Reality and its Aftermath: Nell Dunn revisits Up the Junction (1963) and Poor Cow (1967)
Keywords:Modern and Contemporary Literature, Biographical Literature, Nell Dunn, British literature, 1960s.
Nell Dunn’s The Muse (2020) is a biographical book in which the British author presents for the first time the life of Josie, the woman who inspired most of Dunn’s writings during the 1960s. In light of the information provided in The Muse, the aim of this article is to explore the presence of biographical content in two of Nell Dunn’s early works: Up the Junction (1963) and Poor Cow (1967). Utilising textual analysis and historical criticism, this comparative study will assess the degree to which realism operates in Dunn’s depiction of working-class women in her fiction of this period. In order to do so, the main topics of both novels will be considered along with other formal aspects such as the use of language of her characters. Later, all these elements will be compared with the content of The Muse, especially with genuine Josie’s letters and notes from the 1960s included in the volume. The similarities between these two books and the real events presented in The Muse will be useful in determining the presence of realism in Dunn’s early works.
FundingThe research on this paper has been supported by Lindisfarne Research Group (HUM-807), CEI Patrimonio (University of Almería), Plan Propio de Investigación y Transferencia (University of Almería) and the Ministry of Universities of Spain (FPU grant 2021).
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