De-scribing Imperial identity from alien to migrant
Third World fiction after the SecondWorldWar that the fictional uses
of “nation” and “nationalism” are most pronounced.’ He goes on to say
that, following the war, English social identity underwent a transformation based on its earlier imperial encounters. Colonialism in reverse
created ‘a new sense of what it means to be “English”’ (1990: 46–7).
However, Brennan does not consider what changes have been wrought
on that society, what reinventions of tradition have manufactured new
Englands of the mind, alongside the pronouncements of newly forged
relation to Robert Burns:
I don’t think we need a national bard. I think folk call him that out of
laziness, because they can’t be bothered to read what’s been written
since. It’s a monolithic attitude, where every era seems to have enshrined
one male. A vibrant culture, as we have, is in the hands of many, many
people. (quoted in Dunkerley, 1996)13
Hugh MacDiarmid, the writer who bestrode the Scottish literary renaissance (in many ways defining it), had an iconographic function similar to
Burns in Scottish intellectual and literary life after the SecondWorldWar. The
described as ‘melancholic
autoﬁction’, melancholic autobiographical ﬁction. We know from interviews and publicity notices accompanying Chawaf ’s texts that she was
born during a bomb explosion in Paris in in which her parents were
killed and she was extracted from her dying mother’s womb by Caesarian
section.2 Since Chawaf ’s ﬁrst novel Retable/La Rêverie (), which features a melancholic orphan whose parents were killed in a bomb explosion
in the SecondWorldWar, her novels have repeatedly returned to ﬁctionalised scenes of parental death.3 This chapter deals
Sylvie Germain and the generic problems of the Christian novel
family, centring on the principal
character, Victor-Flandrin, and the suﬀering he endures. Germain weaves
into her ﬁctional universe historical events drawn from our own ‘reality’:
Germain and the Christian novel
generations of the Péniel family are caught up in the Franco-Prussian War,
and the First and SecondWorldWars. Two observations must be made
here: ﬁrst, Germain is not writing in the realist genre, and second, she does
not restrict her text to a representation or promotion of Christianity.
Alongside representations of ‘real’ historical events, and
-division of the larger’ (1906: 1) A gloss on this was made by Hugh
MacDiarmid half a century later in his 1950 essay Aesthetics in Scotland.
There he wrote of the exhibition already noted, The Arts of Scotland, held
in London just before the SecondWorldWar: ‘It will be remembered
that Sir William Llewellyn, the then President of the Royal Academy,
confessed that he had had no idea before he saw that exhibition that
Scotland had such a rich and distinctive tradition of its own in the art of
painting’ (1984 : 21). As recently as 1990, surprised comment could
back to an old life that they could
no longer inhabit with ease. An existential gap that could have been
filled by a reunification of man with repressed urges is, rather, emphasised; the lack is felt more strongly as the men go home. Dyer writes
soldiers returned from this zone of obliteration [the western front] to an
England virtually untouched by war. The SecondWorldWar left London
and other cities cratered and ravaged by the Blitz. After the Great War the
architecture and landscape of England were unchanged except, here and
there, for relatively slight
’s Atonement, a 2001
revisiting of the impact of the SecondWorldWar on British social identities.
Texts such as these reﬂect back not only on Jameson’s but also on Benedict
Anderson’s hypothesis, advanced some years prior to Jameson’s, and without
the same level of critical opposition, namely, that the modern novel is a key site
where the nation is articulated.37
For obvious reasons, most notably that gender like the nation is composed by
way of ﬁctions, the concept of narrating the self represents a central area of crossover between the study of women’s writing and
Poets of the Republic of Ireland (Mountrath: Dolmen Press, 1986).
33 David Wheatley, ‘Irish Poetry into the Twenty-First Century’, Cambridge
Companion to Contemporary Irish Poetry, ed. Matthew Campbell
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), p. 253.
34 Another example being Tom Paulin’s book-length poem on the origins of
the SecondWorldWar, The Invasion Handbook (London: Faber, 2002).
35 Michael Murphy, Elsewhere (Nottingham: Shoestring Press, 2003).
36 Brown, p. 12.
37 It was in Poland that his first poetry books were published.
38 Derek Mahon
symbolically cast out of her mother’s house and forced
to ﬁnd her own way. Her punishing exile ends only when the massacres of
Partition make her family’s continuing rejection untenable.
It is a sign of Virmati’s marginality that events surrounding the struggle for
Indian independence and the creation of Pakistan are relayed in the novel by
way of external report, at times almost as an oﬃcial voice-over. Harish the
Professor, Virmati’s married lover and then, much later, husband, interprets the
progress of the SecondWorldWar and its implications for India through
pacifist, she dates her anti-war feeling from the middle of the war when she was
sixteen: ‘I am more a pacifist than a devotee of any other -ism … and I would
call it moralistic or ethically based’.119 Her future husband, Ralph Partridge,
fought in the war and became a Major in his early twenties but resigned his
commission as soon as the war ended, having been convinced on moral grounds
that the pacifist argument was ‘overwhelming’, as he stated to the Appeal Tribunal for Conscientious Objectors during the SecondWorldWar in 1943. During the earlier war, ‘All