The Edinburgh Festivals: Culture and Society in Post-war Britain

Angela Bartie

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Abstract

The Edinburgh Festival is the world’s largest arts festival. It has also been the site of numerous ‘culture wars’ since it began in 1947. Key debates that took place across the western world about the place of culture in society, the practice and significance of the arts, censorship, the role of organised religion, and meanings of morality were all reflected in contest over culture in the Festival City.
The Edinburgh International Festival of Music and Drama sought to use culture to bolster European civilisation, for which it was considered for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952. The Church saw culture as a ‘weapon of enlightenment’, the labour movement as a ‘weapon in the struggle’, and the new generation of artistic entrepreneurs who came to the fore in the 1960s as a means of challenge and provocation, resulting in high profile controversies like the nudity trial of 1963 and the furore over a play about bestiality in 1967.
These ideas - conservative and liberal, elite and diverse, traditional and avant-garde – all clashed every August in Edinburgh, making the Festival City an effective lens for exploring major changes in culture and society in post-war Britain. This book explores the ‘culture wars’ of 1945-1970 and is the first major study of the origins and development of this leading annual arts extravaganza.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEdinburgh
PublisherEdinburgh University Press
Number of pages240
ISBN (Print)9780748670307
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2013

Keywords

  • Edinburgh festival
  • post war Britain
  • Scotland
  • culture
  • music
  • drama

Impacts

Cultural, Creative and Economic Benefits of the Edinburgh World Writers' Conference

Angela Bartie (Participant)

Impact: Impact - for External PortalCulture and creativity, Economic and commerce

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Cite this

Bartie, A. (2013). The Edinburgh Festivals: Culture and Society in Post-war Britain. Edinburgh University Press.