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Introduction

Literature of the Thirties – Region and Genre

Mary Joannou

The second special issue on the literature of the thirties follows on from an earlier edition of Critical Survey which brought together new critical writings on the period (volume 10, number 3, 1988). The first four essays selected are responses to regionalism and identity and the last two to the issues raised by the relationships of gender and generic fiction. Simon Featherstone analyses how two popular artistes, Gracie Fields (the ‘mill girl’) and Max Miller (‘the cheeky chappie’) achieved success in an entertainment industry that was changing rapidly in response to technological and cultural pressures. Their stardom depended on the dialogues between regional and national identities as part of a national cultural dynamic during a decade in which mass popular forms reconstituted the older regional and local traditions of dialogue and performance. Steven Matthews sees Auden’s injunction to ‘Consider this and in our time’ as a ‘clarion call to a particular, post-The Waste Land, form of modernity’. Focusing on Scottish and Irish writers (Louis MacNeice, Sorley Maclean, Grassic Gibbon et al.) Matthews argues that the temporality of some thirties’ writing aligns it closely with the emergent nationalisms familiar in recent postcolonial theory.

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Mary Joannou and John Lucas

This edition of Critical Survey is dedicated to papers first given at

the ‘Literature of the 1930s: Visions and Revisions’ conference and

includes radical new perspectives on woman novelists.

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Peter de Ville, Simon Featherstone, John Haynes, Mary Joannou, Steven Matthews, Michael Murphy, Gillian Plain, Andrew Sant, Morag Shiach, Matt Simpson, Diana Wallace and Ayako Yoshino

Notes on contributors