British culture since 1945 Part IV

Seminar Paper, 2004

45 Pages, Grade: sehr gut


Representations, Realia, Examples 1970-97 and 1997 -2000 (Worksheet4)

1) The Female Eunuch, Germaine Greer (1970)

Germaine Greer was born in 1939 in Melbourne, but spent most of her life in England. She is a writer, broadcaster and professor of English and comparative studies.

The main themes of her literary activity are art and literature, abortion and infertility and she was one of the most important supporters of the women’s movement and was an engaged representative of feminism. With “The Female Eunuch” “she broke taboos and changed the lives of a whole generation of women…”1.

Her book is a statement against establishment and she fights the stereotypical ideal of the “Feminine”. Besides this she writes about men’s hatred of women and how man “waylays women for the sake of finding sexual release” p. 268. Germaine Greer shocked the public by describing her experiences of lesbian sex, rape, abortion, infertility, failed marriage and menopause. She writes about marriage “Experience is too costly a teacher: we cannot all marry in order to investigate the situation. The older sisters must teach us what they found out”2

And about single women she writes “They dawdle and dream in their dead- end jobs, overtly miserable, because they are publicly considered to be.”3

2) Virago4

Virago Press is a feminist publishing company and was founded in the year 1973 to publish “women’s literature”. It became the largest women’s imprint in the world. Virago usually publishes in paperback. They published the major feminist thinkers like Kate Millett, Adrienne Rich, Angela Carter, Juliet Mitchell,…In 1993 they published about 100 books a year.5

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3) Spare Rib 6 on adverts by the Austrian National Tourist Office in London Spare Rib was a magazine first published in 1972 with the aim to record the situation of women, their struggles in a male-dominated society ( for example the claim for equal pay, for shared housework, for the right of abortion and birth control) and their battle for independence. It was a very important organ for Women’s Liberation. Its issues were typical for the feminist movement of the 70s. They analysed advertisements to find out sexist allusions in them. An advert by the Austrian National Tourist Office in London was banned by the ASA (the Advertising Standards Authority) because they were making publicity for hiking in Austria by employing sexist means.7

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4) Cosmopolitan 8 (also called Cosmo)

It’s a magazine published monthly. It was founded in 1886 and thought to be a magazine for the whole family.

It reaches readers all over the world and there are versions in different languages (e.g. Spanish, French, Swedish…).

In the 1960s it became a women’s magazine.9

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5) Steptoe and Son 10 (BBC) was written by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson It’s a very popular situation comedy first transmitted in 1962. Albert Steptoe is a rag-and-bone man and veteran of the war. The widower lives with his son, Harold, in a love-hate relationship. They both continue the business, but Harold does most of the work. Albert has put up with his low social status, whereas his son dreams of a better life. Therefore Harold wants to go off and make his own life. But his father prevents him from doing it. The shows went on until about 1974. BBC transmitted 8 series with 57 episodes.

This television classic was the first dealing with a low class background and it treated the generation gap in a very humorous way.11

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6) Till Death Us Do Part12 (BBC) created by Johnny Speight and first broadcast in the mid 1960s on BBC 1.

Like Steptoe and Son this comedy employed a new unexplored style, the situation comedy (sitcom). There was bad language, strong swear words, street-slang scarcely ever broadcasted before on TV. Although the emissions were lightweight, they gave the viewers something to think about. Again the action is situated in the working-class environment. Till Death Us Do Part is one of the first British shows that takes an interest in race themes. There is Alf Garnett a working class East Ender and his wife Else who live with their daughter Rita. Alf has numerous arguments with his long-haired, more liberally thinking son-in- law about women or coloured people or about Edward Heath, who took Britain into the Common Market. Till Death Us Do Part is a biting parody of British society and politics at that time. Alf is a racist and expresses extreme views on black people. At that time many people in England were worried by the numerous immigrants who were entering their country that’s why the episodes went down well with many viewers.13

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7 ) Upstairs, Downstairs 14 (Das Haus am Eaton Place 15)

The film (in German version called Das Haus am Eaton Place) describes the lives of the aristocratic Bellamy family and the lives of their servants. The upper- class family - including Lord Richard Bellamy, his first wife Lady Marjorie, who dies on the Titanic, their two children, James and Elizabeth, Richard’s second wife Virginia, James’ wife Hazel, who dies of flu - lives in a five-storey townhouse at Eaton Place, Belgravia, in London. Their staff lodges downstairs.

The 68 episodes show life in Edwardian England from 1904 to 1930. The film won a lot of awards. It was one of the first series that was not based on a written work, but purely created for TV.16

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8) 1970s Architecture

In the 1970s architects looked for a modernism that could be publicly accepted.

One of the most important representatives of this “thinking” is Sir Ove Arup, who was born in Newscastle in 1895.17 He was a structural engineer who worked with many modern architects worldwide and founded the Arup Association. Ove Arup was convinced that architecture should be practical and design should fulfil social and public needs. For Sir Ove Arup (1895- 1988), who was knighted in 1971, form and function are inseparable. “Arup successfully broke the narrow confines of architecture as a single profession by creating a core organization of several specialities.”18

Ove Arup was asscociated with famous buildings such as the Sydney Opera House. In Britain Ove Arup and Partners built the London Barbican and Kingsgate Bridge.

