10 British Novels from the 1950's

10 British Novels from the 1950's

Welcome to a Sunday Morning Meet-Up in which I discuss 10 British Novels from the 1950’s.

Books mentioned:

1. 1950: The Grass is Singing by Doris Lessing.

A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute.

2. 1951: The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham.

3. 1952: Doctor in the House by Richard Gordon.

4. 1953: Casino Royale by Ian Fleming.

5. 1954: The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien.

6. 1955: That Uncertain Feeling by Kingsley Amis.

7. 1956: The Towers of Trebizond by Rose Macaulay.

8. 1957: Room at the Top by John Braine.

9. 1958: Our Man In Havana by Graham Greene.

10. 1959: Billy Liar by Keith Waterhouse.



My policy for this channel and my commitment to you, as a viewer:

To create high-quality, book-related content that is intelligent, witty, entertaining and interesting.

By subscribing you can join me for the following videos:

Posting schedule:

Sunday Morning Meet-Up: For Book-Related Series.

Tag Tuesday for Booktube Tags.

Wednesday Interlude: In which I shine the spotlight on an author and their works.

Thursday Thoughts: For my reading progress, wrap-ups and TBR’s.

Friday Verse: In which I read the verse of Robert William Service.

hello and welcome to my channel and welcome to a Sunday morning meter in which I discuss 10 British novels from the nineteen fifties the ten novels are picked to represent each year of the 1950's served to dispel the myths of the peaceful family-oriented 1950s when happy homemakers when aprons and kitten heels greeted their own white color husbands at the door with a cocktail and a kiss book number one was published in 1950 the gross is singing by Doris Lessing this was Lessing's debut novel which caused a sensation when first published jury dealing as it does with the racial politics of 1940s southern Africa Mary Turner a racist white woman who believes in white supremacy over the native blacks a doctor a superior and contemptuous attitude toward them eventually she is killed by her black sermon for monetary gain Doris Lessing is best remembered for her 1962 nawat the golden notebook among other themes the golden notebook notebook is an examination of the growing sexual and women's liberation movements Doris Lessing received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2007 57 years after the publication of the cross is singing also published in 1950 was a town like Elias which is a romantic novel by Nevil Shute published when shooted newly settled in Australia Jim page is a young Englishwoman becomes romantically interested in a fellow prisoner of World War 2 in Malaya and after liberation emigrated to Australia to do with him where she attempts by investing her substantial financial inheritance to generate economic prosperity in a small community to turn it into a town like Alice ie Alice the story falls abroad into three parts in post-world War two London Jeanne Padgett a secretary in a leather goods factory is informed by a sister no strucken that she's inherited a considerable sum of money from an uncle she never knew Jean decides that her priority is to build a well in Mullane village the second part of the story flashes back to of genes experience during the war when she was working in Malaya at the time the Japanese invaded and was taken prisoner together with a group of women and children the third party look shows how genes entrepreneurship gives a decisive economic impact to develop whilst I'm in Australia into a town like Alice but the britches novels published in 1950 include Gormenghast by Megan peek and some changes elf which was Barbara King's first novel book number two was published in 1951 the day of the Triffids by John Wyndham is a post-apocalyptic novel object most people in the world are blinded by an apparent meteor shower an aggressive species of plant starts killing people this novel established Windham as an important writer and remains his best-known novel the protagonist is Bill Mason a biologist who doesn't make his living working with crickets tall venomous carnivorous plants capable of locomotion duties background Mason suspects they were bio engineered in the u.s. herself and accidentally released into the wild because of the excellent industrial partly of an oil produced by and obtained from the Triffids the result is worldwide cultivation of trivets the now it begins with Bill Mason in hospital his eyes bandaged after having been splashed with cryptid poison from a stinger during his convalescence he sought of an unexpected green meteor shower the next morning he learns that the light from the unusual display first rendered anyone who watched it come lately blind after recovering his sight he wanders to it an anarchic London full of blind inhabitants slowly becomes enamored of a wealthy novelist just seven later whom he rescues after disturbing her being forcibly used as a guide by a blind man they join a group with whom they establish a self-sufficient colony in Sussex with such success but they are constantly under threat from the Triffids which mass around the fenced exterior to discover what happens next you need to read the story of the britches novels published in 1951 include the end of the affair by Graham Greene the question upbringing is the opening novel in Anthony Powell advanced to the music of time but twelve volume cycles spending much of the 20th century and my cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier book number three was published in 1952 doctor in the house is a comic novel by Richard Gordon set in the fictitious st. Swithin's Hospital in London the story concerns the exploits and various pranks of a young medical student in film adaptations the character is 19 named Simon sparrow but in the novel names of Richard Gordon which is the first of a series a series of doctor novels written by Gordon himself a surgeon and an amethyst anesthetist if you'd rather a shock to the medical student to discover that once at the hospital he would actually have to work and quite hard fortunately he discovered that life at the hospital was not to be or dissection and textbooks this hilarious Hospital comedy is perfect reason for anyone who's ever wondered exactly what medical students get get up to in their training a film adaptation doctor in the house was released in 1950 force don't Bogart several of the subsequent books were also filmed there were a number of TV series very loosely based on the books and a 13-part radio series on the BBC in 1968 starring Richard bras as other British novels published in 1952 include lieutenant humbler by Sears Forster a buyers market is the second novel in Anthony Powell's twelve novel series a dumpster musical time excellent women by Barbara pimp and minuter armed by evening war book number four was published in 1953 Casino Royale is the first novel by Ian Fleming and it's the first James Bond book and it paved the way for a further 11 novels and two short story collections by Fleming the story concerns the British secret agent James Bond gambling at the casino in Royale lizzo to bankrupt the ship of the treasure of a French Union and a member of the Russian Secret Service Fleming used his wartime experiences as a member of the Naval Intelligence Division and the people he met during his work to provide plot elements the character of bond also reflected many of Fleming's personal tastes within the spy story line Casino Royale deals with themes of Britain's position in the world particularly the relationship with yield with the u.s. in light of the defections to the Soviet Union of the British agents guy Burgess and Donald MacLean the book was given broadly positively used by critics at the time and sold out in less than a month after its UK release on the 13th of April 1953 other breeches novels published in 1953 include the go-between by LT Hartley lovin and the ruins by evening war and the Kraken waits by John Wyndham book number 5 was published in 1954 the Fellowship of the Ring is the first of three volumes of the epic novel The Lord of the Rings by Jay talking which is followed by the two towers and The Return of the King it takes place in the fictional universe of middle-earth other pictures novels published in 1954 include lucky Jim the first novel by Kingsley Amos Lord of the Flies by William Golding and under the net by Iris Murdoch the book number six was published in 1955 but uncertain feeling is a comic novel by Kingsley Amos in 1961 the book was made into a film starring Peter Sellers the title changed to only two can play it was also adapted by the BBC in a 1980 in 1985 as a television series starring Denis Lawson and Sheila wish this time with the original title that on certain feeding is a satire on life and culture in a Welsh seaside town the story concerns eight mode librarian who begins an affair with the bored wife of a the local bigwig she is a chic socialite cruising like a predator on the prowl she mocks John and Norris Lewis an assistant librarian who seems to be an uncomplicated conquest as an easy target but Lewis is both more and less than he appears to make this family man facade lurks a poet witch and visionary but also a lecturer we soon find Lewis peering at the front of the socialized dress no wonder he has that uncertain feeling at the pictures novels published in 1955 include the quiet American by Graham Greene officers and gentlemen which is the second novel in evening Wars Sword of Honour trilogy and the christenings by John Wyndham book number seven was published in 1956 the towers of trebizond by eros Macaulay was the last of her novels and the most successful it was awarded the James Tait blood Memorial Prize for fiction in the year this publication the book is partly autobiographical it it follows The Adventures of a group of people we narrator Laurie be eccentric Dorothea Fox Corbett otherwise art dot her high Anglican clergyman friend father Hugh Chantry pig traveling from Constantinople truth trebizond the Turkish feminist doctor attracted to a mechanism X is a form to the main characters on dot proposed to emancipated doing the turkey by converting them to a mechanism and popularizing beat bathing hat while Lori has more worldly preoccupations against its anglo-catholic backdrop the novel deals that the conflict between Lori's attraction to Christianity and her a daughter's love for a married man this was the problem call I had faced in her own life having had an affair with the married novelist and former Roman Catholic priest Joan of Donovan from 1920 until his death in 1942 other Britches novels published in 1956 include diamonds are forever like in Fleming pincher Martin by William Golding and French Li by PG Woodhouse book number eight was published in 1957 room at the top by John brain is about the rise of an ambitious young man of humble origin and the socio economic struggles undergone in realizing his social ambitions in post-war Britain Joe Lampton demobilized at the end of the Second World War is starting in a new job with the municipal Treasury in the town of Waring he has been a prisoner of war who spent his captivity studying to pass his accountants examinations he's an orphan whose parents were killed in an air raid against his hometown he's determined to make suddenly himself targeting a high-paid job at a thousand Delius salary he notices shortly after arriving a man with an expensive car and a pretty girlfriend and he realized that this lifestyle and appearance is what he aspires to the book centers on Joe's efforts to secure a future can take pride in the novel was made into a film with the excellent Ron's Harvey as Joe lanthanum was also adapted as the BBC television film both of which were very good of the pictures novels published in 1957 include on the beach by never shoot Justine is the first novel in Lawrence dolls dolls and retreat tetralogy the Alexandria quartet the ordeal of Gilbert pin felled by evening war and the Midwich cookers by John Wyndham book number nine was published in 1958 a man in Havana by Graham Greene isn't normal sniffed in Cuba he makes fun of intelligence services especially the British mi6 and their willingness to believe reports from their local informants the book predates the Cuban Missile Crisis but certain aspects of the plot notably the role of missile installations appear to anticipate the events of 1962 it was adapted into a film of the same name named in 1959 directed by Carol Reed and starring Alec Guinness Green joined mi6 in August 1941 in London Green had been appointed to the subsection dealing with canta espionage in the idea to ensure where he'd learned about German agents in Portugal sending the Germans fictitious reports which garnered them expenses and bonuses after their basic salary one of the agents was Garbo a Spanish double agent in Lisbon who gave his German handlers disinformation by pretended to control a ring of agents or over England in fact he invented armed forces movements and operations from maps guides and standard military references Garbo was the main inspiration for were multi protagonist man in Havana remembering the German agency in Portugal green write the first version of the story in 1946 as an outline for a film script with the story set in Estonia in 1938 the film was never made and green soon realized that Havana which he but visited several times in the early 1950s would be a much better setting with the absurdities of the Cold War being more appropriate from comedy other pictures novels published in 1958 include the Darling Buds of May by hatred dates Saturday night and Sunday morning by Alan suto Hornblower in the West Indies by CS Forester and dr. know by Ian Fleming book number 10 was published in 1959 big Billy Liar by keith waters which was later adapted into a play film a musical and a TV series the workers inspired and featured in a number of popular songs the semi conquer stories about William Fisher a working-class nineteen year old living in the fictional town of it strat Houghton in Yorkshire bored by his job as a loaded Clark from Undertaker Billy spends his time in Georgia in fantasies and dreams of life in the big city as a comedy writer Billy is living with parents Alice and Jeffrey and his grandmother France and Boothroyd Billy lies compulsively to everyone he comes across whether it's the claim that his father is a retired naval captain or telling his parents that Arthur's mother has broken her leg Billy and Billy's best friend Arthur work as clocks for Undertaker's Shadrach and Duxbury Billy is engaged to two girls and in love with the third and he constantly refers to a fake job offer wedding strips in London for comedian deli boom Billy feels trapped by his boring job and working-class parents and finds that is only happiness lies in grand plans for his future and fantastical daydreams of the fictional country of Ambrosia of the bitches novels published in 1959 include Goldfinger by in Flemming and Titus alone by Miriam click if you're new to this channel then you may want to check out the previous videos in this series which you'll find in the info cards above also I recommend that you check out my book true birthing Mickey who has a wonderful channel called I read past my bedtime I'll leave a link to her channel in the show notes below [Applause] [Applause]


