'Middlebrow' has always been a dirty word, used disparagingly since its coinage in the mid-1920s for the sort of literature thought to be too easy, insular and smug. Yet it was middlebrow fiction - largely written and read by women - that absolutely dominated the publishing market in the four decades from the 1920s to the 1950s. Neglected by subsequent critical fashion in favour of the work of literary elites, this literature has only recently begun to be reassessed. Aiming to rehabilitate the feminine middlebrow, Nicola Humble argues that the novels of writers such as Rosamund Lehmann, Elizabeth Taylor, Stella Gibbons, Nancy Mitford, and a host of others less well known, played a powerful role in establishing and consolidating, but also in resisting, new class and gender identities in this period of volatile change for both women and the middle classes. The work of over thirty novelists is covered, read alongside other discourses as diverse as cookery books, child-care manuals, and the reports of Mass Observation.
Hardback with dust jacket. Used, as new.