Blokes The Bad Boys of British Literature Synopsis
The blokes were writers who revitalized British drama, fiction, poetry, and criticism. When Britain was in the economic doldrums, when its supply of great authors was dwindling after World War II, they rebuilt a world-class reputation. They came from unpromising places and unglamorous backgrounds. They crashed the Establishment party in one generation, raided the citadels of culture, and brought their idioms, themes, and passions to the centre of British life. The central idea of this book is how these writers, and others, transformed British heritage - how they worked with the materials of their own backgrounds, the class system, tradition, and artistic convention to make new art. They took their place in a long line of writers who thrived in grit: Daniel Defoe, Charles Dickens, Bernard Shaw, D. H. Lawrence. The cast of characters includes playwrights John Osborne and Arnold Wesker, novelist Kingsley Amis, critic Kenneth Tynan, poet Philip Larkin, fiction writer Alan Sillitoe, plus lesser-known figures such as John Braine, David Storey, Stan Barstow, Keith Waterhouse, and Sheilagh Delaney. As a portrait of an age told in portraits, the book is in ten overlapping chapters on landmark figures and landmark works.
Blokes The Bad Boys of British Literature Press Reviews
The stylistic flair of this accessible survey promotes an entertaining and suggestive discussion...Castronovo's lively exposition revitalizes fascinating figures and compelling texts. -Marlene Briggs, Journal of British Studies (University of Chicago, April 2010) The selfish, pleasure-seeking bloke has always been with us, but as we reach the 20th century and the rise of the working classes he becomes more important. Part of the book is given over to four giants of post-war English writing - Philip Larkin, Kingsley Amis, John Osborne and Kenneth Tyan - all real blokes themselves and as entertaining as any fictional characters. Good Book Guide, 01/08/09 This stimulating study of the postwar generation of British writers who shook up their nation's literature so dramatically manages despite its brevity to be not only comprehensive but far-ranging. Its author, Professor David Castronovo of Pace University in New York, is not only superbly well-informed on his subject but has a flair for analyzing it in a uniquely revealing fashion. He is adept at putting these authors in context - politically, culturally, and philosophically - and the unusual thing about this process is that it results in a whole new way of seeing who these writers really were and how and why they evolved at this point in time. -Martin Rubin, The Washington Times For all of its careful structuring and well-developed argument, Castronovo's critical work owes as much in style as substance to the blokish writers examined. He eschews the conventions of contemporary literary critical work, returning to close and careful readings of his selected authors and their works. And this is indeed a good thing, reminding readers and critics alike of the importance and challenges of attempting to read these writers on their own terms. In the midst of postwar economic decline and the dissolution of Britain's formidable empire, Amis, Larkin, Tynan, Osborne, et al., insisted on just this approach to culture and society, saving nothing and brushing aside what they say as a deadening British sentimentality. ...Castronovo brilliantly captures this ethos in a way that informs and entertains in equal measure. -Post and Courier, Charleston, SC --Sanford Lakoff David Castronovo...has set out to find a more satisfactory collective term for the writers of the Amis/Osborne generation and their successors. The principle exhibits in his book are the works of Amis, Osborne, the poet Philip Larkin and theatre critic Kenneth Tynan, as well as the writers themselves....this approach has the merit of recapturing the excitement that surrounded them when they first made their appearance. -The Wall Street Journal --Sanford Lakoff