2023. On December 8th, I presented my latest work at the 8th “Memory, Melancholy and Nostalgia” International Interdisciplinary Conference, that took place in Gdańsk, Poland. I had the chance to engage with fellow scholars and attendees in a dialogue about how lsabel Colegate’s The Shooting Party (1980) recreated an Edwardian period which was informed by her twentieth century knowledge. My paper, based on a chapter soon to be published in Beyond Postmemory: Rewriting War in Contemporary Literature and Culture (Routledge, Pividori, Owen, editors) examined how Isabel Colegate used nostalgia to confront the problem of historical recollection. Based on her own personal history, Colegate presented a view of the Edwardian era that both reflected her longing for an idealised past and acknowledged that this past— with its exploitation of the working classes, its male rivalry and its patriarchal and animal abuse —was not without its flaws.
By applying Linda Hutcheon’s theory of “postmodern ironic nostalgia,” I suggest that Colegate’s nostalgic tone was both self-aware and critical and that she employed ironic nostalgia to both evoke and question the Edwardian era. I ultimately claimed that The Shooting Party goes beyond a mere reflection of the past to suggest that some Edwardian traits might have persisted into the 1980s, during the height of Thatcherism.
Please keep an eye out for further updates on the official publication of the chapter!