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This elective explores texts which relate to the period from the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki up to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the dismantling of the Berlin Wall. A climate of Cold War anxiety permeates these texts in a number of ways. The texts may emerge from, respond to, critique, and shape our understanding of ways of thinking during this period. Many of these texts have a common focus on the personal and political ramifications of this era. They are often characterised by an intensified questioning of humanity and human beliefs and values. Experimentation with ideas and form may reflect or challenge ways of thinking during this period

-English Stage 6 Prescriptions: Area of Study
Electives and Texts 2009-2012

In studying the elective After the Bomb, we explore film and literature during the period 1945-1989; the focus is on how nuclear tensions and Cold War anxieties were reflected in texts during this period.

This isn’t a history elective, but it does help if you have a reasonably informed concept of Hiroshima and the subsequent Cold War. You should research events such as the Berlin airlift, The Korean war, conflict in Vietnam, the Cuban missile crisis, the doctrine of MAD and nuclear proliferation, the Kennedy assassinations and the Iron Curtain. This research will help you identify the scientific, religious, philosophical and economic paradigms that characterised the Cold War, and also the personal and political ramifications (costs and consequences) of these ways of thinking.

Hiroshima - John Hersey

               A view of Hiroshima, in 1945, from a hill which rises in the eastern part of the city.

                  Credit Photograph by Shunkichi KIKUCHI/MAGNUM

To mark seventy years since the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima the John Hersey's report on the dropping and aftermath of the bomb, originally published in 1946, has been made available online.

Reading List

For titles not available through the RSC Library search your local library's catalogue using the links in the Search other Libraries box.

What would you do if a nuclear bomb was dropped?

Ted Hughs on "The Crow"

Sylvia Plath reads Lady Lazarus

Bob Dylan _ Hard Rain