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Title: Working-class consciousness in twentieth-century English literature : J. Galsworthy, D.H. Lawrence, P. Larkin, A. Sillitoe and H. Pinter
Author: Stone, L. A.
Awarding Body: University College of Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 1991
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The origins of the term, working-class consciousness, lie strictly within the Marxist camp. Yet, analysed in a broader context its significance as an important socio-political category can be sought. Thus, a broader representation of working-class consciousness is offered to the reader and critic alike by the following authors and their literary texts: J. Galsworthy's drama Strife (1909), D.H. Lawrence's four short-stories, The White Stocking (1914), A Sick Collier (1913), The Christening (1913), Odour of Chrysanthemums (1911) and his two essays Cocksure Women and Hensure Men (1929) and Nottingham and the Mining Countryside (1930); P. Larkin's novel Jill (1946); A. Sillitoe's novella The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner (1959) and his novel Saturday Night Sunday Morning (1958) and H. Pinter's play The Room (1957). Excluding Pinter, each author in turn has presented us with a range of primary working-class attitudes and beliefs which go to make up working-class consciousness. These are centred around the fundamental importance of the family, collective identity, a variety of regulating attitudes, survival and of 'what could be'. A single, unifying working-class experience is located in the form of a higher social class. In relation to these literary representations of working-class consciousness significant comparisons and contrasts are drawn in the light of stability and change. Dividing the tests into pre-war and postwar, a series of categories are focussed upon. These include conflict, mobility, discontent and oppression, political consciousness (where the Marxist notion of working-class consciousness is criticised) and solidarity. Two unchanging elements related to working-class consciousness are identified as: a lack of control over their own lives and its unpredictability. Further, unchanging factors associated with the working-class are identified in the political contexts of power and social justice. A central concern of analysis centres around the developmental pattern of working-class consciousness in its pre-war/postwar transition - ie fragmentation. Pinter's working-class characters have taken this fragmentation to its extreme as they acquire a petty-Bourgeois consciousness. Finally, each author has presented us with a stark, brutal picture of a working-class consciousness existing in twentieth-century Britain.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available