Lara Feigel and Juliet Gardiner discuss writing of the Blitz

Filed under: Non-fiction

A recording of Lara Feigel and Juliet Gardiner discussing writing of the Blitz, chaired by Peter Parker.

The Roy Jenkins Memorial Lecture

For eight months from 7 September 1940, Britain came under daily attack from the Luftwaffe, enduring widespread destruction of its cities and thousands of civilian deaths. Like the trenches of the First World War, the Blitz has entered the national consciousness and provided the backdrop to a distinctive literature. This was Total War, and many writers on the home front found themselves caught up in it: Stephen Spender, Henry Green and William Sansom as firemen; Elizabeth Bowen and Graham Greene as air-raid wardens; Rose Macaulay as an ambulance-driver. Others, such as Virginia Woolf, looked on, recording events in their letters and diaries. Lara Feigel, author of The Love-charm of Bombs, published in January, and the acclaimed historian Juliet Gardiner, author of The Blitz: The British Under Attack (2010), discuss the work of these and other writers and explore the feverish carpe diem atmosphere of London under fire, in which, as Bowen put it, writers found themselves ‘afloat on the tideless, hypnotic, futureless to-day’, and produced some of the finest writing of the mid-20th century.

Recorded Monday 11 March 2013.

We are grateful to King’s College, London, for supporting this event.