Wednesday, 28 January 2009
Reading: postwar British modernism
Just as an aside, I'm reading Bryan Appleyard's The Pleasures of Peace, which is about British art and culture from 1945 - 1989, and deals specifically with the way in which modernism disseminated in art, architecture and literature in the postwar era. It's much more open to notions of a British avant-garde than comparable studies, even if it (rightly, I think) ascertains that this avant-garde worked more by misprision of Franco-American ideas than by grasping the proverbial bull by the horns. Annoyingly, he doesn't cover music (by which I mean modern composition/ improv/ 'academic' music rather than the Beatles and punk) due to what he modestly admits to be his own vagueness about the field, but otherwise TPP is full of useful post-thesis ideas. Lots on English Surrealism, postwar architecture, the British Poetry Revival, Ballard, Bacon, Henry Moore etc. And he's pretty down on Larkin and the Movement, even if this critique is implicit and based on reading them as quasi-modernist in spite of themselves.