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01 Jul 2011
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£56.00
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9780230242456
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DescriptionReviewsContentsAuthors

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, and that a thoughtful and thorough reappraisal of the genre has been long overdue.


Description

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, and that a thoughtful and thorough reappraisal of the genre has been long overdue.


Reviews

'This is an outstanding study of the histories and meanings of social realism in Britain since 1940, which is as attentive to the diversity of its forms and politics, as it is imaginative about its possibilities. The six chapters, written by leading scholars in the study of the arts, offer intellectually stimulating and sophisticated analyses of the significance of social realism in modern and contemporary British culture, from Coronation Street, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, and Mass Observation, to The Royle Family, Tom Leonard, and Jez Butterworth. Of all the epithets used to characterise the aesthetics of postwar Britain, social realism is the most maligned and least understood. This book opens up the concepts and practices of social realism in film, drama, fiction, poetry, visual art and television to lucid, intelligent and thorough scrutiny. It sets out a brilliant new map of the cultural landscape in Britain, as challenging in its positioning of social realism as a dominant aesthetic as it is masterful in its refigurations of the very terms by which we understand that aesthetic. British Social Realism in the Arts since 1940 is an essential guide to the arts in modern Britain, an inspired and dazzling intervention in the history of our cultural present.' - John Brannigan, University College Dublin, Republic of Ireland


Contents

Acknowledgements
List of Figures
Notes on Contributors
Introduction - 'an anthropology of ourselves' Vs. 'the incomprehensibility of the real': Making the Case for British Social Realism; D.Tucker
Tragedy, Ethics and History in Contemporary British Social Realist Film; P.Dave
Staging the Contemporary: Politics and Practice in Post-War Social Realist Theatre; S.Lacey
Bad Teeth: British Social Realism in Fiction; R.Mengham
'this / is not a metaphor': The Possibility of Social Realism in British Poetry; K.Sutherland
Re-presenting Reality, Recovering the Social: The Poetics and Politics of Social Realism and Visual Art; G.Whiteley
Small Screens and Big Voices: Televisual Social Realism and the Popular; D.Rolinson
Index


Authors

DAVID TUCKER is Associate Tutor in English at the University of Sussex, UK. He has published in a number of books and journals, and is currently preparing a monograph on Samuel Beckett's interest in the seventeenth-century philosopher Arnold Geulincx.