
elite of the twentieth century. The protagonist,
Logan Mountstuart, records meetings with, for
example, celebrated writers such as Evelyn Waugh
and Anthony Powell (whom Boyd professed himself an admirer of). In the case of Powell, Boyds
diligent attention to research and detail can also
be seen, as the sightings of Powell Mountstuart
referred to in his diary can actually be found in
Powells own memoirs. The sheer breadth and
scope of Any Human Heart, covering social, historical and cultural events of twentieth-century
Britain, also lends itself to a comparison with
Powells own magnus opus, A Dance to the Music
of Time.
Although Boyds work harks back to the realism of the nineteenth century rather than bearing
resemblance to its postmodernist contemporaries, the sheer versatility of the authors themes
and topics as well as his stylistic divergences make
him a truly exciting and immensely readable
contemporary writer who has proven over and
over again that he deserved to be included in
Granta magazines 1983 list of most promising
British novelists (Elices 19).
SEE ALSO: Powell, Anthony (BIF); Waugh,
Evelyn (BIF)



Biswell, A. (2001). William Boyd. In M. Moseley (ed.),
British Novelists Since 1960. 4th series. Detroit:
Gale, pp. 3140.
Boyd, W. (1981a). A Good Man in Africa. London:
Boyd, W. (1981b). On the Yankee Station. London:
Boyd, W. (1982). An Ice-Cream War. London: Penguin.
Boyd, W. (1984). Stars and Bars. London: Penguin.
Boyd, W. (1985). School Ties. London: Penguin.
Boyd, W. (1987). The New Confessions. London:
Boyd, W. (1990). Brazzaville Beach. London: Penguin.
Boyd, W. (1993). The Blue Afternoon. London: Penguin.
Boyd, W. (1995). The Destiny of Nathalie X. London:
Boyd, W. (1998a). Armadillo. London: Penguin.
Boyd, W. (1998b). Nat Tate: An American Artist
19281961. Cambridge: 21 Publishing.
Boyd, W. (2002). Any Human Heart. London: Hamish
Boyd, W. (2005a). Bamboo. London: Bloomsbury.
Boyd, W. (2005b). Fascination. London: Penguin.
Boyd, W. (2006). Restless. London: Bloomsbury.
Boyd, W. (2008). The Dream Lover. London:
Boyd, W. (2009). Ordinary Thunderstorms. London:
Dunn, D. (1993). Divergent Scottishness: William
Boyd, Allan Massie, Ronald Frame. In G. Wallace &
R. Stevenson, The Scottish Novel Since the 1970s.
New Visions. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press,
pp. 14969.
Elices, J. F. (2006). The Satiric Worlds of William Boyd.
A Case-Study. Berne: Peter Lang.
Ross, T. (1997). High Brow Adapter: Interview with
William Boyd. Creative Screenwriting, 4(2), 3743.
Vitoux, P. (2000). The Uses of Parody in William
Boyds The New Confessions. Texas Studies in
Literature and Language, 42(1),7992.

Brooke-Rose, Christine

Christine Frances Evelyn Brooke-Rose was born

in Geneva in 1923. A literary experimentalist like
her late, younger contemporary, B. S. Johnson,
she views the writing of fiction as an intellectual as
well as creative exploration. Her English father,
Alfred Northbrook Rose, died in 1934. Her mother, Evelyn Blanche Brooke, was an American of

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



Swiss parentage, who later became a Benedictine

nun. Raised in Brussels, but traveling frequently,
Brooke-Rose was schooled in Folkestone, Kent.
During World War II she worked in the intelligence branch of the Womens Auxiliary Air Force
(WAAF) at Bletchley Park, Britains primary
code-breaking station. She undertook undergraduate studies at Somerville College, Oxford
(19469), then, from 1950 to 1954, she attended
University College London, where she completed
a doctoral thesis drawing on her interest in philology and literature.
Brooke-Roses first published work, Gold
(1955), is a poem with religious themes. This was
followed by her first novel, The Languages of Love
(1957), a satirical work, written in part to counter
the stress induced by the near-fatal illness of her
then husband, the Polish writer Jerzy Pietrkiewicz. In 1958 she published her second novel, The
Sycamore Tree (1958b), a reasonably conventional
book in which she investigates gender stereotyping. In that year she also published the critical
work A Grammar of Metaphor (1958a), which
looked at the classification of metaphor. These
works encapsulate the combination of creative
and critical interests that have continued
throughout Brooke-Roses career.
The 1960s saw her publish a number of novels,
beginning with The Dear Deceit (1960), in which
the machinations of narrative are questioned,
and ending with Between (1968), a present-tense
narration employing a number of European languages, as the story follows the travels of a female
translator. The notion of being between languages
a fact of Brooke-Roses own life is key here.
Other novels of this period include The Middlemen: A Satire (1961), which garnered suggestions
of smugness in the authors writing, Out (1964),
and Such (1966). Such is the most notable, and
won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. It is an
investigation of scientific and literary truth.
Following the 1970 publication of Go When
You See the Green Man Walking, a collection of
short stories, Brooke-Rose published two books
focusing on the work of poet Ezra Pound: A ZBC
of Ezra Pound (1971) and A Structural Analysis
of Pounds Usura Canto: Jakobsons Method
Extended and Applied to Free Verse (1976).
Brooke-Rose was by then working in France, as
university lecturer (196975) and, later, professor
(197588), at the University of Paris VIII,

Vincennes. She had not abandoned critical work

during the preceding 10 years and had, in 1967,
published an English translation of Alain RobbeGrillets In the Labyrinth (1959), which won the
Arts Council Translation Prize in 1969.
Thru (1975), a novel about a university classroom, features non-fictional text interspersed
with fictional text, diagrams, and curricula vitae
in its investigation of consciousness, while Amalgamemnon (1984) is a playful novel that mixes the
thoughts of a woman who is about to lose her job
as a professor of literature and history with textual
references to the work of the ancient Greek historian Herodotus and the burble of callers from a
radio talk-show program.
Amalgamemnon, Xorandor (1986), Verbivore
(1990), and Textermination (1991b) are what
Brooke-Rose considers the Intercom Quartet,
a set of novels that concern media and communications technology. A Rhetoric of the Unreal:
Studies in Narrative and Structure, Especially of the
Fantastic (1981) and Stories, Theories and Things
(1991a) were also published. Remarkably, her
output of fiction appeared only to increase following her seventieth birthday, with the publication, in quick succession, of the novels Remake
(1996), Next (1998), and Subscript (1999).
Remake is an autobiographical novel, exploring
the life of an old lady of seventy-two, with the
narrator (who is Brooke-Rose herself) deciphering messages and interrogating events, and exploring the machinations of memory. As with
much of her fiction, intersections between
humans and science form the basis of Remake,
as it does in Subscript in particular the working
of genetics and human memory. In Next the
author combines a journey into the lives of
Londons homeless with a murder mystery and,
through the use of free indirect speech, an exploration of anonymity.
Brooke-Roses most recent works are Invisible
Author: Last Essays (2002), and Life, End of (2006),
in which her own life and that of the old lady
in the work are not joined by the intrusion of I,
yet are so remarkably close that the book becomes
both constructed fiction and revealed autobiography and an incredibly vibrant conversation
between these positions.
SEE ALSO: Johnson, B. S. (BIF); Postmodernist
Fiction (BIF)

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



Birch, S. (1994). Christine Brooke-Rose and
Contemporary Fiction. New York: Oxford
University Press.
Brooke-Rose, C. (1955). Gold. Aldington: Hand and
Brooke-Rose, C. (1957). The Languages of Love.
London: Secker and Warburg.
Brooke-Rose, C. (1958a). A Grammar of Metaphor.
London: Secker and Warburg.
Brooke-Rose, C. (1958b). The Sycamore Tree. London:
Secker and Warburg.
Brooke-Rose, C. (1960). The Dear Deceit. London:
Secker and Warburg.
Brooke-Rose, C. (1961). The Middlemen: A Satire.
London: Secker and Warburg.
Brooke-Rose, C. (1964). Out. London: Michael Joseph.
Brooke-Rose, C. (1966). Such. London: Michael Joseph.
Brooke-Rose, C. (1968). Between. London: Michael
Brooke-Rose, C. (1970). Go When You See the Green
Man Walking. London: Michael Joseph.
Brooke-Rose, C. (1971). A ZBC of Ezra Pound. London:
Faber and Faber.
Brooke-Rose, C. (1975). Thru. London: Hamish
Brooke-Rose, C. (1976). A Structural Analysis
of Pounds Usura Canto: Jakobsons Method
Extended and Applied to Free Verse. The Hague:
Brooke-Rose, C. (1981). A Rhetoric of the Unreal:
Studies in Narrative and Structure, Especially of the
Fantastic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Brooke-Rose, C. (1984). Amalgamemnon. Manchester:
Brooke-Rose, C. (1986). Xorandor. Manchester:
Brooke-Rose, C. (1990). Verbivore. Manchester:
Brooke-Rose, C. (1991a). Stories, Theories and Things.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Brooke-Rose, C. (1991b). Textermination. Manchester:
Brooke-Rose, C. (1996). Remake. Manchester:
Brooke-Rose, C. (1998). Next. Manchester: Carcanet.
Brooke-Rose, C. (1999). Subscript. Manchester:
Brooke-Rose, C. (2002). Invisible Author: Last Essays.
Columbus: Ohio State University Press.
Brooke-Rose, C. (2006). Life, End Of. Manchester:
Canepari-Labib, M. (2002). Word-Worlds: Language,
Identity and Reality in the Work of Christine
Brooke-Rose. Oxford: Peter Lang.


Friedman, J., & Martin, R. (eds.). (1995). Utterly Other

Discourse: The Texts of Christine Brooke-Rose.
Normal, IL: Dalkey Archive.
Little, J. (1996). The Experimental Self: Dialogic
Subjectivity in Woolf, Pym, and Brooke-Rose.
Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.

Brookner, Anita

Anita Brookner, born in London on July 16, 1928,

the only child of middle-class Polish Jews, was
educated at James Allens Girls School, Kings
College, London, and the Courtauld Institute,
and first made her mark as an art historian. She
spent three postgraduate years in Paris, her only
extended time out of Britain, researching her
dissertation on Jean-Baptiste Greuze. Her mentor, Anthony Blunt, himself a distinguished scholar of the work of Nicholas Poussin, encouraged
her Francophile leanings. She ascended the academic ladder quickly, moving from the University
of Reading (195964) to the Courtauld Institute,
where she taught from 1964 until her retirement
in 1988. Her tenure at the Courtauld was interrupted only by her appointment to the Slade
Professorship at Cambridge (19678); she was
the first woman to hold the position. Her distinguished work on eighteenth- and nineteenthcentury French artists, particularly Greuze,
David, and Ingres, and her considerable talents
as an instructor earned Brookner a first-class
reputation at the Courtauld and among generations of students, many of whom went on to hold
major appointments at great museums and universities in the UK and abroad.
Challenged by a summer break in her schedule
in 1981, Brookner decided to write a novel. The
result, A Start in Life (1981), is the first of 24
published; she produced one a year until 1999
the year 2000 broke the spell, but five more have
appeared since 2001, the most recent, Strangers
(2009). For her, writing fiction was not far removed from writing art history: both activities
are exercises in problem solving. Intermittently,
collections of her essays appear, mostly on French
writers, painters, or philosophers, and she reviews
fiction frequently for The Spectator. She lives
quietly in an elegant flat in Chelsea, writing in
another flat next door.

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



Brookner grew up in a secular Jewish household with parents who, according to her, were
really not suited for child-rearing. Members of the
extended family as well as refugees from Hitlers
Continental atrocities frequented the Brookner
household, but it was a quiet life. The effect on the
young woman was telling: she has often talked
about her feelings of isolation and alienation, and
attributed them not only to her heritage but also
to her choice of profession. As a Jew and as a
woman she had two strikes against her in making
her way in the world of Protestant white male
privilege. Brookner pursued her graduate work
and career path in the 1950s and 1960s, in the days
before feminism had achieved at least some of its
goals, and in an academic world of considerable
bias and unpleasantness. Notably, though, Brookner has never complained or lamented her lot;
nor does she see herself as a victim quite the
Literature, both English and French, was another important influence on Brookners development. Growing up, she read all of Dickenss
novels and believed that the moral universe of his
fiction was an existential reality: the realization
that such was not the case was a profound ontological and intellectual shock, one whose repercussions reverberate not only in her life but in her
fiction as well. Time and again the protagonists
in her novels either fail to recognize that fact of life
or they apprehend it too late to translate it into
everyday life.
French literature eighteenth- and nineteenthcentury masters like Diderot, Stendhal, Constant,
Baudelaire, and Zola has influenced Brookner
to such an extent that describing her books as
French novels may be the most apt characterization. Not so much the substance of the masters
though in a number of cases that does matter,
for example, Zolas concern with what she has
called the heroism of everyday life (1971, 91),
which resonates in her own fiction as the
evocative, chaste precision and purity of the style
that filters into her novels. And the apparently
antithetical, floral elements derived from Collette
and Proust, which grace Brookners prose, demonstrate her indebtedness to that Continental
tradition of letters as well.
Another French element existentialist philosophy gives both structural backbone to characterization and a certain pervasive bleakness to

Brookners fiction; and another English element,

Henry James, haunts her pages, not just the
psychological insight and style of the Master, but
the narrative trajectory he charted for Isabel
Archer in The Portrait of a Lady, which might
also be Brookners: to tell the story of a certain
young woman affronting her destiny (James
1908, p. xii). Brookners women are not often so
young, but nonetheless Jamess trajectory for
Isabel is Brookners for many of her characters.
Brookner is likely best known for her fourth
novel, Hotel du Lac (1984), which established
her reputation as a novelist. Her protagonist, a
romance novelist named Edith Hope, has been
sentenced to exile at a Swiss hotel for an unfortunate lapse: she left her fiance standing at the
register office on their wedding day. After serving
her sentence in the midst of a gallery of other
women, Edith returns home, having rejected the
marriage proposal of a very Jamesian gentleman,
a little wiser for the experience. Edith is very much
a sister to the protagonists of the three novels
that preceded Hotel: a middle-aged woman with a
divided soul and heritage, someone who has lived
according to the dictates of an outmoded code;
disappointed and alienated, but managing to
soldier on. Edith is the savvy sister, though, a
woman who has taken her suitors injunction
(assume your own centrality: 95) to heart, but
not quite as he wished.
Hotel du Lac is in many ways the touchstone for
all of Brookners fiction. As other novels came
out, each amplified and extended the basic concerns of that Booker Prize-winning novel and in
a style that is perhaps unrivaled in contemporary
English prose fiction. The female portrait that is
the subject sometimes became a double female
portrait as in Brief Lives (1990), Falling Slowly
(1998), and Leaving Home (2005); or a male
portrait as in Lewis Percy (1989), The Next Big
Thing (2002), and Strangers (2009). In other cases,
the individual portrait became a group portrait of
both women and men as in Family and Friends
(1985) and A Family Romance (1993).
Brookners most recent novel, Strangers, is the
story of Paul Sturgis, a retired bank manager who
dreams of escape from a sedate life. Two women
disrupt things, one a middle-aged divorcee, the
other an old girlfriend. The novel generated
some familiar response with a number of critics
complaining that Strangers is an altogether too

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


familiar repetition of the novel she has been

writing from the beginning. Her consistent concern with the existential dilemma created when a
certain kind of person attempts to negotiate life
without compromise in the contemporary world
has produced fictions of elegant fugal variation on
the subject.
Brookner has written an elegant, incisive portrait of a certain person, whether female or male,
from the beginning. Her deepest and most sympathetic concern lies with chronicling the life
story without illusion, without sentiment, without
false comfort. The result is an elegant, often tragic,
fiction of depth, dimension, and resonance.
SEE ALSO: James, Henry (AF)
Alexander, C. M. (2002). Understanding Anita
Brookner. Columbia: University of South
Carolina Press.
Brookner, A. (1971). The Genius of the Future: Studies in
French Art Criticism: Diderot, Stendhal, Baudelaire,
Zola, the Brothers Goncourt, Huysmans. London:
Brookner, A. (1980). Jacques-Louis David. London:
Chatto and Windus.
Brookner, A. (1984). Hotel du Lac. London:
Jonathan Cape.
Brookner, A. (1985). Family and Friends. London:
Jonathan Cape.
Brookner, A. (1989). Lewis Percy. London:
Jonathan Cape.
Brookner, A. (1990). Brief Lives. London:
Jonathan Cape.
Brookner, A. (1993). A Family Romance. London:
Jonathan Cape.
Brookner, A. (1994). A Private View. London:
Jonathan Cape.
Brookner, A. (1998). Falling Slowly. London: Viking.
Brookner, A. (2002). The Next Big Thing. London:
Brookner, A. (2005). Leaving Home. London:
Brookner, A. (2009). Strangers. London: Random
Guppy, S. (1987). The Art of Fiction, No. 98: Anita
Brookner. Paris Review, 104, 123. At www.
accessed Mar. 4, 2010.
James, H. (1908). The Novels and Tales of Henry James,
vols. 34: The Portrait of a Lady. New York Edition.
New York: Scribners.


Byatt, A. S

A. S. Byatt is one of Britains most accomplished

writers of contemporary fiction, combining postmodern self-consciousness about the ability of
language to represent reality with a vivid sense of
characterization and narrative engagement. Noted for her allusive and intellectual style, Byatt is
nonetheless a bestselling author, her popularity
secure since her 1990 novel Possession: A Romance
won the Booker Prize. Although she is often cited
as a feminist writer owing to her focus on female
characters and issues related to womens lives,
Byatt is openly ambivalent about feminist theory,
which she feels can lead critics to interpret texts too
narrowly, without sensitivity to historical context.
Born Antonia Susan Drabble in Sheffield, England in 1936, Byatt became a self-styled greedy
reader as a child, devouring texts by Jane Austen,
George Eliot, Charles Dickens, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Robert Browning, Virginia Woolf, and
others. She was educated at Newnham College,
Cambridge in the 1950s where, under the influence of F. R. Leavis, she developed a passionate
belief in the moral importance of literature. When
she married Ian Byatt in 1959, with whom she
would have a son and a daughter, she was no
longer eligible to hold a doctoral fellowship and
left her studies. After her divorce, she was married
in 1969 to Peter Duffy, and had two more daughters. Her son Charles was killed at the age of 11 in
an automobile accident.
Until 1983 when she was able to become a
professional writer, Byatt made her living by
teaching in various universities; her familiarity
with academic settings and the debates surrounding contemporary literary theory since the 1960s
is evident in many of her works. She herself has
written literary criticism, including books on two
of her most important influences, Iris Murdoch
and George Eliot. Impressively prolific, she continues to publish novels, novellas, books of short
fiction, and essays about literature, splitting her
time between her London home and a cottage in
the south of France.
Byatts first two novels, The Shadow of a Sun
(1964) and The Game (1967), received mixed
reviews, and were deemed inferior to the work
of her famous sister, novelist Margaret Drabble.
Her reputation rose, though, with the publication

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



of The Virgin in the Garden (1978), the first novel

in a planned quartet about siblings Stephanie,
Marcus, and Frederica Potter, a circle of related
characters, and their experiences throughout the
1950s and 1960s. The two sisters serve as models
of the choices and barriers facing women of their
generation, as Stephanie chooses domestic responsibility and Frederica pursues a life of intellectual and artistic independence. Both Virgin and
its successor, Still Life (1985), hearken back to the
realist novels of the nineteenth century by incorporating the richness of social life, especially the
family, and psychologically rounded characters.
Yet each of the texts also has elements of postmodern self-reflexivity: the action in Virgin centers around the production of a pageant, while
Still Life abounds with discussions of aesthetic
theory in relation to painting. While critics responded positively to both of these novels, they
also found it difficult to position them clearly in
either the realist tradition or the innovations of
contemporary fiction.
Critics also commented on the conflict between
realism and postmodernism in the final two
novels of the quartet. The third novel, Babel Tower
(1996), deepens Byatts experimentation with
self-conscious fiction: it combines a main narrative about Fredericas life, and particularly her
divorce trial, following the sudden death of her
sister at the end of Virgin, with a second narrative
line constructed around a novel-within-the novel,
Babbletower, a viciously satiric reflection on the
dangers of individual and sexual freedom set
during the Reign of Terror, by a charismatic rebel
named Jude Mason, who is being prosecuted for
obscenity. The final text in the quartet, A Whistling Woman (2002), concludes the series by using
the developing medium of television as an internal mirror of the radical changes taking place in
the late 1960s; Frederica hosts a series entitled
Through the Looking-Glass, designed to challenge
establishment thinking. Seemingly stable and
unquestionable truths of British society come
under siege in scenes about the formation of an
anti-university and of a reclusive cult led by a
psychiatric patient. Both texts were praised for
their ambitious subject matter and complex narratives, but some reviewers were critical of Byatts
overly intellectual and allusive style.
Possession, on the other hand, was enthusiastically received by critics, reviewers, and readers,

who were enamored with Byatts skillful interweaving of self-conscious techniques, historical
detail, narrative suspense, and steamy romance.
The novel is structured around two sets of characters: Roland Michell and Maud Bailey, late
twentieth-century academics steeped in the skepticism of postmodern theory, and Christabel Lamotte and Randolph Henry Ash, Victorian poets
whose clandestine affair is discovered accidentally
by Roland through a series of letters. In the course
of reconstructing the poets relationship, Maud
and Roland find themselves rethinking concepts
that their culture has rejected coherent selfhood,
romantic love, artistic originality, and the power
of language to reflect reality and achieve a
compromise vision that recaptures positive elements from the past while allowing them to
remain conscious of their contemporary worldview. Critics were impressed and sometimes
even deceived by the authentic-sounding Victorian poems and narratives written by Byatt and
included in the text. The Hollywood film version
of Possession, made in 2002, gave the text a more
distinctly American flavor, and renewed Byatts
popularity with a wider audience.
Byatts success with Victorian-based narratives
continued with Angels and Insects, which comprised two novellas, Morpho Eugenia, about an
upper-crust family with a terrible sexual secret,
and The Conjugial Angel, about spiritualism,
seances and Tennysons best friend, Arthur
Hallam. The first novella gained a wider popular
audience through the visually compelling 1995
film, Angels and Insects.
A more recent novel, The Biographers Tale
(2000a), was not a critical success, however. Readers found the elaborate story of Phineas G., a
disgruntled student of literary theory who sets out
to rediscover the world through the reading and
writing of biographies, too dense and intellectual.
Byatts newest novel, The Childrens Book, an
overt response to the fantasy literature fad started
by the popularity of J. K. Rowlings Harry Potter
series, has been praised for its erudition and
evocation of a magical world, yet, like much of
her work, is considered too challenging for many
Throughout her career, Byatt has turned periodically to the short story genre, producing collections such as Sugar and Other Stories (1987),
The Matisse Stories (1993), The Djinn in the

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Nightingales Eye (1994), Elementals: Stories of Fire

and Ice (1998), and The Little Black Book of Stories
(2003). While Byatts fame derives primarily
from her novels, her short fiction also receives
high critical praise, demonstrating her literary
versatility and wide-ranging imagination.
SEE ALSO: Critical Theory and the Novel
(BIF); Drabble, Margaret (BIF); Feminist
Fiction (BIF); Historical Fiction (BIF);
Historiographic Metafiction (AF);
Postmodernist Fiction (BIF)


Alfer, A., & Noble, M. J. (eds.) (2001). Essays on the
Fiction of A. S. Byatt: Imagining the Real. Westport,
CT: Greenwood.
Byatt. A. S. (1964). The Shadow of a Sun. London:
Chatto and Windus. (Reissued with an introduction
as The Shadow of the Sun. London: Vintage, 1991.)
Byatt, A. S. (1967). The Game. London: Chatto and
Byatt, A. S. (1978). The Virgin in the Garden. London:
Chatto and Windus.
Byatt, A. S. (1985). Still Life. London: Chatto and
Byatt, A. S. (1990). Possession: A Romance. London:
Chatto and Windus.


Byatt, A. S. (1991). Passions of the Mind: Selected

Writings. London: Chatto and Windus.
Byatt, A. S. (1992). Angels and Insects. London:
Chatto and Windus.
Byatt, A. S. (1993). The Matisse Stories. London:
Chatto and Windus.
Byatt, A. S. (1994). The Djinn in the Nightingales Eye.
London: Chatto and Windus.
Byatt, A. S. (1996). Babel Tower. London: Chatto and
Byatt, A. S. (1998). Elementals: Stories of Fire and Ice.
London: Chatto and Windus.
Byatt, A. S. (2000a). The Biographers Tale. London:
Chatto and Windus.
Byatt, A. S. (2000b). On Histories and Stories.
London: Chatto and Windus.
Byatt, A. S. (2002). A Whistling Woman. London:
Chatto and Windus.
Byatt, A. S. (2003). The Little Black Book of Stories.
London: Chatto and Windus.
Byatt, A. S. (2009). The Childrens Book. London:
Chatto and Windus.
Campbell, J. (2004). A S. Byatt and the Heliotropic
Imagination. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier
University Press.
Haas, P. (dir.) (1995). Angels and Insects. Playhouse
International Pictures/Samuel Goldwyn.
Kelly, K. C. (1996). A S. Byatt. New York:
La Bute, N. (dir.) (2002). Possession. USA Films.
Todd, R. (1997). A S. Byatt. Plymouth: Northcote

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Campus Novel

In David Lodges Deaf Sentence one professor tells

another that It wouldnt surprise me if we both
turn up lightly disguised in a campus novel one of
these days (2008, 286). This novel must be recent,
for though campus fiction often is used today
to describe imaginative literature set in British
universities, the terms origins are American
(Edemarium 155). Thus its growing presence
against the native descriptor university novels
(Kenyon 1980) signifies changes over time within
British academic life and in novelists responses
to these changes.
Three features mark fictional accounts of British
university life. First, conservative comedy is the
dominant mode (Moseley 1819). Second, some
institutions are massively overrepresented relative
to staff and student numbers. Thus 145 out of 204
novels published between 1945 and 1988 were set
in just two smallish universities Oxford (principally) and Cambridge (Carter 4). Third, most
novels were written by English graduates, and
many authors themselves taught in university
English departments. If they were not members
of English departments, most were in any case
associated with the humanities; fictions written by
natural, life, and social scientists are not common.
Not surprisingly, therefore, and taking succor
from particular readings of Matthew Arnolds
Culture and Anarchy (1869), many fictions conjure
universities as English humanistic cultures inmost keep, with embattled scholars fighting dog-

ged rearguard actions against assaults from proletarians, scientists, women, and foreigners.
Given British societys abiding obsession with
social class, the proletarian threat is prime, with
British university novelists contemplating their
systems grudging movement in the twentieth
centurys second half from small-scale elite recruitment toward mass higher education. Mortimer Proctors (1957) account makes the Victorian, Edwardian, and Georgian English university
novel celebrate elite undergraduate liberal education in the ancient English universities: in Oxford
particularly, that indispensible nursery of rulers
and administrators (Stewart 29); and in the
other place, Cambridge. Celebrated examples
here include Max Beerbohms delectably macabre
comedy Zuleika Dobson (1911) and Oxford passages in Evelyn Waughs Brideshead Revisited
(1945), that overblown elegy for a dead social
world. Though novels based on authors rosetinted recollections of undergraduate life still
leave the presses in our time, not all recollections
have been rosy. Plots in Philip Larkins Jill (1946)
and Raymond Postgates The Ledger is Kept
(1953) are built around Northern working-class
undergraduates deeply alienated from and by
Oxfords patrician pretension; while Cambridgeeducated Tom Sharpes farce Porterhouse Blue
(1974) settled accounts with a college still hated
in long retrospect.
Recent American critics (Rossen 1993;
Showalter 2005) exclude novels of undergraduate experience from British campus fiction,
restricting this term to novels treating university

The Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Fiction General editor: Brian W. Shaffer

2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


teachers joys and troubles. Both take C. P. Snows

The Masters (1951) to have inaugurated this new
form, though his The Light and the Dark appeared
four years earlier. But giving Snow priority raises
issues about genre, for these critics are obliged to
ignore a string of earlier novels Adam Broome,
The Oxford Murders (1929) and The Cambridge
Murders (1936); J. C. Masterman, An Oxford
Tragedy (1933); Michael Innes, Death at the
Presidents Lodging (1936); Dilwyn Rees, The
Cambridge Murders (1945) which examined
university teachers lives: and, for some, their
improbably violent deaths. These books exploited
the Oxbridge colleges advantages for golden age
whodunit writers, as locked gates restricted casts of
suspects and motives for murder fermented among
college fellows attenuated charities. It has been
customary for literary scholars to denigrate whodunits as light fiction; but the historian J. C.
Masterman was a college head who would serve, in
his turn, as Oxfords vice chancellor. His thriller
was built around the issue of Oxbridge hubris
which would be developed not only in C. P. Snows
several Cambridge novels but also in his own halffictionalized warning against his own universitys
academic complacency (Masterman 1952). Clearly
enough, to set a cordon sanitaire around serious
literary fiction is to miss much of interest in novels
about university life.
The same holds for what happened when novelists began to explore life, as student or staff
member, in universities outside Oxford or Cambridge. Fictions set in ancient Scottish and Irish
universities are scarce (though for an account of
bohemian student life in Trinity College Dublin
see J. P. Donleavys The Ginger Man, 1955; and
see Mary Kellys Dead Mans Riddle, 1957, for
Edinburgh). But a stream set in civic (redbrick)
English universities places haunted fictionally
by the essential malaise of a provincial university for Philip Hobsbaum (144) started to
appear at the mid-century. Both Rossen and
Showalter take Kingsley Amiss overrated Lucky
Jim (1954) to be the harbinger here, but Michael
Inness whodunit The Weight of the Evidence
(1944) got there a decade earlier. In Old Hall,
New Hall (1956) almost certainly spurred by his
visit to the precocious Keele University Innes
also produced the first novel about what came to
be called new universities in the wake of the
1963 Robbins Report. Growing from kernels in


disgraced gentry mansions, and often located

close to attractive towns and cities as Baedeker
universities, these institutions physically isolated park-like campuses evoke campus fiction in the
American mode. Their most celebrated depiction
remains Malcolm Bradburys sour The History
Man (1975).
The Robbins Report sought to expand significantly the proportion of any age cohort enjoying
university education. From the mid-sixties onward, many novelists accounts of student and staff
life turned on what they thought of this idea,
ranging from crusty reaction in Simon Ravens
Places Where They Sing (1970) to mild celebration
in John Wains Where the Rivers Meet (1988).
(Following Raymond Williamss Second Generation (1964), Wains book is unusual in depicting an
Oxford where car factories bulk no smaller than
colleges.) But by international standards students
in this expanded cohort still were cosseted with low
fees and generous maintenance grants. As expansion continued toward a mass higher education
system, with numerous polytechnics now
upgraded to become new new universities,
humanists halcyon days faded. From 1981 the
first Thatcher government cut university funding
and imposed burdensome new managerial
imperatives. Disaffected novelists responded with
a string of dystopian farces, notably Andrew
Daviess A Very Peculiar Practice (1986) and A
Very Peculiar Practice: The New Frontier (1988),
and Frank Parkins The Mind and Body Shop
(1987). This convulsion past, British university
fiction faded. Born from anti-German sentiment
in World War I (Baldick 1983), the notion that
English literature embodied Englishness dissolved
(Connor 72). And as the British university system
continued to expand, that universities might serve
as English cultures strongest bastion also atrophied. With few novels of note appearing in recent
years among undistinguished whodunits focused
on Oxbridge social privilege rather than academic
issues, today the British university novel is moribund. Only a couple of fine books disturb these
generalizations. The important Spanish writer
Javier Marass All Souls (1992) brought a European perspective to Oxford and found it wanting,
while David Lodges Thinks (2001) conjured
universities particular current purpose to
advance human thought through research-based
teaching in debates among philosophers and

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



developmental psychologists over the nature of

consciousness (and thus of thought) in the fictional new new University of Gloucester.
Whether writing under his own name or as
Michael Innes, Oxford-based J. I. M. Stewart
wrote more twentieth-century British university
novels than any other person; and they still bear
reading today. But David Lodges ability to construct novels of ideas that also satisfy readers
textual pleasure makes him the most important
figure active in British university fiction today,
whether he spends his time striking ironies from
earlier literary work notably Joyces Ulysses
(Lodge 1965) and early Victorian condition of
England novels (Lodge 1988) or using his
professorial practice to embody current critical
controversies over structuralism (Lodge 1975),
linguistics (Lodge 2008), or literary theorys
Tower of Babel (Lodge 1984). He has no peer,
and no challenger looms on the horizon.
Maras brought Spanish experience to the
British university novel, but most fictional comparisons have been drawn with America. Important examples from British writers include Malcolm Bradburys Stepping Westward (1965),
Wilfred Sheeds A Middle-Class Education
(1967), and David Lodges Changing Places
(1975). Most British writers found things
odd and, not infrequently, rebarbative while
exploring American academic difference; though
Lodge was smitten with Euphoria State (the
University of California, Berkeley). But one
sharp contrast between American campus fiction
and British university fiction must strike the
reader. It concerns gender. Over the years, many
women have set fictions in British universities:
Dorothy Sayerss Gaudy Night (1935), A. S.
Byatts Still Life (1985) and Possession (1990),
Barbara Pyms Crampton Hodnet (1985) and An
Academic Question (1986), and Iris Murdochs
The Book and the Brotherhood (1987) provide
examples. What one misses here, by comparison
with work by Alison Lurie, Amanda Cross, and
Valerie Miner for example, is American feminists crusading imperative to identify and assault
structural barriers inhibiting academic womens
progress in the academy. Fictionally at least,
British university feminism is a feeble animal,
seeking change no more radical than individual
womens advancement on mens terms (Carter
15976). Ruth Dudley Edwardss Cambridge-set

Matricide at St. Marthas (1994) is a striking example of this weakness, returning us to twentiethcentury British university fictions misogynous
main line with massed women still conjured as a
barbarous horde threatening cultures citadel.
SEE ALSO: Angry Young Man Fiction (BIF);
Mystery/Detective/Crime Fiction (BIF)
Amis, K. (1954). Lucky Jim. London: Gollancz.
Baldick, C. (1983). The Social Mission of English
Criticism, 18481932. Oxford: Clarendon.
Bevan, D. (ed.) (1990). University Fiction. Amsterdam:
Bradbury, M. (1965). Stepping Westward. London:
Secker and Warburg.
Bradbury, M. (1975). The History Man. London: Secker
and Warburg.
Carter, I. (1990). Ancient Cultures of Conceit: British
University Fiction in the Post-War Years. London:
Connor, S. (1996). The English Novel in History,
19501995. London: Routledge.
Edemarium, A. (2007). Whos Afraid of the Campus
Novel? In M. Moseley (ed.), The Academic Novel:
New and Classic Essays. Chester: Chester Academic,
pp. 15463
Hobsbaum, P. (1964). University Life in English
Fiction. Twentieth Century, 173, 13947.
Kenyon, J.P. (1980). Lucky Jim and After: The Business
of University Novels. Encounter, 54, 814
Lodge, D. (1965). The British Museum is Falling Down.
London: MacGibbon and Kee.
Lodge, D. (1975). Changing Places. London: Secker and
Lodge, D. (1984). Small World. London: Secker and
Lodge, D. (1988). Nice Work. London: Secker and
Lodge, D. (2001). Thinks. London: Secker and
Lodge, D. (2008). Deaf Sentence. London: Harvill
Maras, J. (1992). All Souls (trans. M. J. Costa).
London: Harvill.
Masterman, J.C. (1952). To Teach the Senators Wisdom.
Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Moseley, M. (2007). Introduction: Definitions and
Justifications. In M. Moseley (ed.), The Academic
Novel: New and Classic Essays. Chester: Chester
Academic, pp. 319
Proctor, M. (1957). The English University Novel.
Berkeley: University of California Press.

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Robbins, L. (1963). Report of the Committee on Higher

Education. London: HMSO.
Rossen, J. (1993). The University in Modern Fiction:
When Power is Academic. New York: St. Martins.
Showalter, E. (2005). Faculty Towers: The Academic
Novel and Its Discontents. Philadelphia: University of
Pennsylvania Press.
Snow, C.P. (1951). The Masters. London: Macmillan.
Stewart, J.I.M. (1978). Full Term. London: Gollancz.
Watson, G. (1978). Fictions of Academe: Dons and
Realities. Encounter, 51(5), 426.

Carswell, Catherine

Catherine Carswell was one of a number of

women writers who expanded the traditional
boundaries of fiction in the early twentieth century by introducing female perspectives on a
changing modern world and new styles of writing
relevant to female themes and values. She was
born Catherine Roxburgh Macfarlane in Glasgow
in 1879 to a prosperous and deeply religious
family who lived modestly and encouraged their
daughters to become educated and self-supporting. Catherine studied music at the Frankfurt
Conservatorium at the turn of the century
and English literature at Glasgow University,
although as was common at the time she did
not take a degree. Her subsequent life, like the
lives of many contemporaneous female characters in fiction, might be described as a counternarrative in the way it went against conventional
social expectations of women. Having made an
impulsive marriage with a man who was confined
to a mental hospital when he attempted to kill her
upon her becoming pregnant, she made legal
history by fighting successfully to have the marriage annulled. She then supported herself and
her daughter as a journalist, writing fiction reviews for the Glasgow Herald and, later, drama
criticism for The Observer as assistant to St. John
Ervine. D. H. Lawrences early novels were
among the fiction she reviewed and she was
famously dismissed by the Glasgow Herald for
allowing her review of The Rainbow (soon to be
banned as an obscene publication) to be published without the sanction of the editor. While
living in Glasgow she began a relationship with
the painter Maurice Greiffenhagen who had


come to Glasgow School of Art as head of the

life class, and in 1912 she left the city for London.
She later married Donald Carswell, a friend from
her Glasgow years.
Carswells two novels Open the Door! which won
the Melrose Prize for fiction when it was published
in 1920, and its epistolary successor The Camomile
(1922), grew out of this early tempestuous personal life. She had been introduced to Lawrence in
1914 shortly before her Rainbow review and dismissal, and they became friends and correspondents until his death in 1930. He was aware of the
autobiographical nature of Open the Door! and
took a particular interest in it, reading and commenting on drafts, urging her to complete it.
Similarly, she commented on his Women in Love
and it was to Carswell that he turned in the later
1920s for help with the typing of Lady Chatterleys
Lover. After Lawrences death she wrote a memoir
of him from the perspective of their friendship and
in refutation of the unflattering Son of Woman by
Middleton Murry, who succeeded in having
Carswells memoir temporarily withdrawn.
In addition to their exploration of female identity and sexuality, Open the Door! and The Camomile are both fine novels of middle-class Glasgow,
something of a rarity in Scottish fiction. Open the
Door! in particular maps the West End of the city
with its neo-gothic university and Kelvingrove
Park and river, the department stores of Sauchiehall Street and the Art School sitting high on the
brow of the street behind. Its narrative is fluid,
with dramatic scenes and lively dialogue between
characters as well as passages of interior narration
focused on the heroine Joanna. The main theme
of The Camomile is its heroines wish to be a writer
and this too is played out through the creation of
an interactive social scene which belies the novels
epistolary form. Although Carswell was not personally involved with the initial stages of the
Scottish literary renaissance initiated by Hugh
MacDiarmid in the post-1918 period, her two
novels and the essay, Prousts Women, she
wrote for C. K. Moncrieffs Marcel Proust: An
English Tribute (1923) are now recognized as
important early contributions to it. The biography of Robert Burns which Lawrence encouraged
her to write and which she published in 1930
brought her into closer contact with the literary
revival and thereafter she became a regular contributor through reviews and articles on Scottish

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



literature. Ironically, her novelistic Life of Burns

brought her notoriety as well as a public profile
when pre-publication excerpts were printed in the
Daily Record and readers and Burns Club members were outraged by her characterization of
Burns and the various women he was involved
with as living sexual beings. Such Trash,
Womanhood Degraded, Piece of Fiction
shouted the headlines in the correspondence
pages of the newspaper. She wrote to S. S. Kotelianski that she had received an anonymous letter
containing a bullet, which I was requested to use
upon myself that the world might be left a brighter cleaner and better place (McCulloch 2002).
Because of her barrister husbands lack of
success and her consequent need to keep working
as a journalist, Carswell never did write the further
novel she often mentioned in letters to friends.
Her final work consisted of fragments for an
autobiography, left unfinished when she died in
1946, weakened by the privations of wartime and
illness. Yet this book, published by her son as
Lying Awake, makes its own contribution to the
story of womens lives in the early years of the
century in its collage of interactive reflections on
childhood and the invisibility of female old age;
on the psychological differences between men and
women and the irritability of diffidence in the
struggle to write; on the unreliability of memory:
To be bound for ever by the arbitrary accident of
ones memories, she commented, what an idea
of immortality! (Carswell 1950). Her small but
significant contribution to womens studies and
Scottish writing ensures that she herself will not be
readily forgotten.
SEE ALSO: Feminist Fiction (BIF); Lawrence,
D. H. (BIF); Scottish Fiction (BIF)


Anderson, C. (ed.) (2001). Opening the Doors: The
Achievement of Catherine Carswell. Edinburgh:
Ramsay Head.
Carswell, C. (1920). Open the Door! London: Melrose.
Carswell, C. (1922). The Camomile: An Invention.
London: Chatto and Windus.
Carswell, C. (1930). The Life of Robert Burns. London:
Chatto and Windus.
Carswell, C. (1932). The Savage Pilgrimage: A Narrative
of D. H. Lawrence. London: Chatto and Windus.

Carswell, C. (1950). Lying Awake: An Unfinished

Autobiography and Other Posthumous Papers
(ed. J. Carswell). London: Secker and Warburg.
McCulloch, M. P. (1997). Fictions of Development
19201970. In D. Gifford & D. McMillan (eds.), A
History of Scottish Womens Writing. Edinburgh:
Edinburgh University Press, pp. 36072.
McCulloch, M. P. (2002). Catherine Carswell:
Correspondent of D. H. Lawrence, Biographer of
Robert Burns, and Epistolary Novelist. Journal of
European Studies, 32(23), 16575.
Pilditch, J. (2007). Catherine Carswell: A Biography.
Edinburgh: John Donald.

Carter, Angela

The richness and capaciousness of Angela Carters

fiction sometimes evokes nothing so much as the
circus ring in her novel Nights at the Circus (1984)
which serves as a microcosm of the world at large.
Indeed, Carter envisioned the capacities of fiction
to be as expansive as the world itself. She contended that fiction can do anything it wants to do.
I think it can do more things than we tend to think
it can. Her idea of the novel in particular was
positively unbounded: anything that wants to call
itself a novel is a novel, by definition (1985b
[1984] ). On the other hand, Carters stories and
novels present models of the world that are frequently intimate and bounded: her work eschews
carefully plotted generic closure in favor of a series
of carefully crafted set pieces and tableaux.
Perhaps the best way to grasp the shape of her
fiction across her career is to understand it as a
series of tightly woven exhibitions strung together
along with significant collections of fragments of
other narratives, poetry, and popular culture
opened to narrative view. Her substantial body of
fiction, written over a span of three decades, evinces
a stubborn resistance to the generic and substantive
bounds of bourgeois fiction, demonstrating that
narrative can display previously unexplored possibilities. To the extent that her writing systematically
breaches norms of genre and decorum, her narrative exhibitions have been understood as subversive, usually of patriarchy, sometimes of Western
capitalism, always of prescriptions for the forms of
fiction. Her picaresque fiction is not about causal
connection and temporal development but rather

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


effected through about synchronic displays from

the gothic puppet show of The Magic Toyshop
(1967) to exuberant music hall performance in
Wise Children (1991).
Carters life was spent substantially in contact
with the written word, and despite her early death
at age 51, it was unusually productive. Born
Angela Stalker in 1940, she began her writing
career as a reporter in 1959. After marrying in
1960 she attended the University of Bristol from
1962 to 1965, where she read English, concentrating on medieval English literature. In 1966 she
published her first novel, Shadow Dance (titled
Honeybuzzard in the US). In 1968 she won the
John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for The Magic Toyshop
(1967) and her third book Several Perceptions
(1968) garnered the 1969 Society of Authors
Somerset Maugham Award both top awards for
work by a writer under 35. The Maugham Award
(the prize for which subvents foreign travel)
served as the impetus to three years (196972)
spent in Japan, during which time she broke off
her marriage, before a formal divorce in 1972.
The years in Japan also served to reorient her
writing. In a 1982 essay on James Joyces Ulysses,
Carter noted the extent to which Britains political
and cultural geocentrism constrained the imagination and its expression in English: we carry our
history on our tongues, she wrote, and the history
of the British empire came to exercise a curious kind
of brake upon our expression in the English
language. She admired Joyce because he
disestablished English, rendering it demotic
(Carter 1997a), and Carters years outside the
British Empire appear to have disestablished
her own narrative practices and brought her to
celebrate lowbrow forms and languages. Having
published six novels in the years 196672, including
The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman
(1972), conceived wholly in Japan, Carter returned
to Britain where she produced just three more
novels The Passion of New Eve (1977; set in the
US), Nights at the Circus (winner of the 1984 James
Tait Black Memorial Prize), and Wise Children. She
increasingly attended to the form of the short story
and a number of other popular genres, including
radio plays, screenplays (including for Neil Jordans
Company of Wolves), several childrens books,
an operetta libretto adapting Virginia Woolfs
Orlando, a stage play, a raft of journalism, and
edited collections of stories in Wayward Girls and


Wicked Women (1986) and The Virago Book of Fairy

Tales (1990). Over these decades, she held a number
of visiting professorships and fellowship and writerin-residence posts in Britain, the United States, and
Australia. She died in February 1992 of lung cancer.
If, particularly after 1972, Carter embraced
lower modes and styles from the gothic and
the grotesque to the scatological and the carnivalesque the ideas she espoused and assailed across
her career were serious indeed, particularly those
surrounding Western capitalism and male privilege. Since 1992, Carter has belatedly come to be
one of the British authors most written about by
students. Her novels have remained continuously
in print, while her journalism, short stories, and
dramatic work have been collected posthumously
in three substantial volumes, all available in paperback. Also published posthumously was The
Second Virago Book of Fairy Tales (1992), edited
by Carter but introduced by Marina Warner.
Carters long association with the Virago Press,
founded in 1973 as a feminist publishing house,
has to a significant extent oriented the attention to
her work especially in the context of publications such as The Sadeian Woman (1979b), a
spirited book-length essay defending pornography from feminist and materialist perspectives.
Carters novels are roughly divisible in three:
(1) the early domestic fiction, including the gothic
Magic Toyshop and the so-called Bristol trilogy of
Shadow Dance, Several Perceptions, and Love (1971);
(2) science fiction and fantasias, including the postapocalyptic Heroes and Villains (1969), the nightmarish The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman,
and The Passion of New Eve, a gender-reassignment
fantasy; and (3) the final two carnivalesque novels,
Nights at the Circus and Wise Children, which along
with her stories helped Carter earn her reputation as a
magical realist. The stories themselves are largely a

product of the period following her residence in

Japan, and show a concerted effort to work over
archetypal stories (Ashputtle; or, The Mothers
Ghost), historical scenes (The Fall River
Axe Murders), and dramatic vignettes (In
Pantoland) to yield fresh nuances, new aspects,
and rich revisions of received narratives. Most
spectacular among these efforts are the revisions
of traditional fairy tales collected as The Bloody
Chamber (1979a), which offer alternative telling of
stories such as Bluebeard, Beauty and the Beast,
Red Riding Hood, and Puss-in-Boots.

