Reading London in Wartime: Blitz, the People and Propaganda in 1940s Literature

1st Edition

William Cederwell

Routledge
Published November 13, 2017
Reference - 220 Pages
ISBN 9780815375784 - CAT# K338684
Series: Routledge Studies in Twentieth-Century Literature

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Summary

Reading London in Wartime: Blitz, the People and Propaganda in 1940s Literature presents an expansive variety of writers and genres, including non-fiction and film approaches, to build a comprehensive social picture of the atmosphere during wartime London. From blitz and austerity to the nagging insistency of propaganda, this volume examines the representation of London in wartime and early post-war literature through each writer’s unique perspective on the pressures of 1940s city life.

Exploring the use of London imagery, this book considers how literature redirects attention to individual, subjective experience at a time of enforced co-operation, uniformity and community. Unlike government information films and news broadcasts, which often used London to prop up prevailing clichés and stereotypes, and encouraged patriotic support for the war, literature had the freedom to express more recalcitrant truths. London writing of the 1940s was not a literature of opposition or dissent, but in offering more nuanced depictions of the period, it was a counterweight to propaganda and the general war temperament. In writing, the city becomes a more complex place, no longer the easy symbol of defiance and stoicism, of the shared sacrifice of ration book and war work.

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