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Classes and CulturesEngland 1918-1951$
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Ross McKibbin

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198206729

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206729.001.0001

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The Community of Language

The Community of Language

(p.477) XIII The Community of Language
Classes and Cultures

Ross McKibbin

Oxford University Press

This chapter deals with the community of language — what people read and how they spoke. It looks at the development of a middlebrow literary culture and examines its social and political significance. It also considers the genre of the popular romance, such as Ruby M. Ayres and Mills and Boon, and more overtly working-class literature: ‘erotic bloods’, ‘Yank mags’, and sporting and crime novels. It notes how important gender and class was in determining what kinds of fiction people read. It discusses children's literature and the development of the press and mass-circulation periodicals. Finally, the chapter looks at the spoken language, the extent of Americanisation of vocabulary and idiom, working-class attitudes to language, the attempts to establish a ‘correct’ speech, and the reasons why that failed.

Keywords:   literacy, language, popular romance, gender, children's literature, Americanisation, idiom

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