Interbellum literature


In August 2017 my new book Interbellum Literature: Writing in a Season of Nihilism has been published by Brill (Leiden/Boston).

For some reason the twentieth century has produced many exceptional writers, despite its tragedies. The period between the two world wars can be called ‘a season of nihilism’. Unable to come to terms with the moral defeat of the First World War, many from the thirties onward knew that a new wave of destruction was about to hit the shores. Nevertheless the Interbellum stands out as the heyday of modern literature. These troubled times also witnessed an outburst of literary creativity. How can this be explained? In this book I present and analyse the literary and philosophical ideas in the novels, plays and stories of Proust and Joyce, Musil and Broch, Céline and Jünger, Woolf and Sartre, Orwell and Zweig, Gide and Camus, Kafka and Simone Weil, Beckett and Hemingway, Arthur Miller and Eugene O’Neill, Hesse and Thomas Mann, Joseph Roth and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Aragon and Tzara.

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