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The Supermarine Spitfire: Palimpsest, Performance, and Myth

Pratley, Tony (2017) The Supermarine Spitfire: Palimpsest, Performance, and Myth. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (KAR id:66016)

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Abstract

Modern scholarship understands myth to be neither fact nor fiction, only what is believed, and what is believed is subject to change. In order for the British war made myths of 1940 to prove sustainable post-war, they had to prove adaptable; they had to have the capability to evolve. Fortunately it is in the nature of myth to be both synchronic, transcending time, and diachronic, evolving through time. This study is an enquiry into how the Spitfire in performance has been one agent of the evolution of the war-made myth. Beginning in the 1950s, a new generation of adolescent boys wanted to experience the Battle of Britain as an imaginary playground. The Spitfire helped them to achieve this. By the late 1980s, those adolescent boys had grown up and had families of their own. A new generation wanted to know what the Battle of Britain had to say about nationality and collective identity. The Spitfire answered these questions too. It was able to answer these questions because almost from the day of its public debut, it has had the chameleon like facility of a palimpsest. The Spitfire has made an important contribution to the evolution of the war-made myth of the Battle of Britain, an evolution that has guaranteed the myth's cultural relevance post-war.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Goebel, Stefan
Thesis advisor: Schmidt, Ulf
Uncontrolled keywords: Spitfire, Cultural History, Palimpsest, Performance, Myth
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of History
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 13 Feb 2018 13:10 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 13:53 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/66016 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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