I know I don't really go by the proper rules on my Teaser posts--mostly I just want an excuse to write about something I happen to be reading at the moment. I also sort of think of teasers as being something tantalizing or maybe even a little titillating from a book. But really, tantalizing is in the eye of the reader. I never thought I would pick a book of literary criticism to tease you with, but this seems like such a great find considering how interested I am in interwar fiction these days, I had to share. I don't know where I came across this book initially--perhaps a book catalog at work.
It's published by Edinburgh University Press and not available (yet?) in the US for purchase, and since it's on the pricey side (academic books usually are), I relied on my library's very fine interlibrary department to find me a copy, which happily they did. I've only got Kristin Bluemel's Intermodernism: Literary Culture in the Mid-Twentieth Century for a few weeks, and as my reading rate for library materials has been pretty abysmal lately, I need to read/work fast. This is just one of several nonfiction titles I have on the subject that I would love to read this year, and it seems especially interesting. A bit from the introduction:
"This collection of critical essays on intermodernism challenges readers to accept a new term, new critical category and new literary history for twentieth-century British literary culture. Intermodernism takes as its primary subject the fascinating, compelling and grossly neglected writing of the years of Depression and World War II. These are novels, memoirs, and essays of writers like George Orwell, Storm Jameson, William Empson, Harold Heslop and Stella Gibbons that emerged from, anticipated and influenced perceptions of two world wars and their aftermaths. In contrast to T.S. Eliot, who argued in 'The Social Function of Poetry' that the 'responsibility of the poet is not, primarily to the people', but 'to his language, first to preserve, second to extend and improve' (qtd in Shiach 29), the writers featured in this volume saw their responsibilities, as writers, primarily 'to the people'. Intermodernism explored the manifestations and implications of such intermodern responsibility, focusing on three defining features: cultural features (intermodernists typically represent working-class and working middle-class cultures); political features (intermodernists are often politically radical, 'radically eccentric'); and literary features (intermodernists are committed to non-canonical, even 'middlebrow' or 'mass' genres). Reasearching, defining and theorising intermodernism, the contributors to this volume do not believe that academic publishers' backlists and university courses on the thirties and the forties, modernism and post-modernism or postcolonialism, can do justice to the web of sometimes subtle, sometimes obvious associations between writers, institutions and cultural forms of the middle years of the twentieth century. They all are committed to the long-term goal of making intermodernism as familiar to twenty-first century readers as modernism is to twentieth-century critics. Intermodernism: Literary Culture in Mid-Twentieth-Century Britain marks the first collective, co-ordinated effort towards realising this goal."
Sorry, that was really long--are you still with me? I'm not an academic, just a curious reader, but I am hoping that this will be accessible reading for me as I have an interest in the period. I like how the author (or collective authors as the case may be as this is a collection of essays) is concentrating on authors who may be considered 'middlebrow'--such a weighted classification it seems.
I hope to share more as I go. This has an extensive appendix and bibliography, so I will be taking copious notes as I go. I wonder if there is an American equivalent to these studies and researches? Depression era literature is still in the back of my mind as something to explore more of. I think if I ever decided to study Literature formally this would be the period I would concentrate on, but as that is unlikely ever to happen I can still content myself to read about it.