First published in 1983, this book focuses on the twentieth-century writer as both a product, and an interpreter, of his or her society. It explores the social basis of our conceptions of literature and the ways in which writing is affected by the media, institutional and technical, through which it reaches readers. The text looks at experiences of the period in terms of domestic and world affairs, sexuality, and philosophical and religious attitudes. It discusses the social and economic structures which specifically affect the act of writing, and considers the dominant developments of the period in three genres: novels, poetry and writing for theatre.
Illustration; Acknowledgements; 1. Introduction Alan Sinfield Part I: Society in Literature 2. Literature, politics and society Alistair Davies and Peter Saunders 3. The challenge of sexuality Jonathan Dollimore 4. Varieties of religion Alan Sinfield Part II: Literature in Society 5. The production of literature Stuart Laing 6. The theatre and its audiences Alan Sinfield 7. Thrills and frills: poetry as figures of empirical lyricism Andrew Crozier 8. Novels and the novel Stuart Laing; Index
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