George Orwell and the Radical Eccentrics celebrates the lives, literature, and politics of a group of four 'radical eccentrics' - the Tory anarchist poet Stevie Smith, the Marxist Indian nationalist Mulk Raj Anand, and the glamour-girl-turned-socialist Inez Holden - who formed a friendly circle around the famously radical and eccentric George Orwell. Demonstrating that Smith, Anand, and Holden matter for literary history just as they mattered for Orwell, George Orwell and the Radical Eccentrics gives name and shape to a neglected movement within interwar and wartime English writing. It focuses on the lives and texts of Smith, Anand, and Holden in order to argue that these three writers throw into question limiting assumptions about art and politics-about standard relations between literary form and sex, gender, race, class, and empire-in ways that their group's most influential radical, Orwell, cannot. Embarking upon a kind of biographical-political-cultural-literary criticism, this book brings the radical eccentrics' vital, potentially transformative conversation to the attention of scholars of English literature for the first time, suggesting fascinating new approaches to the study of literary London during the thirties and forties.
'Bluemel's intellectually engaging book has defined a new literary category, intermodernism, with the potential of gaining sufficient critical mass to reshape our understanding of the literature of the past seventy-five years.' - Textual Practice
'This book makes a welcome demand for a reconceptualisation of the categories through which British literature of the 1930s and 1940s has customarily been understood...Bluemel provides a compelling new perspective on the literature and culture of the period.' - Forum for Modern Language Studies