Institute of English Studies in the University of London
The Ministry of Information (MOI) was established in the UK at the beginning of the Second World War. Its roles were many: to communicate information to, and maintain the morale of, the domestic population of the UK; to present Britain’s case to those in allied and neutral countries; to provide government with accurate reports of public opinion; and to operate a system of censorship. This course will explore the MOI’s involvement in the publishing of books and pamphlets; the distribution of posters and the circulation of displays, lectures and exhibitions; and the commissioning of broadcasts and films. The MOI was a nodal point within a dense network of communications which involved, among others, various government ministries, the BBC, Mass Observation, and Fleet Street. It will allow students of book history to see their subject in a much wider context: that of the history of communication. This course is based on new research by the AHRC-funded four-year project on the communication history of the MOI currently being undertaken in the IES. It will be taught in the very building occupied by the MOI during the period.