Beyond Trauma: Provisional Networks and Eccentric Forms in Fiction of the Blitz

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In many novels set in London during and after the Blitz, such as The Slaves of Solitude by Patrick Hamilton, Caught by Henry Green, Girls of Slender Means by Muriel Spark, and Human Voices by Penelope Fitzgerald, traumatic experiences are often subordinated to concerns that have received comparatively little critical attention. This article argues that a strain of Blitz fiction is primarily engaged in the mapping of ad hoc social networks that emerged during the Blitz. Mass evacuation, destroyed homes, and shifting wartime posts resulted in provisional domestic arrangements, micropolitical tensions, and networks of care that abruptly emerged and disappeared. The fictional representation of these unusual social structures demanded unconventional narrative techniques. A strain of Blitz fiction adopted the formal structures of network narratives in order to render distributed, dynamic, and dislocated social topographies. This article moves beyond the well-established association of wartime literature with representations of trauma in order to bring into focus a strain of network narratives that reflect a cultural logic of contingency under the Blitz.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalTextual Practice
StateE-pub ahead of print - Nov 13 2023


  • London Blitz
  • masculinity
  • networks
  • Trauma
  • World War II

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory


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