The Counter-Memorial Impulse in Twentieth-Century English Fiction

Palgrave MacMillan, 2009

A wide-ranging study that examines the tendency in 20th-century English fiction to treat grief as an occasion for social critique, unconventional readings of works by Ford, Lessing, and Winterson demonstrate how narrative experimentation in this period responds to socio-historic conditions like post-imperial melancholy, nuclear fear and homophobia.

Table of Contents (previews available at

  1. Melancholia, Group Psychology, Irony: Psychoanalytic Foundations
  2. The End of Empire: Grieving, Englishness, and Ford Madox Ford’s The Good Soldier
  3. Mourning the Future: Nuclear War, Prophecy, and Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook
  4. Embodied Grief: The Elegiac Tradition and Jeanette Winterson’s Written on the Body
  5. Conclusion: Literature of Hope: Ethical Mourning