A Weapon in the Struggle

A Weapon in the Struggle : The Cultural History of the Communist Party in Britain

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`Andy Croft's amalgam of essays on some of the dimensions of culture pursued and generated by British communists during give decades of this century, from the twenties through to the sixties, makes compulsive reading ... a lively and provocative collection.' Tribune

For over seventy years, the Communist Party of Great Britain had an extraordinary impact on British cultural life, exercising an influence quite out of proportion to its size or political importance. Many art forms were revitalised, others profoundly changed, new ones established or shaped by groups and individuals associated with the party, who brought to the realm of cultural production - whether in music, film, theatre or literature - a dynamism and vision that helped to lay the foundations for a new radical culture, a progressive avant garde in which the struggle was always to produce a culture for and of the people, in the front line of the battle of ideas.

The distinguished contributors to this volume - the first serious study of the subject - draw on new research to recover the fascinating histories of the artists, poets, musicians, film-makers and cultural visionaries of the period, placing them in a broader historical context and providing an invaluable introduction to British social and cultural history in the twentieth century.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 135 x 215mm
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0745312047
  • 9780745312040

Table of contents

Introduction, Andy Croft

1. James Barke: A Great-hearted Writer, a Hater of Oppression, a True Scot by H. Gustav Klaus

2. To Disable the Enemy: the Graphic art of the Three Jameses by Robert Radford

3. Heirs to the Pageant: Mass Spectacle and the Popular Front by Mick Wallis

4. Notes From the Left: Communism and British Classical Music by Richard Hanlon and Mike Waite

5. Sylvia Townsend Warner in the 1930s by Maroula Joannou

6. An Intellectual Irrelevance? Marxist Literary Criticism in the 1930s by Hanna Behrend

7. King Street Blues: Jazz and the Left in Britain in the 1930s - 1940s by Kevin Morgan

8. The Boys Round the Corner: the Story of Fore Publications by Andy Croft

9. The Edinburgh People's Festival,1951-54 by Hamish Henderson

10. The World's Ill-Divided': the Communist Party and Progressive Song by Gerald Porter

11. The Sunshine of Socialism: the CPGB and Film in the 1950s by Bert Hogenkamp

Afterword by Paul Hogarth

Notes on Contributors

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About Andy Croft

Andy Croft teaches poetry in Teeside schools. He has written and broadcast widely on the literary history of the Labour Movement, including Red Letter Days (1990), Out of the Old Earth (1994) and an adaption of J.B. Priestley's English Journey for BBC Radio 4 (1994). He has written two books of poetry, Gaps Between the Hills (with Mark Robinson 1996) and Nowhere Special (1996).
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