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Dissertations on, literary criticism of, and books that describe the novels of J.L. Carr

A few published articles have been identified which analyse and discuss the novels of J.L. Carr. I am sure that thare are more, so please let me know if you find one that is not listed here.

If you haven't read Carr's novels then don't read this - there are plot spoilers.

(Last updated on 11/3/2021)

 Dwight H. Purdy (1990). Conrad in two novels by J.L. Carr. Conradiana 22 (2): 94-100.

This article claims to identify a thick streak of Conrad in A Month in the Country and The Battle of Pollocks Crossing. The author had published 'Joseph Conrad's Bible' (1984, University of Oklahoma Press) which examined how the King James version of the Bible influenced Conrad's writing and provided themes and metaphors for his novels.

The author of this article had not read Carr's novel carefully and thought that the painter of the mural in the church at Oxgodby was a Muslim who was buried in the grave outside the churchyard. Mr Purdy writes: "The painter turns out to be Piers Hebron, whose tomb Moon finds" and that "Carr does not explain why a convert to Islam would have been allowed to paint a church mural". This is a gross misapprehension, as most readers of the novel will appreciate: the unnamed painter and Piers Hebron are different people.

I wonder if Carr saw this article and what he thought about it? He was repeatedly sceptical about academics who were awarded grants to write monographs. For example in the The Harpole Report George Gidner says when talking about the 'Peasant Poet' Thomas Dadds: I am doing a monograph on him with an eye to academic publication. To date, he has not been discovered by American post-graduates on Foundation Grants so I have the monopoly of him.

I think there's an essay, or even a dissertation, lurking in that topic: 'Disdain for academics and universities in the novels of J.L. Carr'. There you are now: go and get a grant.

 Anne Farmakidis, editor (2005). A Month in the Country. Academic Medicine vol 79, issue 5, page 488.

A summary of the plot of A Month in the Country written from the perspective of Birkin, published in a section of a medical journal called Medicine and the Arts.

 Rosemarie McGerr (2005). "It's not all that easy to find your way back to the Middle Ages": reading the past in A Month in the Country. Criticism: a quarterly for literature and the arts (Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, USA), vol 47, issue 3, pp353-387.

 Elsa Cavalié (2012). Recovering identity through landscape in A Month in the Country, pages 193 - 212. In: Land and Identity. Theory, Memory, Practice. Amsterdam: Rodopoi.

 Andrew Hammond (2013). The American Age. In: British Fiction and the Cold War, pp 187-216. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

The tests that George Gidner was asked to take by Principal Moskvin at the High School are discussed in the light of anti-Communist sentiment in the USA.

 Leonie Wanitzek (2014). Englishness, Summer and the Pastoral of Country Leisure in Twentieth-Century Literature, pp 252-272, In: Idleness, Indolence and Leisure in English Literature, editors Monika Fludernik & Miriam Nandi. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

This chapter investigates the relation of idleness to nostalgic Englishness in Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisted (1945), J.L. Carr's A Month in the Country (1980) and Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day (1989).

 Rūta Šlapkauskaitė (2015). Et in arcadia ego. Memory, mystery and mourning in J.L.Carr's A Month in the Country. In: Re-imagining the First World War: New Prespectives in Anglophone Literature, pp 124-139. Eds Anna Branach-Kallas and Nelly Strehlau. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

 Charles Scruggs (2016). Recovery from the Great War: pastoral space in J.L. Carr's A Month in the Country and Ernest Hemingway's "Big Two-Hearted River". Papers on Language & Literature, vol 52, issue 3, summer 2016, pages unknown.

 Jonathan Hill (2017). Composing the Postmodern Self in Three Works of 1980's British Literature. East Tennessee State University.

This dissertation uses Foucault's concept of technologies of the self to examine three texts from 1980s British literature for the ways that postmodern writers compose the self. The first chapter Liminality and the Art of Self-Composition explores the ways in which liminal space and time contributes to the self-composition in J.L. Carr's hybrid Victorian/postmodern novel A Month in the Country (1980).

 Laura Freeman (2018). The Reading Cure: how books restored my appetite. Weidenfeld & Nicholson, ISBN 147460465X.

Laura Freeman, a self-professed anorexic, describes how she was given A Month in the Country to read by someone at Daunt Books on Marylebone High Street, and explains how the food cooked by Mrs Ellerbeck was used to show concern for Tom Birkin, damaged by his experiences in the war. Is this an example of Carr as therapy of sorts?

 Aida Edemariam (2018). Boiling point: why literature loves a long, hot summer.. London: The Guardian

An article about heat in the novels of L.P. Hartley (The Go-Between), Ian McEwan (Atonement), Edith Wharton (Sag Harbour) and J.L. Carr (A Month in the Country).