This is a groundbreaking re reading of the literary response to a decade of trauma and transformation. This study focuses on the thematic preoccupations that emerged from writers' immersion in and resistance to the Second World War. Through 7 chapters - Documenting, Desiring, Killing, Escaping, Grieving, Adjusting and Atomizing - the book sets middlebrow and popular writers alongside residual modernists and new voices to reconstruct the literary landscape of the period, arguing that the postwar is a concept that emerges almost simultaneously with the war itself, and that 'peace' is significant only by its absence in an emergent post Atomic cold war era. It includes a detailed and theoretically informed case studies of canical writers such as Bowen, Orwell, Greene and Waugh. It offers case studies and critical re evaluations of popular genre writers and forgotten writers.
Gill Plain is Professor of English at the University of St Andrews.