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Beautiful Strangers

Ireland and the World of the 1950s


Edited By Gerald Dawe, Darryl Jones and Nora Pelizzari

This groundbreaking collection examines popular and literary culture in the 1950s through the lens of postwar Ireland. The 1950s are at once a site of cultural nostalgia and of vital relevance to twenty-first-century readers. The diverse essays collected here offer insight into the artistic effects of austerity on both creators and consumers of 1950s culture, examining cultural production in Britain and the United States as well as Ireland. The first book of its kind, it blends critical analysis with cultural memory of a unique time in the history of Irish literature and the broader world. From Samuel Beckett to Elvis Presley and Movement poetry to bestselling science fiction, this volume highlights the crucial role Ireland played in the growth of literary and popular culture throughout this fascinating decade and beyond.


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Acknowledgements ix Introduction 1 Thomas Kilroy A Memoir of the 1950s 7 Nicholas Grene Samuel Beckett: Waiting for the End 21 Darryl Jones Fantasia: Under Milk Wood in the 1950s 35 Sam Slote Elvis Presley: The Sun King 51 John Scattergood The Movement: A Personal View 63 Eoin O’Brien The Baggotonian Movement: Nevill Johnson (1911–1999) 87 Bernice M. Murphy The Beautiful Stranger and the Inconceivable Alien: The Body Replacement Narrative in 1950s American Science Fiction 113 viii Helen Conrad O’Briain Phyllis McGinley and the Liberal Heart 131 Edwina Keown ‘Look at the pram products at their plotting and planning’: The Start of the British Teen Scene and Counter-Cultural Music in Colin MacInnes’s Absolute Beginners (1959) 147 Gerald Dawe From Borstal Boy and Ginger Man to Kitty Stobling: A Brief Look Back at the 1950s 167 Terence Brown Afterword 181 Notes on Contributors 187 Index 191

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