Dr Tasha Alden

BA MSt D.Phil (Oxon)

Dr Tasha Alden

Senior Lecturer in Contemporary British Fiction

Department of English & Creative Writing

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Natasha's main research interest is British second generation fiction about the Two World Wars, or 'postmemory fiction'. Her doctoral work examines how the desire to bear witness to their parents' experiences, and to explore the enduring effects of the wars, compels some authors to write about the conflicts. Lacking experiences of their own, they turn to the historical record; her recent research has focussed on how authors use historical source material, exploring, for example, the ways in which Ian McEwan's novel Atonement (2001) is built on many different historical sources such as novels, letters, memoirs and military histories. She argues that the ways in which the authors under discussion deployed researched historical material revealed yet a further evolution of Linda Hutcheon's historiographic metafiction, and a perhaps surprising move away from historical relativism. Her current work seeks to look beyond the use of source material, to analyse a broader spectrum of contemporary postmemory fiction revisiting the First and Second World Wars and asks why so many contemporary authors, many of them born long after 1918 and even 1945, return to those years.