Studies the response of English writers during the first half of the twentieth century to the process of revolution in neighbouring Ireland. It explores novels, letters, travelogues, and memoirs from writers such as Wyndham Lewis, Virginia Woolf, D.H.
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This book asks how English authors of the early to mid twentieth-century responded to the nationalist revolution in neighbouring Ireland in their work, and explores this response as an expression of anxieties about, and aspirations within, England itself. Drawing predominantly on novels of this period, but also on letters, travelogues, literary criticism, and memoir, it illustrates how Irish affairs provided a marginal but pervasive point of reference for a wide
range of canonical authors in England, including Wyndham Lewis, Virginia Woolf, D.H. Lawrence, Graham Greene, and Evelyn Waugh, and also for many lesser-known figures such as Ethel Mannin, George Thomson, and T.H. White.
The book surveys these and other incidental writers within the broad framework of literary modernism, an arc seen to run in temporal parallel to Ireland's revolutionary trajectory from rebellion to independence. In this context, it addresses two distinct aspects of the Irish-English relationship as it features in the literature of the time: first, the uneasy recognition of a fundamental similarity between the two countries in terms of their potential for violent revolutionary instability, and
second, the proleptic engagement of Irish events to prefigure, imaginatively, the potential course of England's evolution from the Armistice to the Second World War. Tracing these effects, this book offers a topical renegotiation of the connections between Irish and English literary culture,
nationalism, and political ideology, together with a new perspective on the Irish sources engaged by English literary modernism.