Category Archives: British and Irish Literature

Finding the Experimentalists

By | November 23, 2021

After pouring over dozens of conference papers and journal articles, public lectures, a PhD thesis, a Fellowship, and spending hundreds of hours in archives around the world, I carefully constructed the case for the Experimentalists not only being a movement but perhaps being one of the most important British literary movements of the twentieth century.

Queering Contemporary Literature: The Work of Jeanette Winterson

By | July 27, 2021

A powerful use of language is to tell people our story, especially to tell our loved ones about ourselves. They will hopefully reply using the language of acceptance and understanding. Conversely, a person can conceal their own story through language, or have their declarations met with words of hate and violence. This is when language has an even more important role to play in illuminating the path to equality; as Jeanette Winterson says, we need a language “capable of expressing all that it is called upon to express in a vastly changing world.”

Samuel Beckett and the Politics of Closed Space

By | June 4, 2020

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about confinement.

How many steps from my desk to the fridge? (seven) How many from the fridge to the bathroom? (twelve) How many times per day do I track this route?

In October 1954, Samuel Beckett too was thinking of confinement. He was reading a letter from German prisoner Karl-Franz Lembke, who had translated, rehearsed and staged Beckett’s debut play, Waiting for Godot, behind bars. Beckett was clearly moved, as we can see in his response:

Rereading Childhood Books

By | September 6, 2019

Guest post by Alison Waller The recent death of Judith Kerr, creator of the Mog books and The Tiger Who Came to Tea, generated an outpouring of love and nostalgia from adults, many of whom recalled encountering her picturebooks as adults and subsequently passed them on to children and grandchildren. Revisiting my own battered copy… Read More »

Happy birthday, Katherine Mansfield!

By | October 14, 2018

Katherine Mansfield was born on October 14, 1888. To celebrate the 130th anniversary of her birth, Todd Martin explores Mansfield’s relationship to the Bloomsbury Group and her place in literary modernism. In one of the reviews of the first edition of Katherine Mansfield and the Bloomsbury Group, the reviewer – commenting that the book was… Read More »

Q&A with Natasha Periyan

By | September 5, 2018

Natasha Periyan answers a few questions for us about The Politics of 1930s British Literature, her new book in the Historicizing Modernism series.  How would you describe your book in one sentence? A study of how 1930s writers engaged with education as they explored shifting democratic ideals, new gender identities and new aesthetic forms. What… Read More »

British Fiction of the 1950s and 1960s

By | August 15, 2018

Guest post by Nick Hubble The past may be a foreign country, as L.P. Hartley claims in his 1953 novel The Go-Between, but recently it has seemingly become the populist destination of choice for those hoping to escape from the complexities of contemporary life. In the context of ‘Brexit’, the idea of a ‘return to… Read More »

Millennial Bloomsberries

By | August 9, 2018

Guest post by Stephen Ross Maybe the biggest challenge in undertaking to edit a collection of essays on the Bloomsbury Group is how to avoid both retreading ground already stomped into a fine, clayey, muck and simply giving vent to an outright assault on the Group and its legacy. My own temperament tending decidedly toward… Read More »

Happy Birthday, Sarah Waters!

By | July 21, 2018

Guest post by Claire O’Callaghan  2018 is a special year for Sarah Waters as it marks twenty years since the publication of her debut novel, Tipping the Velvet. When it was released in 1998, the book was immediately recognized as a game changer; it was credited with inaugurating a racy new literary genre (‘the lesbo… Read More »

200 Years of Reading Austen in America

By | January 3, 2018

Guest post by Juliette Wells As 2017 gives way to 2018, we reach the end of the series of Jane Austen bicentennials that began in 2011 with the 200th anniversary of the publication of Sense and Sensibility, and that culminated in 2017 with commemorations of her death on July 18, 1817. Now we remember Persuasion,… Read More »