Britain is an island, and this is an account by a literary historian - the first to be attempted - of its literature since the end of the Second World War in 1945. It sees the literature of this island as a surprisingly self-sufficient art, subject to foreign influences but rarely dependent on them; and in its theatre and fiction, a story of international success. It considers the New Novel of the 1950s with Kingsley Amis, Iris Murdoch and others, the literature of Christian revival with Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, the new theatre of Osborne, Pinter and Stoppard, the poetry of Philip Larkin; and its emphasis throughout is on the argumentative issues that they raise and struggle to answer. This is the story of a nation reflected in its literature since it emerged in victory at the end of Hitler's war.