The First World War has been mythologized since 1918, and many paradigmatic views of it - that it was pointless, that brave soldiers were needlessly sacrificed - are deeply embedded in the British consciousness. More than in any other country, these collective British memories were influenced by the experiences and the work of writers, painters and musicians.
This book revisits the British experience of the War through the eyes and ears of a diverse group of carefully selected novelists, poets, composers and painters. It examines how they reacted to and portrayed their experiences in the trenches on the Western Front, in distant theatres of war and on the home front, in words, pictures and music that would have a profound influence on subsequent British perceptions of the war.
Rupert Brooke, Vera Brittain, Christopher Nevinson, Paul Nash, Edward Elgar and T. E. Lawrence are amongst the figures discussed in this original exploration of the First World War and British collective memory. The book includes illustrations, maps and a companion website to aid further study and research.
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About the Author
Toby Thacker is Lecturer in Modern European History at Cardiff University, UK.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations and Maps \ Introduction \ 1. 'And grant us thy peace': Introducing the artists, and the threat of war \ 2. 'We are on the eve of horrible things': The British declaration of war \ 3. 'We have come into our heritage': The British Expeditionary Force in Flanders, August-December 1914 \ 4. 'Not for a moment do our spirits flag': The Western Front in 1915 \ 5. 'We are not making much progress': Gallipoli, Salonika, and Palestine \ 6. 'Gigantic, tenacious, grim, futile and bloody': the Somme \ 7. 'A life without horizon or hope': Passchendaele \ 8. 'With our backs to the wall': the crisis of 1918 \ 9. 'This old war is closing': The Hundred Days \ 10. 'Those disillusioned years': the early post-war period \ 11. 'The unseen face': Redemption and Resurrection \ 12. 'Their Name Liveth for Evermore': The construction of memory \ Notes \ Bibliography and sources \ Index