Protest and Anti-War Literature

  • John Colmer


In a century that has already witnessed the ravages of two World Wars, it is not surprising that much of the best protest literature has been about war. Other issues have certainly created their own literature of protest. In America there is a growing body of fine fiction protesting against the treatment of the Negro, while in South Africa and elsewhere the theme of racial discrimination has come to occupy an important place in literature. Attacks upon sex discrimination have become more common in almost all countries. Overlapping these definable kinds are two other forms, the one with a long tradition, the other an expression of a new mode of consciousness. The first, often Marxist in orientation, is a generalised protest against the social and political system, as in Edward Upward’s In The Thirties. The other is the literature of the absurd, which is always, implicitly if not explicitly, a protest against the situation in which man finds himself in the universe.


Capitalist Society Time Scheme Ambivalent Attitude Opposed Structure Irrational Power 
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  1. 4.
    Carl Oglesby, ‘The Deserters: The Contemporary Defeat of Fiction’, in Radical Perspectives in the Arts, ed. Lee Baxandall (Harmondsworth, 1972), p. 50.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© John Colmer 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Colmer
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AdelaideAustralia

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