Angus Calder

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Angus Lindsay Ritchie Calder (5 February 1942 – 5 June 2008) was a Scottish academician, writer, historian, educator and literary editor with a background in English literature, politics and cultural studies.

Contents

Education

He read English literature at King's College, Cambridge, and wrote a doctorate at the University of Sussex, on politics in the United Kingdom during World War II. His book, The People's War: Britain 1939-1945, was published in 1969.

Writing

He became a ubiquitous figure on the Scottish literary scene, writing essays and articles, books on Byron and Eliot, and working as editor of collections of poetry and prose. He also wrote introductions to new publications of such diverse works as Great Expectations, Walter Scott's Old Mortality, T. E. Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom, Evelyn Waugh's Sword of Honour trilogy and Boswell's The Life of Samuel Johnson.

In 1981 he published Revolutionary Empire (1981), a study of three centuries of imperial development by English speakers to the end of the 18th century. Revolving Culture: Notes from the Scottish Republic is a collection of essays on Scottish topics which expressed itself through the writings of such figures as Burns and Scott and in gestures of realpolitik such as the repression of "Jacobins" during the French Revolution. In 1984 Calder helped to set up the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh and served as its first convener. He also worked as an editor of Hugh MacDiarmid's prose.

The Myth of The Blitz (1991) argued that received ideas of the civilian population's reaction to the bombing of London still reflected wartime propaganda. Calder examined how the German bombings generated ideas and images of plucky and stoical suffering and resistance that defined post-war Britain's sense of itself; but it also showed that the "chirpy Cockney", "all pull together" stereotypes were partly propaganda which hid the reality of an inequality of suffering due to deep social divisions, and concealed unheroic stories of opportunistic looting and rape.[citation needed]

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