Eugenics, Literature, and Culture in Post-war Britain - Routledge Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Literature (Paperback)Clare Hanson (author)
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This book explores eugenics in its wider social context and in literary representations in post-war Britain. Drawing on a wide range of sources in medicine, social and educational policy, genetics, popular science, science fiction, and literary texts, Hanson tracks the dynamic interactions between eugenic ideas across diverse cultural fields, demonstrating the strength of the eugenic imagination. Challenging assumptions that eugenics was fatally compromised by its association with Nazi atrocities, or that it petered out in the context of changed social attitudes in an egalitarian post-war society, the book demonstrates that eugenic thought not only persisted after 1945, but became more prominent. Throughout, eugenics is defined as a cultural movement, rather than more narrowly as a science, and the study is focused on its border-crossing capacity as a `style of thought.' By tracing the expression of eugenic ideas across disciplinary boundaries and in both high and low culture, this book demonstrates the powerful and pervasive influence of eugenics in the post-war years. Authors visited include Raymond Williams, John Braine, Agatha Christie, Muriel Spark, Anthony Burgess, Doris Lessing, and J.G. Ballard.
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
Number of pages: 190
Weight: 367 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 mm
What is particularly original and significant about this book is its linked analysis of the eugenics cultural project and its expression in literary and social sources as well as in cultural theory and anthropological thinking. With her profound expertise on the subject in tow, Hanson's close readings of the rhetoric and narrative strategies of many forms of social documents, cultural theory, and literary texts makes a significant contribution to cultural studies today. I have no doubt that this will be a widely influential book in its profoundly learned interdisciplinary approach." - Phyllis Lassner, Northwestern University, USA
"Hanson's engaging and valuable book demonstrates that eugenic thought did not recede following the Second World War as has often been assumed, but had a profound and sustained impact on British culture after 1945. Her study provides a much needed spotlight on the more recent history of eugenic thinking which has led to the forms of biopower we know today." --Josie Gill, University of Cambridge, British Society for Literature and Science
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