Category: Alumni Authors

Title:Politics and Literature at the Dawn of World War II

Author: James A. W. Heffernan (C'60)
Date Published: December 8, 2022

Mining the borderlands where history meets literature in Britain and Europe as well as America, this book shows how the imminence and outbreak of World War II ignited the imaginations of writers ranging from Ernest Hemingway, W.H. Auden, and James Joyce to Bertolt Brecht, Evelyn Waugh, Henry Green, and Irène Némirovsky.

Taking its cue from Percy Shelley’s dictum that great writers are to some extent created by the age in which they live, this book shows how much the politics and warfare of the years from 1939 to 1941 drove the literature of this period. Its novels, poems, and plays differ radically from histories of World War II because-besides being works of imagination, they are largely products of a particular stage in the author’s life as well as of a time at which no one knew how the war would end.

This is the first comprehensive study of the impact of the outbreak of the Second World War on the literary work of American, English, and European writers during its first years.

(Bloomsbury, 2022)

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