Write a short note on British Fiction after 1950.

Literature Society

 Write a short note on British Fiction after 1950.
World War II left the world physically and spiritually exhausted. They needed a religion that could save the life from falling apart. The need for religion was reflected in Post-War British Fiction. And this attachment to religion immediately characterized British religion after World War II. This was particularly evident in writers who had established themselves before the war. Graham Greene continued this powerful merging of thriller plots with studies of moral and psychological ambiguity. Greene’s Catholicism was especially evident in novels such as “The Heart of the Matter” (1948) and “The End of the Affair”(1951). Evelyn Waugh’s trilogy which includes ‘Men at Arms’ (1952), “Officers and Gentlemen” (1955), and “Unconditional Surrender” (1961) deal with Roman Catholic values under threat from the advance of democracy.

The two most innovatory novelists to begin their careers after World War II were also religious believers William Golding and Muriel Spark. In novels of poetic compactness, they frequently return to the notion of original sin-the idea that in Golding’s words- “Man produces sin as a bee produces honey.” Concentrating on small communities, Spark and Golding transfigure them into microcosms. In Golding’s first novel “Lord of the Flies” (1954) schoolboys cast away on a specific island during a nuclear war reenact humanity’s fall from grace as their relationships degenerate from innocent friendship to totalitarian butchery. In Spark’s satiric novels, similar assumptions and techniques are discernible. Her best-known novel “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” (1961) makes events in a 1930 classroom replicate, in miniature, the rise of fascism in Europe.
There was another kind of fiction produced by a group of writers known as the “Angry Youngman.” This group consisted of writers like John Braine, John Wain, Alan Sillitoe and Stan Barstow, John Osborne. Instead of writing comedies of sense and sensibility and of packing their novels with parables, they deal with autobiographical elements and the social mobility of the working class. Social mobility was also inspected from an upper-class vantage point in Anthony Powell’s 12-novel sequence “A Dance to the Music of Time” (1951-1975). Powell chronicles class and cultural shifts in England from World War I to the1960s.

Watching social change was also the specialty of Kingsley Amis. He derides the reactionary and pompous in his first novel “Lucky Jim” (1954), which led to his being labeled as an Angry Young Man. C.P. Snow’s 11-novel sequence “Strangers and Brothers” (1940-1970) deals with a man’s journey from the provincial lower classes to London’s corridors of power. But the most fictional cavalcade of social and cultural life in 20th century Britain was Angus Wilson’s “No Laughing Matters” (1967). The parody and pastiche Wilson brilliantly deploys in the novel and its fascination with the sources and resources of creativity constitute a rich imaginative response to what had become a mood of growing self-consciousness in fiction. Thoughtfulness about the form of the novel and the relationship between past and present fiction found a most stimulating expression in the works of Malcolm Bradbury and David Lodge.

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