Margins of Desire' turns the critical spotlight on the London suburbs by showing how the expanding city created new literary locations, genres and themes between 1880 and 1925.
Drawing on a wide range of writings, the book considers not only the fiction that identified the suburbs as significant but also the fiction that suburban dwellers, particularly women, wrote and read for themselves.
Pervasive suburban themes included the loss of the rural, the rejection of the urban, the feminisation of culture and changing class identities.
By engaging with modernity as represented by the suburbs, such writing was subversive of literary tradition and value, and signalled a shift towards the idea of the ordinary, the accessible and the harmonious.
The suburbanisation of the literary imagination is addressed through studies of suburban and anti-suburban utopias by writers such as William Morris, E.M.
Forster, Jerome K. Jerome and Arthur Conan Doyle; the imaginative terrain created by women writers in magazine and popular fiction, and representation of suburban realities from George Gissing's attacks on mediocrity to G.K.
Chesterton's celebration of the ordinary. Lynne Hapgood's lively approach opens up a counter-culture to modernist metropolitanism and argues for a more inclusive understanding of the fiction of the period. -- .