• Experiencing Time: Freudian concepts in Life on Mars

      Allen, Nicola (I B Tauris & Co Ltd, 2016-03)
    • Lucky Jim: The Novel in Unchartered Times’

      Allen, Nicola; Shoqairat, Wasfi (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014-07-08)
      Kingsley Amis’ satire on academic life, Lucky Jim (1954) was published at a time of almost unprecedented and (as yet) never repeated social upheaval in Britain. Clement Attlee’s landslide Labour victory in 1945 had led to the introduction of a comprehensive program of reform, including the introduction of the National Health Service, child benefit and old age pensions, an increase in the amount of social housing and the nationalisation of several of Britain’s industries. His government also presided over the decolonisation of a large part of the British Empire. This transformation of British society was intended to be profound; the labour party manifesto of 1945 states that ‘The nation needs a tremendous overhaul’ (Labour Party Manifesto 1945) and changes in the political landscape were soon accompanied by changes in the artistic and cultural life of Britain. The so called ‘Angry Young Men’ popularised ‘kitchen sink’ realism as the Modernist era fell into decline. David Lodge describes this as a struggle between ‘contemporaries’ (Kingsley Amis, John Braine, Alan Sillitoe etc.) and ‘moderns’ (William Golding, Iris Murdoch, Lawrence Durrell etc.) and he notes in Language of Fiction (1966) that the immediate post-war era represented a debate on ‘the meaning of the word ‘life’. Lodge explains that ‘Life to the contemporary is what common sense tells us it is, what people do […] To the modern, life is something elusive, baffling, multiple, subjective’
    • Slime and Western Man: H. P. Lovecraft in the Time of Modernism

      Carlin, Gerry; Allen, Nicola (2016-04-06)
      In 1931, Salvador Dali produced one of the most famous and influential paintings of the modern era. “The Persistence of Memory” depicts “melting” watches. The piece epitomizes Dali’s interest in the notions of “softness” and “hardness,” and in it, time is firmly located within the former category. The painting was part of The Museum of Modern Art’s 1936/7 program entitled: “Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism.” The exhibition secured Surrealism’s nationwide renown in the United States. However, “The Persistence of Memory” is more than a famous piece of avant-garde antirationalism; it is also a powerful emblem, the immense fame of which established an abiding public perception of a synonymous, perhaps almost exclusive, relationship between modernist art movements and the artistic/creative community’s response to the disintegration of former scientific certainties. However, the appeals of such glimpses into the unknown were also demonstrably taken up by (at least) one less overtly avant-garde writer. In fact, the collapse of the notion of a fixed cosmic chronology shapes H. P. Lovecraft’s formulation of what should constitute weird fiction.
    • The secret fantasies of the political classes

      Allen, Nicola; Byrne, Aidan (2015-01-08)