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



Few of Carters novels have strong plotlines that

emphasize causal relations among events or a
movement toward the traditional patterns of New
Comedy. To the extent that the novels share trajectories, they are those that suggest loss and render
plot subordinate to surprise and sensation The
Magic Toyshops gothicism ends with a conflagration and revelation of incest (a theme also evoked in
Wise Children); The Infernal Desire Machines of
Doctor Hoffman and The Passion of New Eve are
both structured around mourning for a bizarre and
ambiguously gendered love object (the formers
Albertina explicitly recalls Prousts Albertine) amid
apocalyptic scenes. Even where a conventional
romantic plot seems to be satisfied it is cross-cut
by epistemological uncertainty and existential
ambiguity in Carters novels, even the most
self-aware and confident of protagonists are fundamentally challenged, unmade, and remade by
circumstances. An epigraph to Heroes and Villains,
from Leslie Fiedlers Love and Death in the American
Novel, stands as a marker of Carters approach from
an early period: The Gothic mode is essentially a
form of parody, a way of assailing cliches by
exaggerating them to the limit of grotesqueness.
It is this emphasis on monstrous excess at the level
of narrative discourse that overruns attention to
story in Carters fiction.
Where Carters fiction offers clear plot lines,
they tend to be borrowed and crammed with
ironically recycled materials, most obviously in
her rewriting of fairy tales in The Bloody Chamber.
Across her corpus, Carter displays a vast collection of narrative material much as her characters
compulsively collect and reveal things to view.
Indeed, the dominant narrative mode across
Carters fiction is the presentation of tableaux
that stave off the march of time and the artificial
imposition of closure, which Carter took to be
storytelling in its purest form[:] the strategies
writers have devised to cheat the inevitability of
closure (1992). Carters exhibitions always involve a significant collection of bodies, things, and
energies, and they combine in surprising ways as
the displays unfold serially. In Several Perceptions,
there is a fixation on the zoo and liberating a
badger. In Love, the protagonists temperaments
contrast between a spare aesthetic and one cluttered with found objects. Beyond the Magic Toy
Shops dark puppet shows, there are a stereopticon museum of model desire devices in The

Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman and

a startling collection of wax effigies in The Passion
of New Eve. In readings of her fiction that foreground psychodynamic readings (especially those
emerging from her feminist allegiances), such
collections are indices to individual psychic formations and states, while geopolitical readings
(particularly those responding to Carters socialism and exploration of broad cultural dynamics)
tend to emphasize collections as dramatizations
and displacements of imperial and neocolonial
aspirations and frustrations.
Nights at the Circus might stand as Carters most
dramatic exhibition in these respects, replete with
depictions of a bordello, circus, community of
clowns, assemblage of Faberge eggs, panoptical
prison, anthropological and ethnographic curiosities, and collection of freakish women serving as
fetish objects. The latter, a perverse house of erotic
display, is described by the narrator as a lumber
room of femininity, this rag-and-bone shop of the
heart (Carter 1984). The line borrowed from W. B.
Yeatss poem The Circus Animals Desertion
illustrates a good deal of Carters method: she
transforms the phrase rag-and-bone shop of the
heart a locution literally about a collection of
recycled bits, and in Yeatss usage about his wornout fund of poetic power into a phrase about
women whom male society has used, and used up,
in pursuit of its romantic ideals in support of its
presumed creative authority. She refigures, moreover, the poem of which the line is a part. Nights at
the Circus treats as a serious philosophical question
the premise of Yeatss poem: what happens when
the objects of a collection burst the bounds of the
idea that controls them? What happens when
the circus animals refuse to be bound to the imaginative work of the circus ring, break their chains,
and desert the show? What happens to gender
relations when women break the bounds of their
marriages, prisons, and whorehouses, and tell their
own life stories? What happens when the narrative
of national progress that of the American circus
proprietor Colonel Kearney, who is determined to
drive elephants across Siberia in a patriotic echo of
Hannibals feats and an enactment of the spread of
White History suffers disruption by other
political, cultural, and temporal orders?
While Nights at the Circus is perhaps the
most sustained narrative exhibition posing these
questions, the stories in The Bloody Chamber also

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


work toward these ends, collecting old stories and

re-presenting them by selecting and rearranging
elements to pose new possibilities. In her introduction to The Virago Book of Fairy Tales, Carter
faulted nineteenth-century collectors of fairy tales
for their excision of references to sexual and
excremental functions, the toning down of sexual
situations and the reluctance to include indelicate material that is, dirty jokes [which] helped
to denaturize the fairy tale and, indeed, helped to
denaturize its vision of everyday life (1990). One
way of viewing the fractured fairy tales that make
up The Bloody Chamber is as an effort to renaturalize a vision of everyday life that moves beyond
constraining myths of gender or capitalism and
to restore more flexible and accessible forms of
accessing everyday life. Carter argues that The
fairy tale, as narrative, has far less in common with
the modern bourgeois forms of the novel and the
feature film than it does with contemporary demotic forms (1990), and it is not surprising that
her later writing career should have preferred
demotic forms stories, childrens books, screenplays, radio and stage plays to the bourgeois form
of the novel that dominated her early career.
These forms grotesque and carnivalesque displays and exhibitions of cultural materials, designed
precisely to unmake the authority of established
narrative exhibitions are, finally, principled, rich,
and wide-ranging but also risk appearing undisciplined and sometimes overwrought. Ultimately,
where some of Carters contemporaries and friends
Julian Barnes or Salman Rushdie offered playful
revisions of stories and collections of their own
(e.g., Barness ark stories in A History of the World in
10 12 Chapters), Carters work is marked by an
unapologetic revel in the full messiness of the
rag-and-bone shop of Western narrative traditions,
where fiction can do more than we think it can, and
anything can be a novel.
SEE ALSO: Fantasy Fiction (BIF); Feminist
Fiction (BIF); Politics and the Novel (BIF);
Postmodernist Fiction (BIF)
Carter, A. (1966). Shadow Dance. London: Heinemann.
(Published in US as Honeybuzzard.)
Carter, A. (1967). The Magic Toyshop. London:


Carter, A. (1968). Several Perceptions. London:

Carter, A. (1969). Heroes and Villains. London:
Carter, A. (1971). Love. London: Hart-Davis.
Carter, A. (1972). The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor
Hoffman. London: Hart-Davis.
Carter, A. (1974). Fireworks: Nine Profane Pieces.
London: Quartet.
Carter, A. (1977). The Passion of New Eve. London:
Carter, A. (1979a). The Bloody Chamber and Other
Stories. London: Gollancz.
Carter, A. (1979b). The Sadeian Woman: An Exercise in
Cultural History. London: Virago.
Carter, A. (1982). Nothing Sacred: Selected Writings.
London: Virago.
Carter, A. (1985a). Black Venus. London: Chatto and
Windus. (Published in US as Saints and Strangers.)
Carter, A. (1985b). Interview with John Haffenden
[1984]. In J. Haffenden (ed.), Novelists in Interview.
New York: Methuen, pp. 7696.
Carter, A. (1990). Introduction. In The Virago Book of
Fairy Tales London: Virago.
Carter, A. (1991). Wise Children London: Chatto and
Carter, A. (1992). Expletives Deleted: Selected Writings.
London: Chatto and Windus.
Carter, A. (1993). American Ghosts and Old World
Wonders London: Chatto and Windus.
Carter, A. (1995). Burning Your Boats: The Collected
Short Stories London: Chatto and Windus.
Carter, A. (1996). The Curious Room: Collected
Dramatic Works London: Chatto and Windus.
Carter, A. (1997a). Envoi: Bloomsday [1982]. In Carter
(1997c), pp. 53641.
Carter, A. (1997b). Introduction to Expletives Deleted
[1992]. In Carter (1997c), pp. 6048.
Carter, A. (1997c). Shaking a Leg: Collected Writings
[196492] (ed. J. Uglow). London: Chattoand Windus.
Day, A. (1998). Angela Carter: The Rational Glass
Manchester: Manchester University Press.
Gamble, S. (1997). Angela Carter: Writing from the Front
Line Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Jordan, N.(dir.) (1984). The Company of Wolves. ITC
Entertainment/Palace Production.
Lee, A. (1997). Angela Carter. New York: Twayne.
Munford, R. (ed.) (2006). Re-Visiting Angela Carter:
Texts, Contexts, Intertexts New York: Palgrave
Pitchford, N. (2002). Tactical Readings: Feminist
Postmodernism in the Novels of Kathy Acker and
Angela Carter Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



Sage, L. (1994). Angela Carter. Plymouth: Northcote

Tucker, L. (ed.) (1998). Critical Essays on Angela Carter.
New York: G. K. Hall.

Cary, Joyce

Joyce Cary (Arthur Joyce Lunel Cary) was born to

Anglo-Irish parents in Derry on December 7,
1888. Though his family moved to London shortly after his birth, Cary maintained an intimate
connection to Ireland for much of his life, and a
particular connection to Inishowen, where the
Carys had lived as members of the Protestant
Ascendancy from the early seventeenth century
until the Irish Land Act of 1882 led to economic
hardship. Arguably, Carys sense of himself as an
Anglo-Irishman attached to both yet belonging
fully to neither culture contributed to his ability
to identify and empathize with different subject
positions, a characteristic that marks his early
fiction set in Africa as well as his more mature,
multivoiced trilogies. He studied painting in Paris
and Edinburgh during the first decade of the
twentieth century, but eventually resigned himself
to reading law at Oxford. His results were less than
exemplary as his determination to be a professional writer interfered with his studies. After a
stint with the Red Cross in Montenegro and a
failed attempt to secure employment in Ireland,
he enlisted in Nigerian political service as an
assistant district officer. He occupied various
positions in West Africa from 1914 until early
1920, before returning to Oxford to establish
himself as a writer. Aissa Saved, published in
1932, was the first of the 15 novels that followed
until his death in 1957. Two more novels, The
Captive and the Free (1959) and Cock Jarvis
(1974), were published posthumously.
Carys early writing career was dedicated to the
subject of West Africa, informed by his experiences in the Nigerian political service with its
Lugardian imperative of indirect rule. After
Aissa Saved, he published An American Visitor
(1933), The African Witch (1936), and Mister
Johnson (1939). His African fiction, while problematic on some levels, particularly in its oversimplified representations of Africans, is marked

by a characteristic ambivalence to the imperial

project as a whole. Mister Johnson which was
eventually adapted into a film by Bruce Beresford
is particularly successful in this regard, though
Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe felt the need
to respond to its oversimplifications of African
culture by writing his landmark novel, Things Fall
Apart (1959). Informed by his childhood experiences in Ireland, Carys novels Castle Corner
(1938), based on Castle Cary in Inishowen, and
A House of Children (1941b), which won the James
Tait Black Memorial Prize, signaled a shift to the
seemingly less problematic setting of Europe, and
specifically to England in Charlie Is My Darling
(1940). His growing popularity as a writer accompanied the shift.
With the exceptions of The Moonlight (1946)
and A Fearful Joy (1949), Carys remaining novels,
and most significant achievements, make up two
trilogies that explore philosophical and political
issues. In a structure that belies the complexity of
his narrative and thematic vision, each novel in
each trilogy is dedicated to one of three main
characters representing a philosophical or political principle. The first trilogy consisting of
Herself Surprised (1941a), To Be a Pilgrim
(1942), and The Horses Mouth (1944) places
Sara Monday (Herself) in a dialectical love triangle
with conservative Thomas Wilcher (Pilgrim), and
the simultaneously creative and destructive artist,
Gulley Jimson (Horse). It explores through a
dialogical narrative the relationships between
freedom, preservation, and destruction. The second and much darker trilogy consisting of
Prisoner of Grace (1952), Except the Lord
(1953), and Not Honour More (1955) places
Nina Woodville (Prisoner) in a love triangle with
left-wing politico Chester Nimmo (Except) and
the almost fascistically conservative Jimmy Latter
(Honour). Through its dialogical narrative, it
explores the political and moral implications of
all relationships, and, more precisely, the potential human cost of conflicts between the radical
and the reactionary in contemporary England.
Though on many levels the second trilogy is
superior to the first as a cohesive unit, it has not
garnered as much popular or critical attention,
perhaps because it lacks the life-affirming humor
and optimism of its precursor. The Horses Mouth
remains Carys most popular and successful work,
aided in part by Alec Guinnesss very successful

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


adaptation for the 1958 film directed by Ronald

As Alan Bishop noted in the biography published during the centenary year of Carys birth,
critical reception of the authors work has always
been mixed, partly because he does not fit easily
into any literary school. He has not received the
critical attention that some of his contemporaries
have, despite his success and his influences on
prominent writers who followed him. And what
criticalattentionhe does receive continuestowane.
His African fiction receives the majority of the
continued critical output, much, however, following on the heels of the dismissive but highly influential treatment of it as racial romance in Abdul
JanMohameds Manichean Aesthetics (1983).
SEE ALSO: Achebe, Chinua (WF); Irish Fiction
(BIF); West African Fiction (WF)


Bishop, A. G. (1988). Gentleman Rider: A Life of Joyce
Cary. London: Michael Joseph.
Cary, J. (1932). Aissa Saved. London: Ernest Benn.
Cary, J. (1933). An American Visitor. London: Ernest
Cary, J. (1936). The African Witch. London: Gollancz.
Cary, J. (1938). Castle Corner. London: Gollancz.
Cary, J. (1939). Mister Johnson. London: Gollancz.
Cary, J. (1940). Charlie Is My Darling. London: Michael
Cary, J. (1941a). Herself Surprised. London: Michael
Cary, J. (1941b). A House of Children. London: Michael
Cary, J. (1942). To be a Pilgrim. London: Michael
Cary, J. (1944). The Horses Mouth. London: Michael
Cary, J. (1946). The Moonlight. London: Michael
Cary, J. (1949). A Fearful Joy. London: Michael Joseph.
Cary, J. (1952). Prisoner of Grace. London: Michael
Cary, J. (1953). Except the Lord. London: Michael
Cary, J. (1955). Not Honour More. London: Michael
Cary, J. (1959). The Captive and the Free. London:
Michael Joseph.
Cary, J. (1974). Cock Jarvis: An Unfinished Novel (ed.
A. G. Bishop). London: Michael Joseph.


Echeruo, M. (1979). Joyce Cary and the Dimensions of

Order. London: Macmillan.
JanMohamed, A. (1983). Manichean Aesthetics: The
Politics of Literature in Colonial Africa. Amherst:
University of Massachusetts Press.
Neame, R.(dir.) (1958). The Horses Mouth (screenplay
by A. Guinness). Knightsbridge Films.

Censorship and the Novel


All books now seem to me surrounded by a circle

of invisible censors, Virginia Woolf confided to
her diary in August 1939 (1984, 229). Written on
the eve of World War II, these words summon up
an entire culture of censorship that shaped the
context in which modern British novelists worked
in the first half of the twentieth century. After the
end of World War II in 1945, Britain saw widespread social and political changes, including the
founding of the welfare state, the break-up of the
empire, mass immigration from former colonies,
and a more liberal moral climate, which led to the
relaxation of censorship laws. One significant
literary result of these postwar developments was
the new Obscene Publications Act of 1959, followed by the long-awaited publication of D. H.
Lawrences novel Lady Chatterleys Lover after the
celebrated trial of 1960 (preceded by a similar
verdict in the US in 1959). Before these landmark
events, however, novelists such as Lawrence,
Joyce, and Woolf herself had labored under the
threat of censorship not only by public officials
but by editors, publishers, and printers who
feared inciting government action or harbored
their own moral or political objections to what
they considered offensive or obscene literature.
Censorship was always in the air.
As well-known legal events make clear, however, the forces of censorship surrounding the modern novelist were often far from invisible. Before
Lady Chatterley went to trial, British courtrooms
hosted numerous obscenity cases including those
of Lawrences earlier novel, The Rainbow, in 1915,
and Radclyffe Halls The Well of Loneliness in
1928, while Joyces Ulysses was the subject of
famous court cases in the United States in 1921
(when it was banned) and 1933 (when the ban was
lifted). The British censors had numerous
legal means at their disposal. Novels could be

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act of

1857, stopped in the post under the 1908 Post
Office Act, or intercepted by customs officials on
the look-out for illicit publications from abroad.
In 1910, moreover, Britain had signed an International Agreement for the Suppression of
Obscene Publications (1910), aimed at the international trade in indecent materials. The role
played by the customs service was graphically
illustrated in 1923 when 499 copies of Ulysses
were burned at Folkestone. But literary censorship was hardly confined to a few dramatic
incidents. In 1929, British Home Secretary Sir
William Joynson-Hicks boasted that the last six
years had seen 73 prosecutions in connection with
the importation or sale of allegedly indecent
literature. And the grip of literary censorship
in the English-speaking world was tightened by
similar levels of activity across the Atlantic, where
the New York postal authorities suppressed the
serial version of Ulysses three times before the
book went to court in 1921.
What were censors, visible or invisible, afraid
of? Sex, first of all or, more precisely, representations of sexual acts. Sexuality, too, insofar as this
meant frank, troubling, or unusual representations of modern sexual identities and relations,
including homosexuality and lesbianism (the central subject of the Hall trial). To put it another
way, censors were worried about obscenity, defined by Lawrence (1959) as that which belongs
off-stage, and pornography. In the trials of Ulysses
and Lady Chatterley, indecency was central: when,
in 1934, US Attorney Martin Conboy appealed
Judge M. Woolseys 1933 decision permitting the
importation of Ulysses, he spent two days in court
reading aloud passages that he deemed obscene,
including substantial portions of Molly Blooms
celebrated monologue in Penelope.
Sexual obscenity, however, wasnt always the
primary target of official censorship in the modern period. Political sedition (a traditional concern of governments) was a common preoccupation, especially during the two World Wars, as
illustrated in the Defence of the Realm Act of
1914, which was used to suppress writings that
deviated from the official views of the wartime
British government. Indeed, during the first war,
British postal authorities stopped searching for
indecent materials partly in response to the sheer
pressure of work but also because the war had

virtually ended the international trade in such

wares. But even as the search for indecency recommenced after the wars end, sedition would
continue to attract official attention throughout
the 1920s, as recently opened archives make plain.
With the growing threat of class warfare in the
wake of the Russian Revolution (1917), a threat
brought to life by the General Strike (1926), and in
the face of mounting resistance to British rule in
Ireland and India, the authorities responded by
closely monitoring so-called seditious foreign
publications, especially those that linked the
struggle for Indian independence with class struggle. According to a secret Home Office file, the
publications of the Indian Communist Party were
of particular concern, while a similar problem in
Ireland was also noted. Home Office documents
at the National Archives in London include one
file of 74 items referring to a total of 9,708 copies
of books and pamphlets in various languages,
which were stopped in the post from October
1922 to January 1923. Another file, dated October
16, 1922, contains an alphabetized list of 573
items seized under existing warrants against revolutionary publications from numerous countries in Europe and beyond.
The modern censors other major preoccupation was blasphemy, which seems to point away
from the social and political concerns of sex and
sedition but actually leads back to them. Echoing
ancient biblical prohibitions, anxieties about blasphemy reflect the origins of the modern British
state in the religious and political conflicts of the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; as far as the
censorship of modern literature is concerned,
however, it took specific institutional forms, incarnated in legislation governing the theater. The
Licensing Act 1737 (amended in the Theatres Act
1843) required all plays to be licensed by the
Office of the Lord Chamberlain before they were
performed. Of the 19,304 plays submitted for
censorship between 1852 and 1912, only 103 were
refused a license (Findlater 1967), but that small
percentage contained some famous names
including that of Oscar Wilde, whose play Salome
was banned in 1892 because it represented biblical
characters. Intriguingly, the Salome case suggests
that blasphemy was inseparable from other moral
and political issues. What made Wildes play seem
especially offensive to official eyes was its imbrication of religious themes with transgressive

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


sexual material, particularly incest, and dubious

foreign influences. Thus the Examiner of Plays,
Edward Pigott, commented, The piece is written
in French half Biblical, half pornographic by
Oscar Wilde himself: Imagine the average British
publics reception of it (Stephens 112). Here
Pigott articulates a sexually charged xenophobia
that reared its head once again in 1914, in a libel
suit against Wildes lover, Lord Alfred Douglas,
and in 1918, when the actress Maud Allan sued
Noel Pemberton Billing, MP, for attacking her
revival of Wildes play as perverted. For Billing,
staging an immoral play by an immoral author
meant assaulting the British state when its very
survival was at stake. Thus wartime morality was
used to justify sexual persecution and literary
This complex of social, political, and religious
forces converged on the two most important
modern British novelists to suffer the direct consequences of censorship: D. H. Lawrence and
James Joyce. As an Irish Catholic whose works
frequently linked sexual themes with politics and
religion, Joyce attracted the suspicion of censors
throughout his career, and not only in England:
Irish censorship laws were even stricter, especially
after the passage of the 1929 Censorship of Publications Bill, and the major legal actions brought
against Joyces works occurred in the US. While
Joyces inability to find a publisher for Ulysses
meant that all but a few early episodes remained
unpublished in Britain until 1936, his entire
career had been dogged by moral and political
censorship, from early skirmishes with academic
officialdom in Dublin to the long struggle to see
his early collection of stories, Dubliners, into
print. Grant Richards, who eventually published
Dubliners in London in 1914, refused it in 1906 on
the grounds of indecency, blasphemy, and antiBritish sentiments; the Dublin publisher Maunsel
& Co. turned it down in 1912 because it seemed
anti-Irish. Joyce, however, developed ever more
creative ways of responding to censorship. Critics
have read both Stephen Dedaluss defense of art in
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and
the famous schema for Ulysses, which emphasizes
the novels complexity, as Joycean strategies of
self-defense against official censorship (Marshik
2006; Vanderham 1998). Ulysses itself resists
censorship via formal and stylistic experimentation, as in the Cyclops episode, which trans-


forms Joyces earlier exclamation against a oneeyed printer who objected to Dubliners into the
basis of stylistic parody: Joyce counterpoints an
anonymous, one-eyed, first-person narrator to a
third-person voice characterized by hyperbole,
long-windedness, and other forms of stylistic
cyclopism. Indeed much of the second half of
Ulysses seems to have been written with censorship in mind. In Circe, an episode set in a
brothel and featuring a trial in which the hero,
Leopold Bloom, is accused of various sexual
crimes, Joyce responds to the ongoing censorship
of the novel by opening up the text to the full
range of modern eroticism or, to put it another
way, the unconscious. And when Joyce uses a
British soldier named Private Carr as a mouthpiece for obscenity, he combines his assault on
moral and religious censorship with political
satire. Punching Stephens lights out in drunken
fisticuffs, Joyces artist of the obscene (Kenner
127) dramatizes the obscene violence of British
imperialism in Ireland.
Lawrences battles with censorship had also
begun early. Sons and Lovers (1913) was banned
from public libraries in England and The Rainbow
was banned at an obscenity trial in 1915. The
Rainbow ban made it virtually impossible for
Lawrence to publish in Britain until the end of
the war; Lady Chatterleys Lover, published in Italy
in 1928, remained contraband for another 32
years. Lawrence, who regarded Joyces Penelope
episode as pornographic, was considered guilty of
a combination of moral and political offenses. His
novels, with their prominent sexual content,
seemed obscene: in 1915, the authorities were
particularly concerned with a lesbian episode in
The Rainbow, while Lady Chatterleys Lover featured numerous sexual encounters. Lawrences
representation of sex, like Joyces, also seemed
blasphemous and, in the context of World War I,
unpatriotic. Ursula Brangwen, the young heroine
of The Rainbow, explicitly rejects the values of
democracy and imperialism for which the war was
supposedly fought, and tells her soldier-lover,
Anton Skrebensky, that she hates soldiers.
Ursulas and Antons violently charged relationship ends with a moonlit sex scene in which she
annihilates his soul; the novel itself concludes
with a symbolic vision of a rainbow promising
a mystical religion of sexual regeneration at
odds with the purposive ideologies of militarism,

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



imperialism, and capitalism that official censorship was meant to protect. Rather than retreating
from the forces of censorship, Lawrence continued to attack its central premises, writing not only
novels about sex but such essays as Pornography
 Propos of Lady Chatterleys
and Obscenity and A
Lover (both written in 1929), which attacked
censorship while promoting his own ideas about
sexual regeneration. Like Joyce, Lawrence engaged in formal experimentation to subvert censorship, exploiting his own polemical tendencies
(for which Joyce and other modernists would
censure him) to open up his novels to vatic
outbursts that violate moral and aesthetic expectations together. Thus Lady Chatterley ends
with a prophetic letter by the gamekeeper,
Mellors, declaring that he and Connie have
recreated reality through sex.
In their different ways, then, Joyce and Lawrence made censorship a crucial theme in the
modern novel. The cases of these two novelists
have also raised important practical and theoretical questions about the social function of literature, precisely because they highlight debates
about what sort of effects literature might have,
how it produces them, and on whom. Judges,
lawyers, editors, publishers, and critics involved
in censorship cases often debated the relation
between art and obscenity, asking, for example,
whether artistic merit might be granted to a work
as a whole if some of its parts were obscene. Thus,
in the context of censorship, a question frequently
posed by literary modernism what is the status
of the part or fragment? could become a matter
of social contestation. Censorship also put pressure on questions of authorial intention and
artistic purpose. Sir Chartres Biron, the judge
who presided over the Well of Loneliness trial in
1928, declared authorial intention immaterial to
the case an uncanny anticipation of the New
Critical dogma that an authors intentions were
irrelevant to the meaning (or merit) of a literary
work. Ironically, it was at the end of the 1950s,
when New Criticism was at the peak of its influence in the Anglo-American academy, that the
British and American bans on Lady Chatterley
were lifted partly in deference to authorial intention: in 1959, US Judge Frederick Bryan argued
that in this case, as in that of Ulysses, the authors
sincerity and honesty of purpose were essential
to the literary and intellectual merit of the work

(Lawrence 1959, 126). By a fine irony, modernism

was now sanctioned partly on the grounds that it
might contribute to the moral improvement of
Most crucially of all, major censorship cases
often revolved around questions of audience. The
Hicklin ruling of 1868, which guided subsequent
court cases in Britain and America, defined
obscenity as the tendency to deprave and corrupt
those whose minds are open to such immoral
influences and into whose hands a publication of
this sort may fall (Parkes 4). What this meant, for
British and US judges in the late nineteenth and
early twentieth centuries, was that the courts had
to consider the young reader. The editors of the
Little Review, the New York magazine that serialized the early episodes of Ulysses, landed in court
on just these grounds: the case began when a
lawyer complained that his minor daughter had
received an unsolicited copy of the installment
containing part of Nausicaa, in which a young
woman exhibits her underclothes while the hero,
Bloom, masturbates. Morris Ernst, the lawyer
who defended Ulysses in court in 1933, tried to
redefine the reader in question as the average or
normal man (Vanderham 97), an argument
that Judge Woolsey found persuasive. But, in the
age of growing democracy and freedom from
traditional social constraints, the question of who
counted as normal readers became increasingly
uncertain. When the chief prosecutor asked at the
1960 trial of Lady Chatterley, Is it a book that you
would . . . wish your wife or your servants to
read? (Rolph 17), he unwittingly exposed the
social and political biases of received legal opinion. The courts decision to allow Lawrences
novel into the public domain suggested, among
other things, that previous definitions of the
audience for modern literature had considered
only a part of a much larger socio-political whole.
Was literature for men, or for women? Was it for
the intellectuals, or the masses?
As recent scholarship suggests, the story of
censorship and the novel in modern Britain hardly begins or ends with Joyce and Lawrence. Indeed, these authors have become renewed objects
of suspicion, especially Lawrence, famously denounced by the feminist critic Kate Millett (1970)
as a purveyor of violent misogyny (an accusation
from which Lawrences reputation still hasnt
fully recovered). While recent studies have

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


deepened our understanding of particular obscenity trials involving Joyce and Lawrence
(Parkes 1996; Vanderham 1998), scholars have
also broadened the scope of inquiry, by examining
a wider range of authors, from the aesthetes and
decadents of the nineteenth century to the New
Critics of the twentieth, and by considering forms
of social and cultural censorship not directly
institutionalized in obscenity law: the circles of
censorship that Woolf called invisible. In my book
(Parkes 1996), I argue that authors from Wilde to
Woolf not only provoked official censorship but
also participated in debates about modern forms
of sexuality and gender, sometimes challenging
and rewriting received scripts for the gendered
and sexualized aspects of British selfhood. Relating censorship to social purity movements and
prostitution debates, Celia Marshik (30) similarly
emphasizes how modernism was decisively
shaped by a censorship dialectic formed by
ongoing negotiations between . . . writer[s] and
resistant audiences. For Allison Pease (83), who
sees modernism as the product of bourgeois
Enlightenment ideology, modern writers made
obscenity safe for the middle classes, and so
defused its subversive potential, by subjecting
pornographic elements to the aesthetic control
of high modernist form. While these accounts
differ in their assessment of modernisms social
and political subversiveness, they all resist or
complicate the received liberal view of the battle
against literary censorship simply as a struggle for
freedom of expression (see, for example, Ernst &
Schwartz 1964; De Grazia 1992). Instead, these
studies consider how modern authors engaged in
sometimes damaging but often fruitful dialogue
with censorship in its different forms, visible and
invisible. Future scholarship is likely to consider
the persistence of traditional religious imperatives, especially when combined with new geopolitical developments, as exemplified by the now
expired Islamic fatwa against Salman Rushdie for
publishing The Satanic Verses (1988). The theoretical dimensions of censorship and obscenity
are likely to receive further attention, as well.
Future studies remain to be written, however, on
the means by which diverse forms of censorship,
legally institutionalized and socially inscribed, are
manifested and resisted in the fiction of the
modern period, which will reveal new information about less well-known authors targeted by


official censors, such as the revolutionary feminist

author Naomi Mitchison (whom the authorities
considered prosecuting in June 1935), and which
may also reexamine the ways in which writers like
Jean Rhys, committed to telling the other side of
the story, rewrite inherited narratives about British culture and society.
SEE ALSO: Censorship and Fiction (WF);
Modernist Fiction (BIF); Politics and the Novel
(BIF); Politics/Activism and Fiction (WF);
Queer/Alternative Sexualities in Fiction (BIF);
Queer/Alternative Sexualities in Fiction (WF)


De Grazia, E. (1992). Girls Lean Back Everywhere:
The Law of Obscenity and the Assault on Genius.
New York: Random House.
Ernst, M., & Schwartz, A. U. (1964). Censorship:
The Search for the Obscene. New York: Macmillan.
Findlater, R. (1967). Banned! A Review of Theatrical
Censorship in Britain. London: MacGibbon and Kee.
Franke, D. (2008). Modernist Heresies: British Literary
History, 18831924. Columbus: Ohio State
University Press.
Hunt, L. (ed.) (1993). The Invention of Pornography:
Obscenity and the Origins of Modernity, 15001800.
New York: Zone.
Joyce, J. (1990). Ulysses. New York: Vintage.
Joyce, J. (1996). Dubliners: Text and Criticism (ed. R.
Scholes & A. W. Litz). New York: Penguin.
Joyce, J. (2003). A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
(ed. S. Deane). New York: Penguin.
Kenner, H. (1987). Ulysses. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins
University Press.
La Capra, D. (1982). Madame Bovary on Trial. Ithaca,
NY: Cornell University Press.
Ladenson, E. (2007). Dirt for Arts Sake: Books on Trial
from Madame Bovary to Lolita. Ithaca, NY:
Cornell University Press.
Lawrence, D. H. (1959). Sex, Literature and Censorship
(ed. H. T. Moore). New York: Viking.
Lawrence, D. H. (1989). The Rainbow (ed. M. KinkeadWeekes). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Lawrence, D. H. (1995). Sons and Lovers (ed. D.
Trotter). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Lawrence, D. H. (2002). Lady Chatterleys Lover and A
Propos of Lady Chatterleys Lover (ed. M. Squires).
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Marsh, J. (1998). Word Crimes: Blasphemy, Culture, and
Literature in Nineteenth-Century England. Chicago:
University of Chicago Press.

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



Marshik, C. (2006). British Modernism and Censorship.

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Millett, K. (1970). Sexual Politics. Garden City, NY:
Mullin, K. (2003). James Joyce, Sexuality and Social
Purity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Parkes, A. (1996). Modernism and the Theater of
Censorship. New York: Oxford University Press.
Pease, A. (2000). Modernism, Mass Culture, and the
Aesthetics of Obscenity. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press.
Rolph, C. H. (ed.) (1990). The Trial of Lady Chatterley:
Regina v. Penguin Books Limited. London: Penguin.
Stephens, J. R. (1980). The Censorship of English Drama,
18241901. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Vanderham, P. (1998). James Joyce and Censorship: The
Trials of Ulysses. New York: New York University
Woolf, V. (1984). The Diary of Virginia Woolf, vol. 5
(ed. A. O. Bell & A. McNeillie). San Diego: Harcourt

Chicklit and Ladlit


Chicklit and ladlit are two terms that have

become inextricably linked: it could be argued
that chicklit spawned the need for the term
ladlit, but if one looks at representative works
of fiction in each genre, one discovers important
critical distinctions. Chicklit is the descriptive
term used to categorize a highly successful romantic fiction genre that came into being in the
wake of the success of Helen Fieldings Bridget
Joness Diary (1996). Earlier references to chicklit
carried different connotations than those now
associated with the term: in particular Cris Mazza
and Jeffrey DeShells anthology Chick Lit: Postfeminist Fiction (1995) deployed the term ironically to indicate that the writings in their collection went beyond the normal themes associated
with feminist fiction. Interestingly, this perceived
tension between chicklit and feminism has endured, even while feminism haunts its subtexts
like a guilty conscience. Chick in the context of
chick lit is mobilized as playful and
postmodern; others would take it more literally,
and critics applied it to suggest that such fiction is
retrogressively feminine. Bridget Joness Diary
remains for most the touchstone of what chicklit
is, even though it could be argued to be the

exception to this classification the paradigm in

a genre that almost universally lacks the irony of
tone adopted in Bridget Joness Diary.
That the term chick (dismissed during the
height of second-wave feminism as derogatory
and infantilizing) can be once more applied to
women in the 1990s might be perceived to be a
symptom of the waning of feminisms political
and ideological power: it can certainly be attributed to the rise of the new lad as a media
phenomenon in the UK, reinforced by a celebration of a more adolescent masculinity in the
bestselling mens magazines of the decade, such
as Loaded. Chick is used to suggest that this
postfeminist generation of women are more at
ease with their femininity, less political about
their identity, yet successful in their careers and
able to pursue their ambitions in that arena. As a
readerly label it also announces a resurgence of
women as a targeted separate consumer group
just as chick flick has become attached to
particular film genres, such as romantic comedies
and costume dramas.
The genre not only courts women readers
exclusively, just as mass market romance always
has; more specifically, it was initially directed at
the twenty- to thirty-something market as an
antidote to the rather dated platitudes and whimsical plotting of many Harlequin romances. The
novels favor the first-person confessional narrative, or one whose point of view is channeled
through the central heroine; very often they incorporate varieties of first-person forms such as
diaries, emails, letters, texts, or a combination of
all of these (see Marian Keyes, This Charming
Man, 2008, as an example), using disclosures
about the heroines own frailties and anxieties to
draw in the readers sympathies and sense of
identification. The implied reader is privileged as
a confidante and the character most often comes
across as an emotionally honest woman who lives
in an urban environment (normally a capital city)
and usually works in a media, fashion, publicity,
or PR-related job. The thrust of the romance
narrative takes a contemporary twist: the women
are serial daters and are emotionally nourished by
a close group of friends (often including gay men,
but rarely lesbians, Adele Parkss Tell Me Something, 2008, being one exception). They perceive
themselves to be flawed and therefore unable to
compete on equal terms in the dating market and

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


for this reason are usually on a prolonged but

rather lacklustre quest for self-improvement, dramatized by abortive diet regimes, neglected gym
membership, and fashion disasters, but also manifested in the quest to acquire cultural capital
to seem to be better informed about serious
matters and an addiction to self-help manuals.
The future Mr. Right is fascinated by the
heroines innate virtues and is able to see through
the falsehoods and caprices of ideal-type femininity and love her in spite of her perceived faults and
in spite of her attempts at self-improvement or
adherence to strict dating rules. Online reader
responses to chicklit suggest that its realism and
authenticity as well as its humor and lighthearted
approach to key relationship dilemmas are valued. Confidently post-feminist in its ideological
appeal, it suggests that feminist truisms have little
application for the new generation of women who
instead turn back to more traditional images of
femininity for affirmation and reject what they see
as have it all feminist brainwashing. If anything,
chicklit heroines are perceived to be burdened by
the choices feminism has won them; there is a
marked, if not always fully articulated, nostalgia
for some natural order of the sexes, which is
perceived as lost and at the heart of many a young
womans dating failures and fear of remaining
Ladlit shares the confessional narrative tendency; but whereas chicklit speaks to a homosocial
readership, ladlit is consumed by both sexes, and
is more likely to gain literary or at least middlebrow status and critical recognition. Ladlit is
associated with texts rather than authors (with
perhaps one exception) and does not impact
upon the reputation or critical reception of the
author in the same way as chicklit; nor does it
condemn work to the genre fiction designation.
Nick Hornby, like Helen Fielding in the case of
chicklit, in some senses represents the purest form
of the ladlit genre, even though his first book Fever
Pitch (1992) is a memoir, and it is his work that is
most commonly used to summarize ladlits distinguishing narrative features. While confessional
writing is often associated with the feminine,
the use of the confessional in ladlit situates a
tension associated with the masculine voice in
this genre. The central characters inability to
express or explore their emotions is the key source
of the books dynamics and yet the first-person


narrative represents the protagonists journey

toward honest expression of his feelings and a
clearer understanding of what it is to be a man in
the contemporary world.
Whereas chicklit narratives display emotional
intelligence in abundance, ladlit is about navigating a path through the mystifying process of
growing out of adolescence and into adult
responsibility something it is implied women
do naturally and painlessly. Ladlit is typically
more introspective in this way, its humor sharper,
darker, and rather world-weary; unlike the chicklit heroine who is surrounded by her alternative
family of friends, the ladlit hero is essentially
alone. Hornbys second book, High Fidelity
(1995), features the protagonist dissecting his past
relationships after a recent break-up, and in doing
so recognizing the rituals that he, as a man,
observes and is equally entrapped by. Writers
such as Hornby and Tim Lott exploit both firstand second-person narrative address, as more
direct engagement with the reader; in this way
readers are also sometimes implicated in a mode
of discourse with which they may feel uncomfortable or alienated, but which changes as the narrative progresses. In the case of both Hornbys High
Fidelity and Lotts White City Blue (1999), for
instance, the central character is stuck in a kind of
belated adolescence and defined by his dysfunctional relationship with his closest friends with
whom he shares little of importance, tending to
channel social interaction through shared love of
music or football and through mutual insults. In
Lotts novel this nostalgia for boyhood commonality is emphasized by the friends obsession with a
particular adventure which they celebrate annually and which ritual will threaten Frankie Blues
relationship with Veronica. The climax is reached
when the protagonists begin to verbalize their
emotions and enter coupledom willingly.
Ladlit both explores masculinity and yet shows
it to be an elusive construction; central characters
demonstrate the shortcomings of traditional notions of the masculine, which seem inapplicable
to their own lives or experiences, and masculinity
comes to be defined as a lack a refusal to grow
up, accept responsibility or self-determination.
Yet ladlit protagonists often look to the lives and
attitudes of the previous generation of men and
reflect longingly on their fathers secure sense of
identity, which further emphasizes a disjunction

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



between the two generations and a consciousness

of masculinity in crisis coming to the fore in
1990s popular culture and social criticism. While
feminism supposedly empowered women, increasing their educational and career choices, it
is suggested that men are correspondingly abandoned with the failure of the new man model of
the 1980s, which is discarded as soft and unerotic
only to be replaced provisionally by the new lad.
These characters are lost in the contemporary
world, not only because their male bonds dont
nourish them, but because they seem unable to
satisfy the needs of their lovers or themselves;
generally not successful breadwinners or careeroriented individuals, they lack the direction in
their lives that feminism supposedly provided to a
generation of women.
Ladlit is neither a celebration nor a critique of
traditional masculinity; the male characters confessional testimonies situate, disarmingly, the
flaws of classic masculine qualities of reticence
and emotional constipation by explaining frankly
their causes and the reasons for their perpetuation. The term lad, unlike chick, does suggest
a collective slang term for youngish men, but
specifically a particular type of young man who
celebrates and prolongs the period of carefree
irresponsibility where sports, cars, and the objectification of women comprise the lads worldview,
and where alcohol and drugs, sharing trivia and
lists, enable homosocial male gatherings to exist
without any homoerotic undertones. At a key
point the protagonists dissatisfaction with this
lifestyle will come to the surface and inevitably he
will, at least temporarily, break with his friends,
the better to assess his future. While the chicklit
heroine may lack confidence, she is most often
certain that her future will involve a monogamous
relationship; ladlit heroes have yet to be convinced of this. White City Blue ends with a wedding framed at one and the same time as an
existential leap of faith and a sell-out to a dominant romantic myth; what such texts share with
chicklit, ultimately, is a commitment to the existence of romantic love and monogamy, whether
or not these things last a lifetime.
Chicklit and ladlit are highly compatible with
marketing trends in modern publishing, which
seek a hook on which to hang a number of
thematically linked titles another example
would be the misery memoir (or mislit)

and readers are therefore encouraged to buy a new

title because it is like something that has gone
before. Such category-heavy marketing suits the
Amazon-buying generation, who on purchasing a
single title will find a host of recommendations
offered to them on the basis of shared generic
characteristics as well as on the basis of what other
readers have bought. In the case of chicklit, the
cover designs have become something of a cliche
with the predominance of pastel backgrounds,
drawings of make-up, handbags, and shoes, or
simple line drawings of young women on the
cover. Design solutions such as this allow identification with something emphatically not chicklit
except by association; so, for example, Jane
Austens oeuvre has been repackaged in a
chicklit format by one canny publisher.
While some chicklit authors are known for
regularly writing out of the mold Marian Keyess
inclusion of alcoholism, depression, and more
recently domestic violence and transvestism is a
notable example the category is not defunct but
contains increasing multitudes and subcategories,
such as mumlit or henlit, widowlit or tart noir.
Ladlit has not had the same reach, and perhaps
remains a distinctive characteristic of 1990s male
writing, temporarily linked to chicklit, since such
symmetry is irresistible; but without the concrete
genre associations the term has declined in usage.
Chicklit has come to define contemporary
romance narratives to a large extent, providing
the most robust challenge to the hegemony of
Harlequin mass market books for many decades,
and the brand migrates well to similar productions in film and television. Chicklit, like
the glossy magazines its heroines devour, can be
obsessively brand- and body-aware; it slips
more easily into the category of a product that
may be tied in to other products: sold taped to the
front of a glossy magazine or in conjunction with
chocolate bars and other consumables.
Readers and critics alike, spurred on by Helen
Fieldings appropriation of Pride and Prejudice,
see in chicklit a link with generations of women
who have written romances and who have striven
simultaneously for self-determination and romantic fulfillment. Ladlits history is shorter perhaps, though many identify links with male writing of the 1950s, specifically that of Kingsley Amis.
While Bridget Joness strident Englishness belies
the ability of the genre to travel across the Atlantic

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


and beyond, ladlit retains a Britishness that requires another term in the US (dicklit, for
example). National variations aside, these narrative forms have shaped the popular fiction of a
generation. The vexed question of the value of
either chicklit or ladlit will continue, no doubt; in
the meantime one can note that their shared
concerns offer a reflection on the demographic
realities of the increasingly common singleton
navigating a self-conscious path through the confusing landscape of postmodern heterosexual
SEE ALSO: Feminist Fiction (BIF)
Ferrebe, A. (2005). Masculinity in Male-Authored
Fiction, 19502000. Basingstoke: Palgrave
Ferris, S., & Young, M. (2005). Chick Lit: Popularizing
Fiction for Women. London: Routledge.
Fielding, H. (1996). Bridget Joness Diary. London:
Frears, S.(dir.) (2000). High Fidelity. Dogstar Films.
Gayle, M. (1998). My Legendary Girlfriend. London:
Hodder and Stoughton.
Green, J. (2001). Babyville. London: Michael Joseph.
Head, D. (2005). Modern British Fiction, 19502000.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hogan, P. J. (dir.) (2009). Confessions of a Shopaholic.
Touchstone Pictures.
Hornby, N. (1995). High Fidelity. London: Gollancz.
Keyes, M. (1995). Watermelon. Dublin: Poolbeg.
Keyes, M. (2008). This Charming Man. London:
Kidron, B. (dir.) (2004). Bridget Jones: The Edge of
Reason. Working Title Films.
Kinsella, S. (2000). Confessions of a Shopaholic. London:
Black Swan.
Knights, B. (ed.) (2008). Masculinities in Text and
Teaching. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Lott, T. (1999). White City Blue. London: Penguin.
Maguire, S. (dir.) (2001). Bridget Joness Diary. Little
Mazza, C., & DeShell, J. (eds.) (1995). Chick Lit:
Postfeminist Fiction. Tallahassee, FL: Fiction
Collective Two.
Moody, N. (ed.) (2004). Chicklit [special issue].
Diegesis, 8.
OFarrell, J. (2000). The Best a Man Can Get. New York:
Parks, A. (2008). Tell Me Something. London: Michael


Parsons, T. (1999). Man and Boy. London:

Showalter, E. (2002). Ladlit. In Z. Leader (ed.), On
Modern British Fiction. Oxford: Oxford University
Smith, C. J. (2007). Cosmopolitan Culture and
Consumerism in Chick Lit. London: Routledge.
Smyczynska, K. (2007). The World according to Bridget
Jones. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.
Weitz, C., & Weitz, P. (dirs.) (2002). About a Boy.
Universal Pictures.
Whelehan, I. (2002). Helen Fieldings Bridget Joness
Diary: A Readers Guide. New York: Continuum.
Whelehan, I . (2005). The Feminist Bestseller.
Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Childrens and Young Adult


Juliet Dusinberres study of early modernism and

its relation to nineteenth-century childrens literature, Alice to the Lighthouse (1987), argues that
the experimentation in Lewis Carrolls Alice
books informs a liberated literature for children
that in turn informs much of the experimental
sensibility we see in early modernist fiction by the
likes of Woolf and Joyce. Of course, nineteenthcentury childrens literature also paves the way for
much of what we see in twentieth-century writing
for the young. The work of Lewis Carroll, George
MacDonald, Charles Kingsley, Mary Molesworth,
Oscar Wilde, and others paves the way for the new
century. Two early twentieth-century texts are
particularly formative for what follows: Kenneth
Grahames The Wind in the Willows (1908) and
E. Nesbits Five Children and It (1902), both of
which owe a debt to Carroll and MacDonald.
Grahames animal fantasy reinscribes themes of
nostalgia and home and national politics that
prepare the way for a range of novels from
A. A. Milnes Winnie-the-Pooh books, to Arthur
Ransomes Swallows and Amazons series, to
Brian Jacquess long-running Redwall series. On
the other hand, Nesbits reality-tinged fantasy
prepares for a whole range of books that look
less nostalgically on the world of childhood.
Nesbit offers preparation for time-slip fantasy by
the likes of Diane Wynne-Jones and C. S. Lewis,
the skewed historical romances of Joan Aiken, and

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



also a wry reflection that results much later in a

focus on the realities of childhood in what we now
term young adult fiction.
The history of British and Irish childrens
literature in the twentieth century is a baggy
monster. But the loosely connected adventures
of Ratty, Mole, Toad, and Badger in Grahames
book focus to a large extent on home, both the
home as a safe and reassuring place for the
individual and also the familiar surrounding of
the community. Home is both nature itself and
the civilized places we fashion from nature, the
communities we build. Grahames emphasis on
nature reverberates in the brilliant animal story
Tarka the Otter by Henry Williamson (1927).
Until recently, books for children have regularly
celebrated the virtues of fresh air and country life
whether they present the world of animals
or human beings. The work of David Almond
participates in a continuing tradition in English
literature of envisioning nature and humanity as
inextricably connected, so connected that the
world is imbued with spirit fantasy and reality
connect intimately.
The Wind in the Willows is about home, departure from home, and homecoming. As we see in
Badgers dwelling, the places in which we live have
deep connections to history, and history is a
recurring interest of childrens books. Jill Paton
Walshs Goldengrove (1972) and Unleaving (1976)
are two books that differ markedly from
Grahames animal fantasy, but which share an
interest in the past, and in place as situating
identity and stability. Indeed, the interest in place
the Riverbank, the Hundred Acre Wood, the
coast of Cornwall, Green Knowe, Alderley Edge,
Ely Cathedral and the fen land in the east of
England, Narnia, Hogwarts and its environs, and
so on derives from the romantic sense of the
genius loci, the local spirit that invests particular
places with a numinous power. We see this in
Wordsworths poetry and in the many Victorian
childrens books that take sustenance from this
poetry. This interest in the genius loci forms
something of a tradition in British childrens
books, finding its most powerful voice, perhaps,
in the work of Alan Garner. The most prominent
of Garners books is The Owl Service (1967). In
this book, three young teenagers share a strange
adventure in a Welsh valley; they find themselves
re-enacting actions first performed by characters

in the medieval Mabinogion. The connection

between persons and place is formative, testing,
and necessary for any sense of assurance. Homes
and specific places may be uncanny in the Freudian sense; they may be both comforting and
familiar and disturbing and strange. Even picture
books as benign as Beatrix Potters The Tale of
Peter Rabbit (1902), or Graham Oakleys Church
Mice series (19702000) have a doubleness that
situates place as both familiar and strange. Another picture book artist we might include here is
Raymond Briggs, whose Snowman (1978) and
Fungus the Bogeyman (1977) transform the familiar into the unfamiliar. Fungus also begins a
contemporary interest in and acceptance of scatological themes in childrens books that we see in
the Irish writer Roddy Doyle (The Giggler Treatment, 2000), and in the popular picture book, The
Story of the Little Mole Who Knew It Was None
of His Business by Werner Holzwarth & Wolf
Erlbruch (2001). Another example is Roald Dahls
Revolting Rhymes (1982).
Special places serve to ground characters in
ways that are both reassuring and potentially
disorienting. An unusual, but compelling example is Jill Paton Walshs A Parcel of Patterns
(1984), set in seventeenth-century Derbyshire.
A village becomes quarantined after a parcel of
patterns brings the plague, effectively turning the
familiar home into a strange and dangerous place.
The place, in other words, may be comforting and
familiar, a home sweet home, or it may be uncanny and disturbing, a home that dislocates and
defamiliarizes, as in recent books by Neil Gaiman,
Coraline (2002) and Wolves in the Wall (2003).
We expect places in childrens books to be reassuring, and the first half and more of the
twentieth century delivers reassuring places. The
focus on the comforts of home is especially evident in books for younger children, as Milnes
Pooh books (1926 and 1928) make clear. Christopher Robin and his friends play freely in their
benign outdoors where even gorse bushes do not
inconveniently ruffle Winnie when he tumbles
out of a tree, and a flood serves as an occasion for
messing about in boats. And when the day is done,
Christopher has his bath and a story from his
father. The kind of safe environment an environment that may offer adventures but adventures that will deliver happy endings that we see
in Milnes books also forms the chronotope for

