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- DescriptionThis book describes a major literary culture caught in the act of becoming mir. In 1939, Virginia Woolf wrote in her diary, Civilisation has shrunk. Her words captured t only the onset of World War II, but also a longer-term reversal of national fortune. The first comprehensive account of modernism and imperialism in England, A Shrinking Island tracks the joint eclipse of modernist aesthetics and British power from the literary experiments of the 1930s through the rise of cultural studies in the 1950s. Jed Esty explores the effects of declining empire on modernist form--and on the very meaning of Englishness. He ranges from canical figures (T. S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf) to influential midcentury intellectuals (J. M. Keynes and J.R.R. Tolkien), from cultural studies pioneers (Raymond Williams and E. P. Thompson) to postwar migrant writers (George Lamming and Doris Lessing). Focusing on writing that converts the potential energy of the contracting British state into the language of insular integrity, he argues that an anthropological ethos of cultural holism came home to roost in late-imperial England. Esty's interpretation challenges popular myths about the death of English literature. It portrays the survivors of the modernist generation t as aesthetic disaurs, but as participants in the transition from empire to welfare state, from metropolitan art to national culture. Mixing literary criticism with postcolonial theory, his account of London modernism's end-stages and after-lives provides a fresh take on major works while redrawing the lines between modernism and postmodernism.
- Author BiographyJed Esty is Assistant Professor in the Department of English and Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
- Author(s)Jed Esty
- PublisherPrinceton University Press
- Date of Publication10/11/2003
- SubjectLiterary Criticism
- Place of PublicationNew Jersey
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintPrinceton University Press
- Content Noteblack & white illustrations
- Weight428 g
- Width152 mm
- Height229 mm
- Spine17 mm
- Format DetailsTrade paperback (US)
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