Shears, JR (2023) ‘Rough Critical Winds’: Mis-selling English Pastoral in H. E. Bates’s Larkin Novels, 1958-1970’. English Studies: a journal of English language and literature. ISSN 0013-838X (In Press)

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The revival of interest in H. E. Bates has largely come without much attention being paid to his series of five novels featuring the Larkin family (1958-1970). The neglect is because of their populist and comic mode. Yet, study of the Larkin novels enables us to understand better the relationship between escapist tendencies and social relevance in twentieth-century pastoral, which is precisely the issue that has recently occupied critics of the regional novel. Pursuing the theme of mis-selling, this essay examines how the nostalgic effects that Bates constructs act as a commentary on the commodification of the pastoral that is made possible by new social realities and shifting geographies in post-war England. In the process the novels construct a pastoral resistant to rough critical winds that have dismissed them as sentimental or dishonourable. It argues that the novels test the limits of pastoral tenets, particularly distinctions between dimensions embedded in physical space, contributing to discussions about modernity’s nostalgic blindspots.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The final version of this article and all relevant information related to it, including copyrights, can be found on the publisher website.
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PE English
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Humanities
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2023 15:01
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2023 15:01

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