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Arthur Ransomes Swallows and Amazons (1930)

and its sequels in which the Walker and the
Blackett children explore the Lake District and
have adventures without fear of losing the comforts of home. A working-class version of gentle
adventures and homely virtues is found in Eve
Garnetts stories about the Ruggles family, beginning with The Family from One End Street (1937).
We can also see the importance of home in
Tolkiens The Hobbit, published in the same year
as the first Ruggles book. The darkening sense of
home and the world is apparent in more recent
books such as J. K. Rowlings Harry Potter books
(19972007) and Philip Pullmans His Dark
Materials trilogy (19952001).
Early in the century, Rudyard Kipling began an
exploration of the homeland in his books that take
British history for their subject, Puck of Pooks Hill
(1906) and Rewards and Fairies (1910). Thus
began a century of childrens books that investigate British history. The most prominent of the
writers of historical fiction for children are Geoffrey Trease, Rosemary Sutcliff, Leon Garfield, Jill
Paton Walsh, and Kevin Crossley-Holland. These
writers explore the history of Britain from the
time of Beowulf to the near past. Englands experiences of World War II find treatment in Jill
Paton Walshs The Dolphin Crossing (1967) and
Fireweed (1970), Robert Westalls The MachineGunners (1975), and Terry Pratchetts Johnny and
the Bomb (1996). Other writers such as William
Mayne (Earthfasts, 1966) and Jamila Gavin
(Coram Boy, 2000) also treat the past in novel
ways. Gavins Coram Boy reflects what we would
call in critical discourse a postcolonial sensibility.
Historical fiction sometimes connects with that
most elegant of British concerns fantasy. For
example, Alison Uttleys A Traveller in Time
(1939), Philippa Pearces Toms Midnight Garden
(1958), and Penelope Farmers Charlotte Sometimes (1969) use the notion of a time slip to
transport characters into the past. Other books
present the past pervading the present, for example, William Maynes Earthfasts and Penelope
Livelys The Ghost of Thomas Kempe (1973).
Treatments of history that did not happen, or
alternate history, are the concern of writers such
as Joan Aiken, Peter Dickinson, and Robin Jarvis.
And the origins of modern Britain in the stories of
King Arthur receive both realistic and fantastic
treatment in works such as Sutcliffs The Sword


and the Circle (1981) and its sequels, T. H. Whites

The Sword in the Stone (1938) and its sequels, and
Susan Coopers Over Sea, Under Stone (1965) and
its sequels.
Fantasy is one of the strongest aspects of British
childrens fiction. Nineteenth-century writes such
as John Ruskin, Frances Browne, Lewis Carroll,
and George MacDonald established patterns for
childrens fantasy that writers in the twentieth
century continue to expand. Ruskin and Browne
begin the recasting of the fairy tale as established
by Perrault and the Grimm Brothers, and rewritings and reinventions of the fairy tale surface in
such twentieth-century British writers as A. A.
Milne, Walter de la Mare, and Joan Aiken. Picture
books too engage in the revisioning of fairy tales;
two prime examples are Fiona Frenchs Snow
White in New York (1986) and Anthony Brownes
Hansel and Gretel (1981). The influence of the
traditional tales is evident in many childrens
writers from C. S. Lewis to Terry Pratchett.
Following the nineteenth-century practice of collecting traditional tales, represented famously by
Andrew Langs colored fairy books, the twentieth
century gave us many anthologies of folk and fairy
tales, both local to England and Ireland, and
worldwide. Anthologies of strictly local tales, for
example Virginia Havilands Favourite Fairy Tales
Told in Ireland (1961), or the several anthologies
prepared by Alan Garner (e.g., Lad of the Gad and
Fairy Tales of Gold, both 1980), participate in a
celebration of Ireland and England respectively.
Lewis Carroll arguably lies behind all fantasy
literature that comes after the two Alice books,
but he is associated most closely with nonsense
and adventures in alternate worlds or dream
worlds. His influence is evident on such writers
as Mervyn Peake, Spike Milligan, Michael Rosen,
and Jeanette Winterson. Fantasists such as Diana
Wynne Jones and Terry Pratchett also evidence
Carrolls influence. C. S. Lewis echoes the E.
Nesbit story, The Aunt and Amabel (in The
Magic World, 1912), when he has Lucy enter
Narnia through a wardrobe, but the entering of
another world through a hole of some sort may
well find its source in the first Alice book (1865).
The influence of George MacDonald is arguably
as pervasive as that of Carroll. MacDonalds
influence is twofold: The Princess and the Goblin
(1872) and The Princess and Curdie (1883) inaugurate a secondary world fantasy made famous by

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



Tolkien and his many followers; and his At the

Back of the North Wind (1871) inaugurates a kind
of fantasy tinged with realism that we see in E.
Nesbit and many fantasies that follow by the likes
of Jill Paton Walsh, Penelope Lively, Penelope
Farmer, Peter Dickinson, Susan Cooper, Melvin
Burgess, J. K. Rowling, Philip Pullman, and
Charles Butler. To take just one example, Melvin
Burgesss Lady: My Life as a Bitch (2001) deals
with adolescent struggles with family, school, peer
pressure, and sexuality, and it does so with both
humor and insistent materiality. Sandra Francy,
the books protagonist, finds her transformation
into a dog more interesting than she could have
Burgess is also the author of Junk (1996),
arguably the most powerful example of young
adult fiction in Great Britain. Junk is about heroin
addiction among teenagers; it is Trainspotting
(1993) for younger readers. Young adult fiction
deals with the realities of being a young person in
contemporary times. William Goldings Lord of
the Flies (1954) is often mentioned as an early
British example, but many examples exist of
books that deal with such sensitive subjects as
rape, divorce, racism, drug addiction, delinquency, sexual preference, eating disorders, and so on.
The Irish writer Siobhan Parkinsons Breaking the
Wishbone (1999) tells the story of a group of
homeless teenagers on the streets of Dublin. Perhaps more well known are the novels of Aidan
Chambers. His books Dance on My Grave (1982)
and Postcards from No Mans Land (1999) deal
frankly with matters of sexual orientation. Another novel, Breaktime (1978) experiments with
the form of the novel in ways reminiscent of
Laurence Sterne. As young adult books have
developed, the stuff of everyday reality grows
darker, as a book such as Alan Gibbonss Caught
in the Crossfire (2003) demonstrates. This is a post
9/11 examination of race and racial targeting in
England; its depiction of racial tension between
Muslim and non-Muslim groups is tense and
tragic. In this book, home and the homeland are
no longer comfortable and safe. Another book
that treats the same subject is Richard
MacSweens Victory Street (2004).
The subject of race has become familiar in
childrens literature in these times of postcolonial
self-consciousness and multicultural self-congratulation. As the nineteenth century turned into the

twentieth, books by the likes of G. A. Henty and

Bessie Marchant dealt with the various regions of
the British Empire, but in 1901 Kipling published
Kim, a novel about India and the Russians and
English who maneuver for power in that country.
Four years later, Frances Hodgson Burnett published A Little Princess (an expansion of Sara
Crewe, 1888), in which the Indian servant Ram
Dass figures prominently. Much time would
elapse before Asia and other parts of imperial
Britains colonies or former colonies found their
way into childrens literature. In Britain, the experience of the Caribbean and South Asian diasporas are now available in books for young readers. Jamila Gavins trilogy chronicling the lives of
the Singh family over two generations and from
one continent to another The Wheel of Surya
(1992), The Eye of the Horse (1994), and The Track
of the Wind (1997) is a masterful depiction of the
effects of imperial expansion. The Caribbean diaspora is the subject of books such as Errol Lloyds
Many Rivers to Cross (1995) and Floella
Benjamins Coming to England (1995). These and
many more books about the West Indian experience in England are discussed in Karen SandsOConnors study, Soon Come Home to This
Island: West Indians in British Childrens Literature
(2007). Books dealing with the experiences of
various diasporic groups have complicated the
vision of home and homeland that seemed so cozy
in books by Grahame or Potter or Milne. As SandsOConnor notes, books about West Indians and
Britain are not about making a home in either the
West Indies or Britain, but rather they are about
the homecoming of an idea, the idea that Britain is
not alone in the world and cannot continue to act
as if, like Robinson Crusoe, it is (166).
SEE ALSO: Childrens and Young Adult Fiction
(WF); Fantasy Fiction (BIF); Fantasy, Science
Fiction, and Speculative Fiction (WF); Historical
Fiction (BIF)


Benjamin, F. (1995). Coming to England. London:
Briggs, R. (1977). Fungus the Bogeyman. London:
Hamish Hamilton.
Briggs, R. (1978). The Snowman. New York: Random

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Browne, A. (1981). Hansel and Gretel. London: Julia

Burgess, M. (1996). Junk. London: Anderson.
Burgess, M. (2001). Lady: My Life as a Bitch. London:
Burnett, F. H. (1905). A Little Princess. London:
Frederick Warne.
Chambers, A. (1978). Breaktime. London: Bodley Head.
Chambers, A. (1982). Dance on My Grave. London:
Bodley Head.
Chambers, A. (1999). Postcards from No Mans Land.
London: Bodley Head.
Cooper. S. (1965). Over Sea, Under Stone. London:
Jonathan Cape.
Dahl, R. (1982). Roald Dahls Revolting Rhymes. New
York: Knopf.
Doyle, R. (2000). The Giggler Treatment. New York:
Dusinberre, J. (1987). Alice to the Lighthouse.
Basingstoke: Macmillan.
Farmer, P. (1969). Charlotte Sometimes. London:
Bodley Head.
French, F. (1986). Snow White in New York. Oxford:
Oxford University Press.
Gaiman, N. (2002). Coraline. New York: HarperCollins.
Gaiman, N. (2003). Wolves in the Wall. New York:
Garner, A. (1967). The Owl Service. London: Collins.
Garner, A. (ed.) (1979). Fairy Tales of Gold. London:
Garner, A. (ed.) (1986). A Bag of Moonshine. London:
Garnett, E. (1937). The Family from One End Street.
London: Frederick Muller.
Gavin, J. (1992). The Wheel of Surya. London: Methuen.
Gavin, J. (1994). The Eye of the Horse. London: Methuen.
Gavin, J. (1997). The Track of the Wind. London:
Gavin, J. (2000). Coram Boy. London: Mammoth.
Gibbons, A. (2003). Caught in the Crossfire. London:
Golding, W. (1954). The Lord of the Flies. London: Faber
and Faber.
Grahame, K. (1908). The Wind in the Willows. London:
Haviland, V. (1961). Favorite Fairy Tales Told in
Ireland. Boston: Little, Brown.
Holzwarth, W., & Erlbruch, W. (1994). The Story of the
Little Mole Who Knew It Was None of His Business. St.
Albans: David Bennett.
Kipling, R. (1901). Kim. London: Macmillan.
Kipling, R. (1906). Puck of Pooks Hill. London:
Kipling, R. (1910). Rewards and Fairies. London:


Lively, P. (1973). The Ghost of Thomas Kempe. London:

Lloyd, E. (1995). Many Rivers to Cross. London:
MacSween, R. (2004). Victory Street. London: Anderson.
Mayne, W. (1966). Earthfasts. London: Dutton.
Nesbit, E. (1902). Five Children and It. London: T.
Fisher Unwin.
Nesbit, E. (1912). The Magic World. London: Methuen.
Parkinson, S. (1999). Breaking the Wishbone. Dublin:
Pearce, P. (1958). Toms Midnight Garden. London:
Oxford University Press.
Potter, B. (1902). The Tale of Peter Rabbit. London:
Frederick Warne.
Pratchett, T. (1996). Johnny and the Bomb. London:
Ransome, A. (1930). Swallows and Amazons. London:
Jonathan Cape.
Sands-OConnor, K. (2007). Soon Come Home to This
Island: West Indians in British Childrens Literature.
New York: Routledge.
Sutcliff, R. (1981). The Sword and the Circle. London:
Bodley Head.
Tolkien, J. R. R. (1937). The Hobbit. London: Allen and
Uttley, A. (1939). A Traveller in Time. London: Faber
and Faber.
Walsh, J. P. (1967). The Dolphin Crossing. London:
Walsh, J. P. (1969). Fireweed. London: Macmillan.
Walsh, J. P. (1972). Goldengrove. London: Macmillan.
Walsh, J. P. (1976). Unleaving. London: Macmillan.
Walsh, J. P. (1983). A Parcel of Patterns.
Harmondsworth: Puffin.
Westall, Robert. (1975). The Machine-Gunners.
London: Macmillan.
White, T. H. (1938). The Sword in the Stone. London:
Williamson, H. (1927). Tarka the Otter. London:

Coe, Jonathan

At their most accomplished, Jonathan Coes

novels deftly combine popular sensibility and
avant garde panache, postmodern experimentation and nineteenth-century storytelling, ferocious
political rage with an apparent willingness to do
anything for a laugh. His books are intricately
plotted and have been labeled Dickensian, but owe

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



at least as much to the digressive brilliance of

eighteenth-century authors such as Henry Fielding
and Lawrence Sterne, who, like Coe, saw the
interconnections between the absurd and the poignant. Perhaps Coes greatest achievement to date
is to have revitalized the nineteenth century
condition of England novel for the twenty-first
century. Novels such as the marvelous What a
Carve Up! (1994b) hit post-Thatcherite England
where it hurt, charting the breakdown of the
postwar social democratic consensus in Britain
and its effect on individual lives. What a Carve
Up! is the story of one filthy-rich and ruthless
family, the Winshaws, who between them manipulate various aspects of 1990s Britain including
politics, banking, battery farming, the National
Health Service, the art world, the media, and the
arms trade. Their stories are told by hapless writer
Michael Owen who is engaged in writing an unauthorized biography of the Winshaws and whose
personal sufferings and defeats are inextricably
linked to the family. With its shifting time frame,
intertextual references, and generic leaps from
social realism to farce to horror, What a Carve
Up! was memorably described by Terry Eagleton
as one of the few pieces of genuinely political PostModern fiction around (12).
There is, however, another, more traditional
side to Coes writings, one that is steeped in
nostalgia for a lost childhood innocence, and
simpler, more sustaining versions of Englishness.
His representations of contemporary life look
back to an idealized pre-World War II version
of English society. Coe has called himself a
provincial novelist, and clearly has a deep attachment to the Midlands where he grew up. A
pervasive sense of loss of community hovers over
his work; Margaret Thatcher famously said
There is no such thing as society, and Coes
politically and emotionally isolated characters feel
the effects of that enforced loss.
Born in Birmingham in 1961, Coe attended
King Edwards School, which is the basis for the
boys school in The Rotters Club (2001). He went
on to Trinity College, Cambridge, and completed
a PhD on Henry Fielding at Warwick University.
He taught English at Warwick, but has also
worked as a musician and composer, and has
written two film biographies (of Humphrey
Bogart and James Stewart). An overview of Coes
works immediately shows that his literary influ-

ences are many and varied, ranging from Greek

mythology, to eighteenth- and nineteenth-century English and European novelists, to modernism
and surrealism. (The final section of The Rotters
Club is written in the form of one long streamof-consciousness sentence in tribute to Molly
Blooms monologue at the end of Joyces Ulysses.)
Coe is undoubtedly a literary writer, yet his
passionate attachment to music and film comes
through in his work at least as loudly as his
exuberant borrowings from the British and European canon. His third novel, The Dwarves of Death
(1990), featured chapter epigraphs from the rock
band The Smiths and is structured in the form of a
popular song, including a hilarious musical middle-eight set piece in which the main character
spends most of one Sunday hopelessly waiting for
a London bus. What a Carve Up! and The House of
Sleep (1997) make extensive use of Coes arcane
knowledge of film and film genre, from Carry On
to Cocteau. Coes compulsive use of cinema in his
works goes far beyond any symptomatic postmodern breakdown between high and popular
culture. Rather, he uses film to stage provocative
arguments about what it means to write novels
that matter in the late twentieth and early twentyfirst century, suggesting that genre clash may be
the only appropriate way today to encompass the
chaos of modern life. In What a Carve Up! a young
documentary maker deftly takes apart the apparent project of the book, arguing that there is
nothing left for the political novelist to say: any
serious modern artist who wants to use narrative
ought to be working in film (1994b, 276).
Alongside his concern for the structures of
recent history Coe focuses on the clueless individual caught in historys web. His novels feature
unreliable protagonists and narrators who are
only half-aware of the historical or emotional
storm clouds gathering around them. In the final
section of The Rotters Club, for instance, Coe has
his adolescent hero Ben Trotter finally consummate his apparently hopeless love for the theatrical Cicely. The setting for their encounter is
election day, 1979 under a poster of Margaret
Thatcher, which hangs in Bens brothers bedroom. It is clear to the reader, but not to the
ecstatic Ben, that Bens love affair, like the country, is headed for troubled waters. Coe ceaselessly
returns to characters who find intimacy terrifying
or impossible: actually talking to someone means

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


you cant predict how they will respond, whereas a

character such as What a Carve Up!s protagonist
Michael Owen, who obsessively rewatches the
same scene from the same old movie, and tries
to turn off his next door neighbor with his TV
remote control, has no such fears. From Coes
early novels An Accidental Woman (1987) and A
Touch of Love (1989), through his short story 9th
and 13th about a pianist who imagines an entire
relationship with a woman he meets briefly while
playing piano in a bar, to the awkward sleepobsessed misfits of The House of Sleep, Coes
characters only clumsily make contact with
others, or fantasize in disastrously mistaken ways
about the content of others minds and desires.
It is Coes surprising juxtapositions of these
themes the isolated, depressed, barely functioning individual in the face of larger political and
historical forces; the frantic modern mediations
of television, film, or music, as refracted through
complicated semi-Victorian plotlines; the spiraling comedy of the misplaced footnote or badly
written sex scene shading into the tragic unnecessary death or thwarted love that gives Coe his
distinctive brilliance. But the character of Coes
work has also shifted since his 2004 prize-winning
biography of B. S. Johnson, the British modernist
writer of the 1960s and 1970s who resembled Coe
in presenting a paradoxically common sense English version of experimental writing. Johnsons
creed, telling stories is telling lies, leads him, like
Coe, to stop mid-sentence to point out, in disgust,
the sheer unlikeliness of his fictional assertions
(Coe does this in A Touch of Love, 34). Coes most
recent novel, The Rain Before It Falls, a somber tale
of the passing down of family tragedy, was heavily
influenced by the mid-century novels of Rosamond Lehmann, suggesting different rhythms of
writing, a new focus on women, and the possibility of whole new directions for the future.
SEE ALSO: Johnson, B. S. (BIF); Politics and
the Novel (BIF); Postmodernist Fiction (BIF)


Coe. J. (1987). The Accidental Woman. London:
Coe. J. (1989). A Touch of Love. London: Duckworth.
Coe. J. (1990). The Dwarves of Death. London: Fourth


Coe. J. (1991). Humphrey Bogart: Take It and Like It.

London: Bloomsbury.
Coe. J. (1994a). James Stewart: Leading Man. London:
Coe. J. (1994b). What a Carve Up! London: Viking.
(Published in US as The Winshaw Legacy.)
Coe. J. (1997). The House of Sleep. London: Viking.
Coe. J. (2001). The Rotters Club. London: Viking.
Coe. J. (2004a). The Closed Circle. London: Viking.
Coe. J. (2004b). Like a Fiery Elephant: The Story of B. S.
Johnson. London: Picador.
Coe. J. (2005). 9th and 13th. London: Penguin.
Coe. J. (2007). The Rain Before It Falls. London: Viking.
Coe. J. The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim. London:
Connolly, T. (dir.) (1999). Five Seconds to Spare [film of
The Dwarves of Death]. Scala Wildgaze.
Eagleton, T. (1994). Theydunnit. London Review of
Books, p. 12 (Apr. 28).
Holgate, A. (2007). What a Turn-Up (August 19). At
accessed Sept. 2, 2008.
Mengham, R. (2001). Fictions History. Leviathan, 1,
Thurschwell, P. (2006). Genre, Repetition and History in
Jonathan Coe. In P. Tew & R. Mengham (eds.), British
Fiction Today. London: Continuum, pp. 2839.

Colonial Fiction

Colonial fiction may be defined as fiction set in

what was once the colonial world, the world that
European powers colonized starting in the Age of
Discovery and ending in the mid twentieth century, when Europe divested itself of its colonies. In
this fiction, typically, white, male protagonists
leave Europe as explorers, adventurers, soldiers,
traders, administrators, or, occasionally, exiled
criminals to encounter a foreign world of exotic
jungles, deserts, illnesses, and, especially, peoples
and cultures. These fictions commonly represent
the colonial world in conventional terms, which
may or may not correspond to the colonial world
that can be recovered in letters, newspaper accounts, and other records available both in the
European home country and in the former colony
itself. These conventions were, and continue to be,
influential in shaping perceptions of the lands and
peoples of the former colonies.

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



Great Britain began telling itself colonial stories

even before it became a colonial power.
Shakespeares The Tempest, written at the very
beginning of the seventeenth century, before
England had settled colonies in North America
or begun its conquest of India, can be read as a
colonial allegory. Prospero and his daughter,
Miranda, are shipwrecked on an island, where
Prospero frees one of its inhabitants, Ariel, who
agrees to become Prosperos servant. The other
native, Caliban, is less tractable. Although he is
taught English and is well treated, he repays
Prosperos kindness by attempting to rape Miranda, so Prospero keeps him enslaved by force.
Prosperos magic gives him the power to control
the island, just as superior technologies and weapons would give European countries control of
their colonial possessions. Ariel represents the
Westernized natives that appear in later narratives a more or less willing Friday figure who
accepts his servitude with little schooling. Prospero needs only to offer occasional threats to keep
Ariel in line, and he promises to free Ariel once
Prospero accomplishes his plans to regain his
authority back in Italy. Caliban, on the other
hand, represents the treacherous other who must
be subdued by force given his openly expressed
desire to rape a white woman. As in so many later
colonial stories, Prospero brings reason, morality,
and order to the island to his proto-colonial
outpost rewarding the subservient and punishing those who resist his authority.
The next important colonialist work, Oroonoko
(1688) by Aphra Behn, is also one of the earliest
English novels. Unlike the vast majority of colonial
fictions, the protagonist here is an African; and
though the narrator is English, several of the
English characters are introduced as villains. Despite these divergences from the general trends in
colonial fiction, Oroonoko never questions the
institution of slavery, and the two protagonists,
Oroonoko and Imoinda, are so exceptional in their
physical beauty, intelligence, and nobility, that
they cannot be seen as arguments against European imperialism. They cannot, in other words, be
seen as representative, non-European characters.
But Oroonoko does provide the earliest representation of the noble savage in the English novel.
The most influential work of colonial literature, Daniel Defoes Robinson Crusoe (1719), was
published just as Britain was building its empire in

North America, the Indian subcontinent, and

elsewhere, but it touches upon no English colonial
possessions at all. Crusoe is captured and enslaved
in North Africa, settles in the Portuguese colony
of Brazil, and is shipwrecked on a deserted island
that he eventually claims as his own colonial
possession. Despite its lack of direct concern with
Britains colonies, however, Robinson Crusoe is
the seminal work of colonial fiction. It includes
nearly all of the features we have come to associate
with the genre.
After Crusoe saves Friday from his enemies
who, like Friday, are native to South America and
who are just about to kill and eat him Friday is
given and immediately accepts his status as
Crusoes servant. In what has become its most
famous scene, Friday prostrates himself before
Crusoe and places Crusoes foot on his head.
Crusoe gives him and Friday accepts the name
Friday not a name either of them, or contemporary readers, would have accepted had Friday
been a white man. Crusoe teaches Friday English,
though he never thinks of learning Fridays language, and Friday quickly embraces Christianity.
Friday is distinguished from his peers physically,
morally, and intellectually, and he serves Crusoe
loyally, cheerfully, and amusingly until he is killed
in a sequel novel, The Further Adventures of
Robinson Crusoe (1719). Friday is the original for
a long line of native sidekicks, from Rudyard
Kiplings Gunga Din, to Joseph Conrads Dain
Waris in Lord Jim.
Many other features of Robinson Crusoe became
conventions of colonial fiction. European moral
superiority and, especially, the absolute truth of the
Christianity Crusoe embraces over the course of the
novel remain unquestioned in the colonial works
that follow. When Crusoe escapes captivity early in
the novel and sails along the African coast, the
forbidding landscape and people are represented as
strange, even fantastic. Crusoe domesticates his
island, becomes its lord, and claims it absolutely
as his own practices that are repeated and remain
unquestioned in both the reality and fiction of
colonial conquest. Women have almost no role in
the novel Crusoes relationship with Friday is far
more compelling than his one romantic relationship with a woman. Indeed, the marginalization or
complete absence of women is a key feature of the
vast majority of colonial fiction, which is written by
men for an audience of men and boys.

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Britains conquest of India in the eighteenth

and nineteenth centuries fueled popular interest
in the Indian subcontinent. Sir Walter Scotts The
Surgeons Daughter (1827) includes Oriental
despots, a dashing English hero, and a young
Englishwoman who must be saved from being
enslaved by a lustful sultan. Philip Meadows
Taylors Confessions of a Thug (1839), a popular
sensation and a favorite of Queen Victoria, traces
the life of Ameer Ali, a member of the Thuggee
clan who waylays, robs, and kills travelers in
southern India.
The British Empire reached its height at the
end of the nineteenth century, and Rider Haggard wrote the most popular African fiction of
that period. King Solomons Mines (1885) concerns an Oriental despot, King Twala; a superior African servant of the English protagonists,
Umbopa, who gains the kingship of Kukuanaland after the evil King Twala is killed; and a
romance between a white protagonist, Captain
Good, and a beautiful African, Foulata. Like most
such interracial romances in colonial fiction, this
one is doomed Foulata dies in a struggle with
an evil African witch, Gagool. Haggards She
(1887) concerns another doomed biracial romance, this one between the protagonist Leo
Vincey and the African Ustane, a deadly African
landscape, and racist representations of Africans;
but Haggard here introduces a twist on the
Oriental despot: She is an immortal white
woman, Ayesha.
Rudyard Kiplings fiction was even more popular than Haggards. His Plain Tales from the Hills
(1888b), a collection of short stories published
when he was only 22, made him famous. Kiplings
colonial fiction focuses on the expatriate English
community in India its administrators, soldiers,
journalists, and adventurers and includes all the
colonialist conventions: fiercely loyal Indian servants, treacherous Westernized natives, deprecated half-castes, doomed biracial romances,
corrupt Indian rulers, antagonistic landscapes,
and an unshakable faith that the English were
Indias natural rulers. Although Kiplings fiction
is often read as thoroughly pro-imperial and
racist, his representations of Indian culture, especially in his best novel, Kim (1901), are comparatively nuanced and sympathetic.
Many of Kiplings stories, however, and the
hundreds of popular fictions like them, represent


the colonial world in the same stereotypical terms:

corrupt native rulers oppress their people, represented as downtrodden, long-suffering, and
trapped in a static culture. Characters of mixed
race, referred to derogatorily as half-castes and
nearly always the subject of ridicule, as well as
characters identified as Westernized natives, are
either mocked for their imperfect efforts to align
themselves with and imitate European culture or
are treated as sinister men whose outward
acceptance of Western language, culture, and
religion masks their treacherous allegiance to
their native culture. The many Friday figures of
colonial fiction represent the opposite of the
Westernized native; they are loyal and happily
subservient. In their most characteristic act, they
die in defense of their white master. Non-white
women are represented as alluring but taboo; love
affairs between white men and non-white women,
though not unusual, are almost never successful.
The nefarious tropical landscape is another trope
of this literature; jungles are poisonous and are
often inhabited by bushmen scarcely differentiated from the jungle itself.
The above tropes, combined with an underlying
confidence in white racial superiority, made colonial fiction a dependable promoter of Britains
imperial conquests. But there were always countertrends. Philip Meadows Taylor was married to
Mary Palmer, whose ancestry was both English and
Indian; and his representations of Indian life in his
novels are well informed and sympathetic. Kiplings
stories contain all the standard colonial tropes, yet
he could also represent India and Indians with great
warmth and, contrarily, English men and women as
strikingly cold.
Joseph Conrads Heart of Darkness (1902) is
paradoxical in this regard in that it both reproduces and undercuts conventional representations of the colonial world; while several critics
(beginning with the Nigerian novelist Chinua
Achebe) have dismissed it as a racist text, others
have deemed it the greatest work of anti-colonial
English fiction. Although Heart of Darkness
blandly mocks Westernized natives one is described as a dog in a parody of breeches another
as an overfed boy and sometimes represents
Africans as mere accessories of the forbidding
jungle, it also fundamentally undermines all colonial conquests, and its depiction of discarded,
dying African workers is one of the most potent

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



anti-colonial scenes in English literature. The

murderous, rapacious Kurtz, the European at the
heart of the novella who rules his bit of the Congo
with extreme brutality, highlights the dubious
nature of the colonial aim of bringing light and
civilization to the dark corners of the world.
Conrads four Malay novels, Almayers Folly
(1895), An Outcast of the Islands (1896), Lord Jim
(1900), and The Rescue (1920) also can be classified as colonial fictions that both promote and
undercut conventional representations of colonial situations. The most important of the four,
Lord Jim, is, like Heart of Darkness, an interrogation of the possibility that even the most wellintentioned, enlightened Englishmen have the
capacity or right to rule in a colonized world.
The protagonist, Jim, who becomes Tuan (or, in
English, Lord) Jim in the fictional Malay village
of Patusan, begins his rule successfully but, like
Kurtz, ultimately brings ruin to his community
and destroys himself.
The conventions of colonial literature persist in
popular novels and, especially, film. But the
counter-trend that treated these conventions with
growing skepticism is prevalent in some of the
most significant fiction of the twentieth century.
Two later modern novels, E. M. Forsters A Passage to India (1924) and George Orwells Burmese
Days (1934), anticipate the end of British rule on
the Indian subcontinent and feature British protagonists caught in a dysfunctional colonialist
web of corruption and racial bigotry. In A Passage
to India, the protagonist Cyril Fielding takes a job
in India as a school headmaster and befriends an
Indian doctor, Aziz, who is accused of assaulting
an Englishwoman, Adela Quested. By taking sides
with Aziz, Fielding finds himself at odds with the
expatriate English community. The novel debates
the possibility of successful friendships between
Indians and Britons, meanwhile debunking various entrenched colonialist tropes. Aziz, scorned
as a spoilt, Westernized native, is a better
surgeon than his English superior, Major Callendar; and the chief of police is convinced of
Azizs guilt because he takes it for granted that all
non-white males lust after white women. In reality, Aziz finds Adela unattractive; and the British
policeman, blinded by his sense of racial superiority, cannot fathom that standards of beauty
differ from one culture to another. Aziz is found
innocent, yet the novel, despite this positive res-

olution, ends on a note of skepticism regarding

the possibility of bridging the British/Indian social and political divide.
Burmese Days, a bleak satire on English rule in
Burma, is far less hopeful. The protagonist, John
Flory, a timber merchant, hates colonial rule in
Burma but does not have the courage to oppose it
openly or to leave the country. He befriends Dr.
Veraswami, who loves all things English and may
become the first Burmese native invited to join the
English Club in the fictional Burmese district of
Kyauktada. The novel mocks the notions of British racial superiority and the benefits of British
rule, and ends darkly, with Florys suicide.
By the last third of the twentieth century, the
colonial era during which European and other
dominant nations took administrative, financial,
military, and social control of countries in Africa,
Asia, the Americas, and the Pacific Islands was
over, as former colonies gained their independence. But the effects of colonialism persist, and
many of those effects were anticipated by Conrads Nostromo (1904), the first important postcolonial novel. Set in the fictional Latin American
nation of Costaguana, Nostromo reveals how
former colonial powers dominate the economies
and politics of former colonies. As in Heart of
Darkness and Lord Jim, the Europeans in Costaguana, who dominate the local economy, believe
they are bringing order and progress. In fact, they
bring only slight material prosperity, do little to
improve the situation of the common people, and
are themselves morally corrupt. In the end, many
destroy themselves. Chinua Achebes Things Fall
Apart (1958), set in Nigeria in the late nineteenth
century and focused on the life of Okonkwo, a
powerful but flawed Igbo warrior, is the first
canonical novel in English to treat the colonial
encounter entirely from the point of view of a
colonized people. Igbo life is portrayed in all its
rich complexity, while the English are represented
as a corrosive power that destroys the balanced
tribal life of Okonkwos people.
Critics who analyze colonial literature (often
identified as working within colonial discourse
theory) have profoundly affected our understanding of colonial literature. By examining historical
records, critics have unearthed the distance between the literary representations of the colonial
encounter and its historical actuality. Drawing on
the work of Sigmund Freud, Jacques Lacan, and

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


others, they have revealed the ways colonial literature reflects a particular colonialist psychology,
most often detrimental to both colonizers and
colonized. They have explored gender and sexual
relations, the role played by women and race, and
the many other ways in which the long, complex
history of Great Britains colonial encounters has
been both recreated in and formed by its imaginative literature.
SEE ALSO: Fictional Responses to Canonical
English Narratives (WF); Migration, Diaspora,
and Exile in Fiction (WF); Postcolonial Fiction
of the African Diaspora (BIF); Postcolonial
Fiction of the British South Asian Diaspora (BIF);
Postcolonial Fiction of the West Indian/
Caribbean Diaspora (BIF); Postcolonialism
and Fiction (WF)
Achebe, C. (1958). Things Fall Apart. London:
Achebe, C. (1977). An Image of Africa: Racism in
Conrads Heart of Darkness. Massachusetts Review, 18,
Brantlinger, P. (1988). Rule of Darkness: British
Literature and Imperialism, 18301914. Ithaca, NY:
Cornell University Press.
Bristow, J. (1991). Empire Boys: Adventures in a Mans
World. New York: HarperCollins.
Conrad, J. (1895). Almayers Folly. London: T. Fisher
Conrad, J. (1896). An Outcast of the Islands. London:
T. Fisher Unwin.
Conrad, J. (1898). An Outpost of Progress. In Tales of
Unrest. London: T. Fisher Unwin. (First published in
serial form in Cosmopolis in 1897.)
Conrad, J. (1900). Lord Jim. Edinburgh: Blackwood.
Conrad, J. (1902). Heart of Darkness. In Youth: A
Narrative and Two Other Stories. Edinburgh:
Blackwood. (First published in serial form in
Blackwoods Magazine, 1899.)
Conrad, J. (1904). Nostromo. London: Harper.
Conrad, J. (1920). The Rescue. London: J. M. Dent.
Fanon, F. (2007). Black Skin, White Masks (trans. R.
Philcox). New York: Grove. (Original work in French
published, 1952.)
Forster, E. M. (1924). A Passage to India. London:
Foucault, M. (1972). The Archaeology of Knowledge
(trans. A. M. Sheridan Smith). New York: Pantheon.
(Original work in French published 1969.)


Gates, H. L. (ed.) (1985). Race, Writing, and Difference

[special issue]. Critical Inquiry, 12(1).
Green, M. (1979). Dreams of Adventure, Deeds of Empire.
New York: Basic Books.
Greenberger, A. J. (1969). The British Image of India:
A Study of the Literature of Imperialism, 18801960.
Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Haggard, H. R. (1885). King Solomons Mines. London:
Haggard, H. R. (1887). She: A History of Adventure.
London: Longman. (First published in serial form in
The Graphic 18867.)
Hobson, J. A. (1961). Imperialism: A Study [1902].
London: Allen and Unwin.
Holden, P., & Ruppel, R. J. (eds.) (2003). Imperial
Desire: Dissident Sexualities and Colonial Literature.
Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press.
JanMohamed, A. R. (1988). Manichean Aesthetics:
The Politics of Literature in Colonial Africa. Amherst:
University of Massachusetts Press.
Kipling, R. (1888a). Plain Tales from the Hills. Calcutta:
Thacker, Spink.
Kipling, R. (1888b). The Story of the Gadsbys. Allahabad:
A. H. Wheeler.
Kipling, R. (1898). The Days Work. London: Macmillan.
Kipling, R. (1901). Kim. London: Macmillan.
Lane, C. (1995). The Ruling Passion: British Colonial
Allegory and the Paradox of Homosexual Desire.
Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Lane, C. (ed.) (1998). The Psychoanalysis of Race.
New York: Columbia University Press.
Levi-Strauss, C. (1961). Tristes tropiques (trans. J.
Russell). New York: Criterion. (Original work
published 1955.)
McClintock, A. (1995). Imperial Leather: Race, Gender,
and Sexuality in the Colonial Contest. New York:
Miller, C. (1986). Blank Darkness: Africanist
Discourse in French. Chicago: University of Chicago
Orwell, G. (1934). Burmese Days: A Novel. New York:
Parry, B. (1998). Delusions and Discoveries:
India in the British Imagination, 18801930.
London: Verso.
Said, E. (1978). Orientalism. London: Routledge and
Kegan Paul.
Sharpe, J. (1993). Allegories of Empire: The Figure of
Woman in the Colonial Text. Minneapolis: University
of Minnesota Press.
Singh, B. (1934). A Survey of Anglo-Indian Fiction.
London: Curzon.
Torgovnick, M. (1990). Gone Primitive: Savage
Intellects, Modern Lives. Chicago: University of
Chicago Press.

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



Compton-Burnett, Ivy

Ivy Compton-Burnett was born in 1884 and died

in 1969. Her father was James Compton Burnett, a
well-known British homoeopath. One of 13 children, Compton-Burnett spent most of her childhood in Hove in the south of England. She then
moved to London, where she shared a flat for 30
years with Margaret Jourdain, a writer and authority on English furniture.
The author of 20 novels published between 1911
and 1971, Compton-Burnett topped bestseller
lists alongside Virginia Woolf and Agatha Christie
in 1937. She was lauded by Arnold Bennett, Vita
Sackville-West, and John Betjeman among others;
in the USA, her popularity throughout the century
is indicated by her mention in New York poet
Frank OHaras Biographia Letteraria. She was
touted by the French nouveau roman movement,
and translated into many European languages. She
received the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in
1955, an honorary doctorate at the University of
Leeds in 1960, an OBE in 1967, and was made a
companion of the Royal Society of Literature
in 1968. A renowned London figure, ComptonBurnett was lampooned by cartoonists, photographed by Cecil Beaton for Vogue, and broadcast
on BBC radio and television.
Almost all of Compton-Burnetts novels are set
at the end of the nineteenth century in remote,
impoverished country houses. Self-absorbed tyrants dominate the insular families therein; rare
visitors are often married, thereby becoming part
of an embittered whole. Although concerned with
marriage and property like most domestic fiction,
Compton-Burnetts stories deliberately undermine the familial bond. As one character states
in Two Worlds and Their Ways, familiarity
breeds contempt, and ought to breed it. It is
through familiarity that we get to know each
other (1949, 21). More spectacularly, her work
features the worst of familial crimes, including
will doctoring and matricide. Perpetrators go
unpunished, while revelations and deaths facilitate new marriages of convenience. ComptonBurnett is sometimes considered camp, and is
incessantly labeled witty. Her books are composed of intractable dialogues in which declarations, platitudes, and offhand statements are

openly and comically interrogated. Hers is the

humor of disproportion: grandiose misdemeanors surface in conversations consumed with
minutiae, and are usually taken in stride.
Compton-Burnetts novels are curiously, rigidly repetitive in style and content. Evading succinct labels, her work is variously compared to
Platos dialogues, Greek tragedies, Anglo-Saxon
minstrels, and the satires of Wilde and Waugh.
Although primarily likened to Austen, ComptonBurnetts writing is most readily perceived as a
product of modernism, particularly due to her
interrogation of language. Furthermore, her
novels eschew traditions such as religion, marital
fidelity, and moral judgment; she insists that
vanity and self-preservation are social norms.
Only the protagonist of her first novel, Dolores
(1911), puts others first. Compton-Burnett later
renounced Dolores; her second novel, Pastors and
Masters (1925), followed a 14-year creative hiatus.
In this book emerged the stichomythic banter and
amoral plotlines that defined her career.
Like Nietzsche, Compton-Burnett explores
subjective truth, the will to power, and aphoristic
statement; as one of her many insightful children
remarks in The Present and the Past, there is no
such thing as truth. It is different in different
minds (1953, 11). Her interest in evolutionary
theory is often manifested as blatant social Darwinism; characters regularly claim they will not
adapt themselves to others. In league with Freudian and Bergsonian theory, Compton-Burnett
extends stream-of-consciousness narration by
exposing and articulating unconscious or repressed desires. Indeed, she unabashedly investigates all aspects of human longing, including
homosexuality and incest. And like the feminists
of her era, Compton-Burnett highlights unequal
gender relations.
Although playing a public role of dated, prim
governess, Compton-Burnett was an avid reader
of contemporaries including Graham Greene,
Ernest Hemingway, Simone de Beauvoir, Samuel
Beckett, and Muriel Spark. Critics disagreed
about her writing alternately describing it as
artificially wooden or astutely distilled but
Compton-Burnett clearly sought a place in a
fictional heritage to which she was well attuned.
She describes her books as something between
novels and plays; her narrators rarely delineate
character appearance, setting, or temporality.

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Like Gertrude Stein, Compton-Burnett believes

the present is always the better thing a
statement from her novel Mother and Son
(1955, 182) consistent with the veneration of the
here and now throughout her work.
In Compton-Burnett, meaning is tied to
immediate, ephemeral dialogue, cogently rendered.
Even children and uneducated servants speak with
discerning alacrity. Conversations are brutally
blunt, as when Juliet of Two Worlds and Their
Ways states, People say we should see ourselves
just as others see us . . . But it is better to tell them
how to see us, and save the effort. Especially as they
are looking forward to our making it (75).
Characters scrupulously assess motivation, even as
rare narrative intrusions are heavily qualified, as in
an instance in Elders and Betters where a character
seemed to try to give a smile to her sister (1944,
95). Near paradoxically, this lack of presumption
furthers narrative precision.
Elizabeth Bowen encapsulates ComptonBurnetts sharpness: to read in these days a page
of [her] dialogue is to think of the sound of glass
being swept up one of these London mornings
after a blitz (1941, 84). In a critical work written
during the height of Compton-Burnetts success,
P. H. Newby suggests that following global war,
writers felt bewildered about the world, and
wanted to write about childhood, a time of
limited, insular experience in which moral judgment appeared unnecessary. Compton-Burnett
certainly wrote fiction set in her own formative
years, thereby evading address of both World
Wars. But she also openly acknowledges in interviews that domestic totalitarianism is inextricable
from political machinations. Compton-Burnetts
novels expose how tyranny exists within us all;
she championed the humanity of her most tyrannical characters. While loyalty, meaning, and
truth may be fleeting, for Compton-Burnett wit
SEE ALSO: Feminist Fiction (BIF); Modernist
Fiction (BIF)


Bradbury, M. (1973). Unhappy Families Are All Alike:

New Views of Ivy Compton-Burnett. Encounter,
40(1), 714.
Burkhart, C. (ed.) (1972). The Art of I. Compton-Burnett:
A Collection of Critical Essays. London: Gollancz.
Burkhart, C. (ed.) (1979). Ivy Compton-Burnett Issue
[special issue]. Twentieth-Century Literature, 25(2).
Compton-Burnett, I. (1929). Brothers and Sisters.
London: Heath Cranton.
Compton-Burnett, I. (1944). Elders and Betters.
London: Gollancz.
Compton-Burnett, I. (1947). Manservant and
Maidservant. London: Gollancz.
Compton-Burnett, I. (1949). Two Worlds and Their
Ways. London: Gollancz.
Compton-Burnett, I. (1953). The Present and the Past.
London: Gollancz.
Compton-Burnett, I . (1955). Mother and Son. London:
Compton-Burnett, I. (1957). A Father and His Fate.
London: Gollancz.
Crangle, S. (2007). Ivy Compton-Burnett and Risibility.
In M. MacKay & L. Stonebridge (eds.), British Fiction
After Modernism. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan,
pp. 99120.
Gentile, Kathy Justice. (1991). Ivy Compton-Burnett.
Basingstoke: Macmillan.
Grieg, C. (1972). Ivy Compton-Burnett: A Memoir.
London: Garnstone.
Kermode, F. (1963). The House of Fiction: Interviews
with Seven English Novelists. Partisan Review, 7(6),
Kiernan, R. (1990). Frivolity Unbound: Six Masters of the
Camp Novel. New York: Continuum.
Liddell, R. (1955). The Novels of I. Compton-Burnett.
London: Gollancz.
Liddell, R. (1986). Elizabeth and Ivy. London: Peter
McCarthy, M. (1970). The Writing on the Wall and
Other Literary Essays. London: Weidenfeld and
Newby, P. H. (1951). The Novel: 19451950. London:
Longmans, Green.
Sackville-West, E. (1949). Inclinations. London: Secker
and Warburg.
Spurling, H. (1984). Ivy: The Life of Ivy ComptonBurnett. New York: Knopf.


Conrad, Joseph

Asoka, R. T. (1995). Ivy Compton-Burnett and the

English Domestic Novel. New Delhi: Prestige.
Bowen, E. (1950). Ivy Compton-Burnett. In Collected
Impressions. London: Longmans, Green, pp. 8291.


