Abstract

The World My Wilderness (1950) is a painful meditation on the social and material ruins of the Second World War. The novel’s chronotope of ruins creates a palimpsest of physical, psychic, and textual dereliction. During the Blitz, air raids uncovered ancient ruins while creating new ones out of present-day buildings and infrastructure. This peculiar archaeological environment resonates with what philosophers have theorized as a ruin’s multidirectional, suspended temporality. Like several other books of “ruin-mapping” in the immediate postwar period, Macaulay’s novel renders this dislocated setting through a cartographic treatment of Blitzed London. Ultimately, the novel complicates conventional ways of reading both the metropolis and the Bildungsroman by emphasizing war’s creation of surrogate habitats, and the residual, destructive effects on youth and maturation.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-1464
Print ISSN
0022-281X
Pages
pp. 92-110
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-30
Open Access
No
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