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Francis Brett Young’s Birmingham: North Bromwich – City of Iron

Hall, Michael (2008)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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In this thesis I investigate Francis Brett Young’s Birmingham portrait in his North Bromwich novels, showing it to be a valid interpretation, though biased to suit the anti-urban prejudices of its author. Chapter One sets Young in his biographical and literary context. Birmingham during the North Bromwich era (c1870-1939) is examined and the role of novels as historical source established. In Chapter Two I define and explore Young’s North Bromwich canon, one exemplar among many historical realities, and show that the name and soubriquets of North Bromwich interpret Birmingham. Chapter Three investigates North Bromwich’s climate and topography, commercial, political and civic life, indicating clear Birmingham parallels. Chapter Four describes North Bromwich suburbs, housing and transport, each of which accurately replicates Birmingham originals. In Chapter Five I show North Bromwich’s recreational and religious life reflecting Young’s own Birmingham experience. Chapter Six traces North Bromwich’s interpretation of Birmingham’s educational provision, particularly concentrating upon its university’s evolution. Chapter Seven establishes links between North Bromwich and Birmingham medicine, revealing thinly-disguised fictional characters as key Birmingham practioners. Summarizing the above, Chapter Eight confirms the integrity of Young’s North Bromwich portrait and his seminal role in the on-going literary interpretation of Birmingham.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Chinn, Carl
School/Faculty:Schools (1998 to 2008) > School of Historical Studies
Department:Department of Medieval and Modern History
Keywords:Francis Brett Young, Birmingham, Regional Novels, Industrial Fiction, Historical Fiction
Subjects:PR English literature
DA Great Britain
Institution:University of Birmingham
Library Catalogue:Check for printed version of this thesis
ID Code:172
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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