  1. I've read The Fellowship of the Ring and The Quiet American . One of the things that strikes me about your lists is how prolific writers of the first half of the 20th Century were. Many of these writers were turning out a book almost every year.

  2. I LOVE Daphne’s writing and want to read more from her!

    Another fantastic video and again I love your outro. Gives me a moment to catch up and make sure I didn’t miss marking any down on my list to pickup.

    I also appreciate that you put the books in the description as well.

    Also thank you so much for mentioning me you gentleman you! Very, very kind of you! ☺️

    Happy reading!

  3. I purchased a book called; The Tenth Man, by Graham Greene of which I am currently reading.
    Including in the book are two film sketches from Graham Greene.
    The first is; Jim Braddon and the War Criminal.
    The second is entitled; Nobody to Blame.
    Graham Greene states that the story making fun of the Secret Service couldn't get passed the Board of Film Censors.
    The story emerged some ten years later with the simplified title; Our Man in Havana.
    The story/sketch that is included in the book that I purchased is only twelve pages long and titled; Nobody to Blame

  4. Another great video! This is a really marvellous series and one that I always look forward to viewing. Mervyn Peak's Gormenghast trilogy, is one of my all time favourites – haven't read it for many years now, so must give it a re-read. Steerpike is one of fiction's great Machiavellian characters and while thoroughly scheming and without conscience, nonetheless he is a wonderful creation.

    From your previous video in the series on the 1940s, I have also read a few of Dorothy Whipple's books. Again, an author I very much admire. There is an understated pacing in her novels that somehow belies the turmoil and emotion that is going on beneath the surface of many of her characters and storylines.

    Again, an excellent series, so many thanks for posting these videos

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *