Open to the Public: The Modernist Country House Novel
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CitationTrout, Teresa. 2019. Open to the Public: The Modernist Country House Novel. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractMy dissertation begins with a literary and cultural history of the country house and country house touring, and the chapters that follow the introduction are arranged as a tour: we move first to view (1) portraits in the portrait gallery, next (2) books in the library, and finally, (3) theatricals in the drawing room. Throughout my project, I “read” the country house alongside the country house novel, incorporating observations and photographs that I gathered from over forty site visits to illustrate and interpret the texts. When modernists and late modernists were writing, economic strains and wartime requisitioning imperiled hundreds of country houses. In the 1940s, the National Trust began to save many of these buildings by opening them to the public. In doing so, they claimed the power structures of the elite as heritage sites for everyone; at the same time, the late modernist period produced country house novels that were especially attuned to the material conditions of their setting. Thus, I use the material-cultural and architectural histories of the portrait gallery, the library, and the drawing room to analyze the literature that represents these settings. Each of my chapters converges on a different late modernist author—Ivy Compton-Burnett, Elizabeth Taylor, and Elizabeth Bowen—as I explain how these writers engage the rooms and objects of the country house and Big House both to interrogate social history and position their works in literary history.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42029702
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