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Bad Blood: Contemporary British Novels and the Cyprus Emergency

Abstract: 

The so-called Cyprus Emergency is largely overlooked during Britain’s remembrance of its twentieth-century “small wars”. In writing letters and memoirs, British soldiers and administrators of the time were defensive and bitter about a volatile and complex situation. Beginning with these views of participants, this article then focuses upon novelists’ recent interest in the dramatic potential of this late-colonial strife, which incongruously took place on a sunny island now best known to readers as a pleasure destina- tion. Five novels published between 2006 and 2014—some celebrated, others comparatively unknown—are discussed for their representation of the levels of violence and its justification by both sides, British squaddies and EOKA fighters. Engaging with academic definitions of “terrorism”, this arti- cle concludes that at least some contemporary writers are now prepared to engage fully with the moral ambiguities present in late-1950s Cyprus.

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