Joseph Conrad has come to be seen as one of the

most important British novelists of the twentieth

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



century. His formal innovations and skeptical

view of the world have influenced generations of
subsequent writers, and his work has remained at
the center of numerous critical debates since his
Conrad was born J
ozef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski on December 3, 1857, in Berdycz
ow, a
largely Polish part of Ukraine, to Apollo Korzeniowski (182069) and Ewa Korzeniowska (nee
Bobrowska, 183365). After the partitions of the
eighteenth century, the previously autonomous
country of Poland was divided between Russia,
Prussia, and AustriaHungary. Conrads parents,
in particular his father, were part of the Polish
resistance movement against Russian rule, and in
late 1861 Apollo was arrested for seditious activities. The following year, Conrads parents were
exiled to Vologda, a remote part of northern
Russia. While in exile, Conrads mother contracted tuberculosis and died. His father also
contracted tuberculosis and was allowed to return
to Poland in 1868, where he died the following
year. Thereafter, Conrad was raised by his
mothers family, especially his maternal uncle,
Tadeusz Bobrowski (182994), who was to have
a particularly strong influence on him. At 15,
Conrad decided that he would like to become a
sailor, and two years later his uncle agreed and
subsequently sent him to Marseilles, France to
train for the merchant marine service. In late 1877
Conrad discovered that he could not join the
French merchant marine as planned without the
permission of the Russian consul, who would not
give his consent. As a result, a few months short of
his twenty-first birthday, Conrad, who spoke no
English, decided to join the British merchant
marine service. His next 17 years were spent as
a member of the British merchant marine, first as
a sailor, then a mate, and eventually a captain. The
experience was to serve as raw material for a
number of his fictions.
In 1889, while on holiday in London, Conrad
took a step that would forever alter his life: he
began writing what would later become his first
novel, Almayers Folly, not in his native Polish nor
even in his second language, French, but in
English. It would take him roughly six years to
complete the novel. In 1895 the simultaneous
publication of Almayers Folly and sudden dearth
of maritime positions pushed Conrad into a new
career as a full-time writer. The reception of his

first novel set a pattern that continued for the

next 20 years: it was well received by reviewers but
did not sell particularly well. During these years,
Conrad often struggled with depression, financial
difficulties, and physical ailments, but at the same
time he also produced no fewer than 10 literary
masterpieces: The Nigger of the Narcissus,
Youth, Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim,
Typhoon, Nostromo, The Secret Agent, The
Secret Sharer, and Under Western Eyes. Not until
the publication of his novel Chance (1913) did
Conrad achieve the financial security and popularity he had desired for so long. The latter part of
Conrads life is marked by near-universal acclaim
and at the same time by what many regard as a
decline in the quality of his work. Conrads last
completed novel was The Rover, which was published in late 1923. He was at work on another
novel, Suspense, when he died of a heart attack on
August 3, 1924.
Joseph Conrad wrote during the modernist
period and was one of its innovators. The period
is known for its revisionist view of the nature of
the world and for its formal experimentation. Like
so many other modernists, he questioned many of
the longstanding assumptions concerning the
Western view of the world. He had no confidence
in the Western worlds privileged position and did
not believe the Western worldview was the only
viable one. Like many modernists, Conrad questioned the possibility of transcendental meaning.
Contrary to his literary predecessors, he often
eschewed chronological narrative and instead
represented time as fractured. Similarly, he often
employed multiple narrators. By these means he
was attempting to represent how human beings
typically experience events, that is, via multiple
sources and in an achronological sequence. Calling Conrad a modernist writer is something of an
anachronism, however, as the other modernists
produced their most important works some 10 or
more years after he began writing. Conrad was
thus not only an innovator among the modernists
but also an anomaly among his contemporaries.
He was a friend and admirer of Henry James, and
collaborated with Ford Madox Ford on a number
of fictional projects.
Conrads first novel, Almayers Folly (1895), is
set in the Malay Archipelago. Kaspar Almayer
dreams of wealth and leaving the East to live in
Amsterdam. From the outset, Almayers dreams

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


clearly have no basis in reality and have a crippling

effect on him. The novel is unusual for its time in
that Conrad questions the ascendancy of Western
civilization in Nina Almayers rejection of her
fathers Western heritage and in Almayers defeat
at the hands of non-Western forces. Almayers
Folly was the first of a trilogy written in reverse
chronological order. The second was Conrads
next novel, An Outcast of the Islands (1896), set
some years before the action of Almayers Folly. In
this novel, Conrad simultaneously subverts the
romance tradition while once again subverting the
presumed superiority of Western civilization.
Peter Willems, the novels antihero, is caught
embezzling funds from his employer and is subsequently dismissed. After quarreling with his halfcaste wife, he leaves her for a Malay woman, Assa,
who later convinces Willems to betray to Syed
Abdulla the secret passage into Sambir, thus breaking the trading monopoly of Tom Lingard,
Willemss former benefactor. Once again, the
non-Westerners prevail, and Willemss feelings of
superiority due to his European heritage are undermined by his moral degeneracy.
Conrads next novel, The Nigger of the
Narcissus (1897), often considered his first
masterpiece, investigates the necessity of human
solidarity for survival in an indifferent universe.
The crew of the Narcissus must weather a severe
storm as well as the pressure brought to bear on
their solidarity by a black crew member, James
Wait. His race strains bonds of solidarity, as does
his assertion of illness, which prevents him from
performing his fair share of the work. The crew is
torn between resenting him and feeling an obligation to him as a fellow crew member. The storm
brings out the necessity of cooperative effort for
the crews mutual survival and conversely the
danger to the community of those like James
Wait and another character, Donkin, who fail to
cooperate. The storm episode becomes a microcosm of the plight of humanity, which Conrad
feels must demonstrate solidarity in the face of a
universe indifferent to its existence. Conrad then
published a volume of stories, Tales of Unrest
(1898). The gem of this collection is An Outpost
of Progress, a story that looks at Europes
civilizing activity in the Belgian Congo and in
this sense looks forward to Heart of Darkness. Two
traders, Carlier and Kayerts, alone in the center of
Africa, become increasingly de-civilized, until


Kayerts accidentally kills Carlier during a dispute

over some sugar. Kayerts then hangs himself just
after hearing the whistle of the arriving company
steamer. Rather than being an outpost of progress, the station becomes an outpost of regress and
thus calls into question the Western civilizing
mission and accompanying view of Western
Conrads next work was Youth (first published in Blackwoods Magazine in 1898), which
looks back wistfully at the contrast between
youthful exuberance and mature experience in
the face of the inexorable movement toward the
death of all things. Heart of Darkness (first published in 1899, also in Blackwoods Magazine),
which followed, is probably Conrads best-known
and most widely read work. Set in the Congo,
Conrad again subverts the Western civilizing
mission and Western superiority by showing the
barbarian behavior of his European characters;
but Heart of Darkness goes further and considers
the question of human nature itself. In the end,
the narrator, Marlow (who also appears in
Youth), in his meditation on the larger-thanlife character of Kurtz, discovers that there is no
inherent value in the universe and that all systems
of meaning are merely contingent. Lord Jim
(1900), Conrads next work and a masterpiece of
literary modernist experimentation, once again
takes up and undermines the romance genre. Jim,
who sees himself as a heroic individual, fails to act
heroically when the crucial moment arrives, and
spends the rest of his life trying to recover from his
failure. Marlow, who narrates Lord Jim, is torn
between the realization that romantic ideals are
hopelessly flawed and at the same time
The End of the Tether (1902), which concerns protagonist Captain Whalleys moral fall,
followed. In 1903, Conrad published Typhoon
and Other Stories, which included Amy Foster
and the eponymous title story, among others.
Amy Foster considers the tragic history of
Yanko Goorall, a Pole shipwrecked on the
English coast, who is mistrusted, misunderstood, and mistreated by the local population
only to die alone, even after his marriage to a
local Englishwoman, Amy Foster. Many view
Yankos experience as a gloss on Conrads own
experience, despite his marriage to an Englishwoman, of alienation and otherness within his

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



adopted British homeland. The collections

centerpiece, Typhoon, follows the actions of
Captain MacWhirr, a man who sees only what is
right before him, and his officer Jukes, who
believes him to be the stupidest of men.
MacWhirrs very obtuseness, however, becomes
a virtue in helping his ship make it through a
powerful storm. The tales descriptions of storm
and sea, along with those contained in Nigger, are
among the greatest in British fiction.
Nostromo, which many consider to be Conrads finest novel, appeared in 1904. In this work,
Conrad explores a South American revolution
and the social, political, and economic issues
surrounding it. Conrad condemns both the revolutionaries and the government, whose actions
destroy friends, foes, and bystanders alike.
Nostromo also explores the damaging effects of
material interests, as the silver from the silver
mine becomes the focus, and primary desire, of
most of the novels characters, ultimately proving to be their moral and physical undoing. At
the same time, the novel demonstrates the damaging effect of fixed ideas, which cloud the
judgment of many of the characters. Conrad
followed Nostromo not with a work of fiction
but with a memoir, The Mirror of the Sea (1906),
a collection of reminiscences of his earlier seagoing adventures.
In 1907 Conrad published The Secret Agent, in
which he once again investigates how political
intrigues, whether revolutionary or conservative,
destroy families and individuals. A detached,
mordantly ironic narrator surveys a collection
of sham revolutionaries who are wholly ineffectual, and a collection of government authorities
who flout the very laws they purport to uphold.
In the foreground of this London political
scene is the double (or perhaps triple) agent,
Adolf Verloc, who is commissioned to blow
up the Greenwich Meridian Observatory by
Mr. Vladimir, a high-ranking Russian embassy
official, in order to cast blame on the revolutionaries and create a more repressive environment for radicals in Britain. Verloc enlists his
intellectually challenged brother-in-law, Stevie,
to deliver the bomb, only to have Stevie inadvertently detonate it, blowing himself up. When
Verlocs wife Winnie discovers what has happened to her brother, she murders Verloc,
and later commits suicide. What begins as politi-

cal satire ends up as the darkest of domestic

tragedies. Conrad next published the collection
A Set of Six (1908), in which the two most
successful stories are Il Conde and The Duel.
Conrads most productive period concluded
in 1911 with the appearance of Under Western
Eyes, a novel that considers the effects of betrayal
and revolution on Razumov, a Russian student.
Razumov returns to his rooms one evening only
to find there Haldin, a fellow student, who
confesses his assassination of a prominent minister that morning. Razumov, fearing he will be
implicated in the murder, decides to turn in
Haldin to the authorities. Afterwards, unable to
concentrate on his studies, Razumov agrees to
work for the authorities as a double agent.
Eventually, he discovers that he cannot live this
life of deception and confesses his role to the
revolutionaries, one of whom deafens Razumov,
who is then run over by an oncoming tram that
he cannot hear. The novel ends with Razumov
living a secluded life in rural Russia, physically
crippled but spiritually at peace, as he discovers
that political ideals have no value without a
commensurate dedication to humanity. Even
more graphically than in Nostromo and The
Secret Agent, Conrad demonstrates here the
extent to which individuals are crushed beneath
the weight of warring political movements and
are victimized by politics in general. Under
Western Eyes was followed by A Personal Record
(1912), an autobiography that focuses primarily
on Conrads decision to pursue a life at sea and
on his decision to write his first novel. That same
year Conrad published Twixt Land and Sea, a
collection of three stories, the most important of
which is The Secret Sharer, which follows the
action of a young captain in his first command,
who discovers a man, Leggatt, hanging onto the
ships ladder. Leggatt has escaped from his ship
after killing an insubordinate crew member during a storm. The young captain secretes Leggatt,
a kind of second self, in his cabin and later allows
him to escape to a nearby island. The captains
experience with Leggatt and his successfully
bringing the ship out of a dangerous maneuver
are milestones in the young captains rite of
The publication of Conrads wildly popular
novel Chance in 1913 begins the later phase of
Conrads career, which many view as marking a

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


decline in his artistic achievement. Chance follows

the romance of Captain Anthony and Flora, the
psychologically damaged daughter of a financier,
who has been convicted of fraud. Victory, which
followed Chance in 1915, and which like it was a
popular, if not a critical, success, considers the
effects of Axel Heysts attempts to pass through
life as a bystander rather than as an actor in events.
After Heyst rescues Lena, an exploited member of
a traveling orchestra, and carries her off, a group
of ruffians arrive on his island. During an ensuing
confrontation, the ruffians are killed, but Lena
also dies during the conflict, and only then does
Heyst despair at his missed opportunity to participate in life and he subsequently takes his own
life. Another collection of stories, Within the
Tides, appeared in 1915. In 1917 Conrad published The Shadow-Line, probably the most successful of his later works, in which the author
investigates once again a male protagonists progress from youth to maturity. A young captain in
his first command must weather the rampant
illness among his crew while his ship is caught
in a deadly calm. By successfully overcoming the
crisis, the captain gains the necessary experience
and confidence in himself to become worthy of
the position he holds. Conrads next novel was
The Arrow of Gold (1919), a romance set during
the Carlist conspiracy.
The following year Conrad completed The
Rescue, a novel he had begun some 23 years
earlier. The novel is the third in his Malay
trilogy, begun with his first two novels. Set before
the time of those novels, it tells of Tom Lingard
who attempts to help his friend and deposed
Malay prince Hassim regain his throne. When
Lingard chooses to come to the aid of a European ship stranded on a sandbar, he sets in motion
a chain of events that ends with the collapse of
his plans and the death of Hassim. In the end,
The Rescue demonstrates the difficulty of any
permanent communion between East and West.
In 1921, Conrad published Notes on Life and
Letters, which brought together a collection of
earlier non-fiction prose pieces. Conrads last
completed novel was The Rover (1923). Set in
Napoleonic France, the novel chronicles a sea
rover, Peyrol, who has returned to France to
retire but is eventually drawn back into connections with those around him. Peyrol ends his life
by taking the place of Lieutenant Real on a


suicide mission to deceive the English, thus

sacrificing himself for the sake of the next generation. Four of Conrads works were published
posthumously: Suspense (1925a), an unfinished
novel set in Napoleonic France just prior to
Napoleons return from Elba; Tales of Hearsay
(1925b), a collection of stories; The Sisters
(1928), a short fragment of a novel; and Last
Essays (1926), a collection of miscellaneous essays from the late period of his life. At the time of
his death, Conrad was acknowledged as the most
prominent figure in British letters and he has
since come to be recognized as one of the most
important and influential figures in twentiethcentury literature.
SEE ALSO: Colonial Fiction (BIF); Ford, Ford
Madox (BIF); James, Henry (AF); London in
Fiction (BIF); Modernist Fiction (BIF); Politics
and the Novel (BIF)


Baines, J. (1959). Joseph Conrad: A Critical Biography.
London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.
Berthoud, J. (1978). Joseph Conrad: The Major Phase.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Brooks, R. (dir.) (1965). Lord Jim. Columbia Pictures.
Conrad, J. (1895). Almayers Folly. London: T. Fisher
Conrad, J. (1896). An Outcast of the Islands.
London: T. Fisher Unwin.
Conrad, J. (1897). The Nigger of the Narcissus.
London: Heinemann.
Conrad, J. (1898). Tales of Unrest. London: T. Fisher
Conrad, J. (1900). Lord Jim. Edinburgh: Blackwood.
Conrad, J. (1902). Youth and Two Other Stories.
Edinburgh: Blackwood.
Conrad, J. (1903). Typhoon and Other Stories. London:
Conrad, J. (1904). Nostromo. London: Harper.
Conrad, J. (1906). The Mirror of the Sea. London:
Conrad, J. (1907). The Secret Agent. London: Methuen.
Conrad, J. (1908). A Set of Six. London: Methuen.
Conrad, J. (1911). Under Western Eyes. London:
Conrad, J. (1912a). Some Reminiscences. London:
Eveleigh Nash.
Conrad, J. (1912b). Twixt Land and Sea. London: J. M.
Conrad, J. (1913). Chance. London: Methuen.

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



Conrad, J. (1915a). Victory. London: Methuen.

Conrad,J.(1915b).WithintheTides.London:J. M.Dent.
Conrad, J. (1917). The Shadow-Line. London: J. M.
Conrad, J. (1919). The Arrow of Gold. London: T.
Fisher Unwin.
Conrad, J. (1920). The Rescue. London: J. M. Dent.
Conrad, J. (1923). The Rover. London: T. Fisher Unwin.
Conrad, J. (1925a). Suspense. London: J. M. Dent.
Conrad, J. (1925b). Tales of Hearsay. London: T.
Fisher Unwin.
Conrad, J. (1926). Last Essays. London: J. M. Dent.
Conrad, J. (19832007). The Collected Letters of Joseph
Conrad (ed. F. Karl, L. Davies, J. Stape, G. Moore, &
O. Knowles). 9 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press.
Conrad, J., & Ford, F. M. (1901). The Inheritors.
London: Heinemann.
Conrad, J., & Ford, F. M. (1903). Romance. London:
Smith, Elder.
Conrad, J., & Ford, F. M. (1924). The Nature of a Crime.
London: Duckworth.
Coppola, F. F. (dir.) (1979). Apocalypse Now. Omni
Ehrsam, T. (1969). A Bibliography of Joseph Conrad.
Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow.
Fleishman, A. (1967). Conrads Politics. Baltimore:
Johns Hopkins University Press.
Gillon, A. (1982). Joseph Conrad. Boston: Twayne.
Guerard, A. (1958). Conrad the Novelist. Cambridge,
MA: Harvard University Press.
Hampton, C. (dir.) (1996). The Secret Agent. Fox
Searchlight Pictures/Capitol Films.
Hitchcock, A. (dir.) (1936). Sabotage. Gaumont-British
Picture Corporation.
Hay, E. (1963). The Political Novels of Joseph Conrad.
Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Karl, F. (1969). A Readers Guide to Joseph Conrad, rev.
edn. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Moser, T. (1957). Joseph Conrad: Achievement and
Decline. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Najder, Z. (2007). Joseph Conrad: A Life (trans. H.
Najder). Rochester, NY: Camden House.
Peters, J. (2001). Conrad and Impressionism.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Peters, J. (2006). The Cambridge Introduction to Joseph
Conrad. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Scott, R. (dir.) (1977). The Duellists. Paramount/
Enigma Productions.
Sherry, N. (1966). Conrads Eastern World. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.
Sherry, N. (1971). Conrads Western World. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.
Teets, B. (1990). Joseph Conrad: An Annotated
Bibliography. New York: Garland.

Teets, B., & Gerber, H. (1971). Joseph Conrad: An

Annotated Bibliography of Writings about Him. De
Kalb: Northern Illinois University Press.
Watt, I. (1979). Conrad in the Nineteenth Century.
Berkeley: University of California Press.

Crace, Jim

Jim Crace is a successful British writer of fiction

who lives somewhat unfashionably for a leading
cultural figure in Birmingham, his adopted
home. Born in 1944, he first came there as a student
in the 1960s and continues to exhibit a fierce
loyalty to the city. After graduating, he traveled
on VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) to Africa,
teaching school on his return; both of these
experiences are reflected in an early short story,
Cross Country. Crace became a journalist working for national newspapers such as The Guardian
and The Telegraph. As part of his creative ambitions of this period, he joined a social group (which
included Melvyn Bragg) of young writers drinking
together in Soho, in whom Ian Hamilton, editor of
the New Review, took a personal interest. Craces
first major publication was an award-winning
story, Annie, California Plates, published in the
New Review. Later anthologized, it charts the
progress of a car as its various drivers take on
board new passengers. In this early piece Crace
introduces the beginnings of an uncanny, fantastical element that stretches and yet acclimatizes the
readers sense of disbelief, a strategy strongly
characteristic of his later fiction.
Known in literary circles for his self-effacing
modesty, Crace staunchly refuses to regard his
own life as either important or central to his
fiction. Nevertheless he draws imaginatively upon
the hinterland of the northern edge of London
close to where he grew up in Enfield, a once highly
industrialized borough whose urban sprawl abuts
the almost idyllic countryside on the borders of
Middlesex, Essex, and Hertfordshire. Here his
father worked as a groundsman, teaching his son
a love of ecology and of all things natural, and, as a
local activist in the Labour Party, passing on his
leftist radicalism.
Craces fiction creates imaginary landscapes,
first seen in his first book, Continent (1986), a

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


series of interrelated stories all set on an imaginary

sixth continent. This book earned Crace the
Whitbread Award for First Novel, the David
Higham Prize for Fiction, and the Guardian
Fiction Prize, and it features the rhythmic, almost
poetic, and often whimsical prose that would
come to characterize his later work. Craces fictional world is distinctive and its realities interfused with strong elements of the fantastical,
described whimsically as Craceland in Adam
Begleys perceptive profile, A Pilgrim in
Craceland (2002). Cracelands landscapes are
vivid, impacting upon characters who appear to
be victims of a larger physical and emotional
turmoil, often lost in the almost primeval contention of such forces. In describing these Crace
draws variously on his travels to Africa, Cornwall
and the Scilly Isles, and the coast of Americas
eastern seaboard to evoke unfamiliar environments both urban and natural.
Craces subsequent novels are varied. The Gift of
Stones (1988) describes the destruction of a Stone
Age village based on working stone whose productivity is displaced by bronze implements. Disabled after the amputation of an arm, the central,
unnamed storyteller leads his people into the
unknown after discovering his own gift for narrative. Storytellings necessary yet deceptive salvations are a recurrent theme of Craces works.
Arcadia (1992) is concerned with the false idyll
of the rural derived from childhood maternal tales
that seduces aging commercial magnate, Victor, to
create a myth around his country origins from
which his mother escaped. Crace here adapts
various concepts and observations of urban theorist Jane Jacobs concerning the vitality of cities and
their possibilities as environments in which to
explore the anti-pastoral. Crace describes in Arcadia the destruction of the traditional market and
the development of a sterile shopping mall. Quarantine (1997) focuses on spirituality rendered
through Craces agnostic skepticism. The novel
charts the self-sacrifice of Christ who is on a
pilgrimage and far from divine as he encounters
an unscrupulous trader, Musa, who will purvey his
story of being resurrected by an accidental intervention of this unwilling savior. Being Dead (1999)
describes the murder of two academics, and details
the decomposition of their lifeless bodies. Another
part of the narrative recovers both their last day
and their initial anti-romantic encounter as


students in the landscape where they will die. Set

in the unnamed City of Kisses, which seems both
eastern European and South American, Six
(2003) entitled Genesis in North America
concerns the life of an actor, who is procreatively
(and therefore Darwinistically) successful, with a
child born to each woman with whom he copulates. However, such apparent success is offset
by his failure in relationships (most of them casual,
brief, or both) and his lack of knowledge about
many of his offspring. The Pesthouse (2007) is
a post-apocalyptic narrative that describes pestilence and an unlikely couples eastward quest
through America, in which modernity has been
abandoned and superstition and violent threat
destabilize any certainties in the protagonists
lives. Quarantine and Signals of Distress (1994)
evoke two historical settings, Judea at the time
of Christ and early nineteenth-century Cornwall,
both of which remain wild, untamed, and always
potentially hostile. In such settings Craces fiction
deals with archetypal situations and characters,
traders and customers, lovers and rivals, fathers
and sons, political oppressor and victim of torture,
idealist anti-slavery campaigner and slaver captain.
In creating all of these locations he clearly draws
upon the intensity of his passion for wildlife,
landscape, and walking, and occasionally demonstrates his personal capacity for impulsive
Crace offsets his often grandiloquent themes,
such as death, belonging, desire, rivalry, spirituality, and malevolence with an almost compulsive
delight in creating the detail of exotic customs,
lives, and encounters that are transmuted into the
mundane. In a manner unusual in English contemporary writing his fiction synthesizes an
earthy descriptiveness with the implicit concerns
and the symbolic possibilities inherent in quotidian human interaction. Each of his novels revolves
around a conceit or pursues through characters
and events a central conceptual idea. Personally
he is determinedly English in a left-liberal tradition, doggedly maintaining a sense of his working-class roots and proud of his unfashionable
normality. As a consequence, in a homeland still
obsessed with class and celebrity, he is perhaps
regarded more highly in Europe and in America
than in Britain. While in Britain Quarantine was
Whitbread Novel of the Year and shortlisted for
the Booker Prize, in America Being Dead was

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



awarded the prestigious National Book Critics

Circle Award. In 2007 the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at The University of
Texas at Austin acquired Craces archive and in
spring 2008 he was visiting Distinguished Writerin-Residence at the universitys James Michener
Center for Writers.
SEE ALSO: Historical Fiction (BIF)


Begley, A. (2002). A Pilgrim in Craceland. Southwest
Review, 87(23), 22740.
Constable, J., & Aoyama, H. (2001). Testing for
Mathematical Lineation in Jim Craces Quarantine
and T. S. Eliots Four Quartets. Belgian Journal of
Linguistics, 15, 3552.
Crace, J. (1986). Continent. London: Heinemann.
Crace, J. (1988). The Gift of Stones. London: Secker and
Crace, J. (1992). Arcadia. London: Jonathan Cape.
Crace, J. (1994). Signals of Distress. London: Viking.
Crace, J. (1995). The Slow Digestions of the Night.
London: Penguin.
Crace, J. (1997). Quarantine. London: Viking.
Crace, J. (1999). Being Dead. London: Viking.
Crace, J. (2001). The Devils Larder. London: Viking.
Crace, J. (2003). Six. London: Viking. (Published in
US as Genesis. New York: Farrar, Straus and
Crace, J. (2007). The Pesthouse. London: Penguin.
Fitzgerald, C. A. (2004). Poppy Love: Fathers Find
Salvation in Two New Novels. Gettysburg Review,
17(1), 1517.
Lane, R. J. (2003). The Fiction of Jim Crace: Narrative
and Recovery. In R. J. Lane, R. Mengham, & P. Tew
(eds.), Contemporary British Fiction. Cambridge:
Polity, pp. 2739.
Teske, D. (2002). Jim Craces Arcadia: Public Culture in
the Postmodern City. In S. Onega & J. A. Stotesbury
(eds.), London in Literature: Visionary Mappings of
the Metropolis. Heidelberg: Universitatverlag Winter,
pp. 16582.
Tew, P. (2006). Jim Crace. Manchester: Manchester
University Press.
Tew, P. (2007). A Conversation between Jim Crace and
Philip Tew. Critical Engagements, 1(1), 33356.
Tew, P. (2009). Jim Craces Enigmatical Pastoral. In D.
James & P. Tew (eds.), New Versions of Pastoral: PostRomantic, Modern, and Contemporary Responses to
the Tradition. Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson
University Press, pp. 23044.

Critical Theory and the


To try to draw together the broad constellation of

practices known as theory and the loose aggregate of conventions constituting the genre of the
novel is a complex business, but critical theory
helped to shape the work of novelists since 1960,
just as it helped to reshape a sense of the canonical
histories of the novel as a genre. From the late
1960s, there was a pervasive rethinking of the very
foundations and conditions of thought across all
the disciplines of the humanities and social
sciences. In this sense, the theoretical turn was
general, but its manifestations and objects were
diverse, varying in important ways from discipline to discipline, and from one cultural and
national context to another. But as with the
broader theoretical turn of the 1960s, the literary or critical theory that flourished across departments of Anglo-American letters represented
a revolt against positivist and empiricist assumptions in criticism. For poststructuralism, neoMarxism, psychoanalysis, and narrative theory
were all depth models of knowledge that sought
a reorientation toward the a priori as the search
for underlying formal relations that might provide the conditions for grasping and expressing
the phenomena of the world and of human
First, with the technical linguistics of Chomsky
and, thereafter, with the more easily assimilable
linguistics of Saussure, structuralism began as a
revolt against empiricism through the positing of
a system of logical or formal relations within
language, a system of intellectual and rulegoverned operations that are given priority over
any hypothetical or acclaimed empiricist relation
of word to world. The poststructuralist turn that
erupted out of this prison-house of language was
shaped by the traditions of the discipline of
English studies. This had been laid down in the
1920s within the broadly positivist (and organicist) orientation of the New Critics and I. A.
Richards, the empiricism of F. R. Leavis, and the
eclectic anti-Cartesianism of T. S. Eliot. Specifically, therefore, in English studies, the theoretical
turn constituted a rebellion against what Paul de
Man would refer to in Blindness and Insight (1993

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


[1983] ) as the aesthetic ideology of modernist

literary criticism, and more specifically, the rule of
New Criticism (in America) and of the Eliot
Leavis hegemony (in Britain). For poststructuralists such as de Man, Marxists such as Terry
Eagleton, and feminists such as Elaine Showalter,
aesthetic ideology is that ethos of the promised
cultural redemption to be effected through the
organicist complexity of the literary text, engaged
through the honed instruments of critical close
reading. The literary aesthetic had been advanced as a potent curative that might redeem a
fallen modernity and provide the means to overcome a crippling post-Cartesian dissociation of
sensibility. In this Fall myth of modernity,
famously adduced in T. S. Eliots essay on The
Metaphysical Poets (1921), an increasingly cerebralized, post-Cartesian orientation toward abstract thinking (theory), is seen to be divorced
from the sensuously experiential, the luminous
detail, and the affective and tactile responsiveness
to the contingencies of the human world of
In Britain, in particular, therefore, the theoretical turn took the form of a revolt against the
Leavisite great tradition: a philosophically naive
mode of expressive realism or Kulturkritik.
Leaviss ideal of a common culture was now seen
as the aesthetic smokescreen for an academic
protection racket designed to safeguard the still
hegemonic values of an increasingly beleaguered
bourgeois class. The theory revolution developed
rapidly via a somewhat strained and temporary
alliance between the linguistic preoccupations
and skeptical ironies of the poststructuralist turn
and an increasingly complex (and politically
activist) left culturalist identity politics, beginning
with the Civil Rights Movement, the womens
movement, and national liberation movements
(soon to be theorized under the umbrella of
cultural theory), to produce that uneasy hybrid:
the postmodern. Expressive realism was understood by academic theorists as the mimetic view
that language delivers up truths about life and the
human condition and that reality is a coherent
whole standing behind its formulation in words.
Within the terms of academic theory, therefore,
fictional realism comes to be seen as a discursive
mode in which there is an attempt to impose on
the text this kind of illusory consensus about the
real by suppressing and disguising the contra-


dictions or aporias opened up in all discourses by

the metaphoric and differential nature of a language that can finally never command the subject
matter that it purports to represent. Realism
claims to reflect a world that is, in fact, always
already constructed. However, if it is impossible
to move beyond and outside of our instruments of
interrogation (primarily language), then we are
caught within incommensurable language games
only ever offering a knowledge of the world
relative to the scope of their conceptual frameworks. Delusory too, therefore, is our naive and
logocentric faith in the capacity of language to
mirror nature and our belief that the meaning of
the word somehow has its origin in the nature of
the real and can therefore reflect its structures in
the mind as a metaphysics of presence. Now we
can see that truth is a kind of fiction, reality also an
appearance, depth only ever another surface,
history an endless regress of texts, and reading
always a mode of misreading. We inhabit not the
real, but always our representations of it.
What is evident throughout the period, however, is that theory, despite its more immediate
academic contexts and its often idealist claims to
stand outside of history, is shaped by the very
historical conditions and cultural changes that
also shape the forms and preoccupations of the
novel. The processes of globalization and diversification that provide the historical identity of the
period are equal if not more powerful pressures
on the forms and modes of its fiction. Novelists
are almost never card-carrying theorists; many
sought to assimilate textual self-referentiality into
a fictional tradition where realism tempers romance, and where ethical commitment is allied
with a broadly empiricist tradition: this is as
perceptible in novelists as different as Virginia
Woolf (with her Bloomsbury affiliations with
G. E. Moore and Bertrand Russells Cambridge
realism) and George Orwell (whose work continuously makes a connection between the theory
of intellectuals and a misplaced faith in abstract
argument that is ultimately complicit with totalitarianism). This fictional orientation meshed
with a mainstream intellectual tradition broadly
liberal in ethos; concerned with moral considerations and the ongoing need for contracts that
provide for the protection of human rights; and
requiring the belief that being reasonable requires
assertions to be supported by verifiable evidence

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



that is not simply the property of a particular

language game or cultural group, but is, as far as
possible, universalizable and applicable to all
human beings. In the writing of George Orwell,
there is a skepticism about rationalistic grand
narratives: this tradition already preferred to do
its social theorizing in a piecemeal and tentative
fashion through ordinary language or fiction,
rather than through grand theory and technical
vocabularies, jargon, neologism, and global
A. S. Byatts work, for example, is a testimony
to the kind of cautious response of writers to the
more academic modes of the theoretical turn:
taught by Leavis at Cambridge, Byatt in her very
first novel, Shadow of a Sun (1964), featured a
central character, a critic, evidently modeled on
the great man, and similarly driven by a puritanical moral ferocity about literature; it is a moral
aesthetic, however, that is depicted in this first
novel as finally destructive of the literary imagination. Yet her later novels, Babel Tower (1996),
Possession (1990), and A Whistling Woman (2002)
are equally skeptical about the effects of the
linguistic skepticism of the theoretical turn that
replaced Leavisism. Academic theory is exposed
for its vanity, blindness, and, in Possession, duplicity and greed. Indeed, Byatts mode of contested and conflicted realism is fairly representative of the literary responsiveness of the majority
of British and Irish novelists to the theory revolution of the last 40 years. Interestingly, too, the
conflicted engagement with literary theory often
runs alongside a similarly complex engagement
with new scientific theories in the period: a pervasive strain is the Darwinist picture of the human as
a stripped down animal, a vulnerable biological
creature, naked and bereft of certain belief. It is a
picture that reflects the growing biologization,
medicalization, and scientization of culture at this
time (a shift first noted in Foucaults works of the
1960s). Samuel Beckett, William Golding, Iris
Murdoch, Martin Amis, Ian McEwan, Kazuo
Ishiguro, and John Banville, to name but a handful, all mediate such a picture, and their work
serves as a valuable reminder to academic literary
theorists that the other theory revolution of the
period also overturning positivism has been in
the sciences, in the turn away from a strict positivism and a more expansionist return to a biological and naturalist paradigm of knowledge and

values. This has been variously expressed in the

ultra-Darwinism of Richard Dawkins, the evolutionary psychology of Stephen Pinker, the neuroscientific constructions of the mind of the 1990s,
and the pervasive preoccupation with the body,
genetics, and the neo-Darwinist understanding of
the mind as the brain. While academic critics have
remained largely preoccupied with the postmodern or textualist turn in the period, writers such as
Byatt, Amis, McEwan, David Lodge, Fay Weldon,
Jeanette Winterson, Ishiguro, and many others
were often as much preoccupied with the new
theories in the life sciences as with theory, as in
literary or critical theory. A major theme of this
writing, indeed, has been the recognition that both
kinds of theory tend to present life through
metaphors of linguistic codes, scriptoral tropes,
and notions of rewriting and re-engineering lifescripts.
So even the linguistic turn in literary studies is
arguably as much an outgrowth of developments
within British society and the broader culture of
knowledge, as of a more narrowly defined academic theory. By the late 1970s, changes brought
about by globalization, subcultural formations,
and shifting cultural identities were giving rise to
new stylistic experiments in the novel and the
forging of new fictional languages: the grotesque
metafictional slapstick of Martin Amis; the exuberant Rabelaisian vulgarity of Angela Carter;
Salman Rushdies unique mixing and mingling
of Hindi, Urdu, and English intonation and phonology to create a hybrid language (Angrezi) and
with it a new mythology of the mongrel. The
linguistic experimentalism of these writers hugely
influenced the next generation of novelists such as
Will Self, Hanif Kureishi, Arundhati Roy, Zadie
Smith, Hari Kunzru, Nicola Barker, and Ian
Sinclair and, after 1980, the British novel began
to look more variegated, hybrid, linguistically
playful, and self-conscious. The impulse came
not only from writers from outside the British
Isles but from those who felt internally colonized
within it. Writers such as James Kelman and
Irvine Welsh began to experiment with Scottish
vernacular and, like Rushdie, to globalize the
local. In the early 1980s, Kelman began experimenting with free indirect discourse, mixing
standard and vernacular languages, without implying the usual hierarchization. By the time of
How Late It Was, How Late, which won the Booker

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Prize in 1994, he had developed a unique modernist vernacular that bestowed on the disinherited and the underclass an inner life as real as that
of Joyces Bloom or Becketts tramps and loners.
Either way, the linguistic self-reflexivity is a product of history as much as, if not more so than,
simply academic theorizing.
But theory has always had a complex relation
with the genre of the novel: in significant ways, the
novel developed in part as a response to theory in
the guise of the eighteenth-century obsession with
intellectual explanatory systems, the offspring of
the early Enlightenment marriage of Cartesian
rationalism and Baconian scientific empiricism.
One system, in particular, Adam Smiths Theory of
the Moral Sentiments (1759), was definitively
associated with the novel genre. Sentimentalism
as a systematization of knowledge of the nature
and effects of human affect was increasingly engaged as a means of resisting the machinic
and socio-biological logic of the Hobbesian
scientific theory of human nature. For the
empathetic and the sentimental were seen to
require a heightening and disciplining into a
theoretical system if they were to be elevated
above the contingencies of individual feeling into
a more scientific or metaphysically coherent order
that might provide a substantial enough secular
substitute for the moral practices of the religious
life: one that would also counter the Hobbesian
mechanical picture of the necessity for a Leviathan, providing the foundational planks for a
theory of liberal democracy. The novel as a genre
achieved legitimation as a serious art form in its
perceived function as a significant vehicle for the
investigation of this system of affects and of its
moral and political implications, and of the education of its readers into a more self-conscious,
that is to say, more theoretical awareness, of the
processes and uses of the educated heart and the
feeling brain. But in providing educative interrogation, eighteenth-century novels by Defoe,
Sterne, Richardson, and others both engage and
dissipate the systematic formation of this object as
presented in the writings of the philosophers:
Fielding famously insisting in Tom Jones (1729)
that he was writing a history and not a system.
Indeed, theorization as self-reflexive distance
from and resistance to such abstraction seems
fundamental to fiction from the very first: the
novel genre develops as a dialectical interplay of


contingency and abstraction. Caught between an

orientation to the experientially and historically
contingent and the narrative impulse to plotted
causality or formal coherence, novels are inevitably, perhaps inherently, skeptical, and therefore at
some level intrinsically ironic. Weaving worlds of
words, novelists were from the very first selfconscious of that unbridgeable and eminently
ironizable gap between the linguistic and the
phenomenal, between systems of signs and human behaviors, between cultural codes and conventions and essences and universals. The formal
poeticity of the novel, in contra-distinction to the
non-poeticity of the philosophical or purely theoretical tract, arises out of what the formalist
theorists have described as the feeling of the word
as a word, and not simply the naming or representation of an object, the word as a weighty thing
with a value always exceeding its representative
function. Indeed, with reference to the theory of
the moral sentiments, Sternes A Sentimental
Journey (1768), for example, plays brilliantly on
the verbal associations of transport as Yorick
sets off in his carriage on his grand tour of
enlightenment, but also in and as a construct of
that linguistic vehicle for affective and imaginative transport that is the narrative of the text we
are reading. Through the metafictional transgression of levels of ontology and an insistent and
ironic linguistic self-consciousness (handkerchiefs repeatedly substituted for words as language fails to encapsulate feeling), Sterne explores
the limitations and aporias in the overformulated
theorization of the affective and moral imagination, just as his novel Tristram Shandy (1760)
derives its comedy from the unintended consequences of the human pursuit of and obsession
with systems and with theories.
But it is the extent to which the activity of
theorizing in the humanities and social sciences
(at least) has itself become a theoretically selfconscious flight from Theory (as system) that
perhaps most differentiates the positioning of the
novel in and in relation to the current Age of
Theory from its earlier counterpart in the Age of
Systems. Indeed, by the 1980s, both the novel and
theory seemed equally preoccupied with the sense
that one of the cumulative effects of modernity is
that, more and more, knowledge reflexively enters
and shapes experience in the world and is then
shaped by it in an unprecedentedly self-conscious

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



fashion: history might provide the ground for the

rise of particular theories as with feminism and
postcolonialism and postmodernism but history is only ever to be experienced in the disembedded orders of late modernity as already, thoroughly, and irrevocably, theorized: there is no
space outside of theory. The work of philosophy
or systematic theory, the linguistic practices of the
novel, and the movements of history seek a curious intimacy, sharing an intensified linguistic
skepticism and a preoccupation with the setting
up and the concomitant breaking down of delusory systems, plots or fictions. A theoretical selfconsciousness about fictions begins to embed
itself experientially in existential modes of historical and subjective or personal awareness and,
even without the explicit turn to theory in the
academy, to enter and pervade the forms and
preoccupations of fiction, as of historical experience (in the preoccupation with lives as stories or
narratives, disruptable by traumas or available for
liberatory rewriting).
It is perhaps not surprising that Rushdies
tropes of migrancy and hybridity soon became powerful and popular metaphors to describe contemporary experience and were taken
up and extended by novelists and academic theorists alike. The novel, like the nation, becomes
disseminated, no longer parochial or stranded in
this or that ghetto of nation, race, or single
intellectual or literary tradition. The international
and transnational novel becomes a significant
sign of the times: born out of a convergence of
globalized capital, cultural diasporas, and traveling theory, it is perhaps the strongest testimony of
the capacity of the novel to resist the singular and
the systematic and to revel in what Bakhtin celebrates as the polyglot and the polyphonic, the
resistance to the monologic and the reductionisms of intellectual elites. And yet, many novels
even those by migrant writers also stood back
with equal skepticism from the infatuation with
hybridity, intuiting perhaps a continuing exoticization and appropriation of postcolonial experience. Kazuo Ishiguro has brilliantly fictionalized
this controversial debate from the perspective of
the writer in The Unconsoled (1995). He began the
novel after an exhausting promotional world tour
and the novel is a brilliant meditation on the
tension between historical and intellectual ideas
about the creative arts and the varieties of new

external pressures on the contemporary writer in

an internationalized culture market: the conflicting demands of political representation, ethical
obligation, and the commercial implications of
producing creative work within a global
In Jamesons reading in Postmodernism; or, The
Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (1991), all contemporary discourses are caught in a flight from
propositional truth, foundations or origins, affirmative content or closure, and show a pronounced preference for modes of self-reference,
indeterminacy, undecidability, and intertextual
excess as a repudiation of the autonomy of the
individual text or subject or author. Jameson
provided one of the most resonant images of this
cultural condition of late capitalism in his description of the architect and developer John
Portmans Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Las Vegas, viewed as an icon of and testimony to the
incapacity of the human mind to grasp the great
global networks in which we are caught as individual subjects. To walk through the hotel is to
become acutely self-conscious of the disjunctive
relations between body, space, and time in the
contemporary world. Not surprisingly, throughout the 1980s and 1990s, as the stable maps of the
world shifted, fiction too became self-reflexively
preoccupied with the problematic nature of representation: again this metafictional turn is as
much a product of changing times as of changing
intellectual theories. Numerous writers explored
the connections between the temporally and spatially disorientating experience of the fabricated
worlds of postmodernity, and the ontology of the
novel as a textual world axiomatically constructed
out of other textual worlds. Even before the
appearance of the generation of Peter Ackroyd,
Graham Swift, Julian Barnes, and Martin Amis,
prominent novelists such as Doris Lessing, Muriel
Spark, William Golding, and John Fowles were
playing out textualist anxieties with a plethora of
metafictional devices and motifs: labyrinths, mirrors, mise-en-abyme effects, characters reading
texts in which they appear, authors stepping into
their fictions. By the 1980s, the perception of the
fabricated, constructed, and provisional nature of
the world had become normalized and domesticated and there is hardly a novelist who does not,
in some way, register this change: from conflicted
realists such as A. S. Byatt, John Banville, and

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Brigid Brophy to more overt experimentalists

such as Samuel Beckett, J. G. Ballard, and B. S.
Johnson, to transnational and migrant writers
such as Kiran Desai, Ben Okri, and Hanif Kureishi. So-called postmodernism soon manifested
itself as more zeitgeist than theoretical insight.
For as early as the 1970s, the theoretical assault
on metalinguistic foundations was developed into
the postmodern insistence that objects of knowledge are not so much entities on which language
reflects as artifacts actually constructed through
and within language. In such a condition, fiction,
as a world-creating activity, inevitably takes a turn
toward philosophical self-interrogation of its own
epistemological and ontological status, while philosophy and criticism, as metalinguistic discourses, have to confront the demise of any secure
claim to objectivity or validity in interpretation or
evaluation. For if language no longer refers to a
realm that is independent of language, then any
attempt to stand outside, and to offer critique, of a
particular cultural or philosophical perspective is
no longer simply to offer a different version of the
world but actually to construct a wholly alternative one. Each world becomes a construction
comprehensible only within its own terms for, if
there is no independent reality against which to
compare the perspectives, each becomes a discrete
language game and it is no longer possible to
determine the validity of any claim independently
of the cultural or linguistic context in which it is
made. Accordingly, novelists begin to experiment, for example, with effects of infinite regress:
Becketts narrators endlessly telling themselves
stories that are made to correspond, through their
own conceptualizations, with the apparent structures of their lives, which turn out to be simply the
stories they are narrating. Or they may transgress
ontological levels between story and discourse as
in Fowless The French Lieutenants Woman
(1969), which pastiches the style of numerous
Victorian novels through the discourse of an
author who sometimes appears in the novel as
a character, sometimes uses and abuses the omniscience of the implied author of realism, and
sometimes personalizes himself as a narrative
construction of the post-Barthesian age of authorial death. Such techniques continue in the work
of a new generation of writers (many of whom
have been formally taught theory in English degree programs) such as Zadie Smith, David


Mitchell, Ali Smith, Nicola Barker, and many

non-British writers such as Arundhati Roy, J.
M. Coetzee, and Paul Auster.
Yet this problematization of representation, of
fictions, of systems, was always already at the heart
of the novel, as we have seen with reference to the
eighteenth century. Even before the academic
turn to theory, an intensified and deconstructive
interrogation of fictionality and of the uses and
abuses of system entered and, arguably, even gave
birth to the novel. Even Derrida famously admitted his inability to write on Becketts already
deconstructionist fictions, fearing exposure of his
own philosophical practice as a platitudinous
metalanguage (Attridge 60). He seems to intuit
that the deconstructive resistance to closure was
all along the definitive feature of the novel. Many
of the concerns of poststructuralist theory were
already explicitly engaged in fictional narratives
that were raising important questions about linguistic self-referentiality, foundationalism, truth,
value, authorial voice, and subjectivity, well
before Continental philosophy began to be
imported and transformed into the so-called
theory revolution of the 1970s. One thinks here
of the complex teleological games of Muriel
Spark, from her very first novel in 1957; of Iris
Murdochs fictionalized critiques of ordinary language philosophies from 1954; of the linguistic
experimentalism of writers such as B. S. Johnson,
Christine Brooke-Rose, Alan Burns, Ann Quin,
and Rayner Heppenstall throughout the 1960s.
Indeed, Johnson, Brooke-Rose, Jonathan Culler,
Shlomith Rimmon, and, on occasion, Roland
Barthes, were all participants in Frank Kermodes
literary theory seminars that ran between 1967
and 1974 at University College London (discussed
in the preface to his Essays on Fiction 197182 of
1983). For the theoretical preoccupation with
fictionality in its proto-theory modes emphatically and self-consciously enters critical thinking
in the writing of Karl Popper and Isaiah Berlin, for
example shortly after World War II, but as a
response to the dangerous aestheticization of
politics in ideologies of fascism. Interestingly, this
preoccupation with fictions was also the starting
point for one of the most influential and imaginative theories of the novel that emerged in
the postwar period, and which, like the earlier
Bakhtinian dialogics and the Lukacsian theorization of realism, profoundly shaped thinking

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



about the genre. This was Frank Kermodes The

Sense of an Ending (1967), which explored the
dangers of an unbridled fictionality as a desire to
project consolatory plots and fictions onto history
in the form of degenerate myths. But Kermodes
influential theory also arose out of his engagement with and support for the fictional writing of
novelists such as Muriel Spark and Iris Murdoch
as well as the poetics of Wallace Stevens. Novelists
from the late 1950s for example, Muriel Spark in
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961), The Abbess
of Crewe (1974), and Not to Disturb (1971); Iris
Murdoch in A Fairly Honourable Defeat (1970),
The Black Prince (1973), and The Sea, The Sea
(1978); John Fowles in The French Lieutenants
Woman, The Magus (1966), and Daniel Martin
(1977); William Golding in Free Fall (1959) and
Darkness Visible (1979) are equally concerned
with the recognition that indiscriminate aestheticization facilitates playing God with the real.
Novels such as The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and
Murdochs A Severed Head (1961), ostensibly
about trivial love affairs, charismatic schoolmistresses, and the adulterous deceptions of the high
bourgeoisie, are also studies of the psychological
and myth-making imperatives of power politics
and totalitarianism. Each of these fictions embodies a theoretical reflection on fictionality that
is in turn theorized by academic theories of
the novel, which also arise out of a shared historical situation that has helped to propel the selfreflexively critical or theoretical turn. For the
emergence of an anti-Theory theory of the novel
from within the novel functions as a reminder that
novels serve an important ethical and interrogative function in a world that increasingly, and
dangerously, neglects to discriminate between
different orders of fictionality. Kermodes theory
of fictions is a theory of the novel for a theoretical
age, where fictional self-consciousness as a
mode of anti-Theory theorizing protects against
dangerous tendencies toward myth-making.
Authentic fiction manages to achieve a balance
between a formal consolation provided by the
illusion of correspondence between desire and
the world, and an ethical refusal of such consolation that reminds us that in the end fictional form
is inevitably a mode of aesthetic seduction.
Kermodes theory of the novel reflects the problematization of positivism that afflicts intellectual thought increasingly by the 1960s (in, for

example, the writing of Karl Popper, Hans-Georg

Gadamer, and Thomas Kuhn) and gives rise to a
fully fledged theoretical turn in the 1970s:
the recognition that there is always an aesthetic
dimension to knowledge. But his theory of the
novel also reflects a longstanding intellectual
and novelistic tradition concerned with the absolute need for ethical and epistemological discrimination of fictions: one that has never been naively
reflectionist, holding up the mirror to nature, but
has always looked inward to the way in which its
own forms mediate and construct the real. The
novel is also a mode of theory, just as theory is a
kind of fictionalizing.
SEE ALSO: Critical Theory and Fiction (WF);
Historiographic Metafiction (AF); Migration,
Diaspora and Exile in Fiction (WF);
Postmodernist Fiction (BIF); Postmodernist
Fiction (AF)


Anderson, B. (1983). Imaginary Communities. London:
Attridge, D. (ed.) (1992). Acts of Literature. London:
Bakhtin, M. (1984). Problems of Dostoevskys Poetics.
Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Barthes, R. (1974). S/Z. New York: Hill and Wang.
Bhaba, H. (ed.) (1990). Nation and Narration. London:
Brooks, P. (1992). Reading for the Plot: Design and
Intention in Narrative. Cambridge, MA: Harvard
University Press.
Byatt, A. S. (1964). Shadow of a Sun. London: Chatto
and Windus.
Byatt, A. S. (1990). Possession: A Romance. London:
Chatto and Windus.
de Man, P. (1993). Blindness and Insight: Essays in the
Rhetoric of Contemporary Criticism, 2nd edn.
London: Routledge.
Eliot, T. S. (1951). The Metaphysical Poets. In T. S. Eliot:
Selected Essays, 3rd edn. London: Faber and Faber,
pp. 28192.
Gadamer, H.-G. (2004). Truth and Method, 2nd edn.
London: Continuum.
Genette, G. (1988). Narrative Discourse Revisited.
Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Halperin, J. (ed.) (1974). The Theory of the Novel: New
Essays. New York: Oxford University Press.
Ishiguro, K. (1995). The Unconsoled. London: Faber and

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Jameson, F. (1991). Postmodernism; or, The Cultural

Logic of Late Capitalism. London: Verso.
Kelman, J. (1994). How Late It Was, How Late. London:
Secker and Warburg.
Kermode, F. (1967). The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the
Theory of Fiction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Kermode, F. (1983). Essays on Fiction, 197182.
London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
Kuhn, T. (1970). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
2nd edn. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Leavis, F. R. (1948). The Great Tradition: George Eliot,
Henry James, Joseph Conrad. London: Chatto and
Lukacs, G. (1963). The Meaning of Contemporary
Realism. London: Merlin.
McKeon, M. (ed.) (2000). Theory of the Novel: A
Historical Approach. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins
University Press.


Miller, J. Hillis (2001). Deconstruction and Literature.

