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Eastern Premise: Writing the East of England in the novels of Graham Swift.

Goodman, S., 2023. Eastern Premise: Writing the East of England in the novels of Graham Swift. Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction. (In Press)

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DOI: 10.1080/00111619.2023.2282522


This article is a critical exploration of how three of Graham Swift’s novels - Waterland (1983), Last Orders (1996), and Here We Are (2020) - offer a literary representation of the (south) east of England, and how his engagement with the locations of Norfolk, Kent, and Sussex in these books informs their themes, characterisation and narrative form. Recognising how space and place is integral to his writing across the course of his career, the article illustrates how, for Swift, the east means the embodied experience of the past, and is where memory and history coincide within his writing. Through evaluation of how Swift’s work is informed by these critical currents of place, the article argues that his repeated focus on eastern spaces guides his portrayal of English national, regional, and individual identities. The emptiness of the Fens, the historical legacy of Kent, and the spectacle and carnivalesque of Brighton create an interrelated geographical portrait of eastern England that spans the twentieth century and beyond, encompassing changes in shared meaning and cultural signification in both place and time during this period of social and political change.

Item Type:Article
Group:Faculty of Media & Communication
ID Code:39119
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:14 Nov 2023 08:53
Last Modified:23 Nov 2023 11:33


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