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Download 1956 and All That: The Making of Modern British Drama by Dan Rebellato PDF

By Dan Rebellato

It really is stated that British Drama used to be shockingly lifted out of the doldrums by way of the 'revolutionary' visual appeal of John Osborne's glance again in Anger on the Royal court docket in may well 1956. yet had the theatre been as ephemeral and effeminate because the offended younger males claimed? used to be the period of Terence Rattigan and 'Binkie' Beaumont as repressed and closeted because it turns out? during this daring and interesting problem to the bought knowledge of the final 40 years of theatrical background, Dan Rebellato uncovers a distinct tale altogether. it truly is one the place Britain's declining Empire and lengthening panic over the 'problem' of homosexuality performed a vital function within the building of a permanent fantasy of the theatre. through going again to fundamental assets and carefully wondering all assumptions, Rebellato has rewritten the historical past of the Making of contemporary British Drama.

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This inflames Leavis, for whom there is no such rival claim; literature, if it is great, embodies life. For Leavis, Austen’s greatness is precisely in that the moral concerns of her life insist themselves upon her as intensely personal ones; thus, ‘aesthetic value’ is inseparable from ‘moral significance’ (16). This is given full force in his famous and ringing declaration of the great novelists’ ‘vital capacity for experience, a kind of reverent openness before life, and a marked moral intensity’ (18).

This explains Williams’s apocalyptic tone. The collapse of a common culture does not only threaten the literary culture, but our very means of communication, our humanity, indeed life itself. This is what underlies Sarah’s warning in Chicken Soup: ‘Ronnie, if you don’t care you’ll die’ (76). And it is striking how this death is imagined as a physical reality, how the decay of society is mapped intensely onto the body. In Act Three of Chicken Soup, Harry has an attack of incontinence and shuffles apologetically to the bathroom.

To every man his front door and his front door key. To each his own wilderness. (Lessing 1959, 50–51) That image, the front door fearfully locked against the outside world, is found in The Entertainer, where the decline of the halls has thrown Archie into perpetual debt, and Phoebe admits ‘whenever there’s a ring at the door, I daren’t answer it, in case it’s a policeman standing there with another summons’ (1998, 40). Williams and Hoggart are not merely sentimental about the decline of this life; it’s much more serious than that.

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