The rise and fall of ‘the original Bright Young Thing’: Beverley Nichols, Crazy Pavements (1927) and popular authorship

BROWN, Erica (2015). The rise and fall of ‘the original Bright Young Thing’: Beverley Nichols, Crazy Pavements (1927) and popular authorship. The Review of English Studies, 66 (273), 144-163.

[img]
Preview
PDF
Beverley_Nichols_paper_RES_2nd_revision_SHURA.pdf - Submitted Version

Download (338kB) | Preview
Link to published version:: 10.1093/res/hgu057

Abstract

This essay re-examines the work and reputation of ‘the original Bright Young Thing’, Beverley Nichols (1898-1983). Nichols was a key cultural figure and best-selling novelist in the 1920s, yet now exists only as an occasional footnote in academic criticism. Nichols’ novel Crazy Pavements (1927) influenced Evelyn Waugh’s 1930 novel Vile Bodies, but was not part of the lauded avant-garde in the 1920s, and is instead a case-study in the modes of writing and publishing that condemned a work to the derogatory category ‘middlebrow’. Nichols’ accessible narrative style drew particularly on contemporary popular journalism, which was regarded by influential critics such as Q. D. Leavis as contributing to a breakdown in standards of style. The changing critical landscape of the twentieth century that valued modernist experimentation above other, more accessible forms of writing also increasingly denigrated the professional writer. This essay argues that Nichols effectively destroyed his own critical reputation through becoming someone who could and would write almost anything for money.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Humanities Research Centre
Identification Number: 10.1093/res/hgu057
Depositing User: Erica Brown
Date Deposited: 08 Jul 2014 08:50
Last Modified: 01 Dec 2016 06:59
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/8229

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics