An awkward age: representing childhood in 1950s Britain

The 1950s are often represented as a period of relative stability. However, this essay argues that there were underlying tensions during the period that often came to focus on the idea of childhood. It looks at four texts that all appeared during a five-year period in the mid-1950s: Alexander MacKendrick’s film Mandy; L.P. Hartley’s novel The Go-Between, later filmed by Joseph Losey; William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies, filmed by Peter Brook; and John Wyndham’s novel The Midwich Cuckoos, filmed as Village of the Damned.

You can download the whole essay by clicking here, or if you want to read the illustrated version, click on the subheadings below to read the different sections:

  1. Introduction; Mandy (1952)
  2. The Go-Between (1953) and adaptations
  3. Lord of the Flies (1954) and the film version
  4. The Midwich Cuckoos (1957) and Village of the Damned (1960); conclusion
  5. Sources and references