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Militancy, commitment and Marxist ideology in the fiction of Dan Billany

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posted on 2014-12-15, 10:37 authored by Stephen. Cloutier
Dan Billany (1913-1943?) published only four novels, yet in those novels he engages in the debates that preoccupy Britain in the 1930s and 1940s. Billany's view of the period, however, differs from that of his more famous contemporaries. As a young working class man, he challenges contemporary assumptions about this literary period, arguing that the more bourgeois writers have a false view of the working class. This study aims to recast the political and literary memory of the 1930s and 1940s in order to show how a young working class writer from the North of England defines and shapes Marxist and literary tradition to further his revolutionary ideals. The ultimate goal of this dissertation is to provoke the debate that will give Billany, badly underrated, the attention he deserves.;Due recognition of his fiction will help to expand the critical view of the 1930s and 1940s. Billany actively engages not only with the period but with those writers who have traditionally been seen as defining that literary period. His attacks on writers such as John Galsworthy and W.H. Auden show that Billany is trying to develop a truly radical Communist working class literary tradition. As an educated working class man and a committed Communist, Billany offers an alternative view to the traditional and conservative attitudes associated with pre-war and wartime writing.


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Nene College

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University of Leicester

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