• Apprentice to Deception: L. P. Hartley and the Bildungsroman

    Author(s):
    Daniel Williams (see profile)
    Date:
    2016
    Group(s):
    LLC 20th- and 21st-Century English and Anglophone, TM Literary Criticism
    Subject(s):
    Novel (genre), 20th-century British literature, History of childhood
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    L. P. Hartley, bildungsroman, deception, pragmatic linguistics, trust
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/1eb1-x895
    Abstract:
    This essay argues that L. P. Hartley’s novel The Go-Between (1953) fits into the critical tradition of the Bildungsroman in one specific sense: its attention to matters of deception. First, this plot of formation and development involves a necessary apprenticeship in deception: a moral training that has links with everyday practices of concealment in linguistic construal, social etiquette, and interpersonal trust, whose presence I track in the novel. Second, the novel’s framing screens the salient context of its production, the ‘angry decade’ of 1950s Britain. I consider Hartley’s conservative distance from other writing on childhood and youth in the period, suggesting that his representation of deception relates to his critique of social and moral erosion in the postwar period. In the loose vehicle of a Bildungsroman where development is compromised, Hartley presents a novel whose formal structure, in its use of deceptive tropes, affords both its turning away from historical difficulties and its indirect critique of failing morals.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    1 year ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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