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9780192893437

The Promise of Welfare in the Postwar British and Anglophone Novel States of Repair

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780192893437

  • ISBN10:

    0192893432

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2023-11-10
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Summary

The Promise of Welfare in the Postwar British Novel offers a new literary history of the Second World War and its aftermath by focusing on wartime visions of rebuilding Britain. Shifting attention from the "People's War" to the "People's Peace," this book shows that literature returns to the historic transition from warfare to welfare to narrate its transformative social potential and darker failures. The welfare state envisioned that managing individuals' private lives would result in a more coherent and equitable community, a promise encapsulated in the 1942 Beveridge Report's promise of care from the "cradle to the grave." The postwar novel reveals the intimate effects that follow when infrastructures of collective living seek to organize social interaction, tracing these effects through quasi-administrated home spaces such as girls' hostels, makeshift sanatoria, and experimental schools.

Mid-century writers including Elizabeth Bowen, Muriel Spark, and Samuel Selvon used the militarized Home Front to present postwar Britain as a zone of lost privacy and new collective logics. As the century progressed, and as the unrealized dreams of welfare came to be dismantled, authors including Alan Hollinghurst, Michael Ondaatje, and Kazuo Ishiguro registered an unfulfilled nostalgia for a Britain that never was, situating British domestic policies within trajectories of historic and social violence. Contemporary fiction continues to reanimate the transition from a warfare state to a welfare state, preserving its transformative potential while redefining its possible futures. With this long view of postwar fiction, this volume demonstrates the holding power of welfare's promises of repair and Britain's mid-century on the British cultural imagination.

Author Biography


Kelly M. Rich, Associate Professor of English, Harvard University

Kelly M. Rich is Associate Professor of English at Harvard University.

Table of Contents


Introduction: States of Repair
PART I: CRADLE
1. A Room of One's Own? Postwar Modernism and the Reconstructive Imagination
2. "Nowhere's Safe": Angry Young Women and Communal Betrayal
3. Unhomely Empire: Seeking Hospitality in Windrush Britain
Interlude: Failed Utopias, or the Beginning of the End
PART II: GRAVE
4. Empty Places: Unpropertied Intimacy and Queer History
5. Oasis Societies: Global Welfare and the Romance of Care
6. Institutional Life: Infrastructural Interiority as Postwar Feeling
Coda: A Hostile Environment
Bibliography

Supplemental Materials

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The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

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