In T. Cohen (ed.), Deconstruction and the Future of
the Humanities. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Popper, K. (1963). Conjectures and Refutations.
London: Routledge.
Rushdie, S. (1992). Imaginary Homelands. London:
Said, E. (1993). Culture and Imperialism. New York:
Showalter, E. (1999). A Literature of Their Own: British
Women Novelists from Bronte to Lessing. London:
Sterne, L. (2001). A Sentimental Journey (ed. P. Goring).
Harmondsworth: Penguin.
Waugh, P. (ed.) (2006). Literary Theory and
Criticism: An Oxford Guide. Oxford: Oxford
University Press.

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Doyle, Roddy

Roddy Doyles career and reputation are closely

associated with the new Ireland of the 1990s,
but he has hardly been a cheerleader for the
culture of consumption and indiscriminate
development that his countrys recent economic
prosperity spawned. Doyles writing engages Irish
society and culture at a consistently oblique angle
of reflection. His highly successful entertainments
range from comic realism to historical farce and
magic realism, nostalgia to satire, childrens
fiction, and memoir. Doyles novels, plays, short
stories, and screenplays have provoked a culture
of denial to confront marital breakdown, spousal
abuse, alcoholism, inner-city poverty, social marginalization, and racism.
Born in Dublin in 1958, Doyle focuses on
Dublin and Dubliners in all of his writing. His
first three novels, the highly popular Barrytown
Trilogy (The Commitments, 1988; The Snapper,
1990; and The Van, 1991) brought him immediate
notoriety with their distinctively vernacular
style: short, staccato sentences; vivid, vulgar, as
well as trenchant and comical, dialogue; the
precise notation of social realia, occasionally
evoking subtle emotional or symbolic meaning
from common domestic details; and the use of
pop music as a leitmotif that meshes the publichistoricaldiscursive and personalprivate
inarticulate. With its uncensored presentation
of working-class experience, the trilogy also signaled Doyles abiding moral concern with children and adolescents, married women, the family,

and community; with class divisions and social

coherence; self-esteem and self-understanding;
unemployment and poverty; individual identity,
self-growth, and hope for the future. The Barrytown Trilogys success derived from its cross-over
effect as both popular entertainment and
serious fiction. All three novels eventually
became successful films and their unflinching
engagement with issues of unemployment, globalization, and cultural homogenization, the widening gap between the haves and have-nots in
Irish society, as well as between generations and
genders, and urban and rural sensibilities established Doyle as the preeminent storyteller of
contemporary urban Ireland.
Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha (1993), for which he
received the Booker Prize in 1993, dispelled any
sense that Doyles writing was confined to the
horizontal axis of social realism. This story of
a young boys coming of age while witnessing his
parents growing disaffection took Doyles combination of pathos and slapstick comedy, verbal
humor and wit, social satire and note-perfect
transcription of the music of everyday to a new
level; the presentation of Paddys perspective,
thoughts, emotions, and language is a masterpiece
of compassionate imagination.
The growth of imagination and narrative technique in Paddy Clarke paid further dividends in
Doyles next novel, The Woman Who Walked into
Doors (1996). Based on the character of Paula
Spencer, the abused, alcoholic wife in Family, his
BBC television docu-drama of 1994, Woman
remains Doyles most daring and experimental
work, a controversial intervention in Irish public

The Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Fiction General editor: Brian W. Shaffer

2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


discourse that threw very cold water on a society

delusional with self-congratulation and social
complacency. The complexity of characterization
resulting from an increasingly sophisticated
manipulation of the first-person narration, in
conjunction with his trademark social realism,
resulted in one of the most important Irish novels
of the period. Doyle adapted Woman into
a successful play in 2003 and Paula Spencer
(2006), his most recent novel, continues her story.
In A Star Called Henry (1999) Doyle began
another trilogy and continued to experiment
with a self-conscious and unreliable narrator, but
with a radical departure in subject matter. This
mild foray into magic realism disappointed many
readers who were loath to see him abandon his
trademark documentary realism; but the real
objection was to his blasphemous treatment of
the Easter Rising and the War of Independence,
modern Irelands nationalist founding myth. But
if Henry is an example of postmodern historiographical metafiction, it also continues Doyles
preoccupation with working-class history and
experience. Henry is Doyles most artfully ambitious work to date. Oh, Play That Thing (2004), its
successor and sequel, takes Henry to jazz age
America, where character and novelist get lost in
a new world that remains alien to both. Returning
to the home ground of his fiction, in the short
stories of The Deportees (2007) Doyle writes about
the new racial and ethnic communities Nigerian, Polish, Romanian, Russian living and working in Dublin, and in Paula Spencer he successfully
braids his longstanding class-based concern with
social inclusion with his new interest in issues of
race and ethnicity.
Doyles total body of work is the most influential by a writer of fiction to circulate in Irish civil
discourse over the past two decades. His writing
coheres around his abiding respect for the dignity
of the individual in the struggle to achieve individuation against all those forces, historical,
ideological, or religious, which attempt to coerce
the individual to accept the way things are or have
been as natural or the way they have to be.
Doyles fiction is the product of the compassionate imagination of one of contemporary Irelands
most important and talented witnesses.
SEE ALSO: Irish Fiction (BIF); Working-Class
Fiction (BIF)



Doyle, R. (1988). The Commitments. London:
Doyle, R. (1990). The Snapper. London: Secker and
Doyle, R. (1991). The Van. London: Secker and
Doyle, R. (1993). Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha. London:
Secker and Warburg.
Doyle, R. (1994). Family [screenplay]. BBC Television.
Doyle, R. (1996). The Woman Who Walked into Doors.
London: Jonathan Cape.
Doyle, R. (1999). A Star Called Henry, vol. 1 of The Last
Roundup. London: Jonathan Cape.
Doyle, R. (2002). Rory & Ita. London: Jonathan Cape.
Doyle, R. (2004). Oh, Play That Thing, vol. 2 of The Last
Roundup. London: Jonathan Cape.
Doyle, R. (2006). Paula Spencer. London: Jonathan
Doyle, R. (2007). The Deportees and Other Stories.
London: Jonathan Cape.
Frears, S. (dir.) (1993). The Snapper. BBC Films/
Screen 2.
Frears, S. (dir.) (1996). The Van (screenplay by
R. Doyle). Ireland: Deadly Films/BBC Films/Fox
McCarthy, D. (2003). Roddy Doyle: Raining on the
Parade. Dublin: Liffey.
Parker, A. (dir.) (1991). The Commitments (screenplay
by D. Clement, I. La Frenais, & R. Doyle). Beacon
Communications/First Film Company/Dirty Hands
Wheeler, P., & Newman, J. (2004). An interview with
Roddy Doyle. In S. Monteith, J. Newman, & P.
Wheeler, Contemporary British and Irish Fiction:
An Introduction through Interviews. London:
Hodder and Stoughton, pp. 5470.
White, C. (2001). Reading Roddy Doyle. Syracuse, NY:
Syracuse University Press.

Drabble, Margaret

Over a long and productive writing career dating from the early 1960s, Margaret Drabble has
been best known for novels that trace the lives of
her generation of educated women and the
different challenges that these women faced
as they matured. Drabble is a distinguished
contemporary woman of letters; in addition to
her 17 novels, she has also produced biography,
literary criticism and scholarship, journalistic

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



commentary, and other fictional and non-fictional prose.

Born in Sheffield on June 5, 1939, Drabble was
the second daughter in a family of four children.
Her father was a barrister and then a judge, and
her mother an English teacher; the novelist A. S.
Byatt is her elder sister. Educated at The Mount,
a Quaker boarding and day school for girls in
York, she received a scholarship to Newnham
College, Cambridge, where she read English and
graduated in 1960 with a starred first. After
graduation she married and joined the Royal
Shakespeare Company at Stratford-upon-Avon
with her husband, the actor Clive Swift. When
she became pregnant early in the marriage and
was unable to continue acting, she turned, in
frustration, to novel writing. With the success of
her early novels, she moved to London and
became a full-time writer while taking care of
their three children. Divorced in 1975 after 15
years of marriage to Swift, she married the
biographer Michael Holroyd in 1982.
Drabbles literary career began at a propitious
time for a novelist with her interests. Having
received her Cambridge degree in 1960, she left
acting for writing just as the second wave of the
womens movement was igniting. Since then, her
subjects have followed her own experiences and
her times. From her first novel, A Summer Bird
Cage (1963), Drabble has chronicled the lives of
educated women, mainly middle or upper middle
class (or those who aspired to be such). Beginning
in the 1960s with young university graduates
negotiating conflicts between marriage and career
aspirations and between personal autonomy and
family bonds, her protagonists have grown older
along with Drabble herself, and their problems
personal, familial, social, and political have
changed in accordance with their age and their
era. During the 1970s and 1980s her protagonists
settled into middle age. By 1996, with The Witch of
Exmoor, in which the titular character is a grandmother, she moved to chronicle the difficulties
and the pleasures of old age for women.
In addition to tracing the development of her
own generation of women over the course of
her career, Drabble gradually expanded the scope
of her primarily domestic early novels to address
central cultural, social, and political issues. At
the same time her literary technique changed to
incorporate more sophisticated manipulations of

points of view, and her characteristic humor

sharpened into a more biting irony. Crucial
to her movement in these directions were The
Waterfall (1969), the most formally experimental
novel she has written, and The Needles Eye (1972)
and The Realms of Gold (1975), which expanded
her geographical foci toward African concerns. The
Ice Age (1977) focused directly on the economic
and social disintegration Britain faced during the
mid-1970s. In The Radiant Way (1987) and A
Natural Curiosity (1989), the first two volumes of
a trilogy, she traced the lives of three middle-aged
women friends to present a sweeping panorama of
the English nation in the 1980s. The Gates of Ivory
(1991), which completed the trilogy, in many ways
remains the most ambitious novel Drabble has
produced so far. Although still anchored in
England, this work also employed Southeast Asian
settings to consider Pol Pot and the Cambodian
genocide. Aside from The Red Queen (2004),
which featured eighteenth-century Korean as well
as contemporary materials, Drabbles later novels
have used mainly English locales.
Whether Drabbles focus is the obstacles that
contemporary life presents to intelligent women
or the politics of a disintegrating national or
international order, she has always been a novelist
committed to exploring ideas. She explained in an
interview that, as a writer, she is not interested in
storytelling, but interested in stories as vehicles
for ideas (Kenyon 41). In several of her recent
novels, questions about evolution and natural
selection play a central role. Another constant in
her fiction has been class conflict, which she has
continued to examine from various perspectives.
Finally, she has focused on problems of freedom
and the ramifications of determinism, offering
sophisticated and nuanced analyses of what personal autonomy could actually mean for individuals, particularly, but not exclusively, women.
Traditionally, the works of women novelists
have tended to be overread as autobiography, but
in Drabbles case, interviews and other writings
have highlighted the centrality of autobiographical elements in her novels. Most obviously, her
Afterword to The Peppered Moth (2001) discusses
this work as a novel in which she is attempting to
come to terms with her mother, a difficult woman
who suffered from depression. Bad mothers and
ongoing conflicts between mothers and daughters
recur in Drabbles novels, as do depressives.

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Similarly, her novels often explore complicated

sororal and quasi-sororal relationships in ways
that directly and indirectly reflect the fraught
relationship she and her sister Byatt have maintained throughout their lives. Along with London,
the north of England, where she grew up, has been
a frequent setting for her fiction. A number of
commentators have connected the abiding concern with morality and social justice that marks
her works with the Nonconformist religious outlook characteristic of parts of the north as well as
with the Methodism of her mothers family.
Equally important influences on Drabble as
a novelist have been the tradition of English
literature. Her knowledge of this tradition is wide
and deep, and her novels are filled with allusions
to earlier and contemporary literature. In addition to biographies of Edwardian author Arnold
Bennett (1974a) and her older contemporary
Angus Wilson (1995), she has written about or
edited volumes on figures ranging from Jane
Austen (1974b) and William Wordsworth (1966)
to Thomas Hardy (1976). A Writers Britain: Landscape in Literature (1979) analyzed the importance
of setting to the tradition. Between 1980 and 1987,
she published no novels, instead concentrating for
part of that time on producing a new edition of the
Oxford Companion to English Literature (1985),
which received excellent reviews.
Drabbles early work garnered widespread
popular and critical acclaim relatively quickly.
Recognition of her achievements in various forms
increased during the 1970s, peaked during the
1980s, and declined afterward. Her early novels
received a number of awards, among them the
John Llewelyn Rhys Memorial Prize (1966),
the James Tait Black Memorial Prize (1968), and
the E. M. Forster Award from the American
Academy of Arts and Letters (1973). The bulk of
critical work on Drabble appeared in the 1970s
and the 1980s, with substantially fewer treatments
after those decades. She received her first honorary degree from the University of Sheffield in
1976. Subsequently, such honors for her
cluster in the late 1980s and into the mid1990s: University of Manchester, 1987; University
of Keele, 1988; University of Bradford, 1988;
University of Hull, 1992; University of East Anglia, 1994; University of York, 1995. In 1980 she
was named a Commander of the British Empire.


Drabbles first novels were welcomed with enthusiasmandexcitementbymanyyoungwomenof

her generation, especially peers who were delighted
to find novelistic treatments of experiences like their
own. They responded eagerly to Drabbles protagonists, who tended to be survivors who managed
to cope despite sometimes daunting circumstances
or hostile environments. Although these women
have remained faithful readers of Drabble as her
novels tracked the vagaries of mid-life and aging,
neither her early nor her later works seems to have
attracted as substantial an audience among younger
readers. Although some commentators have criticized her novels for being excessively journalistic,
because many of her works so successfully represent
the experiences of one particular generation in such
rich historical detail, they will almost certainly
remain important to social historians of this period.
Their potential for lasting literary impact remains
unclear at this point.
During the early years of Drabbles career,
much critical ink was spilled over her relationship
to feminism. Reluctant to be pigeonholed as
a womens novelist because of the subject matter of her first works, and initially hesitant to claim
feminism, she has now for a long time answered to
both. Critics have long recognized and lauded
Drabbles abilities in writing the novel of manners
as well as her penetrating psychological realism.
However, questions continue to be raised about
the effectiveness of some of her later novels, both
those in which she aims to offer contemporary
panoramas of English society and her rarer
fictional forays into larger cross-cultural concerns. Some find her primary strength to be in
the domestic and predominantly comic novel and
believe that her attempts in mid- and later career
to broaden her literary scope were misplaced.
Another major point of critical disagreement
concerns Drabbles relationships to modernist
and postmodernist fiction. Some critics see her
as a novelist centered in traditional social realism
and limited accordingly, while others find evidence of modernist experimentation in her work.
More recently, still others have analyzed her
intrusive narrators, her refusals of narrative
closure, and related elements in her work as
postmodern in both spirit and execution.
Interviews over many years have shown how
Drabbles literary, social, and political views have

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



evolved or changed. Her enormous capacity for

continuing growth and development has made
evaluations of her work date fairly quickly.
In literary assessments, for example, the critical
consensus that she was a novelist of maternity
crumbled as she moved on to chronicle the lives of
middle-aged and older women. Critical work on
her novels now spans almost half a century, and
although this body of work clearly reveals changes
in critical trends and fashions, accurate evaluation
of Drabbles artistic accomplishments remains
SEE ALSO: Byatt, A. S. (BIF); Feminist
Fiction (BIF)

Drabble, M. (2004). The Red Queen: A Transcultural

Tragicomedy. London: Viking.
Kenyon, O. (1989). Margaret Drabble. In Women
Writers Talk. New York: Carroll and Graf, pp. 2552.
Myer, V. (1991). Margaret Drabble: A Readers Guide.
London: Vision.
Packer, J. (1988). Margaret Drabble: An Annotated
Bibliography. New York: Garland.
Rose, E. (ed.)(1985). Critical Essays on Margaret
Drabble. Boston: G. K. Hall.
Sadler, L. (1986). Margaret Drabble. Boston: Twayne.
Soule, G. (1998). Four Women Novelists. Lanham, MD:

Durrell, Lawrence



Creighton, J. (1985). Margaret Drabble. London:

Drabble, M. (1963). A Summer Bird Cage. London:
Weidenfeld and Nicolson.
Drabble, M. (1966). Wordsworth. London: Evans.
Drabble, M. (1969). The Waterfall. London: Weidenfeld
and Nicolson.
Drabble, M. (1972). The Needles Eye. London:
Weidenfeld and Nicolson.
Drabble, M. (1974a). Arnold Bennett: A Biography.
London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.
Drabble, M. (ed.)(1974b). Lady Susan; The Watsons;
Sanditon. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
Drabble, M. (1975). The Realms of Gold. London:
Weidenfeld and Nicolson.
Drabble, M. (ed.)(1976). The Genius of Thomas Hardy.
London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.
Drabble, M. (1977). The Ice Age. London: Weidenfeld
and Nicolson.
Drabble, M. (1979). A Writers Britain: Landscape in
Literature. London: Thames and Hudson.
Drabble, M. (ed.)(1985). The Oxford Companion to
English Literature, 5th edn. (6th edn. 2000) Oxford:
Oxford University Press.
Drabble, M. (1987). The Radiant Way. London:
Weidenfeld and Nicolson.
Drabble, M. (1989). A Natural Curiosity. London:
Drabble, M. (1991). The Gates of Ivory. London: Viking.
Drabble, M. (1995). Angus Wilson: A Biography.
London: Secker and Warburg.
Drabble, M. (1996). The Witch of Exmoor. London:
Drabble, M. (2001). The Peppered Moth. London:

Lawrence Durrell bridged high modernist and

postmodern fiction. His primary contribution to
twentieth-century writing is his lush and experimental prose, which works in tandem with
minimalist plots, carefully planned formal experimentation, and his revisions to the novel form.
He is unique in British fiction for his peculiar
position in between most major movements and
for a style that contradicted predominant aesthetic tastes yet was popular and celebrated.
While terse prose and realism dominated late
interbellum writing, Durrell produced lush and
surreal fiction, marking him as an early English
surrealist and one of the most successful. In
contrast to the surrealists, he immediately abandoned their communist ideology for anarchoindividualism, and his writing remained densely
allusive and highly crafted in the modernist tradition, in many ways akin to the work of Djuna
Barnes and Henry Miller. While he was often
criticized as apolitical, Durrells individualist
politics similar to Herbert Reads Politics of
the Unpolitical led to unique representations
of World War II. The war appears in relation to
the characters and location, rather than the reverse. George Orwell denounced this as a return
to the 20s (1937), meaning that such work failed
to respond to social circumstances. Nonetheless,
Orwells Keep the Aspidistra Flying appears to
borrow from the bohemian section of Durrells
Pied Piper of Lovers, and Durrell responded in his
second novel, Panic Spring (Gifford 2008a).

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Durrells 16 novels are all set in exotic locations, ranging from India to the Mediterranean
and North Africa. Several others remain unpublished. Yet, he was not pandering to British
colonialist tastes. Nearly all locations in his works,
except Istanbul, are places where he had
extended residences. He integrates a darkly ironic
sense of empire, but his works are often
subjected to postcolonial critiques of imperialism
(Manzalaoui 1962).
Durrells fame peaked with his Alexandria
Quartet, four novels that stylistically rebut the
angry young men. He went on to Hollywood film
projects, which proved incompatible with his
experimental style. His later fiction became less
popular in proportion to its increasing social
critiques and experimental style. His Revolt of
Aphrodite (1974), a pair of science fiction novels,
uses a complex formal structure to critique a Big
Brother-like transnational corporation that
operates independent of politics and the state.
This work demonstrates Durrells admiration for
Orwells 1984 but also his sense of Orwells limitations for focusing on the nation state. Durrells
anarcho-individualism is akin to yet incompatible with the socialist stance Orwell took against
fascism, capitalism, and communism. Durrells
Avignon Quintet (1992), his last major work, uses
a highly complex structure and overtly postmodern aesthetics to integrate his interest in Eastern
philosophy and religion with the destruction
caused by World War II.
Durrell was born in India in 1912 and was sent
home to England in 1923 by parents who had
never been there. He left 12 years later, residing in
Britain infrequently, but served Britain in several
diplomatic capacities. Ubiquitously known as
a British colonial writer, Durrell fell foul of a
migrant law aimed at reducing immigration from
India and Pakistan in 1968, after which he could
not enter Britain without a visa (Ezard 2002). He
was a British non-patrial without the right
to enter or settle. Durrell lived primarily in the
Mediterranean from 1935 until his death in 1990.
Durrell began publishing poetry in 1931, and
his first novel, Pied Piper of Lovers (1935),
recounts his Indian childhood and unwanted
relocation to England (Gifford 2008a). He moved
to the Greek island Kerkyra in 1935 and wrote his
next two novels, Panic Spring (1937) and The
Black Book (1938). The latter strongly influenced


English surrealism and was banned in Britain

and the United States. Richard Aldington,
D. H. Lawrence, T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, Oscar
Wilde, and Henry Miller are alluded to heavily in
these first novels; Miller and Eliot praised The
Black Book exceptionally. Durrells lifelong
interest in and deep familiarity with Elizabethan
drama is also evident.
Durrell was in Greece during the German and
Italian invasions in World War II, initially on
Kerkyra, then in Athens as senior press officer to
the British Embassy, Kalamata as director of the
British Institute, and finally evacuated to Crete.
Much of his work involved producing anti-fascist
propaganda (Stephanides 2008). As with his friend
George Seferis, the Nobel Laureate in the Greek
government in exile, Durrell evacuated to Cairo
during the bombardment of Crete. He was senior
press officer during the war in Cairo and relocated
to Alexandria where he served the British Foreign
Office in intelligence and propaganda. There he
knew Olivia Manning, who housed his first wife in
Jerusalem when their marriage failed. In the postbellum period, Durrell rapidly returned to Greece
with the British Foreign Office on Rhodes during
the accretion of the Dodecanese islands to Greece.
He was then in Argentina during Perons first
term, in Yugoslavia under Tito, and on Cyprus
during Enosis, where he finished the preparatory
work for the Alexandria Quartet while working as
the director of public relations for the British
government. He fled Cyprus and abandoned his
home when he became a target of bombings. He
subsequently completed the four books of The
Alexandria Quartet between 1957 and 1960 after
settling in southern France in 1956.
In 1957, Durrells annus mirabilis, he published
Justine, the first volume of The Alexandria Quartet; White Eagles over Serbia, a spy thriller set in the
Balkans; Bitter Lemons, his semi-fictional life on
Cyprus; and his first collection of Antrobus stories, a satire of the British Foreign Office. These are
his most famous works, particularly Justine and
Bitter Lemons. The Quartet is set in the years
surrounding World War II in Egypt. Its style is
densely allusive, and the first three volumes repeat
the same scenes from different perspectives with
conflicting senses of truth; the fourth volume
temporally progresses but refuses to resolve the
multiple narratives. The Quartet aimed to redirect
the modern novel form by emphasizing spatial

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



and allusive structures, which disjointed the ordering impulse of stream of consciousness and psychologicaldevelopment.Aftersignificantrevisions,
the four books appeared in a final omnibus edition
in 1962. While its allusive and psychoanalytic contents are modernist, its narratological and formal
innovations are linked with postmodernism
(Herbrechter 1999; Skordili 2002). Postcolonial
work on the Quartet began immediately
(Manzalaoui 1962), and it was significant in early
gay and lesbian studies criticism (Boone 1989).
Durrells political context remains overlooked,
and most critical work assumes he was naive with
regard to indigenous cultures and supported
imperialism. Recent scholarship differs. Haag
2004 demonstrates that the Hosnani family in
the Quartet, part of Egypts Coptic minority,
strongly resembles the Jewish family of Durrells
third wife, Claude Vincedon (Menasce), an
Alexandrian Zionist who edited his novels while
writing her own comic novel of wartime Alexandria, The Rum Go, and a Zionist novel, A Chair for
the Prophet. The resemblances are strong with
regard to Zionist support for the creation of Israel,
and Whenever Chaim Weizmann, leader of the
World Zionist Organisation and the eventual first
president of Israel, visited Alexandria, he would
invariably stay at the home of Baron Felix de
Menasce (Haag 2004). This significantly impacts
postcolonial readings, although Durrell shifted
his Zionist sympathies after his wifes death in
1967. After Israels occupation of the West Bank,
Gaza, and Golan Heights in the same year, Durrell
abandoned his Zionist filmscripts and novel, and
did not resume such projects.
In 1968, Durrell published the first volume of
The Revolt of Aphrodite, his second major novel
series, although this was not well received. Like
Orwells 1984, it depicts a world-controlling
international firm that dominates national
governments and mass culture, commodifying
both. The novel series reflects Durrells early
anarcho-libertarian views in relation to Miller
and Herbert Read (Gifford 2008b).
In 1974, Durrell began his most ambitious
novel series, The Avignon Quintet, completing it
in 1985. Although the third volume, Constance,
was nominated for the Booker Prize, the series was
not received as well as his earlier works. The
writing was highly experimental for the time and
is demanding for the reader, during a period of

mainstream return to realism. Nonetheless,

the Quintet marks a major development in
postmodernism (Herbrechter 1999).
Durrell also wrote travel narratives, though
these are typically described as foreign residence
books. Bitter Lemons is the most famous, and
was awarded the Duff Cooper Memorial Prize.
Despite its opening assertion that this is not
a political book, it is Durrells most political
travel work and was written after he fled Cyprus
and during the Suez crisis while living with
Claude Vincedon. Durrell is notably bitter about
British colonial policy in the book, but his
sympathy for the Turks, Greeks, and British
has made it difficult for any group to accept.
In tandem with Egyptian reactions to The
Alexandria Quartet, Bitter Lemons receives much
postcolonial critique. In both works, the tensions between irony, critique, and colonial bias
are debated and no satisfactory conclusion has
been reached in scholarship (Hitchens 1997
[1989] ).
Durrell was first influenced by the literary
milieu of London, but early trips to France shifted
his focus to European literature. He was also
active as a poet, particularly in the first half of
his career. He read widely and deeply in psychoanalysis, beginning in the early 1930s, which
influenced his plots, themes, and narrative structures (Skordili 2002).
In 1935, Durrell began a 45-year correspondence with the American writer, Henry Miller,
which led to significant interactions with the artists
in the Villa Seurat circle and surrealism. Durrell
developed strong ties with Greek modernists at the
same time and, after moving to southern France,
became active in French literary circles.
Durrells influence is broad. Anthony Burgesss
second wife Liliana Macellari translated Justine
into Italian in 1959, and mutual allusions appear
in their works. Similarly, Julio Cortazars first wife
Aurora Bernardez translated the Quartet into
Spanish while he wrote Rayuela, which incorporates passages from Durrell (Sligh 1998). A. S.
Byatt alludes to the Quartet in Possession, and
Kathy Acker quotes from it in her cut-and-paste
novel Don Quixote. William S. Burroughs also
praised the work at the 1962 International
Writers Conference and used it in his own
cut-up work. M. G. Vassanji borrows several of
Durrells character names in his novels and drew

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


the title for his No New Land (1991) from

Durrells translations of Cavafy. The influence of
Durrells late fiction is less clear, although
allusions to his Avignon Quintet are numerous.
Despite his unique political associations and heavy reliance on psychoanalytical and philosophical
thought, Durrells primary impacts on twentiethcentury literature remain stylistic and formal.
SEE ALSO: Colonial Fiction (BIF); Miller, Henry
(AF); Modernist Fiction (BIF); Orwell, George
(BIF); Politics and the Novel (BIF);
Postmodernist Fiction (BIF); World War II in
Fiction (BIF)
Boone, J. (1989). Mappings of Male Desire in Durrells
Alexandria Quartet. South Atlantic Quarterly,
88(1), 73106.
Chamberlin, B. (2007). A Chronology of the Life and
Times of Lawrence Durrell. Kerkyra: Durrell School
of Corfu.
Dasenbrock, R. W. (1987). Lawrence Durrell and the
Modes of Modernism. Twentieth-Century Fiction,
33(4), 515527.
Durrell, L. (1957). Bitter Lemons. London:
Faber and Faber.
Durrell, L. (1962). The Alexandria Quartet. London:
Faber and Faber.
Durrell, L. (1974). The Revolt of Aphrodite. London:
Faber and Faber.
Durrell, L. (1992). The Avignon Quintet. London:
Faber and Faber.


Ezard, J. (2002). Durrell Fell Foul of Migrant Law.

Guardian (Apr. 29). At www.guardian.co.uk/uk/
2002/apr/29/books.booksnews, accessed
Feb. 17, 2010.
Gifford, J. (2008a). Preface. In L. Durrell, Pied Piper
of Lovers. Victoria, BC: ELS Editions, pp. viixvii.
Gifford, J. (2008b). Surrealisms Anglo-American
Afterlife. Nexus: The International Henry Miller
Journal, 5, 3664.
Haag, M. (2004). Alexandria: City of Memory.
London: Yale University Press.
Herbrechter, S. (1999). Lawrence Durrell,
Postmodernism and the Ethics of Alterity.
Amsterdam: Rodopi.
Hitchens, C. (1997). Hostage to History [1989].
London: Verso.
MacNiven, I. (1998). Lawrence Durrell: A Biography.
London: Faber and Faber.
Manzalaoui, M. (1962). The Curates Egg.
Etudes Anglaises, 15(3), 248260.
Orwell, G. (1937). Back to the Twenties. New English
Weekly, 12(2), 3031.
Pine, R. (1994). Lawrence Durrell: The Mindscape. New
York: St. Martins.
Skordili, B. (2002).The Case of the Missing Green
Fingerstall. In C. Alexandre-Garner (ed.), Lawrence
Durrell Revisited. Nanterre: Universite Paris X,
pp. 155166.
Sligh, C. (1998). Reading the Divergent Weave: A Note
and Some Speculations on Durrell and Cortazar.
Deus Loci: The Lawrence Durrell Journal, NS 6,
Stephanides, T. (2008). Autumn Gleanings (ed. R. Pine).
Kerkyra: Durrell School of Corfu.

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Edwardian Fiction

Edwardian fiction remains one of the least critically explored and arguably the most contradictory of rubrics in the study of British literature.
Although the chronological expanse of the category could not be clearer, falling between the
death of Victoria in 1901 and the ascension to
the throne of King George V in 1910, the term
remains elusive. For many commentators Edwardian fiction is a murky interregnum between the
robust heyday of Victorian fiction and the golden
era of modernist innovation, a formally tame
holdover and depreciation of Victorian realist
values. Yet if one includes both realist and modernist texts, the range of achievement in British
fiction in the decade and a half of the twentieth
century is extraordinary, with early peaks represented by Joseph Conrads Lord Jim (1900), Henry
Jamess The Sacred Fount (1901), Rudyard
Kiplings Kim (1901), and Samuel Butlers The
Way of All Flesh (1903), the intervening years
studded by major writing by E. M. Forster and
May Sinclair as well as Galsworthys multivolume
Forsyte Saga, H. G. Wellss series of novels addressing sex and society, and Arnold Bennetts
Five Towns trilogy, then concluding with
Lawrences Sons and Lovers (1913) and if we
follow most literary historians who extend Edwardian fiction until World War I Virginia
Woolf s The Voyage Out (1915) and Ford Madox
Fords The Good Soldier (1915), the latter a selfconsciously metahistorical meditation on the
waning days of the perfect Edwardian idyll and

the first self-consciously Edwardian fictional

work. As if to signal the passing glory of rulingclass authority, this would be the last time in
which a royal name leant itself to a period of
British literature (although the post-Edwardian
term Georgian does identify a school of poetry).
But the shifts in the Edwardian era resonated
at a far deeper level than monarchal changes
in power, while the precise markers of
Edwardianism remain intangible. That a new
historical epoch had begun is suggested by Rebecca Wests comment on the mood in 1900
during the Second Boer War. We were an old
civilization, she reflected, but we had to start
again (72). With memorably precise imprecision, Woolf heralded an ending when she famously declared that on or around December 1910
human character changed, by which she may
have meant the death of King Edward (in which
case she was signaling the end of a historical
Edwardianism) or she may have been referencing
the 1910 opening of the first post-impressionist
exhibition in London (in which case, a distinct
beginning). As this likely allusion to the invasion
of advanced French painting hints, the radical
developments of the period were not confined to
Britain and were not only literary. Nor were such
changes only artistic. And, of course, all pivotal
change did not commence in 1910 in fact, it is
possible to date several crucial intellectual transformations back at least a decade. The year 1900
saw paradigm-shifting work by the philosopher
Bergson, the quantum-theory physicist Max
Planck, and the psychoanalyst Freud, whose Interpretation of Dreams (1901) signaled an attempt

The Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Fiction General editor: Brian W. Shaffer

2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


at disseminating psychoanalytic ideas among a

broader reading public. Freuds insights dovetailed with and helped to shape much of the
increasingly psychological fiction of the era.
Einstein began publishing his mathematical
findings in the first years of the century. In much
of the fiction of the period, there is a new emphasis on psychological reality as determining daily
life. Gustav Klimt and Pablo Picasso radically
transformed painting in the centurys first decade,
in works that reflect the divide between realist and
modernist concerns so crucial in British fiction.
Indeed, Picassos early commitment to sentimental naturalism mirrored the techniques of such
novelists as Bennett, Forster, Sinclair, and Galsworthy, while his 1907 Les Demoiselles dAvignon
signaled a revolutionary turn into subjectivist
cubist aesthetics that served as an analogue to
modernist writing.
It is in part the radicalism of the arts throughout Europe in the first decade of the twentieth
century that has led many observers to accentuate
the tameness of Edwardian era fiction in the work
of novelists such as Bennett and Galsworthy. Most
critics have stressed Edwardian fictions earnestly
modest achievements, with Lascelles Abercrombie maintaining that writers of the period offered
a restrained continuation of fundamental realist
conventions but few innovations. For Richard
Ellmann, a key aspect of Edwardian fiction is a
secularist outlook that continues to echo with an
earlier eras religious perspective: The central
miracle for the Edwardians is the sudden alteration of the self (1567) while secular miracles
are evident in insistently invoked material symbols the silver in Conrads Nostromo, the golden
bowl that symbolically unifies Henry Jamess
novel, and even in the full view that actually
and metaphorically opens up for Lucy Honeychurch in Forsters A Room with a View (1908).
For Frank Kermode, the Edwardian stress on
conversion held significant global implications,
revealing a sense that one was entering a new age,
in which some transformation of the British
might be necessary if they were to maintain their
hitherto effortless superiority (36). Evident in
the English novel circa 1907, he contends, is an
increasingly felt need to abandon not only official morality but also cultural isolation (35).
From this perspective Kiplings Kim (1901),
with its white, Indian boy-hero who moves


chameleon-like through two cultures, is a paradigmatic text. Jane Eldridge Miller, meanwhile,
argues that in Edwardian fiction we can see the
social, legal, and political forces that prompt
forward-thinking novelists to abandon plots beginning in romance and ending in marriage for
narratives stressing marital discord, divorce, and
female independence. Other observers such as
Sandra Kemp, Charlotte Mitchell, and David
Trotter, in their compendious Oxford Companion
to Edwardian Fiction (1997) accentuate a new,
benevolent focus on the lives of the suburban
middle class, a group flummoxed by urban life.
A central division in fiction of 190014 lies
between popular realist novelists such as Kipling,
Galsworthy, Sinclair, and Bennett, absorbed in
topicality, and high art experimenters such as
Woolf, Conrad, Lawrence, James, and Joyce, with
their focus on the intricate inner lives of their
characters and the subjective nature of experience. Adding to this sense of divergent aspirations
in fiction, writers of modernist leanings were
appalled by the swelling audiences that hungered
for the detective stories, romance fiction, ghost
tales, and spy thrillers that gushed from publishers lists (although modernist writers also dabbled
in these supposedly low genres). The years
190010 witnessed an outpouring of bestsellers
by Marie Corelli, Conan Doyle (whose Sherlock
Holmes returns from the dead in 1905), Rider
Haggard, and the Baroness Orczy, whose Scarlet
Pimpernel (1905) became an enduringly popular
fictional account of a league of English gentlemen
who rescue aristocratic targets of the French
Revolution. Yet a stress on the tensions between
commercially successful realists and coteriedependent modernists simplifies the literary
topography of the period. The genre-crossing
Conrad wrote not only romances such as Lord
Jim and difficult modernist fiction such as Nostromo but Chance (1913) a novel that, with its
theme of female independence and its multiple
narrators, is arguably the work of the period that
most strenuously sought to merge Edwardian
and modernist preoccupations. Furthermore,
many novelists such as May Sinclair and Forster
saw themselves, if not as formal innovators, as
keenly cognizant and even supportive of their
more experimental modernist colleagues.
Sinclairs The Divine Fire (1904) dramatized the
rift between elitist art and mass-market demands

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with its tale of a London poet who refuses to

commercialize his classical verse for the marketplace. (The novel itself became a bestseller.)
The divide between the Edwardian realists and
modernist experimenters was never a simple opposition, as novelists of largely realist inclinations
drew on modernist techniques and acted as mediators for ideas basic to modernism. Bennett,
whose fiction Woolf criticized for its dated materialism, wrote appreciatively of Woolfs Jacobs
Room (1922), her first formally experimental
novel, as well as of Joyces Ulysses (1922). In
Rebecca Wests telling, Jamess The Wings of the
Dove (1902) and The Golden Bowl (1904) were
among the few novels that are on as aesthetic a
level as the worlds greatest poems, yet she was
unperturbed that the Masters novels were not
popular: They came to have their influence in
another way. They were read by most novelists
who had the ear of the general public (99100).
One common critical mistake is to see Edwardian fiction as fitfully aiming to evolve toward
modernist technique, its artistry at worst an exhausted Victorian doggedness and at best merely
semi-modernistic. Edwardian fiction was distinctive, rather, for the ways in which it registered a
variety of un- or anti-Victorian inventions, ideas,
and social attitudes encompassing all aspects of
Edwardian life, from the way individuals shopped
(the period witnessed the introduction of the
department store) to attitudes about the status
of women in the workforce, marriage, and divorce
(women in greater numbers now demanded the
vote and there was a rise in divorce cases). Even
formally conservative works of fiction were
searchingly absorbed in burning social issues. In
the Edwardian novel there is a recurring concern
with socially marginal groups, utopian political
causes, and more egalitarian social arrangements.
Many of the novels of the period were preoccupied with class conflict and cross-class romance
(Forsters Howards End, 1910), the venality of
capitalist overreaching (Conrads Nostromo,
1904), and marriage as a precarious or limited
institution, especially for women (evident in
hundreds of novels of the period). Although
Kipling and Conrad set their fictions in exotic
locales, even works of fiction set in the customary
Edwardian realm of the country house might
acknowledge a global reality. H. G. Wellss The
Passionate Friends (1913), part of a series of what

Wells called discussion novels dealing with

marriage, moved from a bucolic English countryside to the African veldt and Alpine glaciers in a
tale of a high-born gentlemans infatuation with a
politically engaged young woman.
Edwardian novels calibrated social, historical,
and political crisis in ways ignored or rendered
elliptical in such brilliantly difficult modernist
works as Nostromo or The Golden Bowl. Writers
such as Forster, Bennett, and Galsworthy demonstrated a devotion to sustaining realist conventions, bringing familiar narrative tactics to bear
on troubling social issues and to the predicaments
of marginal groups, from working-class clerks to
alienated artists. To be sure, this concern with
disenfranchised figures was not without elements
of reactionary skepticism. In Howards End, which
focuses on a fissure within Englands middle class
(between the culturally high-minded Schlegel
sisters contrasted with the crassly acquisitive
Wilcoxes), the desperate aspirations of the lowerclass bank clerk Leonard Bast cannot find
fulfillment. Even the twentieth centurys first
great working-class novel, Lawrences Sons and
Lovers (1913), with its meticulous attention to the
daily life of a Midlands family in a coalmining
town, subsumes the possibilities for working-class
solidarity under an absorption in the artistic
independence of its would-be sensualist protagonist Paul Morel. It is a fate that is mirrored in that
of Joyces proudly solitary Stephen at the conclusion of Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
(1914), with his self-exaltation into silence, exile,
and cunning. Unlike their modernist colleagues,
Edwardian novelists fret that the socially marginal
cannot be absorbed, stabilized, or gentrified into
the middle class.
More explicitly than either Victorian or modernist writers, Edwardian novelists explored the
limitations of modern marriage and the concomitant aspirations of women for full social equality,
although, as Miller notes, when it came to
womens writing it was not so much the ideology
or institution of matrimony that was targeted as
particular marriages. A double standard is forcefully accentuated in Howards End when Margaret
Schlegel, distressed that her husband will not
allow her pregnant, unmarried sister to spend a
night at his country house, accuses him of hypocrisy: You have had a mistress I forgave you. My
sister has a lover you drive her from the house.

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Do you see the connection? (300). Adultery

moved center stage as a complicating topos for
fiction, signifying a social dilemma for Edwardian
writers and for modernists a vexing problem of
epistemology, of what can and cannot be known.
The betrayal of Jamess Isabel Archer, trapped in a
prison-like marriage to a sadist in The Portrait
of a Lady (1880), gives way to the difficult to
detect, twinned adulteries of The Golden Bowl, in
which adulterers are not melodramatic sinners
like Portraits diabolical Osmond but morally
nuanced schemers. Edwardian writers such as
Galsworthy and Bennett depicted divorce not
only as a personal misfortune but as a viable
solution. In Galsworthys The Country House
(1907), a mother strenuously seeks to engineer
the divorce of her sons mistress so as to allow for
the womans marriage to her son. More shockingly, his Man of Property (1906) depicted a rape
within marriage. Yet, in keeping with the premium Edwardian fiction placed on an unavoidable
social obligation, The Forsyte Saga refused to
sentimentalize the adulterous Irene, concentrating much of its sympathetic attention on the
baffled, rejected passion of her cuckolded
husband Soames.
Cognizant of these tensions in attitudes about
the status of women, many early twentiethcentury women writers articulated a second
wave of feminist concerns that continued the
new woman experiments of the 1890s in ways
that garnered new audiences. She read all things
that dealt with modern women, observes the
narrator of the heroine of Lawrences The White
Peacock (1985 [1911], 123). In Women and Labour
(1911), the South African feminist Olive Schreiner exhorts women to embrace new technologies
so as to liberate themselves into the workforce. In
fact, a rapidly increasing number of women were
entering industry, a topic that became a popular
theme in the fiction by Edwardian women novelists and a development that threatened a once
rigid gender divide. In Violet Hunts The Workaday Woman (1906), an independent female character is described by another as one of those
women who ought to be a man (3). Modernists
exploited this new blurring of gender roles.
Jamess The Sacred Fount (1901) is a first-person
account of intrigue during a country-house weekend told by a mysterious narrator whose sex is
almost undetectable.


Edwardian novelists also explored the thematics of sexual ambiguity. In Jamess fiction,
especially, one finds a new fascination with the
indefinite, keenly observing bachelor type
Strether of The Ambassadors (1903) chief among
them. The single gentleman, so evocative of
gothic homosexual anxiety at the fin de siecle in
the fiction of Stevenson and Wilde, becomes a
more socially viable figure in the Edwardian
period. For while the homosexually inflected
aesthetic and decadent movements were dissipated after the Wilde trials of the 1890s (Forster
spoofed the epigram-dispensing aesthete in the
figure of Cecil Vyse in A Room with a View),
homosexual concerns continued to claim a hold
on the British literary imagination. The socialist
and sexual visionary Edward Carpenter had an
indelible impact on the most remarkable work of
homosexual fiction to be written in the prewar
period, Forsters Maurice, completed in 1914 but
not published until shortly after the authors
death in 1971. When his college lover marries,
the novels hero becomes disgusted with the
betrayals and snobberies of his upper-class
milieu and chooses a working-class male lover.
The bachelor-narrator of Lawrences first novel,
The White Peacock (1911), Cyril Beardsall, described as like one of Aubrey Beardsleys long
lean ugly fellows, is a more sensual descendant
of the 1890s male aesthete (249). Cyril offers
descriptions of hawthorn buds tight and hard
as pearls and tender budded trees that
shuddered and moaned, and partakes of a
homoerotic swimming idyll with the novels
handsome hero (17).
A defining feature of Edwardian fiction is a
keen consciousness of historical transition and
trauma coupled with an ambivalent attitude toward new formal experiments in fiction. Perhaps
the two most representative figures of this outlook
are Forster and Sinclair, whose fictions are poised
between two epochs in literature. Like Bennett,
Forster was especially sensitive to the tensions
between a history-cognizant realism and the incipient experimentalism of modernist writers.
With the exception of A Passage to India
(1924), all of his fiction was composed before
World War I. The humanist faith and relatively
unexperimental formal designs that permeate his
novels, coupled with a hatred of English narrowmindedness and smug class loyalty, make him the

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



quintessential Edwardian fiction writer. Although

he was a self-described Austenite, Forsters
fiction harbors experimental elements, usually in
disturbances of conventional expectations in
plot. The fifth chapter of his Cambridge novel
The Longest Journey begins with the sentence
Gerald died that afternoon (1962 [1907], 55)
a jarringly early death on a symbolically serene
Edwardian setting (a university playing field) of
what promised to be a decidedly central character.
Howards End begins with a marriage and ends with
the death of a would-be husband (Leonard Bast)
along with an out-of-wedlock birth of his and
Helen Schlegels child. That Forster was both bold
in his choice of subject matter and reliant on the
dated plot contrivances is apparent in the contradictory responses to Helens pregnancy. Edmund
Gosse complained that the book was sensational
and dirty and affected for introducing into
fiction a high-born maiden who has had a
baby (Charteris 323), while Katherine Mansfield
quipped that shecouldnever becertain if Helen had
been impregnated by Leonard Bast or his fatal
umbrella, adding that Forster never gets any
further than warming the teapot. See this teapot.
Is it not beautifully warm? Yes, but there aint going
to be no tea (81).
Like Forster, Sinclair was a novelist who occupied the literary terrain between a socially aware
(in her case, feminist) realism and the challenge of
modernist experimentation. The author of two
books on the Brontes, an admirer of T. S. Eliot
and Freud, Sinclair supported the suffrage struggle, although she later turned from political commitments to what she considered more total
dedication to literary vocation. (A highlight of
her career was her coining of the term stream of
consciousness in a consideration of new writing
in a review in The Egoist of Dorothy Richardsons
1918 modernist masterpiece Pilgrimage.) Her novels The Helpmate (1907), The Judgment of Eve,
and Kitty Tailleur (both 1908) all courted controversy with their questioning of marriage, a reflection of Sinclairs involvement in the womens
suffrage movement. Like Forster, whose postEdwardian, mystical A Passage to India is his most
formally ambitious work, Sinclairs greatest novel, Mary Olivier: A Life (1919), appeared after the
war. As with Forster, her partial embrace of
modernist technique came after a protracted apprenticeship in modernism, particularly through

the work of Joyce, to whose Portrait of the Artist

this novel is often compared.
Both popular and avant garde novelists sought
to infuse new energy into one of the great modes
of the nineteenth-century fiction, the Bildungsroman, a tradition that accentuated the bruising
encounter between personal ideals and social
constraint. H. G. Wellss Tono-Bungay (1909) and
Bennetts Clayhanger (1910) were other notable
novels of education. Wells claimed his novel
followed on DickensThackeray lines, but
while its hero, George Ponderevo, achieves a
characteristically Victorian social rise (from
servant to pharmaceutical genius to battleship
builder), the novel reflects a typically Wellsian
absorption in science in the Einstein era. Bennetts
novel contained a vivid portrait of a young man
confronting an autocratic father whose philistine
values stymie his sons ambitions. The story is
echoed in Hilda Lessways (1911), the heroine of
which is Clayhangers future wife. Compton
MacKenzies Sinister Street (1913) is a similarly
double-gendered Bildungsroman focusing on a
brother and sister. Lawrences Sons and Lovers
and Joyces Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
(1916) are novels of education featuring artists
whose conflicts with family and society push
them deeper into an isolation that is depicted as
essential for a searching male artist.
Other literary genres thrived. The theme of
filial rebellion and thwarted youth characterized
not only fiction (as in Butlers assertively antiVictorian The Way of All Flesh, 1903) but autobiographical works as well. Gosses Father and Son
(1907), a corrosively intimate autobiography,
detailed a childhood constricted by fanatical
evangelicalism. Some of the most impressive
achievements in Edwardian fiction lay in the area
of the short story, among them Joyces Dubliners
(1914) and Lawrences The Prussian Officer
(1914). Katherine Mansfields collection of stories
and sketches, In a German Pension (1911), satirized the habitues of a Bavarian watering-hole,
expressing anti-German antipathies that would
explode in the Great War, while the tales of Saki
(Hector Hugh Munro) brought an equally
malicious irony to short fiction. Max Beerbohm
almost single-handedly kept alive the comic novel
with Zuleika Dobson (1911), a satire of Oxford
men smitten with a beautiful temptress. The
Edwardian era was the great age of childrens

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


literature, reflecting a burgeoning fascination

with childhood as a separate state, epitomized in
J. M. Barries Peter Pan; or, The Boy who Wouldnt
Grow Up (first staged in 1904), a fantasy of
unending youth that proved so alluring that the
poet Rupert Brooke reported attending the performance 12 times. Other highlights of childrens
literature included Kiplings Just So Stories (1902)
and Puck of Pooks Hill (1906), E. Nesbits The
Railway Children (1906), Kenneth Grahams The
Wind in the Willows (1908), and Frances Hogdson
Burnetts The Secret Garden (1911).
After the war, modernist critics targeted
the crude materialism of Edwardian fiction as
well as its failure to register the complex interiority of fictional subjects. In Woolfs influential
essay, Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown (1923), the
term Edwardian was deployed derisively so as
to establish a viable modernist credo against
what she considered the excessively superficial
detail of novelists such as Bennett and Wells, who,
Woolf insisted, were so mired in an exhausted
realist tradition that they failed to see that human
character had fundamentally changed. Bennett
responded to Woolfs attack, although he
claimed he had never read what he called her
book on his writing. As Samuel Hynes has
observed, Bennett depicted his dispute with
Woolf in class terms, representing himself as an
unsophisticated writer who had been attacked by
the high-born Mrs. Woolf. Woolfs anti-Edwardian critique was echoed in Lawrences 1928
attack on Galsworthy, whose Man of Property
(1906) Lawrence had admired but whose
subsequent Forsyte volumes Lawrence skewered
as class-bound and nastily sentimental (1950,
Today, the word Edwardian suggests a brittle
grasp on reality, a fussily quaint faith in realism, a
refusal to surrender the Victorian past, trembling
uncertainty before enormous societal shifts, colonial adventure at the brink, and historical selfdelusion. Edwardianism conjures up cricket
matches on flawless summer afternoons, dancing
past midnight at the Ritz, and the discreet pleasures of Clubland, all accompanied by the selfconfidently nationalistic music of Edward Elgar.
In the unforgiving retrospective comprehension
of later generations, Edwardian writing evinces a
debilitating self-satisfaction, the pastoral preciosities of which are evoked in the last lines of Rupert


Brookes poem The Old Vicarage, Grantchester

(Stands the Church clock at ten to three? And
is there honey still for tea?), just as Brooke
summons up an image of iconically handsome
Edwardian youth bound for self-willed slaughter
in World War I. The title of a recent historical
account of the twentieth century by A. N. Wilson,
After the Victorians: The Decline of Britain in
the World (2005), serves as a reminder that
Edwardians were the first generation to live in
the shadow of a towering era of British global
power, technological prowess, and literary splendor. At the same time, literary critics have elevated
the reputations of several Edwardian writers,
rehabilitating Sinclair, mostly forgotten at the
time of her death in 1946, as a serious novelist,
and exonerating Kipling of the charge of simplistic jingoism.
World War I shattered Edwardian certainties.
In Wests The Return of the Soldier (1918), the first
novel to depict shell-shock, an ex-combatant
suffers psychic paralysis and is unable to accept
the country-house world he left behind. A rural
manor is also the setting of Wellss 1916
Mr. Britling Sees It Through (a bestseller on both
sides of the Atlantic), amid honeysuckle and dog
rose as weekend visitors arrive for day-long hockey matches and night-long revelry. Late in the
evening, however, the celebrated writer Britling
lies awake and broods as Germany marches into
Belgium and the perfect English idyll tumultuously ends. Britling struggles to adjust his precarious, privileged perspective to the actualities of
war: He did not really believe with his eyes
and finger-tips and backbone that murder, and
destruction, and agony on a scale monstrous
beyond precedent were going on in the same
world as that which slumbered outside the black
ivy and silver shining window-sill that framed his
peaceful view (207). The country refuge that
had served as a living, undestroyed symbol of a
true England in Howards End the definitive
Edwardian symbol had now became an emblem of anti-pastoralism, the prison-house of an
upper class that cannot grasp a new world of
change, tragedy, and loss. Well before modernist
opinion cast its unforgiving retrospective glare,
Edwardian novelists themselves offered a searing
assessment of the too innocent, fragile world
they had inherited, shaped, and finally chose to

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



SEE ALSO: London in Fiction (BIF); Modernist

Fiction (BIF); Politics and the Novel (BIF);
Queer/Alternative Sexualities in Fiction (BIF)
Batchelor, J. (1982). The Edwardian Novelists. London:
Bergonzi, B. (1973). The Turn of a Century: Essays on
Victorian and Modern English Literature. New York:
Barnes and Noble.
Bloom, H. (ed.) (2005). Edwardian and Georgian
Fiction. New York: Chelsea House.
Charteris, E. (1931). The Life and Letters of Sir Edmund
Gosse. London: Heinemann.
Ellmann, R. (1990). The Two Edwards [1959]. In A
Long the River Run. New York: Random House.
Forster, E. M. (1962). The Longest Journey [1907].
New York: Vintage.
Forster, E. M. (1975). Howards End [1910]. London:
Hunt, Violet. (1906). The Workaday Woman. London:
T. Werner Laurie.
Hunter, J. (1982). Edwardian Fiction. Cambridge, MA:
Harvard University Press.

