The Great War and Modern Memory

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Overview


Winner of both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award and named by the Modern Library one of the twentieth century's 100 Best Non-Fiction Books, Paul Fussell's The Great War and Modern Memory was universally acclaimed on publication in 1970. Today, Fussell's landmark study remains as original and gripping as ever: a literate, literary, and unapologetic account of the Great War, the war that changed a generation, ushered in the modern era, and ...
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Overview


Winner of both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award and named by the Modern Library one of the twentieth century's 100 Best Non-Fiction Books, Paul Fussell's The Great War and Modern Memory was universally acclaimed on publication in 1970. Today, Fussell's landmark study remains as original and gripping as ever: a literate, literary, and unapologetic account of the Great War, the war that changed a generation, ushered in the modern era, and revolutionized how we see the world.

This brilliant work illuminates the trauma and tragedy of modern warfare in fresh, revelatory ways. Exploring the work of Siegfried Sassoon, Robert Graves, Edmund Blunden, David Jones, Isaac Rosenberg, and Wilfred Owen, Fussell supplies contexts, both actual and literary, for those writers who--with conspicuous imaginative and artistic meaning--most effectively memorialized World War I as an historical experience. Dispensing with literary theory and elevated rhetoric, Fussell grounds literary texts in the mud and trenches of World War I and shows how these poems, diaries, novels, and letters reflected the massive changes--in every area, including language itself--brought about by the cataclysm of the Great War. For generations of readers, this work has represented and embodied a model of accessible scholarship, huge ambition, hard-minded research, and haunting detail.

Restored and updated, this new edition includes an introduction by historian Jay Winter that takes into account the legacy and literary career of Paul Fussell, who died in May 2012.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"One of the best nonfiction works I've ever read. I'm a huge fan of virtually everything Fussell has ever done, but this unique book, which uses literature and social history to examine World War I, may be his best. Unflinching."--James Gray, The Week

"Literary and historical materials, in themselves not unfamiliar, are brought together in a probing, sympathetic, and finally illuminating fashion. It is difficult to think of a scholarly work in recent years that has more deeply engaged the reader at both the intellectual and emotional level." --The New Republic

"Skillful, compassionate.... An important contribution to our understanding of how we came to make World War I part of our minds." --Frank Kermode, The New York Times Book Review

"A learned book that is also bright and sensitive." --The New Yorker

"An original and brilliant piece of cultural history and one of the most deeply moving books I have read in a long time." --Lionel Trilling

"Paul Fussell's The Great War and Modern Memory introduced an entirely new and creative way of writing both about war and the literature it generates. It has been a profound influence on historians and literary critics alike." --John Kegan

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199971954
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 6/12/2013
  • Edition description: New
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 175,907
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Fussell was an American cultural and literary historian and critic. He is the author of over 20 works and winner of the National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
A Satire of Circumstance
The Troglodyte World
Adversary Proceedings
Myth, Ritual, and Romance
Oh What a Literary War
Theater of War
Arcadian Recourses
Soldier Boys
Persistence and Memory
Afterword

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2001

    The Hideous 20th Century

    Literary critic Paul Fussell located our century's literary and martial birth in the appalling British trenches of World War I in his insightful and thoroughly documented book, 'The Great War and Modern Memory.' He covers in detail the memoirs of Siegfried Sassoon, Edmund Blunden, Robert Graves (of I, Claudius fame) and the poetry of Wilfred Owen, along with many others. We return to 1914, when there was no radio, no TV, no movies to speak of, and when the populace had implicit faith in their press, their King and 'progress.' The central irony of this book was that the population rushed to support the war in order to support these 19th century ideals, ideals which would be shattered in the war that gave birth to the twentieth century. Fussell documents how World War I gave us the standardized form, the wristwatch, daylight savings time, civilian censorship and bureaucratic euphemism--and for the first time, despair that technology was driving civilization into perpetual war. 'The Great War and Modern Memory' is probably one of the most significant academic works of the late 20th Century. Whether you agree with Fussell or not, you're bound to learn a lot--fortunately, his writing style is eminently comfortable.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 18, 2011

    A Typographical Mess of One of my Favorites

    Any one interested in the history of the First World War should read this book. It stands alone. I am just complaining of the numerous typographical errors in this edition. Barnes and Noble charges good money for a clearly digitized version of a very scholarly work.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    More Literature than History

    This book is a discussion of literature during the First World War. It lacks the research of a true historical text. It is more a book about poetry than a book of great historical importance. Fussell fails to explain many of his literary references. Unless you are someone with a vast content knowledge of World War One British literature you will be lost in places of this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

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    Posted July 17, 2012

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    Posted October 13, 2008

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    Posted January 2, 2009

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    Posted December 6, 2008

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