Margaret Storm Jameson: A Life

Hardcover | March 19, 2009

byJennifer Birkett

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From her childhood in Whitby to her long old age in Cambridge, the life of Margaret Storm Jameson (1891-1986), novelist, autobiographer, and political activist, spanned almost the whole of the twentieth century. A self-styled Little Englander by nature, and European by nurture, equally athome, or out of place, in the North Yorkshire moors and seascape of her birth, metropolitan London, rural France, and the capitals of Central Europe, she wrote of country, cities and the exile from both with equal knowledge and sympathy. Out of the changing landscapes of her present, she fashionedher vision of the future. The title of her autobiography, Journey from the North, is a simultaneous evocation and erasure of nostalgia for lost commonality, and in her long life as writer and activist, President of wartime PEN (the association of Poets, Essayist, Novelists) committed to the valuesof freedom and social justice, she fought to reconcile the conflicting forms of emergent modernity. Her own journey is the generic experience of twentieth-century Britain, and the England she urges on her contemporaries is one that shares the life and mind of Europe. The present book traces thehistory of that shared experience. It recovers, through her writing, the aspirations and the disappointments of the generation of socialists that was Class 1914. The soldiers returning from the front in 1918, to unemployment and the General Strike of 1926, fight in 1940 alongside Frenchmen, andagainst Germans, who are victims of the same system: class conflict, nationalist rivalries, imperialist ambition, all for Jameson have the same defining economic horizon. At the end of the odyssey the stark alternatives take shape: Washington or Moscow, the madness of American capitalism, or theoppression of Stalinist Communism. Alongside the narrative of Jameson's life, and the experiences as daughter, wife, and mother that shaped her personality and her career, the book explores her concern with issues of culture and society, cultural memory, and cultural landscapes, her fascination with aesthetic form and the relation ofwriting to politics, her insight into the materiality of words, and her persistent probing of the nature of the writing subject. It draws on unpublished archive material and brings new research on neglected areas of cultural history into conjunction with literary-critical analyses of Jameson'snovels and studies of her journalism and essays. There is an extensive Bibliography of her work.

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From her childhood in Whitby to her long old age in Cambridge, the life of Margaret Storm Jameson (1891-1986), novelist, autobiographer, and political activist, spanned almost the whole of the twentieth century. A self-styled Little Englander by nature, and European by nurture, equally athome, or out of place, in the North Yorkshire mo...

Jennifer Birkett was born in the West Riding of Yorkshire and educated at the local grammar school and St Hilda's College, Oxford. She was Lecturer at Dundee University from 1971-88, Chair of French Studies at the University of Strathclyde, 1988-90, and since 1990 has held the established Chair of French Studies at Birmingham Universi...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:400 pagesPublished:March 19, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199558205

ISBN - 13:9780199558209

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Table of Contents

IntroductionPart I The Little Englander1. A Yorkshire Childhood2. The Student in the North3. London 1912-19184. London 1919-245. London 1924-1928: Publishing, Passion and Politics6. London 1924-1928: Publishing, Passion and PoliticsPart II Socialism and Internationalism: The English Road to Europe7. London 1932-34: New People, New Politics8. London 1932-36: Expanding Horizons9. Fiction and Form10. 1936 -8: Waking up to War11. 1938-1940: Crossing the RubiconPart III Europe at War12. 1940: Vile Betrayals13. 1941: Fighting with the French14. 1941-1943: Holding On15. Fortifying the Nation: Narrative, Memory and Culture16. 1943-45: Struggling to the EndPart IV Going Home17. 1945-49: Clearing Up18. 1949-53: A European Future19. 1953-59: Understanding Exile20. 1960-68: Letting Go and Settling Up21. Final RecallSelect Bibliography