How post-Brexit referendum literature (re)imagines what Englishness means in a globalized world.
In this highly readable and convincing exploration of Englishness as a problematic concept, Dulcie Everitt combines historical, political, and literary analysis to re-examine the nature of Englishness. BrexLit offers readers the opportunity to step outside of the chaos, to reflect, and in many cases, to heal from the dismal anxiety of the present.
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“The Financial Times may have coined the term “BrexLit,” but Dulcie Everitt has written the book on it.” “BrexLit: The Problem of Englishness in Pre- and Post-Brexit Referendum Literature” is a work of great originality, interdisciplinary sophistication, profound insight, and immediate relevance. Its 190 pages combine political science, history, literature, and a touch of art history to answer thorny questions of nationalism in an age of global capital and xenophobia. It does so while producing brilliantly sensitive close and contextual readings of an impressive range of contemporary British literature: six novels, one play, and one book of poetry, most of them published after June 23, 2016, the date of the Brexit referendum." "Dulcie demonstrates throughout a rare ability to say difficult things, i.e., to make precise, definite claims about matters that have eluded articulation by others." "a powerful analytical mind at work" ~ Jeff Strabone, Nomination Report
"a remarkable piece of work" "it is outstanding by all ofthese measures: its scale and scope are remarkable; its originality is unmistakable; its interdisciplinarity (spanning political science, history, and literary studies) is rare; the quality of its close readings is a continual pleasure; the polished elegance of its prose is like nothing I’ve seen from an undergraduate; and its timeliness and importance argue for its wider dissemination." ~ Julie Rivkin, Reader's Report
"compelling and moving" "Dulcie's writing pulses with an assured rhythm that is attuned both to the larger vision she is seeking to articulate and the local nuances of the works under discussion. To write so powerfully and well is an achievement to be commended." ~ Steven Shoemaker, Reader's Report
I read with pleasure "BrexLit: The Problem of Englishness in Pre- and Post-Brexit Referendum Literature.” I was struck by its skillful intertwining of theories of nationalism, post-war British history and recent literature on Englishness. I was moreover impressed by Dulcie’s ability to tie together scholarship on nationalism, the UK-EU relationship, peripheral nationalism in the Celtic fringe, rising English nationalism and a sophisticated analysis of different literary genres. It has often been noted that supranationalism and sub-nationalism are hollowing out nation-states from both above and below. As one arguably sees in the UK and in the decline of British identity, these trends feed off one another—Westminster has been squeezed from Brussels and from Holyrood, Cardiff and Stormont. Scottish, Welsh and Irish nationalism are pro-EU given that “Europe” seems to offer the promise of security and prosperity for small, independent states in the international arena. In contrast, as Dulcie shows in pre-Brexit and Brexit literature, English nationalism has a very different focus than the others. It is rightwing rather than leftwing; anti-EU rather than pro-EU, and unionist rather than separatist. Of all the rising nationalisms of the British Isles, English nationalism is the most like the rightwing populism that one sees resurgent on the continent and in the US, among many other places. It presents itself as emancipatory, but it seems to lack a positive vision of the future. ~ David Patton, Reader's Report
“Nationalism is an increasingly worrying phenomena. Dulcie gets to the heart of this issue with an academic review of the literature centred on Brexit and the English people’s understanding of their own identity and how it sits alongside the concept of being British.” ~ Mark Glover, FPRCA, Chief Executive, Newington Communications; Executive Director SEC Group