Contemporary British Novelists

Contemporary British Novelists

Contemporary British Novelists

Contemporary British Novelists

Excerpt

Charles Shapiro

Our collection of essays by American critics on ten important contemporary British novelists is meant to be a tribute to both the strength and variety of British fiction since World War II. It is also an attempt to evaluate and understand the works of individual writers for, unfortunately, American reviewers have tended to be flip when confronted with what is best in British fiction, tossing out terms such as "angry" and "Establishment" to cover up their inability to read and appreciate individual novels. Charges of anglophobia might be raised against these men except for the obvious fact that they are equally obtuse when confronted by works of their own countrymen.

There have been, of course, meaningful changes in postwar England which have been duly observed and interpreted by assorted social-historians, reporters, and special pleaders. While all agree that England is undergoing a rapid democratization and socialization, there has been controversy as to how this has affected the creative life. Obviously young writers have been challenged; men and women who, a generation or so back would have been doomed to gray, pedestrian lives, who would never have dreamed of a university career, are now graduating, teaching, and, best of all, writing. And, unlike their American cousins who rise . . .

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