Languages and Literature, University of Nottingham
This project will create a cultural biography of Garsington Manor, from 1915-1918, and ask how it, as a venue, was significant in the cultural formation of Modernism. It will begin by examining archival material to create a timeline of the guests, events and conversations that took place there.
The project will then utilise Raymond Williams’ theories, especially a ‘structure of feeling’, which encourage the exploration and articulation of ‘the relations between literature and the totality of the social experience by connecting the values and forms of expression, inherent to the internal structure of any literary text, with the experience of human beings in a certain time and place’ (Ana Clara Birrento, ‘Raymond Williams: reading novels as knowable communities’ in About Raymond Williams, 2010, p. 166). Therefore, Williams’ theories will enable the use of archival material to connect the experiences of the inhabitants of a specific place (Garsington) and time (WWI) with the literary texts that they created and gain a new understanding of how the experiences felt there, both personally and collectively, and the influential relationships formed, led to the emergence of modernism. By using Williams’ theories, this project will connect biographical evidence with key modernist texts and, therefore, be able to explore whether the emergence of modernism can be viewed as more than a literary movement but also as a cultural experience.