'In a blitz you notice people's virtues': Louis MacNeice, Virginia Woolf, and the cultural response to bombing

Prof. Daniel Swift

This presentation was a part of Session three: Writing, Poetry and Peace Monuments, From 4:00 pm until 6:00 pm on Friday 11th November, 2011, Lower Ground 02, New Academic Building, Goldsmiths


Virginia Woolf and Louis MacNeice were both fascinated by bombing: they both traveled into London as 'Blitz tourists' to survey the wreckage of the city during the Blitz, and both wrote - essays, poems, novels--in response to the damage. The history of bombing is of course a history of destruction, but much was also created in the bombed cities of World War 2. This paper will look at the specific responses by two English writers to the bombing of London, and suggest some ways in which the literary imagination was inspired by the strategic bombing campaigns of World War 2.