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Literature, Cinema and Politics 1930-1945Reading Between the Frames$
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Lara Feigel

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780748639502

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748639502.001.0001

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(p.232) Afterword
Literature, Cinema and Politics 1930-1945

Lara Feigel

Edinburgh University Press

William Sansom watched apprehensively in London as the citizens celebrated ‘joy, the fireworks of victory, the bonfires and songs of deliverance’. Those Londoners who had urged on the Nazi fires in their destruction could now legitimately kindle their own victory bonfires. Ruth Pitter wrote Victory Bonfire, which describes a VJ day bonfire burning in ‘a sweet September twilight’. By the end of the war, cinematic technique had become endemic in the novel but was rarely used overtly with a political purpose. The Second World War cast doubt on the cinema-driven Benjaminian politicisation of aesthetics, which many British writers had embraced in the 1930s. The cinematic text, like Pitter's victory bonfire, consumed itself, leaving only ‘blushing and whitening embers’, ‘fading and falling’.

Keywords:   Victory Bonfire, William Sansom, London, Ruth Pitter, Second World War, Benjaminian politicisation, aesthetics

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