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Jameson, Storm

Entry updated 12 February 2024. Tagged: Author.

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(1891-1986) UK author, the first woman to gain a BA from Leeds University (a first class degree, in 1912), known mainly for family-chronicle novels such as those assembled as The Triumph of Time (omni 1932). Her cultural and literary studies illuminate the 1920s – a 1928 address, later published as The Georgian Novel and Mr Robinson (1929 chap), which was written as a counterblast to Virginia Woolf's Mr Bennett and Mrs Brown (1924 chap), instances not only expected figures like Aldous Huxley and James Joyce, but also Stella Benson, Hope Mirrlees and T F Powys [for the last two writers and Benson's fantasy, see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below]. The Writer's Situation and Other Essays (coll 1950) describes the dilemmas facing writers in a century transformed by war.

Jameson's sf novels derive from this long-expressed interest in the Politics of change, as well as personal encounters with 1930s British fascists, and extrapolate extremist political "solutions" into the Near Future. In the Second Year (1936) projects a fascist UK under the almost hypnotic control of the new prime minister, Frank "Hillier" (see Hitler Wins), a typical well-born British Fascist whose gift of oratory inspires his "National Volunteers" to reshape the land and its culture (Virginia Woolf is sent to a labour camp). In Then We Shall Hear Singing: A Fantasy in C Major (1942) a victorious though unnamed German Reich dominates a similarly unnamed Protectorate (again see Hitler Wins), attempting to stamp out resistance through medical experiments designed to impose a state of Amnesia upon the subject peoples. Set after an off-stage atomic Holocaust triggered by a new conflict between Britain and Germany after the end of World War Two, The Moment of Truth (1949) focuses on a group awaiting the last plane out of conquered Britain, their destination being America.

Only in The World Ends (1937) as by William Lamb does Jameson permit herself some elegiac though markedly ambivalent tranquillity, as allowed by the more expansive Scientific Romance framework used here: in this novel the world ends quietly (but thoroughly) inundated, and in its closing pages a Last Man tonality begins to dominate, as the ageing protagonist contemplates the coupling of the only survivors of breeding age, who are brother and sister (see Adam and Eve), and whose mountain farm in Yorkshire has become a tiny Island of refuge in the drowned world. (Jameson's own parents were step-siblings.) [JC]

Margaret Ethel Storm Jameson

born Whitby, Yorkshire: 8 January 1891

died Cambridge, Cambridgeshire: 30 September 1986



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