Non-Conformity and the Sixties
Popular iconography of the 1960s in Britain immortalises a decade triumphant in its counter-culture, a sustained rebellion with effects more far-reaching and far more real than the conservative rantings of the Angries and the Outsiders of the English of the fifties. As Alan Sinfield puts it in Literature, Politics and Culture in Postwar Britain, ‘the “1960s” is of course a myth; but that is an important thing to be, since what we think and do depends on the stories we tell ourselves’ (283). We are encouraged to retain a dominant fiction of an era liberated by satire, chemical stimulants and contraception, its audaciously won freedoms enshrined in the national culture by a rush of liberal legal reforms at the end of the decade.1 Paul Johnson’s farewell editorial for New Statesman on 26 June 1970 serves as a summation of the achievements of the period: ‘We no longer terrorise homosexuals. We do not force mothers to bring unwanted children into the world. We have made it easier to end wrecked marriages. We have begun the true liberation of women. Children by and large get a better deal. […] We do not murder by the rope’ (quoted in Morgan, 315–16).
KeywordsHeterosexual Relationship Social Conscience Male Author Narrative Voice Free Indirect Discourse
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.