The Documentary Movement and Mass Leisure, 1930–1945

Lara Feigel

in Literature, Cinema and Politics 1930-1945

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780748639502
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652938 | DOI:
The Documentary Movement and Mass Leisure, 1930–1945

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This chapter addresses the representation of mass, working-class leisure activities. Leisure plays an important role in Dziga Vertov's Man with a Movie Camera. The Way to the Sea, scripted by W. H. Auden, consistently presents the seaside as a place where the masses can become individuals. Humphrey Jennings and Henry Green portray the democracy engendered by war through the sharing of leisure activities between classes. Elizabeth Bowen presents the wartime bonds between the classes as even more fragile and transient. The middle classes embraced the Lambeth Walk because they saw it as a quintessentially working-class leisure activity which enabled its dancers to emerge as quirky individuals. Jennings, George Orwell, James Barke, and John Sommerfield shared an appreciation of working-class food. Green's cinematic novel is not so much a copy of cinema as a self-consciously literary response to a cinematic world.

Keywords: middle classes; leisure; Dziga Vertov; W. H. Auden; Humphrey Jennings; Henry Green; Elizabeth Bowen; Lambeth Walk; George Orwell; James Barke

Chapter.  9583 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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