Hynes, S. (1967). The Edwardian Turn of Mind.

Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Kemp, S., Mitchell, C., & Trotter, D. (1997). An Oxford
Companion to Edwardian Fiction. New York: Oxford
University Press.
Kermode, F. (1983). The English Novel, circa 1907. In
The Art of Telling. Cambridge, MA: Harvard
University Press.
Lawrence, D. H. (1950). John Galsworthy. In Selected
Essays. New York: Penguin.
Lawrence, D. H. (1985). The White Peacock [1911].
Oxford University Press.
Mansfield, K. (2006). Journals. London: Persephone.
Miller, J. E. (1994). Rebel Women: Feminism,
Modernism and the Edwardian Novel. Chicago:
University of Chicago Press.
Trotter, D. (1993). The English Novel in History,
18951920. London: Routledge.
Wells, H. G. (1986). Mr. Britling Sees It Through [1911].
London: Hogarth.
West, R. (1986). 1900. New York: Crescent.
Wilson, A. N. (2005). After the Victorians: The Decline of
Britain in the World. New York: Farrar, Straus and
Woolf, V. (1923). Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown. London:

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Fantasy Fiction

The fantasy novel necessarily violates one or more

principles of realism, generally through magic.
Its genesis in the nineteenth century arises from
a reaction against the tenets of the age of reason
and the mechanization of the industrial revolution, both of which combined to deny any
numinous view of the world and to threaten its
ecological health. The rise of fantasy in the mid
twentieth century, reflected in the success of J. R.
R. Tolkiens Lord of the Rings and C. S. Lewiss
Chronicles of Narnia, is a continuation of this
reaction against a worldview based solely on
reason and science. More recently, the popularity
of Philip Pullmans His Dark Materials trilogy
(2001) testifies to a need for a view of life that
endows it with moral and organic significance.
J. K. Rowlings Harry Potter novels (19972007)
and films are credited not only with bringing
a new readership to fantasy but also with inspiring
a whole generation of readers.
In The Fantasy Literature of England Colin
Manlove argues that British fantasys primary
characteristics are its great diversity and the pleasure of making something new and remarkable
(1999, 191). The twentieth-century British and
Irish fantasy novel finds its roots in the earlier
literature, history, folklore, myths, and geography
of the British Isles as well as in the names of places
and people derived from Anglo-Saxon, Celtic,
Latin, and other languages and heritages. Central
to much British fantasy fiction is the Matter of
Britain: the collected legends and tales that deal

with the early history of Britain and different

branches of the Arthurian corpus. Medieval
romances, particularly Sir Thomas Malorys
Morte dArthur, provide such traditional elements
as the quest, the journey to a magic land where
time often runs more slowly than in the primary
world, the importance of landscape, and the
polysemous narrative, all of which are also strongly present in Edmund Spensers Faerie Queene
(15906). John Milton in Paradise Lost (1667) and
Paradise Regained (1671) created a massive Christian cosmogony from which later writers would
borrow. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the supernatural gothic works of Horace
Walpole, Matthew G. Lewis, Charles Maturin,
and others contributed further conventions to
modern fantasy. In the nineteenth century early
forms of modern fantasy penned by authors such
as Mary Shelley, William Morris, George MacDonald, and John Ruskin proved influential. In
the early twentieth century, works such as those by
the Decadent writer Edgar Jepson (18631938),
childrens fantasy by A. A. Milne (18821956), the
adventures of Allan Quatermain by H. Rider
Haggard (18561925), and Hope Mirrleess
Lud-in-the-Mist (1926) established a foundation
for British and Irish fantasy upon which others in
more recent decades have built.
The predominant twentieth-century fantasy
is the quest story, a stepped narrative in which
the hero or heroine, along with a group of
companions, goes on a journey of increasingly
dangerous and challenging adventures and
foes, culminating in a wasteland symbolic of
death. Many take place in a magical secondary

The Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Fiction General editor: Brian W. Shaffer

2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



world while others are portal fantasies. The

monomythic protagonist is often a common
person, such as Dorothy in Frank Baums Oz
narratives, who must fulfill a larger purpose, often
adumbrated by an ancient prophecy, by making
crucial choices and acting within an ethical framework while undergoing a series of tests. During
a grueling voyage across an unfamiliar and vast
landscape, quest fantasy heroes acquire magical
talismans, guide figures, protectors, and unexpected aid or information as they approach
a malefic power, or dark lord. After the final
conflict, from which the protagonists emerge
triumphant, often with the help of their companions, they return home to their communities.
However, in addition to the quest structure many
other subgenres, such as sword and sorcery,
animal, humorous, posthumous, commodified,
and urban, expand the fantasy narrative (see Clute
& Grant 1999 and Stableford 2005).
Perhaps the first important fantasist of the
twentieth century is the prolific Irish writer Lord
Dunsany (Edward John Plunkett, 18781957),
whose early contributions to science fiction and
fantasy appear in five collections of short stories:
The Gods of Pegana (1905), Time and the Gods
(1906), The Sword of Welleran and Other Stories
(1908), The Fortress Unvanquishable, Save for
Sacnoth (1910), and A Dreamers Tales (1910).
Dunsany, who greatly influenced Tolkien and
Lewis, drew heavily on such nineteenth- century
writers as Edgar Allan Poe, William Morris,
George MacDonald, William Butler Yeats, and
Celtic mythology and folklore. Various scholars
argue that in Dunsanys work lie the foundations
of much modern fantasy: the development of
a highly articulated secondary world, a celebration of pastoral life, criticism of modern technology, an imaginative twist on the quest structure,
and an intimate attention to names, details, and
language. The King of Elflands Daughter (1924) is
a watershed event in the history of fantasy, and
other of Dunsanys novels (The Charwomans
Shadow, 1926; The Curse of the Wise Woman,
1933) continued to make innovations within the
J. R. R. Tolkien (18921973), the preeminent
fantasist of the twentieth century and a scholar of
medieval languages at Oxford, asserted two guiding principles behind the creation of his tales of
Middle-earth: the desire to create an English

mythology, and the desire to delve into this

mythology through philology since Tolkien
believed that words contain stories and
glimpses of lost peoples, times, and places. The
Silmarillion (1977) and the other volumes of
The History of Middle-earth relate the creation
of Middle-earth and its history, sourced in the
Finnish Kalevala, Norse mythology, Anglo-Saxon elegiac poetry, and various other medieval
texts. Middle-earth offers an expansive tapestry
of English geography from the pastoral Shire,
which resembles the bucolic west Midlands of
Tolkiens youth; to the great woodlands of the
Old Forest and Fangorn, reminiscent of British
primeval forests; to the wonder and call of
the sea, so central to the literature and life of
the island nations.
The Hobbit (1937), while a childrens book, is
a model secondary world quest fantasy which
offers the structural plan for Tolkiens epic The
Lord of the Rings (19545). Each has as its hero
a hobbit, a figure of the average person, and begins
in a peaceful and stable setting, the Shire. Bilbo
and Frodo must each leave home and pursue
a quest, which begins with the simplest of challenges and enemies and leads to others more
difficult and threatening. Each acquires a guide
(Gandalf), an alter ego (Gollum), and various
companions; and each makes difficult choices
that will affect the fate of all involved. Most
significantly, both Bilbo and Frodo fail in their
attempts to fulfill their quests. Major tensions
explored in these narratives include knowledge
versus ignorance, activity versus passivity, generosity versus greed, the communitarian spirit
versus self-gratification and isolation, courage
versus cowardice, and individualism versus
corporate facelessness.
Much the same could be said of C. S. Lewis
(18981963), Tolkiens friend and fellow member
of the Inklings, an Oxford literary group that also
included Charles Williams and Owen Barfield.
Where Tolkien drew mainly from myth and
language, Lewis is one of the great Christian
apologists of modern fantasy. Best known for the
portal fantasies that make up the Chronicles of
Narnia and the Ransom trilogy, a science-fantasy
amalgam, Lewis, like Tolkien, was an important
scholar, the author of such studies on medieval
and Renaissance literature as The Allegory of Love
(1936) and The Discarded Image (1964).

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


The center of Lewiss Narnia is Aslan the lion,

a wisdom and Christ figure that links the various
novels in the series and that provides the denouement of most of the novels. The Lion, the Witch
and the Wardrobe (1950) establishes the model
for the adventures that follow. World War II has
begun, and the four Pevensie children are evacuated from London to escape the Blitz. In the old
country house where they are sheltering, they fall
through a portal in a wardrobe to Narnia, which is
besieged by a seemingly endless winter caused by
the White Witch. Thus, the disturbance afflicting
the primary world is mirrored in a symbolic
fashion in the secondary one. The children begin
a quest through a magical fantasyscape to help
their friends and to end the unnatural winter.
During their travels, they acquire guides, gifts of
magical objects, and knowledge as they meet with
an array of magical and mythical creatures: talking animals, dwarves, tree nymphs, and even
Father Christmas. Edmund, the younger boy, falls
prey to the White Witch and must be rescued by
Aslan, who sacrifices himself but is resurrected
according to an ancient prophecy. In the final
battle, he reappears to turn the tide and leave
Narnia to heal under the rule of the Pevensies.
After many years, they stumble back into the
wardrobe to find that almost no time has passed
and that they are children once again in their own
Prince Caspian (1951) takes place a year later in
the primary world but centuries later in the
secondary, reflecting the fantasy convention that
time runs at a different pace in the secondary
world, and the Pevensies must help Caspian
recapture the prosperity of their past rule. Aslan
reappears to guide the heroes but becomes a more
elusive and mystical character. The other five
books in the series (The Voyage of the Dawn
Treader, The Silver Chair, The Horse and His Boy,
The Magicians Nephew, The Last Battle) introduce other children from the primary world who
pursue their own quests as Lewis explores the
greater geography and history of Narnia.
Another variation in the fantasy novel comes
from Mervyn Peake (191168) in the Gormenghast Trilogy of Titus Groan (1946), Gormenghast
(1950), and Titus Alone (1959), which lacks any
actual magic and takes place in a world tangential
to ours. Peake, an important illustrator of such
works as Alice in Wonderland and Treasure Island,


spent part of his childhood in China, and biographers have noted the influence of the walled
city of Peking in Gormenghast, the massive labyrinthine castle. Although populated by a lengthy
list of dramatis personae, all linked closely to
Gormenghast, the trilogys primary focus on
description, not on sequential action, reflects
Peakes fascination with visual depictions of place
as its protagonist, Titus Groan, struggles to establish his rule. While it contains elements of gothic
conflict and the quest/exile story, the narrative is
often difficult to follow, inconsistent, and often
allusively allegorical (names such as Sourdust,
Sepulchrave, Flay, and Swelter predominate),
even if it is an imaginative tour-de-force compounded of the sublime, the surreal, and the
Another contemporary of Tolkien and Lewis
was T. H. White (190664), whose Once and
Future King (1958) retells Malorys Morte
dArthur and is the basis of the musical and film
Camelot (1967). The book has a convoluted
publication history but is composed of three
earlier works written over the previous two decades: The Sword in the Stone (1938), The Queen
of Air and Darkness/The Witch in the Wood (1939),
The Ill-Made Knight (1940), and The Candle in the
Wind (1958); there is also another conclusion,
The Book of Merlyn (1977), published posthumously. The first book recounts the education
of Arthur, called Wart, under the tutelage of
Merlin, who is aging backwards toward infancy,
and concerns Warts transformation into various
animals and the lessons he learns about
people and power. The second book introduces
Arthur as king and many of the conflicts within
the Arthurian canon with Morgause and Mordred, the Knights of Orkney, and the sundering of
the Round Table. The third recounts Whites
version of the LancelotGuenevere tale. The Candle in the Wind concludes with Arthur, now weary
of war and its destruction, preparing for the final
battle of Camlann, though the text does not relate
the battle or its aftermath.
An Irish fantasy fictionist of note, Morgan
Llywelyn (b. 1937), who wrote more than 30
novels, began primarily as a historical novelist.
It was only in the 1990s that she started to write in
a fantasy vein for children and young adults. In
Celtic fantasies such as The Horse Goddess (1983),
The Isles of the Blest (1989), Finn Mac Cool (1994),

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



and Red Branch (1989), Llywelyn retells the stories

in The Mabinogion by mixing history and Celtic
myth and featuring figures such as Brian Boru,
Cuchulain, Grania, druids, and Viking warriors.
Similarly, Susan Cooper (b. 1935) re-envisions
the Arthurian tale through a Celtic prism in The
Dark is Rising sequence: Over Sea, Under Stone
(1965), The Dark is Rising (1973), Greenwitch
(1974), The Grey King (1975), and Silver on the
Tree (1977).
Other prominent fantasy writers have injected
humor into their novels. Diana Wynne Joness
(b. 1934) output cannot be categorized except by
its experimental and whimsical nature. The Dalemark Quartet is a conventional quest fantasy; the
Chrestomanci sequence, however, takes place in
nineteenth-century England and a world parallel
to it. The two novel series Howls Moving Castle
(1986) and Castle in the Air (1990) play with the
standards of the portal fantasy while Archers
Goon (1984) might be considered a hybrid
science-fantasy. Another humorous fantasist is
Terry Pratchett (b. 1948), whose Discworld series
begins with The Colour of Magic (1983) and The
Light Fantastic (1986) and encompasses more
than 25 titles that satirize and undercut the standard elements of quest and sword and sorcery
The darker side of fantasy appears in the Elric of
Melnibone series of Michael Moorcock (b. 1939),
a massively prolix writer associated with the rise
of New Wave science fiction in the 1960s and the
editor of the British science fiction magazine New
Worlds. Moorcock here revises the tenets of sword
and sorcery fantasy: instead of being a decent
average person, the protagonist Elric is a weak
and tortured albino who is dominated by his
magical sword, Stormbringer (which drinks the
souls of those it slays), and who is unable to
remain anything but an untrustworthy loner.
Elric becomes the model for similarly conflicted
heroes such as Corum, Hawkmoon, and Von Bek
in Moorcocks multiverse.
Another grim voice comes from Robert Holdstock (19482009), who earned an MSc in medical zoology and whose most renowned work, the
Mythago Cycle consisting of Mythago Wood
(1984), Lavondyss (1988), The Hollowing (1993),
and Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn (1997) is
informed by the magical properties of the English
heartwood. In Ryhope Wood the past lives

through the creation of myth-imagoes generated

by the collective unconscious of those who can
find their way into the wood. Mythago Wood
introduces Steven Huxley, who has just returned
home from World War II. Gradually he becomes
entranced by the wood and begins to explore it as
he searches for Guiwenneth, a mythago he has
raised. As he passes through portals within the
wood, he encounters a savage world peopled with
beings from English prehistory and history: Neolithic tribes, Saxon peasants, Norman knights,
Robin Hood figures, and traditional nature figures. Ryhope is a mindscape, limited physically to
a square mile, but within its mythic borders
without physical bounds.
As the twenty-first century begins, authors such
as Neal Gaiman (b. 1960) and Susannah Clarke
(b. 1961) look back to older models and works to
write transformative fantasies, while others such
as China Mieville (b. 1972) and the New Weird
movement open new venues and worlds for readers of fantasy fiction.
SEE ALSO: Childrens and Young Adult
Fiction (BIF); Childrens and Young Adult
Fiction (WF); Fantasy, Science Fiction, and
Speculative Fiction (WF); Science Fiction (BIF);
Speculative Fiction (AF)
Attebery, B. (1992). Strategies of Fantasy. Bloomington:
Indiana University Press.
Brooke-Rose, C. (1981). The Rhetoric of the Unreal:
Studies in Narrative and Structure, especially of
the Fantastic. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Clute, J., & Grant, J. (eds.), (1999). The Encyclopedia of
Fantasy, 2nd edn. London: Orbit.
Dunsany, Lord A. (1905). The Gods of Pegana. London:
Elkin Matthews.
Dunsany, Lord A. (1924). The King of Elflands
Daughter. London: Putnams.
Holdstock, R. (1984). Mythago Wood. London:
Hume, K. (1984). Fantasy and Mimesis: Responses to
Reality in Western Literature. New York: Methuen.
Irwin, W. R. (1975). The Game of the Impossible.
Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
Jackson, R. (1981). Fantasy: The Literature of
Subversion. New York: Methuen.
Jones, D. W. (1986). Howls Moving Castle. New York:

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Jones, D. W. (2006). The Tough Guide to Fantasyland:

The Essential Guide to Fantasy Travel [1996], rev. edn.
London: Puffin.
Lewis, C. S. (1998). The Chronicles of Narnia. London:
Llywelyn, M. (1983). The Horse Goddess. London:
Manlove, C. N. (1975). Modern Fantasy: Five Studies.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Manlove, C. N. (1983). The Impulse of
Fantasy Literature. Kent, OH: Kent State
University Press.
Manlove, C. N. (1999). The Fantasy Literature of
England. New York: St. Martins.
Mendlesohn, F. (2008). Rhetorics of Fantasy.
Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press.
Moorcock, M. (1972). Elric of Melnibone. London:
Moorcock, M. (1987). Wizardry and Wild Romance:
A Study of Epic Fantasy. London: Gollancz.
Peake, M. (1946). Titus Groan. London: Eyre and
Peake, M. (1950). Gormenghast. London: Eyre and
Peake, M. (1959). Titus Alone. London: Eyre and
Pratchett, T. (1983). The Colour of Magic. Gerrards
Cross: Smythe.
Prickett, S. (2005). Victorian Fantasy, 2nd edn. Waco,
TX: Baylor University Press.
Pullman, P. (2001). His Dark Materials Trilogy
[19952000]. London: Scholastic.
Rabkin, E. (1976). The Fantastic in Literature.
Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Schlobin, R. (ed.), (1982). The Aesthetics of Fantasy
Literature and Art. Notre Dame, IN: University of
Notre Dame Press.
Stableford, B. (2005). Historical Dictionary of Fantasy
Literature. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow.
Swinfen, A. (1984). The Defence of Fantasy. London:
Routledge and Kegan Paul.
Todorov, T. (1973). The Fantastic: A Structural
Approach to a Literary Genre (trans. R. Howard).
Cleveland: Press of Case Western Reserve
Tolkien, J. R. R. (1937). The Hobbit. London: Allen
and Unwin.
Tolkien, J. R. R. (1965). The Lord of the Rings. 3 vols.
New York: Ballantine.
Tolkien, J. R. R. (1966). On Fairy Stories. In The Tolkien
Reader. New York: Ballantine, pp. 3399.
Tolkien, J. R. R. (1977). The Silmarillion. Boston:
Houghton Mifflin.
White, T. H. (1958). The Once and Future King.
London: Collins.


Yolen, J. (1981). Touch Magic: Fantasy, Faerie, and

Folklore in the Literature of Childhood. New York:

Farrell, J. G.

James Gordon Farrell was born in Liverpool,

England on January 25, 1935, and grew up in
Lancashire and Ireland. He began writing at an
early age, contributing to the school magazine
while at Rossall School in Lancashire, and the
Oxford Opinion as an undergraduate at Brasenose
College, Oxford.
In 1963 Farrells first novel, A Man from Elsewhere, was published by New Authors, an imprint
of the Hutchinson Group, to generally favorable
reviews. Set in the summer of 1961, the book
portrays the intellectual disillusionment of the
postwar communist journalist Sayer, sent on
a mission to discredit the elderly and dying Regan,
a famous writer who had previously defected from
the Communist Party. Although Farrell later disowned this book, which has strong echoes of
Camus and Sartre, it is a good first novel, deserving of critical attention in its own right, as well as
in the context of Farrells larger oeuvre. His
second novel, The Lung (1965), published two
years later, is a Beckettian black comedy which
draws on Farrells own experiences in an iron
lung. The failed hero of the novel, Martin Sands,
temporarily confined by polio to a hospital, confronts the misunderstandings of his past, lost
opportunities, and the question of his own sanity.
On the strength of his first two novels Farrell was
awarded a Harkness Fellowship in 1966 and spent
the next two years in New York.
Farrells third novel, A Girl in the Head (1967) is
an under-appreciated masterpiece . . . at least the
equal of the magnificent fiction which came after
it (Ackerley 26). It recounts the bizarre adventures of Boris Slattery during one summer as he
wanders around Maidenhair Bay, musing on the
past and the apparently random contingencies
that caused him to alight from a train in this
seaside town many years earlier.
In the fiction that followed A Girl in the Head
Farrell moved away from the contemporary

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



settings of his first three novels to the past and to

a historical form of the novel he would make his
own. Troubles (1970), which won the Geoffrey
Faber Memorial Prize, The Siege of Krishnapur
(1973), which won the Booker Prize, and The
Singapore Grip (1980) commonly referred to as
Farrells Empire Trilogy are the novels that
brought him commercial success in the 1970s and
the works on which his critical reputation has
largely rested since. Each is concerned with
a particular moment in the decline of the British
Empire the Irish Civil War of 191921, the
Indian Mutiny of 1857, and the fall of Singapore
to the Japanese in 1942 and explores the effects
of those events on the characters who are caught
up in the course of history.
Troubles tells the tragicomic tale of Major
Brendan Archers extended visit to the decaying
Majestic Hotel after World War I where, having
traveled to Ireland in order to claim his bride,
Angela, he finds himself caught up in the Irish
struggle for independence and a witness to the
collapse of British rule in Ireland. In The Siege of
Krishnapur Farrell turned to another significant
moment in the decline of the British Empire,
which chronologically precedes Troubles. The
action of this novel, set during the Indian Mutiny of 18578, takes place in the fictitious town
of Krishnapur where a group of British administrators, members of the local military garrison,
and their families, are besieged in the Residency
compound. Under the command of the Collector, Mr. Hopkins, they hold out for three
months against repeated sepoy attacks before
a relief force arrives to rescue them. Farrell
shows that while the British may have survived
this particular skirmish, they have already begun
to lose the ideological war that would continue
for almost a century, before being brought to a
sharp conclusion by the fall of Singapore in
1942. In The Singapore Grip, through the concerns of Matthew Webb, who arrives in Singapore having inherited his fathers business interests, and the Major (from Troubles, who returns
as a minor character in this novel), considerable
emphasis is placed on the way Blackett and
Webb Ltd. treat their native workforce, and.
more generally, the way the colonial enterprise
exploits its colonies. In this final novel of his
Empire Trilogy, the naive zeal that had characterized the representatives of the Empire in The

Siege of Krishnapur and Troubles gives way to the

ruthless economic exploitation of businessmen
like Walter Blackett, who, unlike the Collector
or the Major, are immune to the suffering of the
Farrell accidentally drowned in 1979, at the age
of 44, while fishing off rocks near the home he had
recently bought on the Sheeps Head peninsula on
Irelands west coast. He left an unfinished novel,
which was prepared for publication under the title
The Hill Station (1981) by his friend John Spurling. Though evidently sketched on a smaller scale
than the three volumes of his Empire Trilogy,
this novel, set in Simla, the summer capital of the
British Raj, in 1871, would undoubtedly have
brought fresh dimensions to Farrells treatment
of Empire. Instead, Farrells early death robbed
contemporary fiction of one of its most promising
SEE ALSO: Colonial Fiction (BIF); Historical
Fiction (BIF); Irish Fiction (BIF)


Ackerley, C. (1999). A Fox in the Dongeon: The
Presence of Malcolm Lowry in the Early
Fiction of J. G. Farrell. In R. J. Crane (ed.), J. G.
Farrell: The Critical Grip. Dublin: Four Courts,
pp. 1935.
Binns, R. (1986). J. G. Farrell. London: Methuen.
Crane, R. J. (ed.) (1999). J. G. Farrell: The Critical Grip.
Dublin: Four Courts.
Crane, R. J., & Livett, J. (1997). Troubled Pleasures: The
Fiction of J. G. Farrell. Dublin: Four Courts.
Farrell, J. G. (1963). A Man from Elsewhere. London:
New Authors.
Farrell, J. G. (1965). The Lung. London: Hutchinson.
Farrell, J. G. (1967). A Girl in the Head. London:
Jonathan Cape.
Farrell, J. G. (1970). Troubles. London: Jonathan Cape.
Farrell, J. G. (1973). The Siege of Krishnapur. London:
Weidenfeld and Nicolson.
Farrell, J. G. (1978). The Singapore Grip. London:
Weidenfeld and Nicolson.
Farrell, J. G. (1981). The Hill Station: An Unfinished
Novel and an Indian Diary, with two appreciations
and a personal memoir (ed. J. Spurling). London:
Weidenfeld and Nicolson.
Greacen, L. (1999). J. G. Farrell: The Making of a Writer.
London: Bloomsbury.
McLeod, J. (2007). J. G. Farrell. Tavistock: Northcote

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Morahan, C. (dir.) (1988). Troubles. London Weekend

Prusse, M. C. (1997). Tommorrow is Another Day: The
Fictions of James Gordon Farrell. T
ubingen: Francke.

Feminist Fiction

The term feminist fiction is extremely difficult

to delimit or define. It can mean the work of
a woman writer who identifies herself and her
work as feminist; it can refer to fiction that
directly challenges the social and political status
quo, particularly as it affects womens access to
opportunity. Equally, it can be a term applied
to work by a writer who either does not declare her
politics or denies her feminist credentials, but is
read by critics to be feminist in intention, either
at the time of publication or retrospectively.
Feminist fiction is associated primarily with the
emergence of the second wave of feminism (or
womens liberation movement) in the mid-1960s,
when the term was used with critical approbation;
while not used extensively in the earlier part of the
twentieth century, the term also applies to earlier
writers, especially those aligned with the suffrage
and other left-leaning political movements, which
were producing work that could be seen to be
politically aligned with the struggle for womens
rights and for equal access for women to education and the professions.
The notion that literature is inherently political is carried through into second-wave thinking,
and critics such as Judith Fetterley, in The Resisting Reader (1978), insist upon this. Although
Fetterleys text is largely about reading maleauthored texts against the grain, the model of
reading as a political act transfers to criticism
itself so that the feminist critic becomes deeply
self-conscious about her place in the academy
and very much aware of her responsibility to read
and write about womens writing from discovering neglected classics of previous centuries to
providing a model with which to analyze contemporary literature. From this perspective feminist fiction can be regarded as being in the eye
of the beholder the critic or general reader
rather than being defined by the specific intentions of the author.


The most famous British feminist writer of the

first half of the twentieth century is undoubtedly
Virginia Woolf. Her most overt feminist statements on the social and moral position of women
are to be found not in her fiction, however, but in
her essays, A Room of Ones Own (1929), a series of
lectures she delivered to female students at Girton
College, Cambridge, and Three Guineas (1938).
At the heart of A Room of Ones Own is the
argument that women must have money and
a room of their own if they are to write at all;
this materialist analysis of the process of creativity
insists that whether or not one can write is
a political matter as much as it is about talent
or creative drive. Further, Woolfs description
of both the literal and metaphorical exclusion of
women from seats of learning comprises an early
critique of the ways in which ideologies of male
dominance and privilege operate to reinforce
perceptions that women make lesser writers. Anticipating the work of later critics such as Mary
Ellmann, she identifies the ways in which women
writers work is often denigrated as trivial or
narrow in scope because it often focuses on the
domestic and personal. Looked at another way,
given the history of social and ideological constraints upon women, the association of womens
writing in particular with the domestic and with
personal relationships is entirely logical and inevitable. From this perspective, feminist critics
examined the positive and political impact of
women writers scrutiny of the domestic, married,
and family life.
Rebecca West, Woolfs contemporary and the
author of the novel The Return of the Soldier
(1918), identified with the staunchly feminist
voice in A Room of Ones Own. West, herself
a contributor to the feminist weekly The Freewoman (191112), was profoundly influenced by
the suffrage movement; other writers in this camp
include Vera Brittain, a novelist and activist,
perhaps best known for her memoir Testament
of Youth (1933), and Winifred Holtby. Other
writers of the period, among them Storm Jameson, were passionately socialist and pacifist in
their politics, and their work was profoundly
affected by their generations experience of World
War I.
Radclyffe Halls The Well of Loneliness (1928)
was radical in its assertion of the biological origins
of lesbian sexuality, and the novel was a plea for

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



acceptance of the invert, a categorization of the

homosexual designated in the sexology of KrafftEbing, which Hall embraces in order to portray
Stephen Gordon, her central character, as essentially a male soul trapped inside a womans body,
who is given masculine physical characteristics
and desires for feminine women, rather than
inverts like herself. Although neither a radical
nor a political text in other ways, the book was
prosecuted for obscenity in its year of publication,
a ban that lasted for 20 years in Britain. A landmark lesbian text, though rarely studied now, it
contributed to a significant lesbian tradition in
British writing.
Virginia Woolf had a profound impact on the
development of feminist criticism, and on the
direction of feminist fiction in the twentieth
century. By the time feminisms second wave had
begun to filter into the academy, critics recognized that womens writing was still deemed to be
generally of lesser aesthetic quality and as having
a narrower, more parochial focus than mens
writing, and this encouraged the tendency to
engage with womens writing in its own terms,
as a category in its own right. Womens fiction
courses increased in popularity at universities and
authors were correspondingly given more critical
attention than they might have received in broader contemporary fiction courses, with a number
of positive effects, including the identification of
recurring tendencies and themes in writing by
women, which prompted a swell in critical monographs and anthologies devoted to such topics. In
the 1970s and 1980s, establishing such courses
and generating feminist readings was regarded as
a political act in itself, a redressing of perceived
patriarchal imbalances in the study of English
literature in the academy. Feminist presses, such
as Virago (established in 1973) and the Womens
Press (established in 1978) provided rich pickings
for such study; and while their feminist intentions
did not guarantee those of the author, the practice
of feminist criticism became more sophisticated
and influential in the context of literary studies as
a whole.
Angela Carter is an example of one writer who
began her career just before the rise of feminist
politics in the UK, but who seemed to be nourished by this wave of activism. Always happy to
acknowledge the politics implicit in her fiction,
Carter viewed her challenge as to communicate

her feminism in such a way as not to compromise

her creative energies. Carters strategies of appropriation, subversion, and narrative experimentalism have been revealed to be particularly effective
and provocative a famous example is her
rewriting of popular fairy tales in The Bloody
Chamber (1979a). Carter was in some ways ahead
of her time, particularly in her deployment of
devices associated with magical realism, a form
that had not been much in evidence in AngloAmerican writing at the time.
Carter is also a useful exemplar of the conflicts
and pitfalls in dubbing any writer a feminist
writer, in that her book The Sadeian Woman
(1979b), which explores the erotics of Sades work
in an attempt to appropriate positive sexual
expression for women, landed her at the center
of heated pornography debates during the 1980s
on both sides of the Atlantic. Some feminist
commentators of the time saw her work as
a betrayal of feminism, particularly in its portrayal
of violence against women, despite her own
political and ideological declarations.
The anthology Tales I Tell My Mother (1978),
by Zoe Fairbairns, Sara Maitland, Valerie Miner,
Michele Roberts, and Michelene Wandor, was
a project dedicated to producing feminist short
stories that grew out of their own writing collective and is an example of one way feminist strategies are used to creative as well as political ends.
Michele Roberts, who began her writing career
with the publication of the novel A Piece of the
Night (1978), is an author whose feminism comes
through the pages of her books as she explores
images of sisterhood, sexuality, domesticity, and
religion. More recently she has offered her own
ironic intervention into the genre of chicklit in
Reader, I Married Him (2005). Pat Barker, who
began her writing career at around the same time
as Roberts, was encouraged by Angela Carter to
write fiction; and while she is best known for her
Regeneration trilogy (and won a Booker Prize for
the final novel in the series, The Ghost Road,
1995), her early novels were gritty socialist-realist
accounts of womens lives set in an urban northern English landscape. Union Street (1982) is
a series of connecting stories rather than a novel
per se, covering womens experiences from rape
and childbirth to prostitution, illness, and
death across the ages; women in this work are
portrayed as trapped within their bodies and

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


within a patriarchal system that assigns them the

role of care-giver in an environment where material means of support are always unstable and
Other women writers feared that the category
of woman or feminist writer would pigeonhole or
even ghettoize them. Doris Lessing is a notable
example of a novelist who disliked the retrospective association of her Golden Notebook (1962)
with feminism; other important writers such as
Iris Murdoch also disavowed feminism, even
though in her case her admiration for Simone de
Beauvoir rendered her disavowal questionable.
Fay Weldons early work showed a marked engagement with the themes of early second-wave
feminism and yet she has often been quoted in the
broadsheet press as being critical of feminism;
novels such as The Life and Loves of a She-Devil
(1983) both challenge and recreate the ideal feminine form in Ruths attempt to refashion herself
in the likeness of her husbands lover. Big Women
(1997) is in part a roman-a-clef: its description of
the rise of the feminist publishing house Medusa
has clear links with the history of the Virago Press.
The experience of otherness or displacement in
Britain and Ireland is recorded by many writers of
diverse ethnicities and backgrounds. Irish writer
Edna OBriens first novel The Country Girls
(1960) described the struggles during the 1950s
of two rural Irish girls who, after a spell in
a convent boarding school, end up in Dublin
eager to experience life. Its sexually charged content and irreverence toward the Roman Catholic
Church was enough to get it, and the subsequent
two books in the trilogy, banned, and even burnt,
in 1960s Ireland. Buchi Emechetas work seems to
echo her own experiences as a Nigerian woman
bringing up a large family on an estate in urban
Britain, particularly in her semi-autobiographical
In the Ditch (1972). Suniti Namjoshis Feminist
Fables (1981) offers a feminist fusion of tales from
numerous cultural sources, while her Conversations of Cow (1985), in a magic-realist vein, details
the travels of an Indian lesbian named Suniti and
a Brahmini lesbian cow. Joan Rileys The Unbelonging (1985) is a starkly realist novel that
details fatherdaughter incest when an 11-yearold girl is transported from Kingston, Jamaica to
live with a parent she barely knows. Comedian,
actor, and writer Meera Syals first novel, Anita
and Me (1996), in common with Emecheta, uses


semi-autobiographical sources to describe the life

of a young Asian girl growing up in the Midlands.
Landmark lesbian publications from the latter
part of the twentieth century include Jeanette
Wintersons Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit
(1985), which follows the childhood and early
adulthood of Jeanette, whose confidence and
determination to thrive beyond her domineering
mother and a suffocating religious upbringing
provide an antidote to more traditional coming-out stories. Scottish author Ellen Galford,
meanwhile, rewrote and embellished history in
novels such as Moll Cutpurse (1984) to create
a lesbian historical romance. At the centurys end,
Sarah Waterss Tipping the Velvet (1999) offered
a queering of the increasingly popular neoVictorian novel genre in its account of young
oyster girl Nan Kings love for a male impersonator and her subsequent adventures in 1890s London. In common with Galford, she inserted the
figure of the lesbian into historical writing as
a way of asserting her presence, however suppressed, in history. The challenges these latter
texts offer to perceptions of lesbian identity lend
themselves to feminist, and lesbian-feminist,
readings and interpretation.
Asking the question Are Womens Novels
Feminist Novels? Rosalind Coward (1980)
associates feminist novels most specifically with
the bestselling consciousness-raising novels
produced in the US and mainly published during
the 1970s, although she writes with some skepticism about the fusion of politics and entertainment in such books. Writing in 1980, Coward
does not see feminist politics as coexisting with
books selling thousands of copies to people who
might be reading them for any number of reasons;
in this critique she raises the issue of purpose and
intent, and also implicitly reveals a bias toward
high literary art. Latterly, readerly engagement
and interpretation have come to the fore, and the
strict boundaries between high and low literature
have softened to show the numerous ways in
which womens writing can negotiate feminist
As feminist criticism matured so it widened its
purview to that of genre and popular forms of
writing: from being openly dismissive of massmarket forms such as the romance, critics reevaluated such texts from the point of view of
audience intervention and appropriation. More

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



overtly feminist writers also intervened in historically male genres, such as science fiction and
crime fiction; and in creating a womans voice,
often through central female characters, the
boundaries of such genres have shifted to encompass the dominant concerns of womens writing:
human reproduction, the patriarchal ordering of
the workplace, forging a female identity beyond
marriage, sexuality, and personal choice. This
allowed for utopian and dystopian imaginings of
a different social arrangement or, in the case of
crime fiction, a renewed scrutiny of the justice
system and its treatment of women on both sides
of the law. Zoe Fairbairnss Benefits (1979) is
a dystopian novel in which the government
attempts to return women to their reproductive
role (anticipating some of the themes of
Canadian novelist Margaret Atwoods novel The
Handmaids Tale, 1985); it expresses ambivalence
toward the welfare state, which can be a key
support to women but, equally, can dictate norms
that repress. Crime fiction and romance are two
other genres upon which feminism has had an
impact, with writers such as Sarah Dunant in her
early fiction and P. D. James (in An Unsuitable Job
for a Woman, 1972) showing how the insertion of a
woman at the heart of a crime narrative transforms
its shape and concerns. Scottish writer Emma
Tennant is an example of one who rewrites the
romance for a twentieth-century audience, and is
most well known for her literary sequels, such as
Pemberley (1993) and Emma in Love (1996).
It is important to acknowledge how profoundly
feminism has affected the way we read, just as it
has impacted upon the fate of women writers
previously suppressed or pushed to the margins of
literary study. And twentieth-century writers have
themselves contributed to a rethinking of the
literary canon; we need think only of Jean Rhyss
Wide Sargasso Sea (1966), which acts as a postcolonial counterpoint and critique of Jane Eyre in
giving voice to the madwoman Bertha Mason.
Jane Eyre is channeled by Daphne Du Maurier in
Rebecca (1938); more recently Sally Beaumans
Rebeccas Tale (2001) gives voice to the first wife of
Maxim De Winter. Both Jane Eyre and Rebecca (in
common with Pride and Prejudice for the chicklit
genre), remain fluid and malleable ur-texts for
contemporary womens writing.
As feminism waned as a political force, postfeminist perspectives questioned the need to

segregate women writers or to study them as

a category: at its worst womens writing as
a category did not always provide nourishment
for lesbian or working-class writers or for women
of color. For many commentators the time for
overtly feminist fiction is past, but the legacy of
feminist criticism and its transformation of literary study remains. Equally, its impact on the
literary industry and on women-only literary
prizes such as the Orange Prize for Fiction suggests a continuing awareness that women writers
do not enter an even playing field, even though
somewriters, such asA.S.Byatt,donotpermittheir
work to be entered for such awards. The woman as
author continues to figure as a character in novels
by women, examples being Fleur Talbot in Muriel
Sparkss Loitering with Intent (1981) and Maud
Bailey in A. S. Byatts Possession (1990), suggesting
a continuing engagement with and concern for the
status of the women writer in twentieth-century
culture, and a covert acknowledgment that even
now gender remains an important feature in publishing and literary scholarship. Despite major
social advances in the economic and social position
of women, Virginia Woolfs account of the very
different experiences of the women writer has
continuing resonance today.
SEE ALSO: Chicklit and Ladlit (BIF); Feminism
and Fiction (WF); Gender and the Novel (AF);
Mystery/Detective/Crime Fiction (BIF);
Utopian and Dystopian Fiction (BIF); Utopian
and Dystopian Fiction (AF)


Atwood, M. (1985). The Handmaids Tale. Toronto:
McClelland and Stewart.
Barker, P. (1982). Union Street. London: Virago.
Beaumanm, S. (2001). Rebeccas Tale. London: Little,
Brittain, V. (1933). Testament of Youth. London:
Carter, A. (1979a). The Bloody Chamber. London:
Carter, A. (1979b). The Sadeian Woman: An Exercise in
Cultural History. London: Virago.
Clay, C. (2006). British Women Writers 19141945.
Aldershot: Ashgate.
Coward, R. (1980). Are Womens Novels Feminist
Novels? Feminist Review, 5, 5364.

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Cranny-Francis, A. (1990). Feminist Fiction. London:

Du Maurier, D. (1938). Rebecca. London: Gollancz.
Dunant, S. (1991). Birth Marks. London: Penguin.
Eagleton, M. (1996). Working with Feminist Criticism.
Oxford: Blackwell.
Eagleton, M. (2005). Figuring the Woman Author in
Contemporary Fiction. Basingstoke: Palgrave
Ellmann, M. (1979). Thinking about Women [1968].
London: Virago.
Fairbairns, Z. (1979). Benefits. London: Virago.
Fairbairns, Z., Maitland, S., Miner, V., Roberts, M., &
Wandor, M. (1978). Tales I Tell My Mother. London:
Felski, R. (2003). Literature After Feminism. Chicago:
University of Chicago Press.
Fetterley, J. (1978). The Resisting Reader: A Feminist
Approach to American Fiction. Bloomington: Indiana
University Press.
Galford, E. (1984). Moll Cutpurse: Her True Story.
Edinburgh: Stramullion.
Hall, R. (1928). The Well of Loneliness. London:
Jonathan Cape.
James, P. D. (1972). An Unsuitable Job for a Woman.
London: Faber and Faber.
Joannou, M. (2000). Contemporary Womens Writing:
From The Golden Notebook to The Color Purple.
Manchester: Manchester University Press.
Lessing, D. (1962). The Golden Notebook. London:
Michael Joseph.
OBrien, E. (1960). The Country Girls. London:
Rhys, J. (1966). Wide Sargasso Sea. London: Deutsch.
Riley, J. (1985). The Unbelonging. London: Womens
Roberts, M. (1978). A Piece of the Night. London:
Womens Press.
Roberts, M. (2005). Reader, I. Married Him. London:
Little, Brown.
Russ, J. (1984). How to Suppress Womens Writing.
London: Womens Press.
Tennant, E. (1993). Pemberley; or, Pride and Prejudice
Continued. London: Sceptre.
Tennant, E. (1996). Emma in Love. London: Fourth
Wandor, M. (ed.), (1983). On Gender and Writing.
London: Pandora.
Waters, S. (1998). Tipping the Velvet. London: Virago.
Watkins, S. (2001). Twentieth-Century Women
Novelists: Feminist Theory into Practice. Basingstoke:
Palgrave Macmillan.
Weldon, F. (1983). The Life and Loves of a She-Devil.
London: Hodder and Stoughton.
Weldon, F. (1997). Big Women. London: Flamingo.


West, R. (1918). The Return of the Soldier. London:

Winterson, J. (1985). Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit.
London: Pandora.
Woolf, V. (1929). A Room of Ones Own. London:
Woolf, V. (1938). Three Guineas. London: Hogarth.

