Rereading Henry Green: a genealogy of influence and self-influence
A critical survey of the formal and stylistic influences of the neglected twentieth-century English novelist Henry Green. Picking up on the reiterations, imitations and reverberations in his nine novels and autobiography, this project maps his works’ relationship to three mutually informative spheres of influence: earlier literature, his contemporaries’ writing and his own, which he increasingly revisits and reinvokes. Tracing an accurate lineage will expose his debt to similarly neglected writing, such as midcentury satire, early life writing and eighteenth-century prose, particularly in French. This will hopefully provoke a reevaluation of Green within the tradition of Modernism, linking him more closely with an unrecognised strand or mode of Modernism which might include writers such as Ronald Firbank, Ivy Compton-Burnett and others who, through similarly recursive and retrospective writing, both perform and encourage a rereading of earlier literature and their own.