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Literary Criticism English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh

Politics and the British Novel in the 1970s

by (author) J. Russell Perkin

McGill-Queen's University Press
Initial publish date
Jun 2021
English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, 20th Century
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2021
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2021
    List Price

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The 1970s in Britain saw a series of industrial disputes, a referendum on membership in the European Economic Community, conflict about issues of immigration and citizenship, and emergent environmental and feminist movements. It was also a decade of innovation in the novel, and novelists often addressed the state of the nation directly in their works.

In Politics and the British Novel in the 1970s Russell Perkin looks at social novels by John Fowles and Margaret Drabble, the Cold War thrillers of John le Carré, Richard Adams's best-selling fable Watership Down, the popular campus novels of Malcolm Bradbury and David Lodge, Doris Lessing's dystopian visions, and V.S. Naipaul's explorations of post-colonial displacement. Many of these highly regarded works sold in large numbers and have enjoyed enduring success – a testament to the power of the political novel to explain a nation to itself. Perkin explores the connections between the novel and politics, situating the works it discusses in the rich context of the history and culture of the decade, from party politics to popular television shows.

Politics and the British Novel in the 1970s elucidates a period of literary history now fifty years in the past and offers a balanced perspective on the age, revealing that these works not only represented the politics of the time but played a meaningful role in them.

About the author

J. Russell Perkin is professor of English, Saint Mary's University, and the author of A Reception-History of George Eliot's Fiction.

J. Russell Perkin's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Russell Perkin's emphasis on the ways in which fiction reflects political currents and discussions in the 1970s offers an original and much-needed contribution to our understanding of this tumultuous and neglected period." Caroline Zoe Krzakowski, Northern Michigan University

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