Hammond A (2013) British Fiction and the Cold War. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN: 9781137274847
This is the first monograph to examine the impact of the Cold War on twentieth-century British literature, and aims to disprove the critical assumption that this literature was largely unaffected by the East-West conflict. Examining over 150 novelists, the book demonstrates that literary fiction of the 1945–89 period was an expressly Cold War fiction, that all novelists produced texts that articulated Cold War concerns, and that such concerns are found in a majority of novels from these 45 years.
The monograph situates the writing in international literary trends of the period. Building on the findings of Hammond's earlier research, and drawing on his Cold War Fiction (Routledge, 2006) and Global Cold War Literature (Routledge, 2012), it challenges the common claim that British fiction from the period was ‘parochial’ by discussing its engagement with six geopolitical concerns: containment, nuclearism, espionage, decolonisation, left-wing ideologies and US superpowerdom. To do so, it occupies a theoretical position at the intersection of Marxist, postcolonial and nuclear criticism, participating in debates about Cold War politics, society and culture that are taking place globally. At the same time, it draws upon and adapts some of the major studies of Cold War culture elsewhere in the world, including work by Ted Freeman, Andrei Rogachevskii, Marcel Cornis-Pope, Jean Franco, David Caute, M. Keith Booker, Adam Piette and Alan Wald.
As an essential part of its remit, British Fiction and the Cold War also examines the literary forms that were developed or originated by novelists to capture the complexities of the period. These include frequently discussed genres (campus novels, postcolonial fiction, dystopian fiction), but also genres that are either understudied in mainstream criticism or elucidated here for the first time, such as Suez fiction, post-imperial fiction, communist fiction, eastern bloc narratives, transatlantic fiction and ‘god-that-failed’ novels.