The Popular Front Novel in Britain, 1934-1940, Elinor Taylor provides the first study of the relationship between the British novel and the anti-fascist Popular Front strategy endorsed by the Comintern in 1935. Through readings of novels by British Communists including Jack Lindsay, John Sommerfield, Lewis Jones and James Barke, Taylor shows that the realist novel of the left was a key site in which the politics of anti-fascist alliance were rehearsed. Maintaining a dialogue with theories of populism and with Georg Lukács’s vision of a revived literary realism ensuing from the Popular Front, this book at once illuminates the cultural formation of the Popular Front in Britain and proposes a new framework for reading British fiction of this period.
Elinor Taylor, Ph.D. (2014), University of Salford, is currently a lecturer in the Department of English, Linguistics and Cultural Studies at the University of Westminster. She is the author of several articles on Communist writers.
Introduction The Popular Front Culture, Crisis and Democracy The Popular Front Novel
Realism and Modernism
Anti-Fascist Aesthetics in International Context Socialist Realism British Developments Language, Form and Popularity Ralph Fox’s Realism Conclusion
John Sommerfield, May Day (1936) John Sommerfield: Literature and Activism Vox Populi and Bird’s Eye Montage and Memory Myth and Tradition Conclusion
Arthur Calder-Marshall, Pie in the Sky (1937) Bathos and Narrative Convention Failures of Articulation Conclusion
History and the Historical Novel
History and the Historical Novel British Communists and English History The Historical Novel of the Popular Front Jack Lindsay’s English Trilogy Conclusion
Class, Nation, People
James Barke and the National Turn The National Turn (I): British Questions The National Turn (II): Critical Voices ‘There is no Scottish National Question’ James Barke, Major Operation (1936) James Barke, The Land of the Leal (1939) Conclusion
Lewis Jones’s Fiction Shame, Vision and Reification Forms and Modes Spain and Home Conclusion
Works Cited Index
This book will appeal to scholars and students of interwar British literature, the history of Communism in Britain, and Marxist literary theory.