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:

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William Sansom watched apprehensively in London as the citizens celebrated ‘joy, the fireworks of victory, the bonfires and songs of deliverance’. Those Londoners who had urged on the Nazi fires in their destruction could now legitimately kindle their own victory bonfires. Ruth Pitter wrote Victory Bonfire, which describes a VJ day bonfire burning in ‘a sweet September twilight’. By the end of the war, cinematic technique had become endemic in the novel but was rarely used overtly with a political purpose. The Second World War cast doubt on the cinema-driven Benjaminian politicisation of aesthetics, which many British writers had embraced in the 1930s. The cinematic text, like Pitter's victory bonfire, consumed itself, leaving only ‘blushing and whitening embers’, ‘fading and falling’.

Keywords: Victory Bonfire; William Sansom; London; Ruth Pitter; Second World War; Benjaminian politicisation; aesthetics

Chapter.  2217 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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