A War Imagined: The First World War and English Culture

A War Imagined: The First World War and English Culture

by Samuel Hynes
     
 

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Between the opulent Edwardian years and the 1920s the First World War opens like a gap in time. England after the war was a different place; the arts were different; history was different; sex, society, class were all different.

Samuel Hynes examines the process of that transformation. He explores a vast cultural mosaic comprising novels and poetry,

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Overview

Between the opulent Edwardian years and the 1920s the First World War opens like a gap in time. England after the war was a different place; the arts were different; history was different; sex, society, class were all different.

Samuel Hynes examines the process of that transformation. He explores a vast cultural mosaic comprising novels and poetry, music and theatre, journalism, paintings, films, parliamentary debates, public monuments, sartorial fashions, personal diaries and letters.

Told in rich detail, this penetrating account shatters much of the received wisdom about the First World War. It shows how English culture adapted itself to the needs of killing, how our stereotypes of the war gradually took shape and how the nations thought and imagination were profoundly and irretrievably changed.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
According to Hynes ( The Auden Generation ), WW I engendered a sense of idealism betrayed, turned high-mindedness into cynicism and gave rise to resentment of politicians as the conviction emerged that the war was meaningless, fought for no good cause. Calling this cluster of attitudes the ``Myth of the War,'' Hynes shows how these received views, filtered through the '30s generation of Auden, Orwell, Waugh and Greene, became ``the truth about war.'' In this splendid study, the Princeton professor of literature draws on novels, poems, films, plays, paintings, music and diaries to show how WW I fostered radical discontinuity with the past, an upsurge in images of violence and cruelty, and the alienation of a ``lost generation''; and intensified pacificist and women's rights activism. Photos. (June)
Library Journal
This is an interesting, moving excursion in sociopolitical history. In some senses, Hynes (literature, Princeton), who has published widely on literary subjects (e.g., The Auden Generation: Literature and Politics in England in the 1930s , LJ 2/15/77), does for the Great War what Robert Graves and Alan Hodge do for the interwar period in The Long Week-End (1941). He does a better job of capturing the mood and changing nature of English culture, however, and that is saying a great deal. As this book makes manifest, World War I was a social watershed which saw England move from one way of life and values to another. Hynes makes especially good use of sources, drawing not only on standard texts and memoirs but delving into the revealing insights offered by films, music, art, etc. Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the evolution of 20th-century British society.-- James A. Casada, Winthrop Coll., Rock Hill, S.C.
Booknews
This new volume joins two of Hynes' earlier works--The Edwardian turn of mind and The Auden generation--to complete a sweeping study of the relationship of literature and the arts to the events of English history in the first four decades of the 20th century. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781446467923
Publisher:
Random House Adult Trade Publishing Group
Publication date:
06/30/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
528
File size:
2 MB

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