Despite the ambitions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948, the establishment of global justice and freedom made little progress over the following four decades. One of the results was a significant strand of Cold War literature that documented the brutalising effects of industrialisation, totalitarianism and superpower interventionism and that advocated for those who, still marginalised by class, gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity, felt excluded from the UDHR's conception of a common humanity. Taking up many of these themes, this essay analyses human rights literature from around the world, including examples of autobiographical testimony, political fiction, postcolonial poetry, dystopian drama and postmodernist fiction.
This material has been published in The Cambridge Companion to Human Rights and Literature edited by Crystal Parikh http://doi.org/10.1017/9781108698511. This version is free to view and download for private research and study only. Not for re-distribution or re-use. © Cambridge University Press.