The road to Airstrip One
Anglo-American attitudes in the English fiction of mid-century
in End of empire and the English novel since 1945
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Evelyn Waugh's Californian crematorium, the Whispering Glades, is portrayed as the ultimate expression of American culture, due to a piece of Anglo-American skulduggery, the remains of his heroine Aimée Thanatogenos are disposed of at the Happier Hunting Ground instead. Seen from the 'Cooper country', America is the new metropolis, a land of failed promise and a suitable destination for the big-headed and over-ambitious. British science fiction at the mid-century would not have existed had it not been for its authors' ability to sell to the US market. Towards the end of A Shrinking Island Jed Esty divides twentieth-century British writers and intellectuals into two camps. One is, those who 'take imperial decline to imply some sort of national revival'. And the other is, those who 'take imperial decline to imply national decline' with Graham Greene, George Orwell and Waugh.

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