Social Dimensions in the Novels of Barbara Pym, 1949-1963: by Orna Raz

By Orna Raz

This research considers the six novels written by means of English novelist, Barbara Pym (1913-1980), among 1949 and 1963, which reveal the reaction of a particular classification of individuals, represented by way of her heroines, to the dramatic social, cultural and demographic adjustments that happened in Britain on the time. Treating Pym s Nineteen Fifties novels as social-historical assets, this paintings makes an attempt to investigate the best way her portrayals of society, like these of such a lot of different English writers, served either as stories and opinions of the days during which she lived. the point of interest of Pym s novels was once the interplay among the person and the group: the Church, the parish or the paintings position. as a result, this ebook makes an attempt to reconstruct the social global of the feminine protagonists, relocating from the general public to the personal area, thereby commencing up Pym s novels to a brand new iteration of readers.

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Eliot, who attacked the union on the grounds that it compromised episcopal authority and church integrity (Kojecky 1971: 209–10), as well as regular members of the congregation. Some Anglo-Catholic clergymen showed their disapproval of the 27 way the church handled the crisis by leaving the Church of England and becoming Roman Catholics. Yet the representation of the crisis of the Church of South India in the novel is ambiguous. When reporting about it, the narrator Wilmet Forsyth emphasizes the fact that she is “lamentably ignorant of the subject [herself]” (143), even though early on in the novel she records a conversation with the vicar, Father Thames, about study groups devoted to discussions of that issue (8).

Although the word “driven” suggests a degree of coercion, Dulcie regards Viola’s choice as a religious fashion statement. According to Alan Sinfield, after the Second World War High Anglicanism became popular among middle-class and literary people; this trend might be perceived as a longing for times when the church was central to English life (see 1989: 93). A similar approach to the movement is expressed in the conversation between clergymen’s wives in Jane and Prudence. Before Jane moves to a new parish, her Oxford classmate, another clerical wife, warns her about the old-fashioned villagers: “Your husband will have to go carefully,” said a clerical wife.

However, in practice, Mark’s ability to reach out to the new residents of the parish is very limited: This was the fringe of his parish, that part that would never become residentially “desirable” because it was too near the railway, and many of the big gaunt houses had been taken over by families of West Indians. Mark had been visiting, trying to establish some kind of contact with his exotic parishioners and hoping to discover likely boys and men to sing in the choir and serve at the altar. He had received several enthusiastic offers, though he wondered how many of them would really turn up in church.

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