• Reading Brexit through BrexLit: fictional responses to political crisis
  • Alessio, Sara <1990>


  • L-LIN/10 Letteratura inglese


  • Reading Brexit through BrexLit is a dissertation centred on the 2016 referendum on British exit from the European Union and on Brexit Literature (‘BrexLit’). The thesis focuses on the relation between Englishness and the Leave vote, analysing themes and images at the core of the Brexit campaign in parallel with selected literary works published both before and after the political outcome, and on the impact of the referendum on literature itself. After an introduction that serves as a framework, the work is divided into three different sections. The first one is dedicated to an analysis of Brexit from a political point of view, outlining global tendencies and British peculiarities that influenced the vote and explaining Brexit as an English (more than British) phenomenon. The second section moves from the political aspects of the study to the literary ones, showing that Brexit themes are to be found in contemporary fictions published before the referendum and focusing on two novels that are particularly concerned both with the structures of feeling at the core of the campaign and with English identity: Speak for England (2005) by James Hawes and The White Family (2002) by Maggie Gee. The third and last section introduces the reader to Brexit Literature (‘BrexLit), which is a new sub-genre that has flourished from the referendum onwards. The section looks at the main characteristics of the sub-genre, distinguishing between two main categories of BrexLit fictions: political and intimate novels. This sections ends with the close reading of two BrexLit novels published in 2018, Perfidious Albion by Sam Byers and Middle England by Jonathan Coe, which are the most representative in relation to the two categories mentioned above and in the way they engage, as the novels of the previous section, with the structures of feeling exploited in Brexit discourse.


  • 2020-04-03


  • Doctoral Thesis
  • PeerReviewed


  • application/pdf



Alessio, Sara (2020) Reading Brexit through BrexLit: fictional responses to political crisis, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Studi letterari e culturali , 32 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/9427.