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By A. Hammond

This publication deals a different research of the wide-ranging responses of British novelists to the East-West clash. Hammond analyses the therapy of such geopolitical currents as communism, nuclearism, clandestinity, decolonisation and US superpowerdom, and explores the literary types which writers built to catch the complexities of the age.

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54 In the novel, ‘Airstrip One’, as Britain is now called, may be geographically distinct from Russian-held Eurasia, but its subordinate position within a larger power bloc gives the native leadership, who cooperate with its foreign masters, the air of a fifth column. 55 Despite this, the propagandists’ appropriation of Nineteen Eighty-Four for the free-world cause remained problematic, demanding that readers overlook the author’s distinction between socialism and authoritarian Marxism, and also overlook the novel’s guarded optimism.

The ruling party – ‘Ingsoc’ or English Socialism – desires neither egalitarianism nor justice, but obedience to its patriarchal figurehead, the shadowy Big Brother, and ensures this obedience by surveillance, conditioning and torture. 47 It is against this nihilistic creed that Winston Smith conducts his rebellion. An employee in the Ministry of Truth, an institution responsible for state-sanctioned news, culture and education, Winston begins a love affair with a party colleague in contravention of state regulations, which view personal relationships as a usurpation of loyalties owned by the regime.

Over and above its efficacy as a tool of seduction (demonstrated one evening with Elena) is the chance it may encourage Soviet subsidy, with Jack believing that ‘the rebellion business … is good business’, that one can ‘sell social revolt’ and that Soviet funding offers ‘the prospect of getting on the caviar train’ (31, 58, 31). The final phrase, a Cold War take on ‘gravy train’, suggests that the institutionalised structures of the East–West conflict may be exploitable even by petty tricksters, a conceit which, if extended, could have made The Young Visitors an interesting novel.

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