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Bureaucracy across Borders: Administering Cosmopolitan Hospitality at the English P.E.N., 1930–1945

Bureaucracy across Borders: Administering Cosmopolitan Hospitality at the English P.E.N., 1930–1945 From its inception, hospitality was inscribed in the vision of the English P.E.N., one of its stipulated aims being to provide a ‘vehicle for friendliness and hospitality’. Yet several writers who took leading administrative and representational roles during the 1930s and 1940s – Storm Jameson, E. M. Forster and J. B. Priestley, for example – were uncomfortable with the kinds of hospitality the P.E.N. sometimes purported to offer. They were concerned about the wartime propriety of elaborate lunches, dinners and parties. At the same time, this was an organisation that also tirelessly advocated for more substantial forms of refuge for displaced writers. Drawing on extensive archival material, this essay will examine some of the ambiguities embedded in the P.E.N.’s conception of hospitality during this period: the perceived clash between a social etiquette of hospitality (expressed through P.E.N. social gatherings) and a wider politics of hospitality (expressed in its drive to facilitate refugee reception in Britain). http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Modernist Cultures Edinburgh University Press

Bureaucracy across Borders: Administering Cosmopolitan Hospitality at the English P.E.N., 1930–1945

Modernist Cultures , Volume 16 (3): 18 – Aug 1, 2021

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
Copyright © Edinburgh University Press
ISSN
2041-1022
eISSN
1753-8629
DOI
10.3366/mod.2021.0339
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

From its inception, hospitality was inscribed in the vision of the English P.E.N., one of its stipulated aims being to provide a ‘vehicle for friendliness and hospitality’. Yet several writers who took leading administrative and representational roles during the 1930s and 1940s – Storm Jameson, E. M. Forster and J. B. Priestley, for example – were uncomfortable with the kinds of hospitality the P.E.N. sometimes purported to offer. They were concerned about the wartime propriety of elaborate lunches, dinners and parties. At the same time, this was an organisation that also tirelessly advocated for more substantial forms of refuge for displaced writers. Drawing on extensive archival material, this essay will examine some of the ambiguities embedded in the P.E.N.’s conception of hospitality during this period: the perceived clash between a social etiquette of hospitality (expressed through P.E.N. social gatherings) and a wider politics of hospitality (expressed in its drive to facilitate refugee reception in Britain).

Journal

Modernist CulturesEdinburgh University Press

Published: Aug 1, 2021

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