British literary responses to the Suez crisis

Andrew Hammond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


By the 1950s, the Suez Canal was crucial for Britain's trade in the Middle East, for its communication with overseas dependencies and for its containment of Soviet influence in Africa. The sudden nationalisation of the canal in July 1956 by Gamal Abdul Nasser, and the obstruction of British military intercession by the United States, struck a blow to the prestige of the nation that resonated in the work of British novelists for decades to come. This essay examines the discursive responses to the Suez Crisis in such texts as John Fowles'Daniel Martin(1977), Lawrence Durrell'sThe Alexandria Quartet(1957-60) and Olivia Manning'sThe Levant Trilogy(1977-80), analysing its links to orientalism, anti-Americanism, Cold War hostilities and fears about British national decline.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-72
Number of pages20
JournalLiterature & History
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2013


  • Suez Crisis
  • Egypt
  • British fiction
  • imperialism
  • Cold War


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