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Regenerating England

Science, Medicine and Culture in Inter-War Britain

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In the inter-war years there was much debate in Britain as to whether the best path to post-World War I regeneration would be found in the promises of science and technology, in continued and increased efficiency, in specialization and professionalization or whether the future of the nation depended on a rediscovery of older (and more authentic) ways of doing things, on a defiant anti-modernism. This debate on Britain's future was often conducted in terms of Englishness and the rebirth of a lost, more spiritual, village England. However, ‘Englishness' also entered inter-war social thinking through eclectic assimilations of diverse traditions. Prominent themes in the discourses on Britain's post-war regeneration include national character, citizenship, fitness, education, utopia, community and so on. The chapters in the present volume address these themes and break new ground by examining debates well known in political and literary history through their relations to science, medicine, architecture and ideas of social and political ‘health'.

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