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In the fifties / [electronic resource] Peter Vansittart.

By: Vansittart, Peter.
Material type: TextTextPublisher: London : J. Murray, 1995Description: vi, 266 p., [8] p. of plates ; ill., ports. ; 24 cm.ISBN: 0719553008 :; 9780719553004.Subject(s): Vansittart, Peter -- Homes and haunts -- England | Novelists, English -- Homes and haunts -- England | England -- Social life and customs -- 20th century | Novelists, English -- 20th century -- Biography | England -- Intellectual life -- 20th century | Editors -- Great Britain -- Biography | Social life History, 1945-1960 | EnglandDDC classification: 823/.914 | B Online resources: Free eBook from the Internet Archive | Additional information and access via Open Library Summary: The fifties are often dismissed as a featureless interlude but here Peter Vansittart, distinguished novelist and anthologist, rediscovers their forgotten yet distinct flavour, recalling the funny and bizarre, the sad, the momentous, sometimes the atrocious. Uninterested in fashion and fleeting reputations, he relishes the inescapable figures of Churchill and Lord Goddard, the generous but vain Shaw, the public-spirited Leonard Woolf. He sees Donald Wolfit sneezing, Alec Guinness nodding, John Masefield surviving.Summary: He teaches at a school to the left of A. S. Neill and Bertrand Russell, a breeding-ground of mirth and inconsequence. At the newly founded Institute of Contemporary Art he witnesses T. S. Eliot being rebuked in person for anti-Semitism and Colin Wilson lambasting gentility; and, elsewhere, Elias Canetti talking nonsense to a waitress. In Pooterish style, he advises a fat stranger (J. B. Priestley) to try his hand at writing, and tells a pleasant woman that C. P. Snow is no good, without realizing they are engaged. He gets tipped half a crown by Randolph Churchill, admires Camus, Pasternak and Isaiah Berlin, meets Arnold Toynbee and A. J. Ayer, and is grateful to Evelyn Waugh. But all these take their place alongside coffee-bar grotesques, a painted tramp on Hampstead Heath, everyday commonplaces of London life, and living survivors from a forgotten age.Summary: Pinpointing the decade's characteristic mixture of optimism and nostalgia, he also offers a unique perception of its literary and artistic landscape.
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Includes bibliographical references (p. 251-254) and index.

The fifties are often dismissed as a featureless interlude but here Peter Vansittart, distinguished novelist and anthologist, rediscovers their forgotten yet distinct flavour, recalling the funny and bizarre, the sad, the momentous, sometimes the atrocious. Uninterested in fashion and fleeting reputations, he relishes the inescapable figures of Churchill and Lord Goddard, the generous but vain Shaw, the public-spirited Leonard Woolf. He sees Donald Wolfit sneezing, Alec Guinness nodding, John Masefield surviving.

He teaches at a school to the left of A. S. Neill and Bertrand Russell, a breeding-ground of mirth and inconsequence. At the newly founded Institute of Contemporary Art he witnesses T. S. Eliot being rebuked in person for anti-Semitism and Colin Wilson lambasting gentility; and, elsewhere, Elias Canetti talking nonsense to a waitress. In Pooterish style, he advises a fat stranger (J. B. Priestley) to try his hand at writing, and tells a pleasant woman that C. P. Snow is no good, without realizing they are engaged. He gets tipped half a crown by Randolph Churchill, admires Camus, Pasternak and Isaiah Berlin, meets Arnold Toynbee and A. J. Ayer, and is grateful to Evelyn Waugh. But all these take their place alongside coffee-bar grotesques, a painted tramp on Hampstead Heath, everyday commonplaces of London life, and living survivors from a forgotten age.

Pinpointing the decade's characteristic mixture of optimism and nostalgia, he also offers a unique perception of its literary and artistic landscape.

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