Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 1 of 1 items for

  • Author: Jennifer Birkett x
Clear All Modify Search
Restricted access

Jennifer Birkett

This essay has a double purpose. The first is to set out the function of

France, as the place of salvation, in Storm Jameson’s writing in and

about the l930s. The second is to suggest that her familiarity with

French culture – specifically, French writing – provided key models

for some of the most important formal innovations she embarked on

in that time. Jameson’s was one of the voices most consistently raised

against the low, dishonest decade. She devoted herself to conducting

two interconnected salvage operations on the social wreck: in the

one, recovering a sense of human values (for her, those of a socialism

that foregrounds respect for individual needs and dignity), and in the

other, looking for that honest and politically effective way of writing

about them which was the elusive goal of all her contemporaries on

the Left. The success of both was linked for her to the French connection.

In the mid-1930s, her Mirror in Darkness trilogy, planned as

a five- or six-volume series novel, ran into sand. In the last volume,

the heroine, Hervey, who is and is not Jameson, seems to have come

to a dead end. Ten years later, however, she is back, in the Journal of

Mary Hervey Russell (1945), speaking with a new voice.1 That Journal

is written from France, and it breathes out, at every turn of the

page, Hervey’s sense of a personal debt to the country for having

redeemed her vision and her writing.