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Upward, Edward

class communist schoolteacher mortmere

(British, 1903– )

Born in Romford and educated at Cambridge, Upward was a schoolteacher from 1928 to 1962 and a member of the Communist Party from 1928 to 1962. Begin with Journey to the Border (1938), in which a young tutor's stifling middle-class surroundings drive him to hallucinatory breakdown. He reconstructs his identity by committing himself to socialist ideals. The political dimension is also prominent in The Spiral Ascent (1977), a trilogy consisting of In the Thirties (1962), The Rotten Elements (1969), and No Home But the Struggle (1977). The novels follow the career of schoolteacher Alan Sebrill, who sacrifices his talent as a poet to the Communist cause but returns to writing after becoming disillusioned with politics. The Mortmere Stories (1994) collects the bizarre satires on English middle-class life in the village of Mortmere written by Upward and his friend Christopher Isherwood.

George Orwell, John Berger  DH

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