States of Repair: Institutions of Private Life in the Postwar British Novel


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This dissertation examines how post-1945 British and Anglophone fiction engages with Britain’s transition from a warfare to a welfare state. The novels studied deploy welfare’s logic of managing domestic life, constructing experiments in collective living to explore how built space catalyzes new intimacies between inhabitants. Yet these works also critique a welfarist logic, collapsing architectures of connection and inventing untenable living spaces only sustainable in literature. Taken together, they reveal Britain to be haunted by its postwar fantasies of repair: a landscape littered with discarded blueprints, semi-habitable houses, and persistent markers of inequality that resist grand visions of social reconstruction.