Negotiations between public and private realms in British writing of the 1930s.

MILES, Neil R. (2014). Negotiations between public and private realms in British writing of the 1930s. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom)..

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Abstract

The focus of this study is on the altering and altered significations of categories of 'public' and 'private' in selected British writings of the thirties. Its aim is to explore and further delineate possible ways in which the decade's major writers struggled to reconcile the realm of the private self, with its range of individual drives, neuroses and incongruities, with the impersonal and frequently hostile forces of the public, socio-political domain, during a period in which historic circumstances brought relations between the two realms into sharp focus to a degree unique within twentieth-century literary history. Concentrating primarily on writing by Stephen Spender, Louis MacNeice, Christopher Isherwood, George Orwell and W.H. Auden, and using a range of interpretative models, this study seeks to determine and interrogate the distinct and distinctive ways in which such a reconciliation might have been conceived and rendered by the individual authors under discussion, and considers the difficulties inherent in imaginatively realising and articulating such a conception through any single aesthetic or linguistic programme, and, consequently, the multiplicity of conceptualisations and categories of writing marshalled in pursuit of such a project. Thus, whilst thirties' writing has frequently been characterised as a site of confrontation between the public and private realms (most famously in Samuel Hynes's seminal book, The Auden Generation (1976)) my investigation further qualifies existing accounts of the period through an emphasis on the range of concepts, beliefs and theorisations underpinning the self/world interface within the individual texts and authors examined. The original contribution to knowledge which emerges from this study is an enhanced appreciation of the range of literary-aesthetic, intellectual and theistic perspectives and traditions drawn upon by the decade's key writers in their attempts to negotiate and give voice to the newly-troubled encounter between the individual and history. In particular, attention is paid to ways in which thirties' writing relies upon differing and distinct models of the self or 'subject' in its dealings with contemporaneity, in ways which, crucially, are shown to lie beyond the scope of much of the dominant critical and generic debate surrounding the literature of the period.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Thesis (Ph.D.)--Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom), 2014.
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2018 17:21
Last Modified: 10 Apr 2018 17:21
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/20064

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