Date of Award

8-6-2007

Degree Type

Closed Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

History

First Advisor

Ian C. Fletcher - Chair

Second Advisor

Jared Poley

Abstract

In mid twentieth century Britain, after the experience of total war, evil was not an abstract concept but a palpable reality. How was evil understood, and how did this understanding influence notions of English national identity? This thesis examines the lives and works of C. S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and J.R.R. Tolkien, members of the British literary club Inklings. It probes representations of evil, Englishness, gender and the erotic in their fiction and shows specifically how their science fiction, horror, and fantasy was a response to the moral and human devastation of two world wars. The thesis suggests that the Inkling’s middle brow literature opens a window on a wider sense of uncertainty and longing about Englishness in the eve of decolonization and decline.

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