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January 22 , 2010

The 1980s: A Decade of Contemporary British Fiction


How did social, cultural and political events in Britain during the 1980s shape contemporary British fiction?

Setting the fiction squarely within the context of Conservative politics and questions about culture and national identity, this volume reveals how the decade associated with Thatcherism frames the work of Kazuo Ishiguro, Martin Amis, and Graham Swift, of Scottish novelists and new diasporic writers. How and why 1980s fiction is a response to particular psychological, social and economic pressures is explored in detail.

Drawing on the rise of individualism and the birth of neo-liberalism, contributors reflect on the tense relations between 1980s politics and realism, and between elegy and satire. Noting the creation of a 'heritage industry' during the decade, the rise of the historical novel is also considered against broader cultural changes.

Viewed from the perspective of more recent theorisations of crisis following both 9/11 and the 21st-century financial crash, this study makes sense of why and how writers of the 1980s constructed fictions in response to this decade's own set of fundamental crises.

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