Abstract

Abstract:

Atonement's depiction of the anachronistic English country house contravenes suppositions that similar spaces nostalgically commemorate an oppressive history. The novel instead explores the house as a historical fiction that continues to structure contemporary English culture. It exposes the way "New Britain" both erases and reproduces many of the more pernicious aspects of English history, commodifying and revising history in much the same way that English Heritage has been accused of doing. The novel reopens the country house as a space that demands both a historical double take and skepticism toward preemptive celebrations of social progress.

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