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The question of socialist writing and Sylvia Townsend Warner in the thirties

Ewins, KA 2008, 'The question of socialist writing and Sylvia Townsend Warner in the thirties' , Literature Compass, 5 (3) , pp. 657-667.

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The 1930s was a time of crisis, ideological extremism and impending war. Few writers remained untouched by the political turmoil following the Great Depression in the West and Hitler’s rise to power in 1933. The impulse of authors to involve themselves in politics at this time is suggested by the high number of radical and conservative periodicals flourishing in the 1930s. There also emerged divisive debate on the role of writers in shaping contemporary politics, battled out in a steady stream of international conferences. This article introduces one such controversy: the hostile debate between proponents of socialist writing and modernism culminating in the notorious Writers’ Congress in Moscow in 1934. I then look in more detail at how one Communist writer, Sylvia Townsend Warner, negotiated such debate in her journalism and literary writing: a regular contributor to the left-wing journal Left Review, Warner provides an illustrative example of a writer who bridged the gulf between ideas of writing as a purely political or aesthetic form of expression.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Memory, Text and Place
Schools: Schools > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences > Centre for English Literature and Language
Journal or Publication Title: Literature Compass
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1741-4113
Depositing User: Dr Kristin Ewins
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2011 12:31
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2013 17:17

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