Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day examines the appeasement politics pursued by Britain in the 1930s and the popular support for the German and Italian fascists amongst the aristocracy. It does so with the benefit of a hindsight denied to Nancy Mitford and P. G. Wodehouse, who dealt with these trends in their fiction at a time much closer to the events they describe. Ishiguro uses his temporal advantage to present a subtle analysis of how appeasement flourished not just because of the active involvement of key players in large country houses, such as Lord Darlington, but also because of the passive acquiescence of the general populace, such as Stevens. Ishiguro’s novel can also be read as a critique of mythologies about Englishness and how they operated in Thatcher’s Britain of the 1980s.
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