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Title: Fiction and belief in the nineteen-thirties : studies in the novels of Edward Upward, Rex Warner, Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh, Christopher Isherwood and George Orwell
Author: Johnstone, Richard Allan
ISNI:       0000 0001 2417 3510
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 1978
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The dissertation is concerned with the English, middle class novelists who were born in the first decade of this century, who began publishing in the late nineteen-twenties and came to prominence in the nineteen-thirties. These novelists shared the influences of a common background, and possessed a common consciousness of themselves as belonging to a specifically post-war, "thirties" generation. Their childhoods had been spent in Edwardian security, but they had grown to adulthood with an acute awareness that this security had disappeared forever with the First World War. Against what was felt to be the rapid movement of postwar society towards futility and chaos, novelists of the thirties generation were fundamentally concerned to assert in their fiction the significance of the individual in a significant world. As a means of convincingly defining the external world and the function of the individual, they were attracted to varieties of belief, notably to Catholicism and to Communism. Adopting these poles of belief as a basic framework, and concentrating upon the six novelists of the title, the dissertation explores in thirties fiction the relationship between fiction and belief, between the individual and his desire to comprehend and define his society. Chapter One attempts a definition of this thirties generation, and considers some of the important influences upon it. Chapter Two considers some of the dominant features of thirties fiction, and Chapter Tree distinguishes the main kinds of left-wing novels of the time. Chapters Four and Five deal with the novel of revolutionary action, as practised by Edward Upward and Rex Warner, and Chapters Six and Seven with the Catholic novelists Graham Greene and Evelyn Waugh. Upward, Warner, Greene and Waugh may all be described as having been in the thirties committed novelists. Christopher Isherwood and George Orwell may not be so described, but the consideration of their work in Chapters Eight and Nine suggests an equivalent concern with the function of the individual in an apparently chaotic society, and with the problem of discovering some means, in fiction and in life, of ordering that society and evaluating individual action within it.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available