chapter  1
16 Pages

Dawn of the New Age

Edwardian and Neo-Edwardian Summer
WithSarah Edwards

One of the most persistent and alluring images of Edwardian Britain is the 'long hot summer'. In both literary and popular cultures, summer has been a metonym for an ahistorical moment of unreflective ease that is soon to be engulfed by political turmoil. This chapter examines the persistent identification of the Edwardian era with a 'long hot summer' in both Edwardian and neo-Edwardian texts. It considers the discursive role of summer in the development and preoccupations of neo-Edwardian writers and, in particular, their periodisations of the era. The chapter refers the 'neo-Edwardian text' to a post-1910 work that is located in any period from the mid-1890s until the end of World War One. Both Edwardian and neo-Edwardian summers feature an exotic, self-contained space which is beyond the realm of the protagonist's ordinary experience: geographically remote, stilled in time, promising heightened adventures and sensory delights.