2014 Titles

John Muckle - Little White Bull - British Fiction in the 50s and 60s


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John Muckle - Little White Bull - British Fiction in the 50s and 60s

Paperback, 342pp, 9x6ins ISBN 9781848613058
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21st-century fiction is full of postmodern pastiche and multicultural panache, ironic genre-bending, allegorical jerry-building and sassy female empowerment, and so often has the realist narrative been swept away by successive pounding waves of modernist experiment, science (or speculative) fiction, unashamed chick-lit and vampire novels, that the path-breaking writers of the last century’s fifties and sixties are in danger of being forgotten. Yet it was in this crucial post-war period that many radical initiatives were taken, and the idea of a small-scale, usually popular but politically potent novel was forged: books that challenged traditional social hierarchies and outgrown literary forms, narratives that explored the pains and comedy of social mobility, working-class life and a new kind of young female consciousness. Little White Bull takes a fresh look at the times before the day before yesterday, not the end times but the new beginnings, and tries to show how British fiction grappled with subjects as thorny and diverse as the impact of mass immigration and a new kind of rootless working-class character uncontained by previous conceptions of him or herself, and apparently ready to go to war over them. This exciting and readable book presents the fifties and sixties as a crucible of new departures, asking what remains and continues from those decades into the cultural present. It takes the form of a series of thematic essays each of which discusses the work of an individual or group of novelists.
     Writers examined in this book are Paul Ableman, Brian Aldiss, Kingsley Amis, J.G. Ballard, Lynn Reid Banks, John Berger, John Braine, Angela Carter, Nell Dunn, Gillian Freeman, Barry Hines, B.S. Johnson, Doris Lessing, Colin Macinnes, Michael Moorcock, Iris Murdoch, V.S. Naipaul, Bill Naughton, Edna O’Brien, Harold Pinter, Samuel Selvon, Alan Sillitoe, David Storey, Jack Trevor Story, Leslie Thomas, Alexander Trocchi, John Wain, Keith Waterhouse, Raymond Williams and Colin Wilson.

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