Weedman Presents Paper, "The Last Summer of Innocence: Narrative Intrusion and National Trauma in Losey and Pinter’s The Go-Between"

Southwest/Texas Popular & American Culture Association 34th Annual Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico on February 15, 2013



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  • Christopher Weedman Christopher Weedman

The paper, by second-year Brittain Fellow Christopher Weedman, part of the "British Cinema: Crossing Borders of Culture, Time and Genre" panel, argues that The Go-Between (1971), the final collaboration between director Joseph Losey and screenwriter Harold Pinter, engages a traumatic variation of the bildungsroman motif as a means of allegorizing the decline of optimism in the British youth generation at the end of the 1960s.

Whereas the traditional bildungsroman ends with a child achieving positive psychological and social maturation, The Go-Between’s young Leo Colston is stunted irrevocably through this process. Not only does Leo’s loss of innocence recall the fates of the young protagonists in Losey’s pre-blacklist Hollywood films The Boy with Green Hair (1948) and The Big Night (1951), but also Pinter’s employment of a fragmented narrative structure (featuring two parallel narratives set during the end of the Victorian era and post-World War II austerity) suggests that the past haunts the socio-political conditions of Britain at the end of the 1960s. These three eras in British cultural history share a key commonality: they were all pivotal historical conjunctures in which there was tension about whether or not Britain should adhere to the past or move in a new direction.

Weedman has published articles on the films of Joseph Losey, roman Polanski, Jerzy Skolimowski, and Howard Hawks in journals such as Quarterly Review of Film and Video and Senses of Cinema and is currently writing a book on the film collaboration of Joseph Losey and Harold Pinter.

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conference, film, popular culture
  • Created By: Carol Senf
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  • Created On: Mar 12, 2013 - 1:16pm
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 11:13pm