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Rural Modernity in BritainA Critical Intervention$
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Kristin Bluemel and Michael McCluskey

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474420952

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474420952.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 29 June 2022

Rural Modernity in a Time of Crisis: Preservation and Reform in the Books of B. T. Batsford

Rural Modernity in a Time of Crisis: Preservation and Reform in the Books of B. T. Batsford

Chapter:
(p.255) Chapter 15 Rural Modernity in a Time of Crisis: Preservation and Reform in the Books of B. T. Batsford
Source:
Rural Modernity in Britain
Author(s):

Peter Lowe

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474420952.003.0016

This chapter examines publisher B. T. Batsford’s popular ‘English Heritage’ and ‘Face of Britain’ series, focusing on their subject matter, the range of authors commissioned to write for them (including such figures as H. J. Massingham, Dorothy Hartley, S. P. B. Mais, and Edmund Vale), the books’ graphic art, marketing, and overall interpretation of the challenges facing the rural world. Peter Lowe describes the transformation of an oppositional view of the rural/modern relationship into a less conservationist, more reformist position by 1945. He argues that the books played a significant role in the construction of an idea of English/British cultural identity that proved vital to the nation’s defence. At the same time, wartime events enabled Batsford authors to adopt a more conciliatory tone on the issue of post-war rebuilding. Ultimately, conflicts over rural modernity were subsumed into larger debates about exactly which ‘Britain’ was to survive into the twenty-first century.

Keywords:   B. T. Batsford, English Heritage, Face of Britain, Graphic art, World War II publishing, British identity, Postwar rebuilding

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