‘Current History Looks Apocalyptic’: Barnard Eldershaw, Utopia and the Literary Intellectual, 1930s-1940s
A primary effect of reading Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow through its Utopian frame is to foreground questions of genre, questions which have been only furtively present in its critical reception to date. But my concern is not to reclaim the novel from any scandalous misreadings. The text sanctions the broadly nationalist and realist perspectives through which it has been read, and, in itself, privileges the novel over the Utopia. Further, its Utopian frame has always been recognised, if only as a necessary contrivance, a mere container, or as weak prophecy. My modest claim will be that there are other ways of reading the Utopian genre, and thus of reading this novel's relationship to it. Less modestly, my argument is not just about a novel but about a specific 'ideology of the novel', a specific formation of literary intellectuals, and a discourse on culture which I will describe as Utopian.
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Cite as: Carter, David. ‘‘Current History Looks Apocalyptic’: Barnard Eldershaw, Utopia and the Literary Intellectual, 1930s-1940s.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 14, no. 2, 1989, doi: 10.20314/als.e6ab6a266b.