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This publication describes a tremendous literary tradition stuck within the act of changing into minor. In 1939, Virginia Woolf wrote in her diary, "Civilisation has shrunk." Her phrases captured not just the onset of worldwide battle II, but in addition a longer-term reversal of nationwide fortune. the 1st finished account of modernism and imperialism in England, A Shrinking Island tracks the joint eclipse of modernist aesthetics and British strength from the literary experiments of the Thirties throughout the upward push of cultural experiences within the 1950s.

Jed Esty explores the results of declining empire on modernist form--and at the very which means of Englishness. He levels from canonical figures (T. S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf) to influential midcentury intellectuals (J. M. Keynes and J.R.R. Tolkien), from cultural reports pioneers (Raymond Williams and E. P. Thompson) to postwar migrant writers (George Lamming and Doris Lessing). concentrating on writing that converts the capability strength of the contracting British nation into the language of insular integrity, he argues that an anthropological ethos of cultural holism got here domestic to roost in late-imperial England. Esty's interpretation demanding situations renowned myths in regards to the dying of English literature. It portrays the survivors of the modernist new release no longer as aesthetic dinosaurs, yet as contributors within the transition from empire to welfare kingdom, from metropolitan artwork to nationwide tradition. blending literary feedback with postcolonial thought, his account of London modernism's end-stages and after-lives presents a clean tackle significant works whereas redrawing the traces among modernism and postmodernism.

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