The bridge made of reinforced concrete “was ingeniously constructed in two halves on either bank, which were then swung into position and locked together.”19

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Another famous architect was Norman Foster.20 He was born in Manchester in 1935. He too used increasingly technological innovations and forms. He employed prefabricated units and joined them together. This plug-in architecture used parts of the buildings which were preconstructed.21

He designed the glass roof of the German parliament which is „an incredible mix of aesthetic beauty combined with 21st century functionality.“22

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Foster’s East Anglia

Norman Foster worked together with Richard Rogers 23 in the “Team 4”.

Richard Rogers was born in Florence but he attended the Association School in London. He was one of the founders of the so-called high-tech style because his architecture reflects a preoccupation with technology. He built Fred Olsen’s harbour station at the Docks of London24 and the Headquarters of Willis Faber&Dumas in Ipswich where a large escalator leads up through the building to a roof top staff restaurant with a garden on the roof. “The substructure consists of individual pile caps which are supported on large diameter bored piles.”25

The building has a curved façade consisting of frameless glass components which are joined together. Other commissions in Britain were the new galleries for the Royal Academy, a passenger terminal under an umbrella roof at Stansted Airport and a grand pedestrianisation scheme to connect Parliament Square with Trafalgar Square.

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Richard Rogers

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Together with Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers participated in a competition to design a cultural centre in Paris. Both became the designers of the Pompidou Center in Paris.

In big cities Richard Rogers attempts to solve social and ecological problems by achieving a “mix of live - work - leisure …knitted together with large green public spaces.”26

In the mid 70s there followed a period of disillusionment because of the economic crash at the end of 1973.

Blocks of apartments were constructed which looked like boxes. There was no harmony of shapes and materials.

Many buildings were renovated or barns and warehouses were transformed into houses.

For the first time architects tried to create a certain harmony between their buildings and the environment. The height, shape and surface had to fit into the environment.

Old historic buildings were listed and protected. They could no longer be demolished, alternated or extended. So the London landmark of Covent Garden was given protection and therefore restored instead of being demolished and then rebuilt.

In the late 70s postmodern architecture gave British architects a new direction.

The Loyd’s Building is the British postmodern masterpiece. It was built by Richard Rogers who was talented in design.

There was no longer the sense of worthiness Office blocks appeared for finance industry and shopping malls.

Another well-known project of Richard Rogers was the Lloyd’s Building in the heart of the City of London27 and the Millenium Dome.28 He believes that “a building should appear to be assembled from a “kit of parts””29. “The structural elements re highly visible and brightly painted”30. Other works are the Reuters and Channel 4 buildings in London, the EuropeanCourt of Human Rights in Straßbourg and the Millennium Dome in London.

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Lloyd’s Building

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Millennium Dome

9) Punks

The Punks are a movement which developed among young people in Great Britain in the 1970s. They objected to the values of a capitalist society whose main aim was money-making. They expressed this by dressing in an unusual way and above all by their exuberate hairstyle.



2 Greer, Germaine: The Female Eunuch. McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York, 1970, p. 351

3 ibid, p. 299 and Cf. ibid, p. 263-270

4 picture:

5 Cf.

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7 Cf.; Cf. ; Cf. Dictionary of English Language and Culture. Longman Group UK, Essex, 1992, p. 1272 and Cf.

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9 Cf. and Cf. Dictionary of English Language and Culture, p. 287

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11 Cf. and Cf.

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13 Cf. ; Cf. and Cf.

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16 Cf. and Cf.

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19 Cf. and Cf.

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British culture since 1945 Part IV
University of Innsbruck  (Translationswissenschaften)
sehr gut
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The Female Eunuch;, Germaine Greer;, British Culture;, 1945;, Fifties;, Sixties;, Seventies;, Eighties;, Nineties;, Virago;, Virago Press;, Kate Millett;, Adrienne Rich;, Angela Carter;, Juliet Mitchell;, Süare Rib;, Austrian National Toruist Office;, ASA;, Cosmopolitan;, Cosmo;, Steptoe and Son;, BBC;, Ray Galton;, Alan Simpson;, Till Death Us Do Part;, Johnny Speight;, Upstairs, Downstairs;, Das Haus am Eaton Place;, Architecture;, Si Ove Arup;, Norman Foster;, East Anglia;, Richard Rogers;, Docklands;, Renzo Piano;, LLoyd Building;, Millennium Dome;, Punks;, A clockwork orange;, Kubrick;, Anthony Burgess;, Malcom McDowell;, The Romans in Britain;, Howard Brenton;, Thatcher;, Tony Harrison;, poem "V";, Chariots of Fire;, Hugh Hudson;, Streets of London;, Ralph McTell;, Brideshead Revisited;, Evelyn Waugh;, My Beautiful Laundrette;, Hanif Kureishi;, Stephen Frears;, Letter to Brezhnev;, Chris Bernhard;, The Ploughman's Lunch;, Richard Eyre;, Ian McEwan;, Educatin Rita;, Willy Russel;
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MMag. Dr. Sabine Picout (Author), 2004, British culture since 1945 Part IV , Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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