11-3 Greene lecture

11-3 Greene lecture - Bowens emphasis in her short stories:...

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Bowen’s emphasis in her short stories: the “saving hallucination,” the coping mechanisms with which people dealt with the stresses of the Blitz and of wartime restriction and privation. --uncanny responses to an uncanny, transformed world --this is dark enough, but Grahame Greene is darker --as we’ll see, poses the question “what if the hallucination isn’t a saving hallucination after all? What if it’s just that—a fantasy?” Greene presents another side of the Blitz, one that takes apart the sentimental “Blitz Myth” of unity and coolness --remember, the Blitz Myth is what has survived as the retrospective image of WWII --but it was also constructed at the time through propaganda --myth doesn’t mean “lie”—but not all true either --“myth does not deny things . . . it purifies them, it makes them innocent . . . . it establishes a blissful clarity” (Barthes) --remember this definition as you read the novel, and think about Arthur Rowe’s desire for innocence, for a golden time before life became morally muddled Here’s Angus Calder’s famous breakdown of how the Blitz Myth was structured—against the presumed characteristics of the Germans: England (Britain) Freedom
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Improvisation Volunteer Spirit Friendliness Tolerance Timeless Landscape Patience Calm A Thousand Years of Peace Germany Tyranny Calculation Drilling Brutality Persecution Mechanization Aggression Frenzy The “Thousand-Year Reich” devoted to war But in the world that Graham Greene gives us we see some of the less attractive byproducts of what the Blitz spawned, themselves adapted and turned into a “myth” Part of Blitz too: Paranoia: preparations can’t protect you Low morale and dissention: crowding, sleeplessness Propaganda: from both sides—“Lord Haw-Haw” Rumor—“imaginary propaganda Fifth column Secrets and lies
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Guilt Moral shadows: takes a conflict we think of as black and white and renders it in shades of gray Greeneland --now such ambiguities are part & parcel of the spy novel &
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This note was uploaded on 06/14/2011 for the course ENGL 283 taught by Professor Geiskes during the Fall '08 term at South Carolina.

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11-3 Greene lecture - Bowens emphasis in her short stories:...

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