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British Women's Writing, 1930 to 1960Between the Waves$
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Sue Kennedy and Jane Thomas

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789621822

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789621822.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 28 July 2021

Pacifism, Fascism and the Crisis of Civilization

Pacifism, Fascism and the Crisis of Civilization

Vera Brittain, Storm Jameson and Nancy Mitford in the 1930s

(p.37) Chapter Two Pacifism, Fascism and the Crisis of Civilization
British Women's Writing, 1930 to 1960

Natasha Periyan

Liverpool University Press

Natasha Periyan examines the early 1930s’ novels of Nancy Mitford, Storm Jameson (and Jameson’s edited collection Challenge to Death) alongside Vera Brittain’s Testament of Youth and material from their letters, articles and archives to demonstrate how, through a feminist critique of masculinist, heroic militaristic traditions, these writers also explore the relative appeal of pacifism and fascism. Jameson and Brittain call for the sustained application of the intellect in the ‘war against war’, while Mitford dissects the powerful unifying appeal of fascism as a spectacle and a response to perceived political inertia. Where Jameson’s work reflects the disillusionment of the age, Brittain demands a rational, logical pacifism lamenting the tragic naivety of the ‘lost generation,’ while Mitford’s satire on fascist rhetoric reveals its communitarian ethos. The decline of the British Empire also resulted in the post-war migration of British writers to London, the literary and cultural capital of the empire.

Keywords:   Storm Jameson, Nancy Mitford, Vera Brittain, masculinist, militaristic, pacifism, fascism, lost generation, war, 1930s

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