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Modernity and the English rural novel

Modernity and the English rural novel

Head, Dominic, author

This work re-evaluates the rural English novel in the twentieth century in relation to the recognised artistic responses to modernity. It argues that the most important writers in this tradition have had a very significant bearing on the trajectory of English cultural life through the modernist period and beyond. This book examines the persistence of the rural tradition in the English novel into the twentieth century. In the shadow of metropolitan literary culture, rural writing can seem to strive for a fantasy version of England with no compelling social or historical relevance. Dominic Head argues that the apparent disconnection is, in itself, a response to modernity rather than a refusal to engage with it, and that the important writers in this tradition have had a significant bearing on the trajectory of English cultural life through the twentieth century. At the heart of the discussion is the English rural regional novel of the 1920s and 1930s, which reveals significant points of overlap with mainstream literary culture and the legacies of modernism. Rural writers refashioned the conventions of the tradition and the effects of literary nostalgia, to produce the swansong of a fading genre with resonances that are still relevant today

eBook, Electronic resource, Book. English. Electronic books.
Published Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017
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Statement of responsibility: Dominic Head
ISBN: 1108158803, 9781108158800
Note: Formerly CIP.
Note: Includes bibliographical references (pages 205-211) and index.
Physical Description: x, 215 pages
Subject: Country life in literature.; Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers; Rural conditions in literature.; English fiction 20th century History and criticism.; United Kingdom, Great Britain; Literature; Ireland; Literary studies: c 1900 to c 2000; English; Literature: history & criticism
Reproduction: Electronic reproduction. Askews and Holts. Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Other formats: Also available in printed form ISBN 9781107039131


  1. Introduction
  2. 1. The rural regional novel: the interwar vogue
  3. 2. 'The everlasting land': farming and the novel
  4. 3. Rural primitivism: 'splendour in writing'
  5. 4. 'The vanished world': the appeal of rural nostalgia
  6. 5. 'A tugging at the heart': legacies of the rural tradition
  7. Afterword.