Beyond Containment: The Left-Wing Movement in Literature, 1945-1989

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter


Although still understudied in scholarship, the global spread of left-wing writing during the Cold War is central to any understanding of the period’s literature. Building on Michael Denning’s notion of a ‘novelists’ international’, this chapter examines the remarkable output of ‘committed’ literature worldwide. While the work could vary significantly between national and regional contexts, authors revealed a set of common concerns, including capitalist exploitation, the shortcomings of social democracy, the betrayal of revolutionary principles and the continuation of racial, ethnic and sexual inequality in countries struggling under ‘actually existing socialism’. Taking issue with Western propagandists’ dismissal of left-wing literature, the chapter argues that its authors offered some of the most dynamic and insightful analyses of Cold War history.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of Cold War Literature
EditorsAndrew Hammond
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020



  • Cold War
  • left-wing writing
  • capitalism
  • communism
  • social democracy

Cite this

Hammond, A. (Accepted/In press). Beyond Containment: The Left-Wing Movement in Literature, 1945-1989. In A. Hammond (Ed.), The Palgrave Handbook of Cold War Literature Palgrave Macmillan.