British Social Realism in the Arts since 1940
Social realism has been a vital element of British culture over the past seventy years, yet it has not gained anywhere near the critical attention its impact warrants. It can be a highly responsive genre, one that confronts its contemporaneous social, economic and political contexts with visceral immediacy, while at the same time retaining a focus on the individual, the domestic and the private. This fascinating analysis of the intertwined histories and legacies of British social realism across disciplines reveals
how important the changing genre has been for creative works since the Second World War, and how it resonates within contemporary contexts. With original contributions from leading scholars, this collection provides chapters on film, theatre, fiction, visual art, poetry and television, that show how social realism speaks to our own times as well as of the past.
Of the 1930s and 1940s – but there remain resources, largely 22 British Social Realism in the Arts since 1940 neglected, which are more deeply buried. To refer to Keiller’s work again – one of the more explicit influences upon Robinson in Space was Humphrey Jennings’s A Diary for Timothy (1945), which is reinvoked as a founding text of hopeful post-war social democratic humanism by Keiller at a time when it might nourish the mood of political change and popular discontent with the New Right.
Social gentilities: Grammar and style. To me they seem to have become as irrelevant as a Victorian bathing suit or the imperturbability of a true gentleman. A mask. Let us hope the time will come, thank God that in certain circles it has already come, when language is most efficiently used where it is being most efficiently misused. (Beckett 1983, pp. 171–2) This might all seem a world away from British social realism. Yet what it helps to foreground is the possibility of realism, and critiques.
Night and Sunday Morning. London, Harper Perennial. ——. (1959) The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. London, W.H. Allen. Sinfield, Alan. (1983) Society and Literature 1945–1970. London, Methuen & Company. Storey, David. (1960; 2000) This Sporting Life. London, Vintage. ——. (1961) Flight Into Camden. London, Macmillan. Sutherland, J.A. (1978) Fiction and the Fiction Industry. London, Athlone Press. Taylor, D.J. (1993) After the War: The Novel and England Since 1945. London, Chatto & Windus.
Galleries.14 The war, then, developed a new thirst for accessible art that expanded art’s audience far beyond its pre-war elitist base. James Boswell’s slim volume, The Artist’s Dilemma, published in 1947, recognized what he called this ‘boom in art’: Social Realism and Visual Art 139 Something has happened in the last six years that has changed the artist’s world. The war has given him a public. Perhaps not as simply as that but it was only under the impact and the deprivations of war that.
Communist Party in Britain. London, Pluto Press. Dyer, Geoff. (1986) Ways of Telling, The Work of John Berger. London, Pluto Press. Egbert, Donald D. (1970) Social Radicalism and the Arts, Western Europe: A Cultural History from the French Revolution to 1968. London, Gerald Duckworth and Co. Ltd. Forster, Laurel and Sue Harper (eds). (2010) Culture and Society in 1970s Britain: The Lost Decade. Newcastle upon Tyne, Cambridge Scholars Press. Foster, Hal. (1996) The Return of the Real: The.