I’ve been very pleased to contribute an Afterword to this wonderful book on ordinary writing at the beginning of the twentieth century, edited by Lauren O’Hagan of Cardiff University.
I began my Afterword by thinking about some of the reasons why the beginning of the twentieth century holds such resonance for many of us:
“The Edwardian era offers an ideal opportunity for the study of ordinary writing and rebellion in Great Britain and Ireland. It is beyond our collective reach and memory; yet, as we might have recently glimpsed the very last survivors of the Great War, we know that for them it was the age of their parents and ancestors, whose actions directly affected their lives. It is a most intriguing period, recognizably modern with contemporary parallels in political tensions, including rethinking British relations with Europe –and Ireland – as well as class conflict borne out of gross inequalities.”
In my opinion the chapter authors, writing on a diverse range of topics, have done an excellent job in filling out the framework that O’Hagan set: drawing on the new history from below; ethnography of communication; (new) literacy studies; and the anthropology of writing. The book is released by Peter Lang on 28 September 2020 and further details are available here.