‘A menace to England’: The egg collector as arch-villain in two 1940s bird novels

DOBSON, Joanna (2021). ‘A menace to England’: The egg collector as arch-villain in two 1940s bird novels. Literature and History, 121-137.

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Official URL: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0306...
Open Access URL: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/03061... (Published version)
Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.1177/03061973211041256


This paper examines the figure of the egg collector as an arch-villain in two novels about rare birds that were published in the 1940s: Adventure Lit Their Star by Kenneth Allsop, and The Awl Birds by J.K. Stanford. Drawing on insights from birdwatching literature published in the same period, I demonstrate that the extreme vilification of the egg collector in both texts represents a dramatic change in attitude towards a pastime that was previously considered beneficial for both adults and children. This reversal, I suggest, can be explained by reading the desperate rush to protect the birds’ eggs as an expression of deep contemporary anxieties over the future of Britain after the Second World War, and in particular a concern that the failures of the period after World War I should not be repeated.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 2005 Literary Studies; 2103 Historical Studies
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1177/03061973211041256
Page Range: 121-137
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 12 May 2021 09:19
Last Modified: 28 Feb 2022 11:30
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/28639

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