Figes, Eva

Eva Figes has had a distinguished career as a writer

of fiction, memoir, and literary criticism. As
a novelist, she is best known for exploring
the quotidian aspects of womens experience
throughout history and for her tendency toward
experimentalism in narrative, qualities that have
led to comparisons with Virginia Woolf. Figess
background as a child refugee from the Holocaust, to which she has repeatedly returned in her
non-fiction writings, resulted in a lifelong concern with the expressiveness of language, as well as
an interest in representing in fiction collisions
between identities and the guilt experienced by
survivors of great tragedy.
Eva Unger was born in 1932 in Berlin, the first
child of prosperous and assimilated German
Jews who sheltered her effectively from the
anxieties and horrors of the era. Her father was
interned in Dachau in 1938 but released the same
year; his professional connections made possible
the familys emigration to England in 1939. A
sensitive and literary child, Figes endured antiGerman and anti-Semitic prejudice at school,
while at home she coped with her parents
suffering of uncertainty about their relatives fates.
She took refuge in reading and literary composition, pursuits that led to a scholarship to attend
Queen Mary College of the University of London.
She graduated with a BA with honors in English
literature in 1953 and remained in London.
Married to John George Figes from 1954 until
their divorce in 1963, she has two children who are
both noted writers: Orlando Figes specializes in
Russian history, while Kate Figes has written
extensively on the experience of motherhood.
Figess literary career began as an editor and
then an author of childrens books; she also
worked as a translator, primarily of contemporary

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



German literature. Several of her early novels

combine aspects of her own experience with tone
and techniques inspired by her reading, particularly of Samuel Beckett and Franz Kafka. Equinox
(1966) depicts a womans gradual disintegration
as her marriage falls apart, while Konek Landing
(1969) portrays a devastated survivor of the
Holocaust. The theme of authorship is central to
B (1972), a novel that foregrounds Figess characteristic interest in metafiction. Less overtly
autobiographical are Winter Journey (1967; recipient of the Guardian Fiction Award) and Days
(1974), each of which centers on the interplay
between present time and memory for a single
Figess concern with the oppression of women,
which she examined in her celebrated polemic
Patriarchal Attitudes: Women in Society (1970)
and returned to in Sex and Subterfuge: Women
Novelists to 1850 (1982), is crucial to nearly all her
fiction from the late 1970s onward. Yet Figes has
resisted the label of feminist, commenting that in
her fiction she is more concerned with womens
emotions. Women dont stop feeling vulnerable
because of feminism (Graeber 9). Nellys Version
(1977), one of her most enduringly popular
novels, takes its main characters amnesia as
a starting place for exposing the constraints imposed on women by convention. Waking (1981),
Ghosts (1988), and The Knot (1996) each offers
a fragmentary portrait of a contemporary
womans life and consciousness, while historical
women feature in The Seven Ages (1986) and in
The Tree of Knowledge (1990), the narrator of
which is one of Miltons daughters. Gender issues
are more muted in Light (1983), Figess most
critically acclaimed novel, which depicts a day in
the life of Claude Monet, and in The Tenancy
(1993), a novel of suspense.
As a novelist, Figes stated early in her career,
she considers herself to be European rather than
English: I am a European survivor, wrestling
with a different reality [than Englands]. A piece
of shrapnel lodges in my flesh, and when it
moves, I write (1978b, 29). Figes has returned
to her personal history in three memoirs: the
acclaimed Little Eden: A Child at War (1978a),
which treats her difficult adjustment to England
as a young emigre; Tales of Innocence and
Experience: An Exploration (2003), in which
grandmotherhood causes her to reconsider her

own childhood as well as the literary status of

grandparents; and Journey to Nowhere: One
Woman Looks for the Promised Land (2008), which
incorporates a polemic about the present-day
Middle East.
Both Figess fiction and non-fiction are distinguished by her resistance to conventions, whether
literary or social. In style, her writing often blurs
the boundary between prose and poetry, most
effectively in Light, where her impressionistic
prose ideally suits her subject matter. She has
experimented extensively with fictional structures
and scope, sometimes containing a novel in a
single day (as in Winter Journey and Light) or year
(Equinox) of a protagonists life, sometimes spanning a lifespan (Waking and Winter Journey) or
millennia (Seven Ages and The Tree of Knowledge).
Her steady interest in representing the experience
of both ordinary and extraordinary women places
her among the most important feminist novelists
of the late twentieth century.
SEE ALSO: Feminist Fiction (BIF); Historical
Fiction (BIF); Jewish Fiction (BIF);
Postmodernist Fiction (BIF)


Figes, E. (1966). Equinox. London: Secker and
Figes, E. (1967). Winter Journey. London: Faber and
Figes, E. (1969). Konek Landing. London: Faber and
Figes, E. (1970). Patriarchal Attitudes: Women in
Society. London: Faber and Faber.
Figes, E. (1972). B. London: Faber and Faber.
Figes, E. (1974). Days. London: Faber and Faber.
Figes, E. (1977). Nellys Version. London: Secker and
Figes, E. (1978a). Little Eden: A Child at War. London:
Faber and Faber.
Figes, E. (1978b). The Long Passage to Little England.
Observer (London), p. 29 (June 11).
Figes, E. (1981). Waking. London: Hamilton.
Figes, E. (1982). Sex and Subterfuge: Women Novelists to
1850. London: Macmillan.
Figes, E. (1983). Light. London: Hamilton.
Figes, E. (1986). The Seven Ages. London: Hamilton.
Figes, E. (1988). Ghosts. London: Hamilton.
Figes, E. (1990). The Tree of Knowledge. London:

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Figes, E. (1993). The Tenancy. London: SinclairStevenson.

Figes, E. (1996). The Knot. London: Sinclair-Stevenson.
Figes, E. (2003). Tales of Innocence and Experience: An
Exploration. London: Bloomsbury.
Figes, E. (2008). Journey to Nowhere: One Woman Looks
for the Promised Land. London: Granta.
Graeber, Laurel (1988). New Beginnings in Middle Age.
New York Times Book Review, p. 9 (Sept. 25).

The Film Industry

and Fiction

The most obvious manifestation of the coming

together of fiction and the film industry is in the
film adaptation of a literary work. From its very
beginnings, film turned to literature for both
stylistic features and for actual stories, which led
to big box office returns but received few artistic
or academic plaudits. Prominent among the very
first films were adaptations of literature, such as
King John (1899), Alladin and the Wonderful
Lamp (1900), Scrooge; or, Marleys Ghost
(1901), Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes (1902), and
Uncle Toms Cabin (1903). However, the film
industrys reliance on literature was seen by many
as a major weakness. On the whole, cineastes in
the first half of the twentieth century were deeply
suspicious of film adaptations of literature (or the
narrative film). It was felt that films, rather than
borrowing or desecrating wholesale narratives,
should not copy, but should extend and translate
narrative and other literary devices. For example,
Sergei Eisenstein, in his often quoted essay,
Dickens, Griffith, and the Film Today, demonstrates the indebtedness of D. W. Griffith to
Dickens in the directors use of optical quality,
frame composition, close-up, and the alteration of emphasis by special lenses (213).
While it is true to say that film borrowed
extensively from the novel, especially the nineteenth-century novel, critics were concerned that
an overreliance on another art form would condemn film as inferior, merely a copy of what was
overwhelmingly regarded as an infinitely superior
medium. In order for film to be esteemed as the
new literature it was imperative that it sever itself
from literature, so as to be an art form in its own


right. Snobbery about literary and/or narrative

films prevailed throughout the twentieth century,
and, while film gradually was welcomed into the
pantheon of art, the literary adaptation was excluded. The art historian Erwin Panofsky (1974)
is regarded as the first critic to claim film as an art
form (Levin 1996). In Style and Medium in the
Moving Pictures (first published in 1937 and last
revised in 1947), presupposing the subservience
of sound to visuals, Panofsky found the literary
film the most distasteful of all genres, insisting
that the greater the literary text used, the worse the
film. Similarly, adaptations are unworthy of mention in Arnold Hausers final volume of The Social
History of Art (1951), in spite of the last section
being entitled The Film Age.
Nonetheless, there were some admirers of the
film adaptation of literature in the first half of
the twentieth century. Surprisingly, among the
first is the Renaissance critic, Allardyce Nicoll,
who not only suggested that film was the new
Shakespeare but that Shakespeare on film potentially could be more Shakespearean than
a production in Shakespeares own time. Film
critic Andre Bazin, writing almost 20 years before
Roland Barthess influential essay The Death of
the Author (1977 [1968] ), saw the refusal to
regard adaptations as serious films or as serious
readings of literary texts as due to an unwillingness to let go of the romantic idea of the author, of
an individualist conception of the author and
the work that, he points out, became legally
defined only at the close of the eighteenth century
(2000 [1948] ).
While literary and film intellectuals were
condemning film adaptations as belittling the
potential of cinema, some promoters and producers took the opposite approach, that adaptations
of literature by such figures as Shakespeare,
Dickens, or Tolstoy elevated cinema to a higher
cultural plane. For example, Frank L. Dyer, in
1910, then president of the Motion Pictures
Patents Company, encouraged the adaptation of
works of classic writers such as Charles Dickens,
Victor Hugo, and Robert Browning, as a way of
lifting the cultural status of the cinema to the level
of art (Uricchio & Pearson 48). This populist
approach, which clearly saw cinema as mass
entertainment with little or no artistic merit,
clearly fuelled attacks on literary adaptations.
Criticism came from both writers on film as well

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



as writers on and of literature. Virginia Woolf,

who like other modernist authors was influenced
by film techniques in her own writing, was
appalled by cinematic adaptations of literature.
In her essay, The Cinema (1950 [1926] ), she
writes of the barbaric, predatory, and male
cinema preying upon and destroying the infinitely
superior, delicate, and female literary text. Significantly, the first issue of the influential literary
journal, Scrutiny, edited by F. R. Leavis, features
an article on film which referred to it as The Art
Form of Democracy? The author, William Hunter, who enlarged the essay into a short book in the
same year (1932), argued that the narrative film
(and even more so with the advent of talking
pictures), appeals to the lowest common denominator, threatening what he refers to as the efficacy of words (11). The articles placement in
the first issue of Scrutiny serves as a warning to
literary scholars to beware of narrative film. Unsurprisingly, any discussion of film adaptation
of literature was banned from subsequent issues
of the journal, indeed from literary studies as
a whole, for most of the twentieth century.
Disgust for the literary adaptation reaches its
apex in Aldous Huxleys diatribe on the feelies
(the thinly disguised talkies) in Brave New
World, in which Othello is totally unrecognizable
in the adaptation entitled Three Weeks in
[1932], 145). Hostility to adaptation was, on one
level, rooted in artistic elitism, fearful of a form of
entertainment that is genuinely socially leveling in
its affordability and accessibility. Films reductio ad
absurdum of literature is a frequent theme in the
rising genre of the Hollywood novel, such as F.
Scott Fitzgeralds The Last Tycoon (1941) and
Nathanael Wests The Day of the Locust (1939), in
which Hollywood becomes the new Babylon (see
Richardson 1973 for a discussion of this genre).
Many established writers, such as William Faulkner, Dylan Thomas, and even Aldous Huxley,
actually worked as adapters; but for the most part
(with the exception of some writers, for instance
Graham Greene), in the first half of the twentieth
century, the majority did it with a feeling of
embarrassment and self-loathing, admitting to
mercenary rather than artistic motives.

There is no doubting the popularity, influence,

and long shelf life of film adaptations of canonical
literature. For instance, Alfred Hitchcocks Rebecca (1940), Laurence Oliviers Henry V (1944),
David Leans Great Expectations (1946), and Robert Mulligans To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) are
among the numerous adaptations valued today as
great cinema. Equally, adaptations such as ITVs
Brideshead Revisited (1981) or the BBCs Pride
and Prejudice (1995) are among the most memorable programs for television. However, in spite
of its continued popularity with cinema goers,
literature on screen or literary adaptations have
remained in what Timothy Corrigan (2007) has
identified as the gap for most of the twentieth
century. The reasons for the exclusion of screen
adaptations from both literary and film studies
are various. First, early twentieth-century champions of film saw adaptations as impure
cinema; the mixture of two art forms was seen
to be to the detriment of films potential. Additionally, writers and literary critics considered
film adaptations to be abominations, crude usurpations of literary masterpieces that threatened
both literacy and the book itself. Another reason
for the lack of critical acceptance of adaptations is
that there were a number of examples, then as
today, that were poor and deserved a bad press.
Furthermore, until the twenty-first century, much
of the criticism was woefully predictable, judging
an adaptations merit by its faithfulness to its
literary source or, even more vaguely, to the
spirit of the book. Prejudice that money and
art cannot mix prevailed, primarily in literary
studies, accounting for another reason why films
(or pure cinema) and film adaptations of literary works (impure cinema) were excluded from
the curriculum. Film adaptation called attention
to the absence of a single artist; and the belief that
art cannot be art if it is mass produced also
accounts for its exclusion, particularly in literary
studies. Logocentricism, a belief that the word is
primary and that literature is more authentic than
film, also prevented adaptations from receiving
serious critical attention. A tendency to regard
adaptation as appropriation has led to emotive
words such as violation, vulgarization, and
betrayal bedeviling criticism, emphasizing what
has been lost rather than what has been gained.
Finally, the study of literature on screen has
largely concentrated on canonical texts that make

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


a screen adaptation a very difficult act to follow.

Adaptations that have usurped their originals in
the minds of their audience films like The
Wizard of Oz (1939), from the novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, or To Have
and Have Not (1941), adapted from an Ernest
Hemingway novel of the same name (1937) have
failed to receive critical attention as adaptations.
As a result, bad adaptations receive more
coverage than good ones.
In the midst of this mood of hostility, George
Bluestone produced the first full-length study of
literature on screen, Novels into Film, in 1957. The
book begins by considering similarities between
literature and film and ends by insisting that they
must be judged as separate entities. While Bluestone has done much to raise awareness of the
field, his focus is primarily on canonical authors
and his perspective is, accordingly, heavily
weighted on the side of literature. Referring to
adaptations as mutations, he betrays his preference for the literary over the filmic, confidently
asserting that modern literature and film cannot
cross over and claiming that it would be as absurd
to translate Proust or Joyce to film as it would be
to convert Charlie Chaplin to print (63). The
assumption that fiction and film studies must be
concerned with canonical writings has generated
an approach to the subject that taxonomizes
adaptations, categorizing them in terms of their
proximity to the source text. For instance, Jack
Jorgens divides Shakespeare adaptations into
theatrical, realist, and filmic (735), while
Geoffrey Wagner divides adaptations into
transposition, which involves minimum interference with the original; commentary, in
which a text is altered for new emphasis; and
analogy, where a film departs substantially from
a novel or play in order to produce another work
of art (227). Kamilla Elliott has introduced six
categories or ways of approaching adaptation:
psychic (seeing films as endeavoring to capture
an authorial spirit); ventriloquist (regarding
an adaptation as propping up a novel); de(re)
composing (considering the films changes to its
literary source in an appeal to new audiences);
genetic (looking at common features between a
film and a book, in particular, narrative);
incarnational (maintaining that a film brings
a book to life); and trumping (examining the
ways in which an adaptation tries to outdo the


novel). These categories, however useful, are

acknowledged by their authors to be critical constructs, and, as such, are open to reorganization.
Elliotts work has been especially helpful in calling
attention to the evolution of screen adaptation in
earlier inter-art affinities and inter-art analogies,
with especial attention to the illustrated novel of
the nineteenth century.
Recently, Robert Stam (2005) has replaced
fidelity criticism with the employment of
Gerard Genettes five types of transtextual relations, reading adaptations as palimpsests, films
in which older texts can be read or seen beneath
the new. Intertextuality refers to quotations,
allusions to other texts; paratextuality to the
texts surrounding the work, such as illustrations, epigraphs, DVD extras, credits, and
the merchandise associated with a film;
metatextuality to the readings or critiques of
the source novel or play in the film; and
architextuality to the relation of a text to
a genre or genres that frame the text. Stam
finds Genettes final category, hypertextuality,
to be the most relevant to adaptation.
Hypertextuality is the relation of one text, the
hypertext, to an earlier hypotext, which is
transformed (via, for instance, parody, spoof,
sequel, or translation) by the hypertext. Liberating the concept of the adaptation by acknowledging that there can be no indisputable point of
origin, Stam argues that, as texts, screen adaptations should be regarded within an ongoing
whirl of intertextual reference and transformation (Stam & Raengo 2005, 31). While
canonical writers such as Shakespeare, Austen,
and Dickens have their place within the canon of
literature on screen studies, Thomas Leitch (2007)
widens the field from the simple case study to
include illustrations, comic strips, video games,
and true stories. Linda Hutcheon, in A Theory of
Adaptation (2006), argues that film adaptation is
only the tip of the iceberg and that, as a central
mode of storytelling, it can be traced across other
media, from roller-coasters to opera. Hutcheon
points out that an adaptation, by its very nature,
makes explicit that all art is based on other art.
Clearly, the advent of cinema transformed the
novel. Equally clearly, fiction has dictated
the direction of Hollywood cinema. However, at
the beginning of the twenty-first century, there
are still many who, fresh from the agony of

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



viewing a film that has desecrated a favorite novel,

regard film and literature as parasites that eat away
at each other. The argument that fiction is being
dictated to and diluted by the lure of movie rights
(or that novelists are writing to be viewed rather
than read) is much more apparent now than it was
a century ago. And it is still argued that, as long as
film is regarded as a subcategory of literature, it
can never fulfill its potential (see Patterson 2008).
The late twentieth century and early twenty-first
have witnessed the rise of adaptation studies in
academia, but also the growing phenomenon of
the author biopic in Hollywood. From Shakespeare in Love (1996) and the Doctor Who episode
The Shakespeare Code (2007), to Finding
Neverland (J. M. Barrie, 2004), Miss Potter (Beatrix Potter, 2006), Becoming Jane (Jane Austen,
2007) and Miss Austen Regrets (2008), it seems
that authors are not just authors; one by one, they
are becoming rising stars of television and film.
SEE ALSO: Film/Television Adaptation and
Fiction (WF); Modern Fiction in Hollywood
(AF); Television and Fiction (AF)


Barthes, R. (1977). The Death of the Author [1948]. In
Image, Music, Text (ed. and trans. S. Heath). London:
Fontana, pp. 1428.
Bazin, A. (2000). Adaptation; or, The Cinema as Digest
[1948]. In J. Naremore (ed.), Film Adaptation.
London: Athlone, pp. 1927.
Bluestone, G. (1957). Novels into Film: The
Metamorphosis of Fiction into Cinema. Berkeley:
University of California Press.
Cartmell, D., & Whelehan, I. (eds.), (1999). Adaptations
from Text to Screen, Screen;1; to Text. London:
Cartmell, D., & Whelehan, I. (eds.) (2007). The
Cambridge Companion to Literature on Screen.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Corrigan, T. (2007). Literature on Screen, a History:
In the Gap. In Cartmell & Whelehan (2007)
pp. 2943.
Eisenstein, S. (1963). Dickens, Griffith, and the Film
Today [1944]. In J. Leyda (ed.), Film Form. London:
Dennis Dobson.
Elliott, K. (2003). Rethinking the Novel/Film Debate.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Fitzgerald, F. S. (1941). The Last Tycoon. New York:

Hauser, A. (1951). The Social History of Art, vol. 4:

Naturalism, Impressionism, The Film Age. London:
Routledge and Kegan Paul.
Hunter, W. (1932). Scrutiny of Cinema. London:
Hutcheon, L. (2006). A Theory of Adaptation. New
York: Routlege.
Huxley, A. (1988). Brave New World [1932]. London:
Random House.
Jorgens, J. (1977). Shakespeare on Film. Bloomington:
Indiana University Press.
Leitch, T. (2007). Film Adaptation and Its Discontents:
From Gone with the Wind to The Passion of
the Christ. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University
Leitch, T. (2008). Adaptation Studies at a Crossroads.
Adaptation, 1(1), 6377.
Levin, T. Y. (1996). Iconology at the Movies:
Panofkys Film Theory. Yale Journal of Criticism,
9(1), 2655.
McFarlane, B. (1996). Novel to Film: An Introduction to
the Theory of Adaptation. Oxford: Oxford University
Nicoll, A. (1936). Film and Theatre. London: Harrap.
Panofsky, E. (1974). Style and Medium in the Moving
Picture [1937]. In G. Mast, M. Cohen, & L. Braudy
(eds.), Film Theory and Film Criticism:
Introductory Essays, 4th edn. Oxford: Oxford
University Press.
Patterson, J. (2008). By the Book. Guardian (Mar. 15).
At www.guardian.co.uk/film/2008/mar/15/fiction,
accessed Feb. 17, 2010.
Philips, G. D., & Tibbetts, J. C. (2005). Appendix:
Scenes from a Hollywood Life: The Novelist as
Screenwriter. In J. C. Tibbetts & J. M. Welsh (eds.),
Novels into Film, 2nd edn. New York: Facts on File,
pp. 51721.
Richardson, R. (1973). Literature and Film.
Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Sanders, J. (2006). Adaptation and Appropriation.
Abingdon: Routledge.
Stam, R. (2005). Literature through Film: Realism,
Magic, and the Art of Adaptation. Malden, MA:
Stam, R., & Raengo, A. (eds.) (2004). A Companion to
Literature and Film. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Stam, R., & Raengo, A. (eds.) (2005). Literature and
Film: A Guide to the Theory and Practice of Film
Adaptation. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Uricchio, W., & Pearson, R. E. (1993). Reframing
Culture: The Case of the Vitagraph Quality Films.
Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Wagner, G. (1975). The Novel and the Cinema.
Rutherford, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


West, N. (1939). The Day of the Locust. New York:

Random House.
Woolf, V. (1950). The Cinema [1926]. In The Captains
Death Bed and Other Essays. London: Hogarth,
pp. 16071.

Firbank, Ronald

Ronald Firbanks writings are neither fully canonical nor uncanonical. He often appears in literary
histories in footnotes to discussions of the modernist period. Yet in the 1920s his novels sat next
to Joyces on the shelves of Shakespeare and
Company in Paris, and he has always had important admirers. In 1929 Evelyn Waugh wrote that
he was a figure of essential artistic integrity and
importance (176). In the same year E. M. Forster,
despite reservations about his work, declared,
Yes, he has genius (118). In 1949 Edmund
Wilson wrote of his novels: They are extremely
intellectual and composed with the closest attention. . . . They have to be read with care, and they
can be read again and again (492). In Prancing
Novelist (1973), her long examination of
Firbanks life and work, the experimental novelist
Brigid Brophy insists that Firbank is a very good
writer, and, equally importantly, a major figure
in the development of twentieth-century fictions
abandonment of realist aspirations and conventions: Firbank saw straight when contemporaries
of his, even talented ones, were circling in a fog
(pp. xiixiv). Frequently compared to a range
of major writers Ben Jonson, Jane Austen,
Edward Lear, Oscar Wilde, Aldous Huxley, and
Waugh Firbank has recently been taken up by
writers on homosexual fiction, and his work is
seen as an important forebear of the modern gay
novel. Allan Hollinghurst (2000), who includes
extensive references to him and his fiction in his
novel The Swimming-Pool Library (1988), insists
that his novels are works of remarkable economy,
brilliant humor, and disconcerting pathos
(p. vii).
Ronald Firbank was born in 1886 into a
wealthy London family, although his grandfather had risen from coalminer to wealthy railway
contractor in the mid nineteenth century.
Ronald Firbank attended Cambridge University,


where he led a life reminiscent of the aesthetes of

the 1890s, and converted to Catholicism in 1907.
He spent the years of World War I in Oxford,
alienated from the militarized Britain around
him. Both before and after the war Firbank spent
much time abroad (in Spain, Italy, France, and
the Middle East). He was also a noted figure in
bohemian London, cultivating an outrageously
effeminate persona. His novels were mostly
published at his own expense. His work met
with the enthusiasm of the American man of
letters Carl Van Vechten, who arranged for the
publication of Firbanks seventh novel, under
the title of Prancing Nigger, in the USA in 1924.
For the British edition, Firbank reverted to the
original title Sorrow in Sunlight. In poor health
for most of his life, Firbank died of pneumonia,
or debility brought on by heavy drinking, in
Rome in 1926.
The story materials of Firbanks fiction are
varied, comic, and deliberately offensive of conservative norms. His characters (often female) are
frequently outsiders and deviant, both by standards within the worlds of the texts, and by those
of contemporary cultural norms. Miss
OBrookomore in Inclinations (1916) desires to
live a lesbian idyll with Miss Collins. Miss Sinquier
in Caprice (1917) is a provincial clergymans
daughter who wants to make a career as an actress.
The driving force of much of the action in
Valmouth (1919) is a black masseuse, Miss
navalkya, and much of that action centers on
an interracial mesalliance in a world of languid
centenarians. The eponymous figure in Concerning the Eccentricities of Cardinal Pirelli (1926)
baptizes a dog (much to the hierarchys dismay)
and is an overt homosexual. Indeed, heterosexual
and homosexual irregularities permeate Firbanks
texts, and the sexual orientation of his characters
is often flexible. His settings are either documented and almost probable, as in Inclinations, or
highly improbable and undocumented, as with
the orientalist Pisuerga of The Flower beneath the
Foot (1923) and the lascivious Cuna-Cuna of
Sorrow in Sunlight.
Critics frequently point to the technical innovations of Firbanks fiction. These are threefold: an
extensive use of dialogue at the expense of narrative exposition; an extreme degree of narrative
elision; and an attempt to bring the language of
prose close to the language of poetry. Inclinations

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



and Valmouth, for example, contain long passages

of meandering and, in terms of the novels action,
irrelevant dialogue. V. S. Pritchett (1953, 229)
admired Firbanks innovations in this matter,
arguing that he laid down the pattern for contemporary dialogue by giving an impression of
unshaped conversation. The elliptical nature of
Firbanks narratives is also extensively discussed by
critics (for example, Potoker 1969, 367). In Valmouth, the reader must infer Niri-Esthers liaison
with and marriage to Dick. In Sorrow in Sunlight,
Charlie Mouths corruption in Cuna-Cuna, the
Mouth familys social rejection, and Ednas seduction by Vittorio are exiguously recounted.
Firbanks fiction, too, is full of passages that are
not narrative but lyric in mode. Thus, the narrator
of Sorrow in Sunlight exclaims, The strange sadness of evening, the detresse of the Evening Sky!
Cry, cry, white Rain Birds out of the West, cry . . .!
here language itself and its phonological organization are foregrounded, and narrative function is
Despite neglect, Firbank is an important
twentieth-century novelist. Like many of his
contemporaries, he takes the conventions of the
nineteenth-century novel and breaches them
continually and intelligently; this is why he appeals
to later experimentalists such as Brophy. It must
be emphasized, too, that he is a comic writer. The
bending of conventions, the shameless lubricity,
and the outrageous improbability of Firbanks created worlds are very funny. In addition, he continually putsthe traditionally subaltern,the female, the
his work. As Brophy remarks, Firbanks fictions
emancipate both women and proletarians (406).
In 1951, Leslie A. Fiedler was adamant: We need all
the Firbank we can get (381).
SEE ALSO: Edwardian Fiction (BIF); Forster,
E. M. (BIF); Hollinghurst, Alan (BIF); Modernist
Fiction (BIF); Queer/Alternative Sexualities in
Fiction (BIF)


Benkovitz, M. J. (1969). Ronald Firbank: A Biography.
New York: Knopf.
Brophy, B. (1973). Prancing Novelist: A Defence of
Fiction in the Form of a Critical Biography in Praise
of Ronald Firbank. London: Macmillan.

Davies, G., Malcolm, D., & Simons, J. (eds.) (2004).

Critical Essays on Ronald Firbank, English Novelist,
18861926. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen.
Fiedler, L. A. (1951). The Relevance of Irrelevance.
Nation, pp. 3812 (Apr. 21).
Firbank, R. (1905). Odette DAntrevernes: A Fairy Tale
for Weary People and A Study in Temperament.
London: Elkin Matthews.
Firbank, R. (1915). Vainglory. London: Grant Richards.
Firbank, R. (1916). Inclinations. London: Grant
Firbank, R. (1917). Caprice. London: Grant Richards.
Firbank, R. (1919). Valmouth. London: Grant Richards.
Firbank, R. (1920). The Princess Zoubaroff. London:
Grant Richards.
Firbank, R. (1921). Santal. London: Grant Richards.
Firbank, R. (1923). The Flower beneath the Foot.
London: Grant Richards.
Firbank, R. (1924). Sorrow in Sunlight. New York:
Firbank, R. (1926). Concerning the Eccentricities of
Cardinal Pirelli. London: Grant Richards.
Forster, E. M. (1936). Ronald Firbank. In Abinger
Harvest. New York: Harcourt Brace, pp. 11521.
Hollinghurst, A. (2000). Introduction. In R. Firbank,
Three Novels. London: Penguin, pp. viixxiv.
Horder, M. (ed.) (1977). Ronald Firbank: Memoirs and
Critiques. London: Duckworth.
Potoker, E. M. (1969). Ronald Firbank. New York:
Columbia University Press.
Pritchett, V. S. (1953). Firbank. In Books in General.
London: Chatto and Windus, pp. 22934.
Waugh, E. (1929). [Untitled critique.] In Horder (1977)
pp. 1759.
Wilson, E. (1950). A Revival of Ronald Firbank. In
Classics and Commercials: A Literary Chronicle of the
Forties. New York: Farrar, Straus, pp. 486502.

Fitzgerald, Penelope

Penelope Knox Fitzgerald (19162000) has

been attracting readers for many reasons, the
most basic of which is her family of origin.
Both of her grandfathers were bishops (of
Manchester and of Lincoln, Penelopes birthplace). This eminence carried forward. After
spending some years writing parodies and theater reviews for Punch, her father, Edmund
Valpy Knox, became the magazines editor,
a post traditionally honored by the unofficial
title King of Fleet Street.

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


The years drained some glory from this distinguished legacy. But even though Penelope had to
scramble for scholarships to finish her degree, she
graduated from Oxford in 1938 with honors. The
tenacity that helped steer her through university
held up. In 1944 she married Desmond Fitzgerald,
a major in the Irish Guards. She needed all her
mettle to keep the marriage afloat. An alcoholic
who drifted from job to job until he stopped
working altogether, Desmond left Penelope with
the chores of raising three children and supporting the family.
Apart from telling an interviewer that Desmond didnt have much luck in life, Penelope
said little about her sad marriage. But Desmond
pervades her fiction in the likeness of the many of
those born to be defeated who win our admiration for their courage in the face of failure and
loss. Penelope Fitzgerald has a great gift for imagining herself in other peoples shoes without
patronizing them.
This great gift might have been lost to us had
Mariner Books, a paperback division of the
Houghton Mifflin Company, not republished The
Blue Flower (1995) in a modest run of 13,000
copies in 1997. In 1998, Flower became the first
novel written by a foreigner to win Americas
National Book Critics Circle Award, beating
works by native-born headliners such as Philip
Roth and Don DeLillo. The book also did well
commercially, selling 100,000 copies and building
a market for her earlier work.
This success was no fluke. Flower reimagines
the life of Friedrich, or Fritz, von Hardenberg
(17721801), the romantic poet from Germany
later known as Novalis. The book contains biographical data. But it is no biography. Nor was it
intended to be one. Flower is more than a collection of facts, insights, and ideas. Its epigraph, from
von Hardenberg, Novels arise from the shortcomings of history, points to a lesson that goes to
the heart of Fitzgeralds artistry: that every true
tale needs a jolt of fiction, usually in the form
of imaginative energy or narrative design; no
historian can imagine a single turn of human
inconsistency. The genre Fitzgerald often used to
lead our sympathies to exciting new places is the
historical novel.
Thus Fitzgerald set her 1986 novel Innocence in
the mid-1950s because its Italian characters,
who now move about freely, can still remember


German troops taking over the public offices of

their cities and setting curfews. Most of the traumas of postwar reconstruction have waned but
only to give way to new ones. Though Mussolini is
mentioned, the Italy of Innocence faces anxieties
caused by the Cold War. A characters reference to
a third world war stands as just one example of
the impact of Soviet imperialism. Yet the book
unfolds during the years of the Italian economic
miracle. By 1949, the year Italy joined NATO, the
Marshall Plan had already helped the country
recover from the havoc of war but at a high
cost; Italians of all political persuasions were
grumbling that their country had become a client
state of America.
The Gate of Angels (1990) finds Fitzgerald on
familiar turf a shaky, ill-defined border between
a vanishing world and one groping to be born. Set
in 1912 England, it straddles the lost Victorian
world of earnestness and the clash of World War I.
Victorian propriety, though maligned as prudish
and philistine, had created a mood of timelessness, the sense of a safe, self-regulating world. The
transfer of faith from religion to science in
the early years of the twentieth century, one
of the chief events in all of British history, pervades the action of Fitzgeralds 1990 novel. Later
in the century, it would lead to both chaos theory
and Werner Heisenbergs uncertainty principle.
Fitzgerald references these developments not because she wants to write philosophy. Rather, shes
describing the intellectual firestorm that blazed
around Cambridge in 1912, where the novel,
a love story as well as a period piece, both begins
and ends.
Along with Gate, The Beginning of Spring
(1988), Fitzgeralds personal favorite among her
books, comprises her brilliant, barbed farewell to
the new-old century she was born into. The novel
carries forward from Innocence a growing interest
in foreign cultures, one that would crest in The
Blue Flower (1995). Among other things, Spring
reframes a question that has been puzzling Westerners for centuries: is Russia part of Europe, or
does it have its own unique identity? Fitzgerald
poses this question thoughtfully. While referring
to Russias simplicity and inherent goodness, she
also describes the impact of change upon these
virtues. Her nuanced, historically correct portrait
also shows business crossing international frontiers. Her main character, Frank Reid, owner of

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



a Moscow print works here in 1913, not only

deals with firms in Finland and Japan; he even
has to hire the companys first cost accountant to
keep pace with innovations in bookkeeping. But
his stiffest challenges come from elsewhere.
While reeling from the sudden, unannounced
departure of his wife, he must deal with Moscow,
a manufacturing hub, a capital city, and a metropolis that feels like a village. Lacking fixed
edges, Moscow is always on the go, toward
spring, toward communism, and toward some
new problem that even fast thinking and a wad of
rubles cannot always fix.
Fitzgeralds maturity of style and emotional
range are clearly displayed in Spring, as in her
other historical novels. Though often scorned as
a branch of gothic romance, historical fiction can
deliver the rewards of both fiction and nonfiction. When well done, it illuminates history
and transcends it (Novels arise out of the shortcomings of history). Some writers today see
history as fiction and adopt the attitude that
because we cant always know what happened
we can invent it. Any historical setting can be
imagined into existence. What counts, as Henry
James enjoyed saying, is the quality of the
Bolstering the historians analytic flair with
a journalistic awareness of the story shes telling,
Penelope Fitzgerald meets Jamess requirement
with much to spare.
SEE ALSO: Historical Fiction (BIF)
Acocella, J. (2000). Assassination on a Small Scale. New
Yorker, pp. 808 (Feb. 7).
Brookner, A. (2000). Moscow Before the Revolution.
Spectator, pp. 2930 (Oct. 16).
Byatt, A. S. (2001). Introduction. In P. Fitzgerald, The
Means of Escape. Boston: Mariner, pp. ixxxx.
Fitzgerald, P. (1979). Offshore. London: Collins.
Fitzgerald, P. (1980). Human Voices. London: Collins.
Fitzgerald, P. (1982). At Freddies. London: Collins.
Fitzgerald, P. (1986). Innocence. London: Collins.
Fitzgerald, P. (1988). The Beginning of Spring. London:
Fitzgerald, P. (1990). The Gate of Angels. London:
Fitzgerald, P. (1995). The Blue Flower. London:

Fitzgerald, P. (2000). The Means of Escape. Boston:

Houghton Mifflin.
Fitzgerald, P. (2008). So I Have Thought of You: The
Letters of Penelope Fitzgerald. London: Fourth Estate.
Himmelfarb, G. (2000). A God-Haunted Family. New
Republic, pp. 5969 (Oct. 16).
King, N. (1992). The Heart Has Its Reasons. Washington
Post Book World, p. 1 (Feb. 23).
Lesser, W. (2002). Penelope. In Z. Leader (ed.), On
Modern British Fiction. Oxford: Oxford University
Press, pp. 10725.
Penelope Fitzgerald Papers. Harry Ransom Humanities
Research Center, University of TexasAustin.
Raban, J. (1999). The Fact Artist. New Republic, pp.
3942 (Aug. 2).
Wolfe, P. (1997). Understanding Penelope Fitzgerald.
Columbia: University of South Carolina Press.

Ford, Ford Madox


Ford Madox Ford is known, in the main, for his

two acknowledged masterpieces, The Good Soldier
and the four novels that, together, make up
Parades End: Some Do Not . . ., No More Parades,
A Man Could Stand Up , and Last Post. The Good
Soldier is counted among the classics of modernism. Rebecca West cited the wonders of its
technique in her contemporary review. Students
of the period read the novel at first for these
wonders, contending with its quintessentially unreliable narrator, John Dowell, as well as his tale of
social disintegration, sexual intrigue, and violent
death. Anthony Burgess called Parades End the
finest novel about the First World War. Its
perfectly weighted opening sentence introduces
a text that is now familiar to many. Fords oeuvre
includes a further nearly 80 books, however, and
spans a great range of genres. Born in 1873, Ford
was first published in 1891. He wrote fiction, fairy
tales, poetry, and biography at the start of his
career, caught and inspired by an extraordinary
combination of late nineteenth-century influences. Most notably, this early work revealed
a dedicated attention to his Pre-Raphaelite beginnings; Fords grandfather Ford Madox Brown
illustrated his first publication, a fairy tale called
The Brown Owl (1891), and Edward Burne-Jones
the later The Queen Who Flew (1894).
Within little more than a decade, Ford became
an editor, critic, and memoir writer too. His circle

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


of interest widened quickly, owing to the range of

influences on which he could draw, but more
particularly to the writers Joseph Conrad preeminent among them that he soon met. (While
Fords best-known books are populated in the
main by lonely protagonists, with loose, or disintegrating, ties to the world, his writing life is
characterized by its strong, though shifting, networks of artists who had, as he put it, studied
their Flaubert.) The volumes of his trilogy England and the English were boomed from 1905.
His kaleidoscopic London is a long way from
fairy tales, and was called by the Daily Mail the
latest and truest image of London, built up out of
a series of negations, that together are more
hauntingly near to a composite picture of the city
than anything we have seen before. Both The
Good Soldier (1995 [1915] ) and Parades End
(2002b [1950] ) display similar series of multiple,
fragmented perspectives, and the landscape of war
becomes prominent in Fords work after 1915
an effective context, or metaphor, for his explorations of individual psychology, as well as of
relationships between individuals and nations. It
is his rendering of this landscape that prompts
judgments like Graham Greenes there is no
novelist of this century more likely to live than
Ford Madox Ford; yet it never quite replaces the
jeweled vision of the early fairy tales, or the
historical romances like Ladies Whose Bright Eyes
(1911), in which William Sorrell travels back to
the Middle Ages and finds his soul eased by the
comparative simplicity and freedom of life. Indeed, those early notions are themselves longlived, reworked into poems like On Heaven,
published in 1913 and much admired by Ezra
Pound he called it the most important poem in
the modern manner or Latin Quarter (1936),
and the lovers precious velvet blackness found
Ford Madox Ford was called Ford Hermann
Hueffer when he was born, in Merton, Surrey, on
December 17, 1873. On that day, Dante Gabriel
Rossetti prophesied that he would bring glory to
whichever of his two countries he may choose
to adopt . . . His father, Francis H
uffer before he
anglicized his name, was German, a music critic
for The Times; his mother Catherine was Ford
Madox Browns daughter, and a painter herself.
Ford first traveled when he was very young to visit
his H
uffer relations in Europe; this route (London


and Paris, through to the Rhine and Alsace-Lorraine) became one he would love, and was also
one that, perhaps, sowed the seeds for his ideas
about relationships in literature for the rest of his
life. He believed in a Republic of Letters, and
always stressed the special nature of the association between writers, and between European and
trans-European literatures. The critic Vita Fortunati offers a different model for Fords statement between the two wars that wherever there
were creative thinkers was my country: the community of artists that was the Pre-Raphaelite
Brotherhood. Ford published a book about Rossetti in 1902, and one about the Brotherhood in
1907. The familial links with the Brotherhood
began early: Madox Brown was Dante Gabriels
mentor and friend; and Fords aunt had married
William Michael Rossetti the families would
holiday together when the children were young.
This became his first, strong, creative network.
But while it helped him to develop a visual
technique that would be with him until the
1930s (A. S. Byatt has recently examined his use
of color words, starting with the simple, pure
tones of the fairy tales), as well as his ideas about
artistic republics, there was an emotional cost to
this kinship that would affect him as strongly
to the end of his life. His childhood identification
of his Rossetti cousins as horrible monsters of
precocity, and marvels of genius, when compounded by the tragic early death of his demanding and judgmental father, contributed to a severe
lack of self-confidence. The most serious effects of
this particular family romance can be witnessed in
his agoraphobic breakdowns in the early years of
the twentieth century. A late chapter of Return to
Yesterday, Fords memoir of the years 1894 to
1914, describes some of the resultant cures, and
the wickedly unskilful doctoring, to which he
was subjected at the time.
When his father died in 1889 there was no
money (Ford would struggle with financial insecurity for most of his life). He went to live with his
beloved Madox Brown. The strength of the bond
he shared with his grandfather is shown in the
name Ford eventually took, with surprising delay
considering the one he was born with and the
cultural climate postwar, in 1919. Madox Brown
remained the most significant force in Fords
creative life until, in 1898, he met and soon began
to collaborate with Conrad. By this time, Ford had

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



also married, in somewhat dramatic fashion. He

had eloped with Elsie Martindale and was living in
Romney Marsh, the hub of the most productive
of his literary networks, which would come to
include, as well as Conrad, the American writer
Stephen Crane, H. G. Wells, and Henry James. But
it was his meeting of Conrad that has been called
the crucial event in both mens literary lives.
Ford learned much of his craft from this great
writer, and developed an impressionist technique
alongside him. He later said that his literary
friendship with Conrad had been for its lack
of jealousy a very beautiful thing. This is not to
say the relationship with Conrad was easy. They
wrote The Inheritors together (1901), then Romance (1903), but quarreled too, and broke with
each other in 1909. (Ford nevertheless published
a memoir of Conrad in 1924.) When Ford fell out
with his fellow writers and friends, as he also did
with Henry James, and with his great friend
Arthur Marwood upon whom he based Christopher Tietjens, the protagonist of Parades End
it was generally about one of two things: money,
or the socially complicated (and emotionally
painful) relationships Ford had with the women
in his life.
The first of Fords editorial ventures, the English Review, emerged from discussions with Marwood, Conrad, Edward Garnett, and H. G. Wells
when Ford and Elsie spent time in London in
1904. Ford wanted to become involved more
widely in the literary scene, and also wanted to
promote exciting modern writing. Though this
review, which Ford founded in 1908, having
moved back to London, has been described as
one of the best literary magazines ever to appear
in these islands (publishing new writers like
Lawrence and Wyndham Lewis as well as established figures such as Hardy), for the period of his
editorship from December 1908 to February 1910
it was a financial disaster. That he met and began
an affair with the writer Violet Hunt at the same
time, though his marriage had by this time failed,
put too big a strain on his relationships with Wells
and Garnett, and then with Conrad, Marwood,
and James too. And I used the phrase socially
complicated deliberately. Literary London may
not have been ready for his attempts to divorce
Elsie (with whom he had two daughters, Christina
and Katharine), or for his long affairs with Hunt
and others, but his relationships with what Joseph

Wiesenfarth (2005) has termed the regiment of

his women formed the other most significant of
Fords creative networks. These relationships
must be taken seriously in artistic, as well as
biographical, or even moral, terms. Though it
was partly the case that a new love affair seemed
to stimulate the desire to write a lover was often
also a muse this was not the whole truth of the
matter. Ford worked tirelessly to support the
work of those in whom he believed (as those
writers he edited knew, this was not restricted to
lovers). Even as his relationship with Violet Hunt
disintegrated, he wrote to Lucy Masterman about
how good Hunts latest novel was as he corrected
its proofs. And Ford also learned from Hunt, and
from novelist Jean Rhys, as well as from Stella
Bowen and Janice Biala, the latter both important
artists who rejuvenated his style. Bowen and Biala,
in their turn, acknowledged an extensive debt to
him; Hunt (1926) and Rhys (1928), on the other
hand, published accounts of their lives with Ford
that nearly destroyed his reputation.
By the time Ford began work on the first of the
books that would make his name, The Good
Soldier, his relationship with Violet Hunt was
starting its decline. The novels opening chapters
came out in the Vorticist magazine, Blast, on June
20, 1914. Less notably, he was also soon busy
writing (somewhat idiosyncratic) propaganda for
his good friend C. F. G. Mastermans wartime
propaganda bureau. He believed in the cause at
first, and joined up, at the age of 41, in July 1915.
But like most others, Ford had a miserable and
tragic experience of war. He got his commission as
a second lieutenant in the Welch Regiment (Special Reserve). Here I am and hard at it 6 a.m. to
7 p.m. everyday . . . Literature seems to have died
out of a world that is mostly interesting from its
contours, he wrote from Cardiff, where he
trained before leaving for France on July 13,
1916. As might be expected on this date, his
destination was the Somme. His age meant that,
although he asked to be at the front and was for
about two months he was stationed mainly with
the battalion transport. This did not mean that he
avoided bombardment. Such positions were regularly shelled, and only a few days after he arrived
he was blown up by one such shell; he landed on
his face, suffering concussion and mouth injuries.
In an impressive section of Parades End, Christopher Tietjens is also blown up. His experience is

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


a curious and liberating one. He finds that, surprisingly, he is still alive, and, full of adrenaline
and feelings of indestructibility he rescues those
men of his who lie around him, carrying them,
pulling them from the disgusting viscous mud like
an avenging angel. The indulgence of his physicality leads, by the end of the tetralogy, to a sexual
fulfillment unavailable to him (but enjoyed elsewhere by his taunting, vicious, and stunning wife)
before the war. This is how Tietjens is moved into,
and begins finally to inhabit, the modern, postwar
world. It was not so for Ford.
In Sussex, postwar, Ford was haunted. It Was
the Nightingale (1934) records that Red Ford
(the house he shared with Bowen), was filled
with a horde of minor malices and doubts. Ford
feared that the shadows were alive . . . and that
the dark, gleaming panes of the window hid other,
whispering, beings that jeered behind his back.
In the earlier, and important, stylistic essay On
Impressionism (1914), glass works very differently from the way it does in this memoir. In 1914
it is brightly, cheerfully, reflective, and, as a symbol, denotes the active and creative minds
capabilities of being in two different places at
once places of time as well as of space. The
clouded window panes of Red Ford are a postwar
mutation, torturing the shell-shocked writer with
what he does not, any longer, know about himself.
Ford lost portions of his memory in the war, some
of which never came back. (His hearing was also
damaged, and he cannot quite catch what the
ghosts are saying either.) Fords doubts about his
failing memory, and thus his ability to reflect and,
ultimately, to write, are a terror. Parades End
helped to exorcise them, as did the country to
which he went for succour. His instinct was to
grow vegetables, cook good and simple food, and
to merge in some way with the nourishing soil a
crucial stage in the journey to his beloved
By the time Parades End appeared in print,
things were better for Ford (unlike most of the
great books about World War I, it took less than
10 years to produce). Biographer Max Saunders (1996) writes that he was back in the thick
of contemporary literature, partly as a result of
editing the Transatlantic Review in Paris, publishing Hemingway, Stein, and Carlos Williams, for
example. As the tetralogy appeared Ford was truly
feted in New York in particular. (New York Essays


and the travel book New York is Not America were

both published in 1927.) For a while his money
troubles went away. He never, however, lived in
England again. His long and fulfilling relationship
with Stella Bowen survived an affair with Jean
Rhys while they were all living in Paris in the mid1920s, but then he traveled to the USA in 1926 and
1927 without her and their daughter, Esther Julia,
and it was destroyed by the distance and by
further liaisons abroad. Until Ford met the last
great love of his life, Janice Biala, on May Day,
1930, marking the start of the decade that induced
most of his memoirs, he moved between Paris,
Provence, and America, always writing (he published poetry, fiction, and criticism in this period
alone), always finding and often becoming a hub
of artistic conversation and endeavor wherever he
was based.
Ford and Bialas home became Villa Paul, on
Cap Brun, for much of the remainder of his life.
He was happy here, cooking, writing, and tending
his garden, but he was suffering periods of painful
and debilitating heart trouble. His illnesses did
not prevent further travel to work at Olivet College, Michigan he met the young Robert Lowell,
who became an influential admirer, during one
trip and in New York. Ford completed one of his
most important critical books, The March of
Literature (1939), while he was at Olivet, and
remained with Biala in New York for the autumn
and winter of 1938. True to form, a new literary
group was begun in the city early the next year at
his suggestion, to promote William Carlos Williams, and serious creative Literature in
America. The group came to include Ezra
Pound, e. e. cummings, Allen Tate, Sherwood
Anderson, W. H. Auden, Christopher Isherwood,
and Williams himself, and there was talk about
turning it into another review. In what James
Joyce called possibly the last public act of Fords
life, he wrote on May 10 to the Saturday Review
to celebrate Finnegans Wake, and protest against
the tone of the review the editor had published.
Ford died at Deauville, having just reached France
from America, on June 26, 1939. He is buried on
the cliffs above the town.
SEE ALSO: Conrad, Joseph (BIF); London in
Fiction (BIF); Modernist Fiction (BIF); Rhys,
Jean (WF); Wells, H. G. (BIF); World War I in
Fiction (BIF)

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.




Conrad, J., & Ford, F. M. (1901). The Inheritors.
London: Heinemann.
Conrad, J., & Ford, F. M. (1903). Romance. London:
Smith, Elder.
Ford, F. M. (1891). The Brown Owl. London: T. Fisher
Ford, F. M. (1894). The Queen Who Flew. London: Bliss,
Sands and Foster.
Ford, F. M. (1896). Ford Madox Brown. London:
Longmans, Green.
Ford, F. M. (1902). Rossetti. London: Duckworth.
Ford, F. M. (1906). The Fifth Queen. London: Alston
Ford, F. M. (1907a). The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
London: Duckworth.
Ford, F. M. (1907b). Privy Seal. London: Alston Rivers.
Ford, F. M. (1908). The Fifth Queen Crowned. London:
Alston Rivers.
Ford, F. M. (1910). A Call. London: Chatto and
Ford, F. M. (1911). Ladies Whose Bright Eyes. London:
Ford, F. M. (1924). Joseph Conrad: A Personal
Remembrance. London: Duckworth.
Ford, F. M. (1927). New York is Not America. London:
Ford, F. M. (1930). The English Novel: From the Earliest
Days to the Death of Joseph Conrad. London:
Ford, F. M. (1933). The Rash Act. London: Jonathan
Ford, F. M. (1934a). Henry for Hugh. Philadelphia:
Ford, F. M. (1934b). It Was the Nightingale. London:
Ford, F. M. (1938) Provence. London: Allen and Unwin.
Ford, F. M. (1939). The March of Literature. London:
Allen and Unwin.
Ford, F. M. (1965). The Letters of Ford Madox Ford
(ed. R. Ludwig). Princeton: Princeton University
Ford, F. M. (1995). The Good Soldier [1915] (ed. M.
Stannard). New York: Norton.
Ford, F. M. (2002a). No Enemy [1929] (ed. P. Skinner).
Manchester: Carcanet.
Ford, F. M. (2002b). Parades End [1950] (ed. M.
Saunders), comprising Some Do Not . . . [1924], No
More Parades [1925], A Man Could Stand Up [1926], and The Last Post [1928]. Harmondsworth:
Ford, F. M. (2003). England and the English [1907] (ed.
S. Haslam), comprising The Soul of London [1905],
The Heart of the Country [1906], and The Spirit of the
People [1907]. Manchester: Carcanet.

Haslam, S. (2002). Fragmenting Modernism: Ford

Madox Ford, the Novel and the Great War.
Manchester: Manchester University Press.
Hunt, V. (1926). The Flurried Years. London: Hurst and
Rhys, J. (1928). Postures. London: Chatto and Windus.
(Reprinted as Quartet. London: Deutsch 1969.).
Saunders, M. (1996). Ford Madox Ford: A Dual Life. 2
vols. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Saunders, M. (ed.) (1997) Ford Madox Ford: Selected
Poems. Manchester: Carcanet.
Saunders, M. (gen. ed.) (2002 ). International Ford
Madox Ford Studies. Amsterdam: Rodopi.
Saunders, M., & Stang, R. (eds.) (2002). Ford Madox
Ford: Critical Essays. Manchester: Carcanet.
Wiesenfarth, J. (2005). Ford Madox Ford and the
Regiment of Women. Madison: University of
Wisconsin Press.

Forster, E. M.

Edward Morgan Forster is most well known for

the handful of novels he published in his lifetime
but he was also successful as a short story writer,
biographer, critic, librettist, and travel writer.
His four early novels situated him as an astute
observer of contemporary manners and mores,
which he chiefly portrayed in social comedies that
have a lineage from the fiction of Jane Austen to
the plays of Oscar Wilde. He shared with the latter
a frustration over the unacceptability of writing
openly about homosexuality and his early work
concerned the restrictions placed on personal
freedom by English sensibilities. However, his
later work, especially his last novel A Passage to
India (1924), has much in common with the
experimentations of modernism in its use of
symbolism and what Forster calls rhythm in
his book on fiction Aspects of the Novel (1927).
Forster, who lived most of his later life at Kings
College, Cambridge, was one of the less prominent figures in the Bloomsbury Group, a lifelong
member of the Labour Party, and an agnostic.
He was also an avowed liberal humanist who
believed strongly in personal relationships,
famously writing in What I Believe (1939) that
he would sooner betray his country than his
friend. His early novels and stories use Italy, and
to a lesser extent Greece, as a vibrant, life-affirming antithesis to the stultifying repression of

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Edwardian England. His homosexual novel,

Maurice (1971), written in 191314, was published only posthumously.
Born in London on January 1, 1879, the year
before his fathers death, Forster was educated at
private schools in Eastbourne and Tunbridge
Wells. Raised by his mother, with whom he
remained close up to her death in the mid1940s, Forster inherited 8,000 in 1887 from his
great-aunt, Marianne Thornton, about whom he
later wrote a domestic biography. From 1897,
he attended Kings College, Cambridge where he
read classics and history, partly under the supervision of the paganist and political activist Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson, a fellow Bloomsbury
set member and long-term friend of whom
Forster also wrote a biography. At Cambridge,
Forster similarly came under the influence of the
philosopher G. E. Moore and the aesthetic belief
that the highest purpose of living is to contemplate beauty in art and to cultivate friendships in
life. Forster was elected to the Apostles circle of
Cambridge intellectuals and through them met
members of what was to become the Bloomsbury
Group, which included Roger Fry, Virginia
Woolf, Lytton Strachey, and John Maynard Keynes. After Cambridge, he undertook a one-year
tour of Italy and Austria with his mother in 1901,
and around this time he also began writing. The
next year he taught at the Working Mens College
and subsequently at the extra-mural department
of the Cambridge Local Lectures Board, teaching
Italian art and history.
His first story Albergo Empedocle appeared
in Temple Bar in December 1903 and in the
following year he started contributing stories to
the Cambridge-based journal Independent Review, but Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905) was
Forsters first published novel. It is a narrative
revolving around Anglo-Italian contrasts that sets
the passionate world of Italy Forster had seen on
his travels against the cool, reserved values of
suburban England. A social comedy for most
of its length, it ends as a tragedy with death and
frustrated love as the English, briefly taken out of
themselves, return to their unadventurous lives in
the southern counties. In the year of its publication, Forster spent several months in Nassenhalde, Germany, as tutor to the Countess von
Arnim: an experience that, like his friendship
with Virginia and Vanessa Stephen (later Virginia


Woolf and Vanessa Bell), would inform his portrait of the Schlegel sisters in Howards End. In
1907 he worked as a private tutor for an Indian
Muslim, Syed Ross Masood, with whom he
developed a close, loving friendship and to whom
A Passage to India is dedicated. Also in 1907,
Forster published the novel of his Cambridge
days, The Longest Journey, which remained his
favorite novel despite its comparatively low critical standing. It tells the story of an orphaned
undergraduate and then struggling writer, Rickie,
who abandons his close friend Ansell for a loveless
marriage but is then partially enlightened by
the free spirit of his wayward, pagan Wiltshire
half-brother Stephen. At this time, Forster also
associated more often with the Bloomsbury
Group, becoming a close friend of the Woolfs,
Strachey, and Fry.
The following year Forster published his second Anglo-Italian novel, A Room with a View
(1908): a story of misunderstandings and English
snobbery which this time ends happily as the
heroine Lucy Honeychurch realizes in time her
love for the impulsive George Emerson over the
effete intellectual Cecil Vyse. While mocking
the romantic novel, Forster here adheres to its
conventions. The story clearly centers on a young
woman whose passions are aroused by a holiday
abroad, where she meets the man she will eventually marry after certain hurdles, social and
personal, have been overcome. The book therefore has its tongue in its cheek much of the time
and it is the social comedy of the characters and
situations that are of chief interest rather than the
romance. Forsters narrator sits above the characters and recounts events in a consistently ironical tone. The novels title plays with the sense of
a view as an opinion or prejudice, which may be
poor and partial or generous and open. English
interiors are contrasted with Italian exteriors, just
as in Lucys surname the sweet taste of honey is
contrasted with the constraint and sobriety of
the church. Lucys surname is a portmanteau
word and represents her choice between Cecil
and George, England and Italy, convention and
passion. The novel has been considered Forsters
finest, because it appears a perfectly drawn study
of manners and morals, class and social comedy.
It is just as arguably a slight work and its charms
cannot perhaps compensate for its lack of ambition or its literary conservatism.

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



However, Forsters early novels did not sell well

and it was in 1910 that he had his first considerable success with the book that secured his
reputation: Howards End. Concerning sections of
the middle classes, this is a condition of England
novel that focuses on the question: who will
inherit Howards End, Forsters metonym for
England based on his childhood home of Rooks
Nest. The story centers on the relationship between the intellectual German Schlegel sisters and
the practical, male-dominated, business-oriented
Wilcox family. The Wilcoxes are a thriving but
none too cultured unemotional middle-class
family with a successful domestic and imperial
business. They stand for industry and finance,
commerce and capital: an outer life of telegrams
and anger that embodies the Protestant work
ethic and masculine endeavor. The Schlegels,
Margaret, Helen, and Tibby, are young intellectual Londoners of German descent. They stand
for the inner world of personal relationships
and humane liberal culture. Forster suggests in
the novel that while he prefers and values more
highly the life of the Schlegels, it cannot subsist
without that of the Wilcoxes. In the novel,
ambitiously if not wholly convincingly, Forster
attempts to find a way for Wilcox money to
become the support for Schlegel culture, and also
for the future of rural England to be wrested from
urban, commercial interests and placed once
more in the hands of the yeomanry.
Howards End has partly become famous for its
epigraph, Only connect, which stands as a call
across Forsters writing to seize the day and unite
the spiritual and the material sides to life. A novel
of the bourgeois and bohemian classes with little
to say about the upper and lower sections of
society, Howards End nevertheless remains an
important study of the death of Liberal England
and of the twilight years before the Great War. It is
a successful anatomy of the red rust and portable
luggage of industrial Englands slide through
change and transition, comparable to other
contemporary works by Wells and Lawrence for
example, but it is also a novel intimately and
illuminatingly concerned with the connections
between private and public worlds.
Now an established novelist, the hitherto prolific Forster was to publish only one more novel in
the rest of his life, though he remained an active,
thoughtful, and highly admired writer. The year

1911 saw the release of a collection of his short

stories as The Celestial Omnibus. In 191213 he
made his first visit to India, with R. C. Trevelyan,
Dickinson, and G. H. Luce, and soon after Forster
began writing an early draft of A Passage to India.
He also worked on the homosexual novel that was
not published until after his death, Maurice: A
Romance. This novel, circulated privately at the
time, is a story of cross-class love that for the only
time in Forsters long fiction explicitly eschews the
traditional orthodoxy of heterosexual romantic
encounters for the homosexual love that Forster
himself desired.
Forster did find love, after the war started when
he began working for the International Red Cross
in Alexandria and fell for a young man called
Mohammed El-Adl, with whom he had his first
sexual experiences. In Egypt, Forster also became
a stronger supporter of the Greek poet C. P.
Cavafy. He returned to England in 1919, after
the war, but set off traveling again in 1921. On this
trip to India he worked as the private secretary to
the Maharajah of Dewas Senior, and his letters
home from the two Indian trips were later published as The Hill of Devi (1953). In 1922 he
published Alexandria: A History and a Guide, but
copies were burned before distribution and the
book was not republished until 1938. Pharos and
Pharillon, Forsters essays on Alexandria, together
with some translations of Cavafys poems, was
published in 1923.
Over this time, Forster had been reworking
his Indian novel, which was finally published in
1924, 14 years after Howards End. A Passage to
India begins as the story of Adela Quested and
Mrs. Moores journey to India to visit Adelas
betrothed, Ronny, who is also Mrs. Moores son.
There they meet a college teacher Mr. Fielding, to
some extent Forsters surrogate in the novel, the
Brahman Hindu Dr. Godbole, and the Muslim
Dr. Aziz, whose alleged assault on Adela is the
fulcrum of the narrative. A Passage to India
makes extensive use of the technique of
rhythm by which Forster, and his critics, denote the structural use in fiction of leitmotifs or
repetition with variation. Rhythm depends
upon reiterated words and phrases that accumulate resonances through the repeated use of
expressions, incidents, or characters to create
a pulsating effect in the evolution of a texts
themes. It is apparent in the use made of the

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


echo that haunts Adela and Mrs. Moore after

their visit to the Marabar Caves.
The entire book is in fact highly structured to
create patterns, repetitions, and symbolic impact.
For example, it foregrounds a tripartite structure
of Mosque, Caves, and Temple: three Indian spaces representing Islam (a monotheistic
religion), Jainism (atheistic), and Hinduism
(polytheistic). The book also follows a seasonal
pattern in its three parts, from cold weather to hot
weather to the rains. The other key element to the
books construction is the central symbol of the
Marabar Caves, which has been interpreted in
many ways. First, they appear as hollow, empty
spaces to match Forsters perception of metaphysical emptiness in a godless universe. Second, they
arguably express Forsters view of India as a place
of mystery and nullity to the British Raj. Third,
the hollow caves can be read as a symbol of the
main textual absence in the book, its missing
center: the enigma of what happened to Adela.
A Passage to India was widely acclaimed but
Forster gave up extended fiction because he felt
he could not write openly and honestly about
(homo)sexual relations. In 1927 he gave the Clark
Lectures at Cambridge University that were published as Aspects of the Novel the same year. He was
also offered a fellowship at Kings College, Cambridge on the strength of them. In 1928, a new
assembly of short stories was published, The
Eternal Moment: a second collection of six stories
that turn away from realism toward the styles of
fantasy and romance.
In 1934, the year he published his first biography, Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson, Forster became the first president of the National Council
for Civil Liberties, an unsurprising decision for
someone who had argued against the suppression
of Radclyffe Halls lesbian novel The Well of
Loneliness in 1928 and later spoke in defense of
the overturning of the ban on D. H. Lawrences
Lady Chatterleys Lover in 1960. Two years after
the Dickinson biography, in 1936, he published
his first assembly of essays and occasional pieces,
Abinger Harvest. His mother died in 1945 and in
the same year he was elected an honorary fellow at
Kings, which entitled him to live at the college, as
he did for the rest of his life. In 1947 he embarked
on lecture tours in the United States, and two
years later he refused a knighthood from the king.
The same year he wrote the libretto for Benjamin


Brittens opera Billy Budd, based on Hermann

Melvilles novel.
The year 1948 saw the publication of the assembly of his two short story volumes as Collected
Short Stories, while 1951 saw the release of
Forsters second collection of essays and articles,
Two Cheers for Democracy, and 1953 the important publication of The Hill of Devi. This is
Forsters account of the visits he made to the
small Indian princely state of Dewas Senior in
191213 and, more importantly, 1921. It is
composed primarily of letters sent home but is
supplemented by later commentary. On his first
visit, Forster went as a guest but on his second he
served as private secretary to the maharajah, for
which on his departure he was awarded the highest honor of the state: the reigning Princes Tukoji
Rao III Gold Medal. The book is principally
concerned with the day-to-day activities of the
court, the way in which the state was ruled and
administered. Never that sure what he was doing,
Forster likened it to a Gilbert and Sullivan opera.
Devi, Residence of the Goddess, is the sacred
mountain that looms over the capital city of
Dewas Senior. At its summit, inhabited by an
ancient object of great significance if not power,
like the Kawa Dol at the Marabar, is the cave of
Chamunda. As this detail implies, the book is an
intriguing exercise in cultural difference as well as
travel writing but for many readers its foremost
interest will lie in the light it sheds on Forsters
final novel. For example, he writes: I began
[A Passage to India] before my 1921 visit, and
took out the opening chapters with me, with the
intention of continuing them. But as soon as they
were confronted with the country they purported
to describe, they seemed to wilt and go dead and I
could do nothing with them. I used to look at
them of an evening in my room at Dewas, and felt
only distaste and despair. The gap between India
remembered and India experienced was too wide.
When I got back to England the gap narrowed,
and I was able to resume. The opening chapter of
the third section of A Passage to India, Temple,
is also illuminated by reading Forsters account in
The Hill of Devi of the Gokul Ashtami festival that
he attended in Dewas in August 1921 and used as
a model for Godboles ceremony.
Forsters final book in his lifetime was
Marianne Thornton (1956), a biography of
the great-aunt whose gift of 8,000 had allowed

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



Forster to afford to go to Cambridge and subsequently to become a writer. In 1969 Forster was
awarded the Order of Merit. He died the following
year in the home of friends on June 1. The years
1971 saw the publication of his Maurice and 1972
the release of his remaining, largely unpublished,
short stories in The Life to Come. Forsters unfinished novel Arctic Summer was published in
1980 and his selected letters were released in two
volumes in 1983. He remains one of the best
regarded English novelists of the twentieth century despite effectively ceasing to write fiction
halfway through his life.
SEE ALSO: Censorship and the Novel (BIF);
Edwardian Fiction (BIF); Modernist
Fiction (BIF); Politics and the Novel (BIF);
Queer/Alternative Sexualities in Fiction (BIF);
Woolf, Virginia (BIF)


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Bradshaw, D. (ed.) (2007). The Cambridge Companion
to E. M. Forster. Cambridge: Cambridge University
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Trotter, D. (1993). The English Novel in History.
18951920. London: Routledge.

Fowles, John

Renowned for his erudition, his experimentation

with literary form, and his exceptional storytelling
abilities, John Fowles was unique in his generation
ofEnglish authors for achieving (andmaintaining)
both popular success and critical acclaim. Though
his work peaked in critical reputation by the early
1990s, Fowles remains one of the most popular and
important authors of postwar British fiction.
Born March 31, 1926, in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex,
England, Fowles felt suffocated by the suburban
conformity of his early life with his parents Robert
John Fowles and Gladys May (Richards) Fowles,
much preferring the quiet life of rural Devon,
where his family evacuated during World War II
and where he would discover his abiding reverence for nature. He attended Bedford School,
served two years compulsory service in the Royal

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Marines, and briefly attended the University of

Edinburgh. Fowles then attended New College,
Oxford, where he discovered the French literature
(particularly Celtic romance) and existentialist
philosophy that would influence all his writing.
After leaving Oxford, he accepted teaching posts
at the University of Poitiers, France, and then at
a boarding school in Spetsai, Greece. Deeply
moved by Greek landscape and culture, Fowles
also met his future wife, Elizabeth (Whitton)
Christy, at the school. This tumultuous affair
weathered several difficult years while Fowles
taught at Ashridge College and then at St. Godrics
College, London. Elizabeth and John Fowles were
married on April 2, 1954. The publication of his
first novel allowed Fowles to write full-time, and
the couple eventually moved to Lyme Regis,
Dorset, where he would write most of his major
work. Although he was always conscious of his
Englishness and became absorbed in the history of
the town, serving as curator of the Lyme Regis
Philpot Museum for a decade, Fowles felt himself
an exile in England and considered his ideas
more consistent with European values. After
Elizabeths sudden death from cancer in 1990,
Fowles married family friend Sarah Smith in 1998.
He died on November 5, 2005, after a long illness.
Throughout his career, Fowles wrote fiction
that explored profound questions of human existence and relationships. Especially intrigued by
the work of Sartre, Camus, and Jung, he created
situations in which his characters personal and
cultural values would be tested, especially in their
interactions with mysterious women. In The
Collector (1963), his first published novel, this
interaction occurs between butterfly collector
Frederick Clegg and art student Miranda Grey.
Having admired Miranda from afar, Clegg decides to kidnap her and keep her in a basement after
suddenly winning the football pools. A psychological thriller inspired by both the Bluebeard
legend and a newspaper clipping of a similar
kidnapping, The Collector offers both Cleggs and
Mirandas version of events, highlighting the
differences in the social, political, and aesthetic
environments of the two characters and emphasizing their inability to communicate across these
boundaries. Although Miranda begins to develop
some existential awareness, both characters opinions and actions are ultimately determined by
their social locations, and Mirandas developing


authenticity is abruptly halted with her death

from pneumonia and neglect.
As his most conventional novel, The Collector
introduces some of Fowless most consistent concerns, most notably with social conditioning
versus individual authenticity, free will, and personal integrity. Yet The Magus (1977 [1965] ),
published as his second novel but begun a decade
earlier and revised and republished a decade later,
offers a much more complex investigation of
these existential concerns. The novel details the
experiences of Nicholas Urfe, a young Englishman of Fowless generation who, like his author,
takes a teaching position at a boarding school on
a Greek island. There he enters the mysterious
world of Bourani, a villa owned by the enigmatic
Maurice Conchis. Under Conchiss direction,
Nicholas negotiates a series of bizarre episodes,
most of which revolve around the intoxicating
Lily (also called Julie, and based on Sanchia
Humphreys, a student Fowles encountered at
Ashridge College), whom Nicholas covets despite
his commitment to his Australian girlfriend,
Alison (based, like most of Fowless heroines, on
his wife Elizabeth). This godgame radically
destabilizes Nicholass affected principles, forcing
him to confront his own lack of personal authenticity. Inspired by a variety of sources and experiences, including Richard Jefferiess Bevis, Henri
Alain-Fourniers Le Grand Meaulnes, Charles
Dickenss Great Expectations, and Fowless own
experiences on Spetsai, The Magus puzzled many
readers and critics familiar with The Collector,
particularly because of its ambiguity, complexity,
and indeterminate ending. However, the revised
version, with its clarified themes and enhanced
eroticism, remains one of his most popular works.
Fowless most successful work was his next
novel, The French Lieutenants Woman (1969).
Inspired by a persistent vision of a woman staring
out to sea, The French Lieutenants Woman combines a story set in Victorian Lyme Regis with an
intrusive modern narrator, who comments on the
action, questions the nature of fiction, occasionally inserts himself into the story as a character,
and constructs alternative endings. The story
chronicles the existential awakening of Charles
Smithson, an amiable but unremarkable gentleman, who is seduced out of his conventional
existence by the alluring Sarah Woodruff. With
its implicit comparison of historical mores and

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



values and its metafictional concerns, the novel

flustered the literary establishment in England,
but became wildly popular in the United States. It
won several awards, and was made into an Oscarnominated film in 1981, featuring a screenplay by
Nobel laureate Harold Pinter.
Fowless subsequent novels, while less provocatively seductive, focus even more crucially on the
hazard of existence, the burdens of social conditioning,thechallengesofexistentialawareness, and
the importance of personal authenticity and meaningful relationships. Written under the working
title Variations, Fowless next published work,
The Ebony Tower (1974), includes the title novella,
a Breton lai translated from Marie de France, and a
number of shorter stories that resonate thematically with one another and with his earlier works.
The most obvious resonances occur in the title
novella, in which art critic David Williams travels
to France to interview exiled artist Henry Breasley,
a kind of inarticulate Conchis figure who presides
over a mysteriously erotic domain that challenges
David, through his interactions with Breasleys
assistant Diana, to live authentically. David
fails to rise to the challenge, and returns to his
comfortable but inauthentic existence. The collections other stories catalogue similar failures of
imagination but gesture toward more authentic
possibilities; however, the obscurity of these tales
has both intrigued and frustrated readers and critics.
Likewise, Fowless next novel, Daniel Martin
(1977a), has drawn both praise for its social
consciousness and ambition, and criticism for its
comparatively stolid and lengthy explication. As
his most personal work, the novel follows the
development of its eponymous protagonist, a
Hollywood screenwriter summoned to his native
England by the impending death of an old friend.
Dissatisfied with his empty accomplishments,
Dan decides to write a novel exploring the forces
that have shaped his life in order to find a more
fulfilling and authentic path. Critical in this enterprise are two romantic interests, Dans actress
girlfriend Jenny and his former lover and sisterin-law, Jane. As both Fowles and Dan pursue
whole sight, the novel investigates how various
forces contribute to the perception of experiences
and considers the ways in which an individual
might achieve personal and artistic authenticity.
Fowless next novel, Mantissa (1982a), offers
a stark contrast to Daniel Martin. A parody of

poststructuralism, Mantissa takes place entirely

within the head of its protagonist, author Miles
Green, as he debates the nature of fiction with his
muse, Erato. As a playful attack on literary criticism and a defense of Fowless highly eroticized
views on writing, Mantissa received predictably
negative reviews, but offers his most overtly postmodern and mischievous investigation into the
nature of fiction and freedom.
Inspired by a persistent vision of silhouetted
travelers and set inthe eighteenth century, Fowless
last published novel, A Maggot (1985), follows the
investigation of a mysterious gentlemans disappearance by lawyer Henry Ayscough. A historical
novel informed by the perspective of its modern
narrator and the conventions of detective novels
and science fiction, A Maggot includes historical
texts both real and invented, along with the depositions of several characters. The most important of these comes from Rebecca Lee, a former
prostitute who in the novel becomes the mother of
historical Shaker leader Ann Lee. Combining elements of all Fowless earlier fiction, A Maggot
investigates problems of perception, social consciousness, creativity, and authenticity.
Though he secured his literary reputation as
a novelist, Fowles worked in a number of forms,
and his non-fiction and occasional writings provide important insights into his popular and
influential fiction. The most significant of these
writings include The Aristos (1964), a philosophical treatise inspired by Heraclitus; Wormholes
(1998), a collection of essays; The Tree (1979),
a reflection on nature; and his critically acclaimed
Journals (2003, 2006). He has also published
a number of shorter works, often accompanied
by photography, and a collection of poetry. His
voluminous papers are housed at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University
of Texas, Austin, and posthumous publication of
new work remains a possibility.
SEE ALSO: Historical Fiction (BIF); Mystery/
Detective/Crime Fiction (BIF); Postmodernist
Fiction (BIF); Science Fiction (BIF)
Acheson, J. (1998). John Fowles. New York: St. Martins.
Aubrey, J. (1991). John Fowles: A Reference Companion.
Westport, CT: Greenwood.

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Aubrey, J. (ed.) (1999). John Fowles and

Nature: Fourteen Perspectives on Landscape.
Madison, NJ. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press.
Barnum, C. (1988). The Fiction of John Fowles: A Myth
for Our Time. Greenwood, FL: Penkevill.
Conradi, P. (1982). John Fowles. New York: Methuen.
Cooper, P. (1991). The Fictions of John Fowles. Ottawa:
University of Ottawa Press.
Fawkner, H. W. (1984). The Timescapes of John Fowles.
Rutherford, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University
Foster, T. C. (1994). Understanding John Fowles.
Columbia: University of South Carolina Press.
Fowles, J. (1963). The Collector. Boston: Little, Brown.
Fowles, J. (1964). The Aristos. Boston: Little, Brown.
Fowles, J. (1969). The French Lieutenants Woman.
Boston: Little, Brown.
Fowles, J. (1973). Poems. New York: Ecco.
Fowles, J. (1974). The Ebony Tower. Boston: Little,
Fowles, J. (1975). Shipwreck. Boston: Little, Brown.
Fowles, J. (1977a). Daniel Martin. Boston: Little,
Fowles, J. (1977b). The Magus [1965], rev. edn. Boston:
Little, Brown.
Fowles, J. (1978). Islands. Boston: Little, Brown.
Fowles, J. (1979). The Tree. New York: Ecco.
Fowles, J. (1980). The Enigma of Stonehenge. New York:
Fowles, J. (1982a). Mantissa. Boston: Little, Brown.
Fowles, J. (1982b). A Short History of Lyme Regis.
Boston: Little, Brown.
Fowles, J. (1984). Thomas Hardys England. Boston:
Little, Brown.
Fowles, J. (1985). A Maggot. Boston: Little, Brown.
Fowles, J. (1990). Lyme Regis Camera. Boston: Little,
Fowles, J. (2003, 2006). The Journals, 2 vols. (ed. C.
Drazin) London: Vintage.
Garard, C. (1991). Point of View in Fiction and Film:
Focus on John Fowles. New York: Peter Lang.
Green, G. (dir.) (1968). The Magus. Blazer.
Huffaker, R. (1980). John Fowles. Boston: Twayne.
Knights, R. (dir.) (1984). The Ebony Tower. Granada
Lenz, B. (2008). John Fowles: Visionary and Voyeur.
Amsterdam: Rodopi.
Loveday, S. (1985). The Romances of John Fowles. New
York: St. Martins.
Olshen, B. N. (1978). John Fowles. New York: Ungar.
Onega, S. J. (1989). Form and Meaning in the Novels of
John Fowles. Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Research Press.
Palmer, W. J. (1974). The Fiction of John Fowles:
Tradition, Art, and the Loneliness of Selfhood.
Columbia: University of Missouri Press.


Pifer, F E. (ed.) (1986). Critical Essays on John Fowles.

Boston: G. K. Hall.
Reisz, K. (dir.) (1981). The French Lieutenants Woman.
Juniper Films.
Relf, J. (ed.) (1998). Wormholes. New York: Henry Holt.
Salami, M. (1992). John Fowless Fiction and the Poetics
of Postmodernism. London: Associated University
Tarbox, K. (1988). The Art of John Fowles. Athens:
University of Georgia Press.
Vipond, D. L. (ed.) (1999). Conversations with John
Fowles. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi.
Warburton, E. (2004). John Fowles: A Life in Two
Worlds. New York: Viking.
Wilson, T. M. (2006). The Recurrent Green Universe of
John Fowles. Amsterdam: Rodopi.
Woodcock, B. (1984). Male Mythologies: John Fowles
and Masculinity. Totowa, NJ: Barnes and Noble.
Wyler, W. (dir.) (1965). The Collector. Collector

Frayn, Michael

Michael Frayn is a man of letters best known as

a playwright and a novelist. He began his writing
career, though, as a much admired author of
topical satirical essays and was credited as one of
the fathers of the satire boom of the 1960s; he
has won fame as a translator, particularly of
Anton Chekhov, and two of his books, including
one published in 2006, are works of philosophy.
Frayn was born on September 8, 1933, in Mill
Hill, a northern suburb of London, in a family he
places somewhere between lower-middle and
middle-middle class. He received his secondary
education first in a fee-paying school and then at
the Kingston Grammar School. There he wrote
poetry, edited a school magazine, and was, like
many writers of his generation, a youthful communist. He earned a state scholarship to study at
Emmanuel College, Cambridge, but deferred his
entry to do his required national service, which
proved a boon, since he was taught Russian as
a military translator (a study which prepared him
for his translations of Chekhov).
Entering Cambridge in 1954, he studied moral
sciences, or philosophy. He wrote for the literary
magazine and for Footlights!, the annual Cambridge student review. Upon graduation in 1957

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



he began to write for the Guardian, first reporting

and soon writing humorous columns. He ceased
to write a regular column in 1968, though he has
since returned to it occasionally. By that time he
had begun to publish fiction, his first novel, The
Tin Men (1965), being followed quickly by
The Russian Interpreter (1966), Towards the End
of the Morning (1967), and A Very Private Life
His first plays were performed in 1970 and for
several years he wrote steadily and successfully for
the theater, his first really sensational hit coming
in 1982 with Noises Off. There were translations of
Chekhov and his first philosophical work, Constructions (1974), during the late 1970s and 1980s;
then, in 1989, he returned to fiction with The Trick
of It. He has continued this versatile career. Late
Frayn would include his play Copenhagen (1998),
which won the US Tony Award for best play, and
the novels Headlong (1999), shortlisted for the
Man Booker Prize, and Spies (2002), the Whitbread Novel of the Year.
Frayns novels cannot be easily or neatly
summed up, as they differ so strongly from one
another, though they are usually inventive, intelligent, and predominantly comic, and they show a
continuing interest in how ordinary people do
their work. The Tin Men is a farcical treatment of
advertising and market research, casting an early
sardonic look at cybernetics; a misunderstood visit
by the queen triggers the hectic action. It won the
Somerset Maugham Award and the Hawthornden
Prize. The Russian Interpreter, a thriller about an
Englishman over his head in Russia, obviously
relies on Frayns Russian language skills and his
disillusioning Russian visits. Paul Manning, the
innocent abroad, is easily manipulated both by
Russians and by an amoral Englishman who
claims to be his old university friend.
Towards the End of the Morning (published in
the US as Against Entropy) takes a gently jaundiced look at the newspaper business, revealing an
office full of idle and not very competent journalists, getting through their day, and the disruption
that ensues when a new man arrives and works
with ambition and drive. A Very Private Life
begins strikingly: Once upon a time there will
be a little girl called Uncumber. Frayn goes on to
depict a dystopian future of human alienation in
which the privileged people live hermetically
sealed lives, connected by something like the

Internet, and shows that efforts to make contact

with a wider world, like Uncumbers, are doomed.
Sweet Dreams is a fantasy about the afterlife,
suggesting that heaven is a modest improvement
on the earthly life the departed character Howard Baker can now speak foreign languages and
revise embarrassing moments of his life but is
otherwise like New York except populated by
earnest social liberals of the sort Howard has
known in England.
The Trick of It (1989), published after a long
fictional hiatus mostly devoted to the theater, is a
darkening campus comedy about a literary critic
who marries the author who has been his subject.
Far from helping his research program, his marriage disrupts it, produces marital rivalry in
which he tries to become a novelist, and ends
in career disaster. A Landing on the Sun (1991) is
an engrossing and touching exploration of the
mysterious death of a civil servant. An investigator assigned to learn the truth about a civil
servants suicide learns of a secret love affair and
his own relationship to the dead mans family
and their sadness. Now You Know (1992) is more
political than most of Frayns books. It turns on a
campaign for transparency in public life waged
by a brash man, uncouth but irresistible, called
Terry Little, and the complications that sexual
desire, with its privacy and secrecy, introduces
into a demand that everything be publicly
Headlong is the richest of Frayns novels. It was
criticized by some as difficult, because it includes much art history and Flemish history; it
focuses on a lost Brueghel painting and the
machinations of an academic who believes he has
found it. The farcical account of how he attempts
to acquire it includes the vortex of lying, then
lying more to cover the original lies, that Frayn
sees in most farce. Spies is simultaneously a nostalgic study of youth in a London suburb during
World War II, a thriller about suspected spies
and multiple forms of betrayal, and a subtle
investigation of identity.
Frayns newspaper columns have been published in five collections. His book The Human
Touch: Our Part in the Creation of the Universe
(2006) is philosophy. But most of his output is in
the form of stories many for the theater, but
including 10 of the sharpest and most satisfying
novels of the past 40 years.

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


SEE ALSO: Campus Novel (BIF); Fantasy Fiction

(BIF); Utopian and Dystopian Fiction (BIF);
World War II in Fiction (BIF)
Frayn, M. (1965) The Tin Men. London: Collins.
Frayn, M. (1966) The Russian Interpreter. London:
Frayn, M. (1967) Towards the End of the Morning.
London: Collins. (Published in US as Against
Frayn, M. (1968) A Very Private Life. London: Collins.
Frayn, M. (1973) Sweet Dreams. London: Collins.
Frayn, M. (1974) Constructions. London: Wildwood
Frayn, M. (1982) Noises Off: A Play in Three Acts.
London: Methuen.
Frayn, M. (1989) The Trick of It. London: Viking.
Frayn, M. (1991) A Landing on the Sun. London: Viking.
Frayn, M. (1992) Now You Know. London: Viking.
Frayn, M. (1998) Copenhagen. London: Methuen.
Frayn, M. (1999) Headlong. London: Faber and Faber.
Frayn, M. (2002) Spies. London: Faber and Faber.


Frayn, M. (2006) The Human Touch: Our Part in

the Creation of the Universe. London: Faber and
Hitchens, C. (2002) Between Waugh and Wodehouse:
Comedy and Conservatism. In Z. Leader (ed.), On
Modern British Fiction. Oxford: Oxford University
Press, pp. 4559.
Kahan, M. (2000) Michael Frayn. Bomb, 73, 549.
Lyall, S. (1999). Enter Farce and Erudition: Ambiguity
Fires a Novelist and Playwright. New York Times,
pp. EI, 3 (Oct. 25). At www.nytimes.com/1999/10/
pagewanted1, accessed Mar. 4, 2010.
Moseley, M. (2006) Understanding Michael Frayn.
Columbia: University of South Carolina Press.
Page, M. (1994) File on Frayn. London: Methuen.
Page, M. (1998) Michael Frayn (8 September 1933 ). In
M. Moseley (ed.), British Novelists Since 1960. 2nd
series. Detroit: Gale, pp. 12837.
Wilders, J. (2002) Michael Frayn (1933 ). In J. Parini
(ed.), British Writers, supplement VII. New York:
Scribners, pp. 5165.
Worth, K. (1983) Farce and Michael Frayn. Modern
Drama, 26 (March), 4753.

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Galloway, Janice

Janice Galloway, born in 1955, was brought up in

Saltcoats, Ayrshire, by her mother, whose life was
a constant struggle after she left her destructive,
drunken husband. Galloways childhood was
dominated by a much older sister who returned,
having left her own husband and child, to tyrannize the household. Yet, love of reading and music
provided freedoms in the midst of emotional and
material deprivations. At her secondary school,
Ardrossan Academy, she was encouraged intellectually and musically by a charismatic teacher,
Ken Hetherington. She studied music and English
at Glasgow University and taught in Ayrshire for
10 years before The Trick is to Keep Breathing kickstarted her writing career in 1990. Since then
Galloway has made herself into an impressively
professional woman of letters, indeed of more
than letters for her repertoire includes short stories; poems; theatrical, operatic, and sculptural
collaborations; editing and music reviewing, as
well as four novels, The Trick, Foreign Parts, Clara
and This Is Not About Me in which the various
interests converge. Literary, visual, and musical
experiments inform the techniques of the four
long fictions; and the long and short fictions assist
each other, since Galloway often suggests that
womens lives are best represented as a series of
short stories or vignettes with repeated epiphanies
or clarifications, rather than as plot-driven toward definitive closure. She exploits the visual
possibilities of the page, and the structure of Clara
roughly follows Robert Schumanns song cycle

Frauen Liebe und Leben (Womans Life and Love).

Galloways determination to transform rather
than be limited by conventions, whether literary,
typographical, political, or sociological, characterizes her feminism which may, given the depressing nature of some her subject matter, at
times seem down, yet is never out. Galloway
refuses to be limited by fixed categories Scottish
novelist, Glasgow novelist, woman novelist. In
various interviews she insists that she simply gets
on with it if critics find schools and patterns that
is their affair. She admits the significance for her
work of Alasdair Gray and Marguerite Duras,
admires Catherine Carswell and Jessie Kesson,
but insists that nothing that a writer reads or
experiences is ever wasted.
The Trick is to Keep Breathing (1989) deals with
the breakdown, hospitalization, and possible recovery of schoolteacher Joy Stone after her married lover and colleague, Michael Fisher, drowns
in a hotel pool during their holiday in a foreign
resort. Joy teaches in a secondary school, and
having abandoned her cottage to dry rot, lives in
a depressed Glasgow overspill council estate on
the outskirts of an unnamed Ayrshire town. Her
existence is ignored by the minister officiating at
her lovers funeral and this precipitates a crisis of
identity. The novels typographical tricks (Sterne
filtered through Alasdair Gray) figure the fragmentation of the self, but even more daringly
Galloway forces Plathian confessional fiction to
accommodate social and political critique.
Foreign Parts (1994) charts the driving holiday
in France of Cassie and Rona, single women in
their late thirties. Cassies life with Chris, her

The Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Fiction General editor: Brian W. Shaffer

2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


former partner, is invoked through holiday snapshots, the more distant past of World War I by a
visit to a war cemetery and by two letters home by
Ronas grandfather from the trenches where he
died. This novel too revivifies convention as
memorials of men and the male form of the road
novel are pressed into celebration of the resilience
of female friendship.
Clara (2002b) follows the nineteenth-century
pianist and composer, Clara Wieck Schumann,
from her childhood, dominated by her musicteacher father who vows to make her famous, to
the death in a lunatic asylum of her husband
Robert, the now celebrated composer. Galloway
focuses on the struggle of Robert and her father to
possess Clara, forcing her to negotiate the conflicting demands of music and love, work and
motherhood. Thus revisionist biography allows
examination of the history of female creativity.
Galloways short stories in Blood (1991) and
Where You Find It (1996) are also experimental,
often disturbingly so. Generically the stories are
slippery, veering from realism to the creepy fantasy of After the Rains, a story of transformations of human to inhuman a flower, a washing
machine, and worse, after a period of ceaseless
rain. But even the realist stories teeter on the brink
of the surreal, as if our lives require constant effort
to keep them this side of normality. There is the
couple whose love is controlled by the kind of
shop they live above bliss above the bakers,
revulsion above the butchers; the girl who makes
heart-shaped ham sandwiches for her lovers
piece on Valentines day. The narrating voice
is unsettling, usually but not always female; some
sympathy is allowed to male positions: in Hope
the narrator shuts his eyes against the oppressive,
cloying presence of his partner, Hope: Sooner or
later I will have to open my eyes (1996, 83).
This Is Not About Me (2008) is another transformational novel, more than a memoir in its
exploration of the forces that constrain talent and
ambition, although it offers a modestly hopeful
account of the survival of creativity against the
odds. The title disclaims autobiographical truth,
insisting on the constructedness, the fictionality
of the account. Yet the vulnerability and the feisty
resilience of Janice Galloway are the primary
characteristics of her creators writing and it is
impossible not to feel that we are admiring the girl
and the writer simultaneously. Galloway has nev-


er caught better the distinctive Scottish English of

her upbringing with the terrible, inescapable
cliches that the old use to reduce the self-esteem
and expectations of the young: I wish I didny have
you trailing my heels all the time (59); You thats
supposed to be clever (115), you and your fancy
ideas (308). The whole of Galloways work insists
that these fancy ideas are just what we should be
holding on to.
SEE ALSO: Carswell, Catherine (BIF);
Feminist Fiction (BIF); Gray, Alasdair (BIF);
Scottish Fiction (BIF)
Galloway, J. (1989). The Trick is to Keep Breathing.
Edinburgh: Polygon.
Galloway, J. (1991). Blood. London: Secker and
Galloway, J. (1994). Foreign Parts. London: Jonathan
Galloway, J. (1996). Where You Find it. London:
Jonathan Cape.
Galloway, J. (2002a). Boy Book See. Glasgow: Mariscat.
Galloway, J. (2002b). Clara. London: Jonathan Cape.
Galloway, J. (2008). This Is Not About Me. London:
Jackson, L. (ed.) (2004). Exchanges: Reading Janice
Galloways Fictions. Edinburgh: Edinburgh Review.
Janice Galloway: A Web Archive. At www.
galloway.1to1.org, accessed Jan. 28, 2010.
McGlynn, M. (2001). Janice Galloway. Review of
Contemporary Fiction, 21(2), 739.
Metzstein, M. (1993). Of Myths and Men: Aspects
of Gender in the Fiction of Janice Galloway.
In The Scottish Novel Since the Seventies. Edinburgh:
Edinburgh University Press, pp. 13646.

Galsworthy, John

John Galsworthy owes what he termed his

passport . . . for the shores of permanence
(Marrot 497) to two trilogies, The Forsyte Saga
(1922) and A Modern Comedy (1929). Through
his Forsytes, Galsworthy observed the feuding
dynamics of the intergenerational middle-class
family to explore and symbolize the cultural and
moral dynamics of England from the late Victorian to the modern period (1886 to the late 1920s).

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



Aesthetics, sexual desire, the location of home,

and a number of class-based issues percolate
through the two trilogies, marking the boundaries
of transitional cultural change.
Galsworthy was born on August 14, 1867 into a
wealthy middle-class family. He was educated at
Harrow School and, with the intention of entering
his fathers profession, went on to read law at
New College, Oxford. Although he was called to
the Bar, Galsworthy realized that the law was not
his vocation and, following a fortuitous meeting
with Joseph Conrad (the pair remained lifelong
friends), and with the encouragement of his wife,
Ada, he began writing. Galsworthys output was
prolific and varied: poetry, essays, short stories,
plays, and fiction. His naturalistic drama was well
received: his first play, The Silver Box (1906), was
produced by the influential VedrenneBarker
partnership at the Court, later the Royal Court
Theatre. Galsworthys compassionate commitment to prison reform was explored in Justice
(1910). The play prompted a correspondence and
series of meetings with Winston Churchill, then
Home Secretary, who later announced reforms
for the treatment of prisoners in solitary confinement (Gindin 2067). But it is as the creator of
the Forsytes that Galsworthy really distinguished
The Forsyte Saga comprised The Man of Property (1906), Indian Summer of a Forsyte (1915),
In Chancery (1920), Awakening (1920), and
To Let (1921). A Modern Comedy comprised
The White Monkey (1924), A Silent Wooing
(1927), The Silver Spoon (1926), Passers By
(1927), and Swan Song (1928). Galsworthy followed the trilogies with a collection of stories
outlining the fates and quirks of minor Forsyte
characters, On Forsyte Change, published in
1930, before completing a final trilogy of novels,
Maid in Waiting, Flowering Wilderness, and
Over the River, devoted to the Cherrells, the
older type of family with more tradition and sense
of service than the Forsytes (Marrot 630) the
kind of family that Virginia Woolf explored in The
Years (1937), which was written with the express
intention of rejecting Galsworthys popular
Galsworthys first Forsytes were created in a
short story, The Salvation of Swithin Forsyte in
A Man of Devon (1901) and in an unfinished play,
The Civilized (19012), which features James

Forsyte and his wife Emily. While writing The

Man of Property in 1905, Galsworthy mooted the
idea of at least two more volumes. In any event, he
did not return to the Forsytes until 1915 when,
during his profound despair about World War I,
he wrote his rustic Indian Summer of a Forsyte,
first published in Five Tales (1918) and eventually
included as a connecting interlude between The
Man of Property and In Chancery in The Forsyte
Saga in 1922. Galsworthys hitherto celebrated
reputation had been suffering something of a
decline during World War I; his contemporary,
Hugh Walpole, thought that Galsworthy was
shrivelled up like a pea (Hart-Davis 152),
though he would change his mind, telling Galsworthy a decade later, I dont expect you realise
what a help your quietness and dignity is to many
of us (Marrot 610). Katherine Mansfield, reviewing his World War I novel Saints Progress,
thought he had come to a standstill (Gindin
392). But Galsworthys instincts were different
and prescient: The idea of making The Man of
Property the first volume of a trilogy cemented by
Indian Summer of a Forsyte and another short
episode came to me on Sunday, July 28th, and I
started the same day. This idea, if I can ever bring
it to fruition, will make The Forsyte Saga a volume
of half a million words nearly; and the most
sustained and considerable piece of fiction of
our generation at least (Marrot 443). Though
he declined to read the novels as a study in
transition, through both form and content,
Galsworthy nonetheless maintained a dialogue
between late nineteenth- and twentieth-century
sensibilities, morality, and taste in his Forsyte
novels, describing them in his Preface to
Heinemanns 1925 edition of the novels as an
intimate incarnation of the disturbance that
Beauty effects in the lives of men (p. xi). And
yet, Soames, once the villain of the piece in The
Man of Property, does come to maturity as the
upholder of late Victorian certainty and clarity
through the volatility and nihilism of postwar
modernity. Though parodied for their snobbish
middlebrow appeal in George Orwells Keep the
Aspidistra Flying (1936), the Forsyte novels were
among the most popular bestsellers of the 1920s,
selling in six figures on both sides of the Atlantic.
They came to be associated with a very particular
notion of Englishness, as Siegfried Sassoon wrote
to Galsworthys wife Ada: I take my hat off to him

(c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


and all his Forsytes; that that family is becoming

part of national consciousness, I am surer than
ever (Marrot 511).
The Man of Property was conceived, according
to Galsworthy, in satiric mood, as a scathing
indictment of materialism and the propertyowning classes, fuelled, he told Edward Garnett,
by a desire to defeat Forsyteism (Marrot 169).
The focus of Galsworthys sharp critique was the
apparently impregnable property-worshipping,
materialistic Forsyte family, a formidable unit
of society, so clear a production of society in
miniature (1987a, 11). Soames Forsyte, a solicitor and art collector, is really at the center of this
first novel, and it is his delusional and hubristic
belief that he could possess his wife, the arrestingly beautiful Irene, that is the driving force of
the novel and, indeed, of the first trilogy. The
vulnerable Irene is coerced into marrying Soames
who, with his possessive instinct, turns out to be
incapable of feeling love; he collects and displays
Irene as though she, too, were a work of art. His
tragedy, Galsworthy said, was that Soames was
essentially unlovable, but it also lies in his realization that Irene is simply not his to possess and
what he most wants is precisely what he cannot
have. In order both to control and to better
display her, he commissions a new architect, the
fiance of his cousin June Forsyte, to design and
build a house in the country for her. Bosinneys
costs escalate in the pursuit and purity of his
vision, much to the abstemious Soamess irritation; when its clear that Irene and Bosinney are
in love, Soamess jealousy reaches its peak and he
rapes Irene, an act then legal within marriage.
Distraught, Irene leaves Soames and tells Bosinney who, distracted by his grief and anger, is
killed (or commits suicide Galsworthy wanted
it to remain vague) in a collision with a hansom
carriage. Irene then leaves Soames for good. In
the subsequent novels she is rehabilitated in the
family through her connection with Soamess
uncle, Old Jolyon, and his cousin, Young Jolyon,
Soamess free-spirited artist cousin who understands the aesthetic rather than commercial appeal of art. No respecter of class, Young Jo leaves
his first unhappy marriage and sets up home with
his childrens governess, Helene, fathering two
illegitimate children. When Helene dies, Young
Jo and Irene begin a courtship and they, too,
marry for love, while Soames makes a cynical


second marriage to the equally cynical and socially

aspirant Annette. Both couples have children:
Irene and Young Jo the innocent, trusting Jon;
Soames and Annette the modish, selfish Fleur.
This next generation fall in love when they meet
in their cousin Junes art gallery. Every effort is
made to keep them apart and, in the end, the
family secret Soamess marriage to, and rape of,
Irene is exposed. Jon dutifully marries a rather
ill-defined character, Ann Wilmot, Fleur an aristocratic philanthropist, Michael Mont. It was,
Conrad wrote to Galsworthy following the publication of In Chancery in 1920, A great Saga!
(Marrot 496). Hardy wrote to congratulate
Galsworthy following the publication of To Let
that this was one of the best of the Forsyte
chronicles, telling him, you have made me feel
very sorry you have finished with the family
(Marrot 510). But he had not. A Modern Comedy
(1929) sustains an interest in the Forsyte family,
particularly the brittle and brilliant Fleur and her
relationships with Michael and with Soames, but
the impulse to social justice that Galsworthy had
explored in his dramatic works is also evident in
this trilogy, which makes excursions outside the
Forsyte and Mont families to consider the fate of
an unemployed working-class couple the Bickets,
the General Strike of 1926, slum housing, insider
share dealing, and womens sexual morality, which
is literally put on trial in the court case that Fleur
brings against a bohemian aristocrat, Marjorie
Galsworthy had a vexed and difficult relation
with modernism, which he diagnosed as a nihilistic culture in the second trilogy, A Modern
Comedy; even his desire to resurrect the threedecker novel suggests a wish to recuperate the
Victorian novel against modernisms search for
new forms to document new experience. What
began as