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Modernism on Sea

Art and Culture at the British Seaside


Edited By Lara Feigel and Alexandra Harris

Modernism on Sea brings together writing by some of today’s most exciting seaside critics, curators, filmmakers and scholars, and takes the reader on a journey around the coast of Britain to explore the rich artistic and cultural heritage that can be found there, from St Ives to Scarborough. The authors consider avant-garde art, architecture, film, literature and music, from the early twentieth century to the present, setting the arrival of modernism against the background of seaside tradition.
From the cheeky postcards marvelled at by George Orwell to austere modernist buildings such as the De La Warr Pavilion; from the Camden Town Group’s sojourn in Brighton to John Piper’s ‘Nautical Style’; from Paul Nash’s surrealist benches on the promenade in Swanage to the influence of bunting and deckchairs on the Festival of Britain – Modernism on Sea is a sweeping tour de force which pays tribute to the role of the seaside in shaping British modernism.


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Part ISeaside Holidays


Part I SEASIDE HOLIDAYS Lara Feigel Lara Feigel is a Lecturer in Modern Literary Studies at King’s College, London. She is currently working on a monograph emerg- ing from her doctoral thesis at the University of Sussex on the influence of cinema on politically committed British literature, 1930–45. She is also researching a project on modernist autobi- ography and self-portraiture and another on the role of literature in the reconstruction of Europe after the Second World War, focusing on the work of International PEN and Unesco. She is a co- editor (with John Sutherland and Natasha Spender) of the jour- nals of Stephen Spender (Faber, 2009) and the editor of A Nosegay: A Literary Journey from the Fragrant to the Fetid (Old Street Pub- lishing, 2006). Kiss Me Quick The Aesthetics of Excess in 1930s Literature and Film the popular seaside resort was an enticing setting for the 1930s filmmaker or writer, offering a world of heady opu- lence and excess. The workers who flocked towards the sea left behind the grime of the northern factories and the chaos of the London streets to linger on the promenade, swoon in the ballroom and whirl in ecstasy on the flying machine. The seaside filmmaker could dizzy his audience as it bounced with the camera along the rollercoaster while the seaside writer could detail the vulgarity of the pleasure beach. This surplus was in sharp contrast to the everyday landscape of the 1930s, and artists made the most of the montage...

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