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Week 5

The Great War and the Nation

I. Do we see the end of the jingo, patriotic nation in the literature and culture of the Great War?
II. Did the First World War affect the relationship between the nation and gender in Britain?
III. What do interwar efforts to memorialise the Great War reveal about the unity of the nation?
IV. Why has the First World War had such a prominent and persistent place within national memory in Britain?

• Many commentators have seen the trauma of the industrialised Great War of 1914-18 as a fundamental fault-line in the mental and cultural life of the nation. The classic account is Paul Fussell, The Great War and Modern Memory (1977). See also, Samuel Hynes, A War Imagined: The Great War and English Culture (1991); Ted Bogacz, '"A Tyranny of Words" Language, Poetry and Anti-modernism in England in the First World War', Journal of Modern History, 58 (1986), pp. 643-68 Though for an alternative view of war’s impact on national identity: J. Winter, ‘British National Identity and the First World War’, in S. Green & C. Whiting (eds.), The Boundaries of the State in Modern Britain; Adrian Gregory, The Last Great War (2008); Jay Winter, ‘Popular Culture in Wartime Britain’, in A. Roshwald & R. Stites (eds.), European Culture in the Great War (1999); Rosa Bracco, Merchants of Hope: British Middlebrow Writers and the First World War (1993); Alisa Miller, ‘Rupert Brooke and the Growth of Commercial Patriotism in Great Britain, 1914-18’, Twentieth Century British History, 21 (2010), 141-62; Brian Bond, The Unquiet Western Front (2002); J. Winter, Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History (1995). See also the reading on patriotism for the seminar in week 3.
• On the war, gender and post-war national identity: Alison Light, Forever England; and for more ideas on the War’s legacy for the relationship between sex and gender: S. Kingsley Kent, 'The Politics of Sexual Difference: World War I and the Demise of Sexual Difference: World War I and the Demise of British Feminism', Journal of British Studies, 27 (1988), pp. 232-53; S. Kingsley Kent, Making Peace: The Reconstruction of Gender in Interwar Britain (1994); Judy Giles, Women, Identity, and Private Life, 1900-1950 (1985); Judy Giles, The Parlour and the Suburb: Domestic Identities, Class, Femininity and Modernity (2004); Nicoletta Gullace, The Blood of Our Sons: Men, Women, and the Re-Negotiation of British Citizenship during the Great War (2002); N. Gullace, 'White Feathers and Wounded Men: Female Patriotism and the Great War', Journal of British Studies, 36 (1987); P. Ward, ‘“Women of Britain say Go”: Women’s Patriotism in the First World War’, 20th Century British History, 12 (2001), 23-45; Ilana R. Bet-El, 'Men and Soldiers: British Conscripts, Concepts of Masculinity and the Great War', in Billie Melman (ed.), Borderlines: Genders and Identities in War and Peace, 1870-1930 (1998), pp. 73-94; Joanna Bourke, Dismembering the Male: Men's Bodies, Britain and the Great War (1996); Graham Dawson, Soldier Heroes: British Adventure, Empire and the Imagining of Masculinity (1994); J. Watson, Fighting Different Wars: Experience, Memory and the First World War (2004); S. Gilbert, 'Soldier's Heart: Literary Men, Literary Women and the Great War', in M. Higonnet et al (eds.), Behind the Lines: Gender and the Two World Wars (1987), pp. 197-226; S. Ouditt, Fighting Forces, Writing Women: Identity and Ideology in the First World War (1994); Lucy Noakes, War and the British: Gender, Memory and National Identity (1998); S. Pedersen, ‘Gender, Welfare and Citizenship in Britain during the Great War’, American Historical Review, 95 (1990), 983-1006; Michael Roper, ‘Between Manliness and Masculinity: The “War Generation” and the Psychology of Fear in Britain, 1914-1950’, Journal of British Studies, 44 (2005), 343-62; J. Winter, ‘Shell-Shock and the Cultural History of the Great War’, Journal of Contemporary History, 35 (2000).
• The War also left its mark on the nation through the practices of memorialisation that emerged in the next decades: Adrian Gregory, The Silence of Memory: Armistice Day, 1919-1946 (1994); A. King, Memorials of the Great War in Britain: The Symbolism and Politics of Remembrance (1998); C. Moriarty, ‘The Material Culture of Great War Remembrance’, Journal of Contemporary History, 34 (1999); Dan Todman, The Great War: Myth and Memory (2005); J. Winter, ‘Britain’s ‘Lost Generation’ of the First World War’, Population Studies, 31 (1977), 449-66; A. King, Memorials of the Great War in Britain: The Symbolism and Politics of Remembrance (1998); J. Bartlett & K.M. Ellis, 'Remembering the Dead in Northrop: First World War Memorials in a Welsh Parish', Journal of Contemporary History, 34 (1999); Catherine Moriarty, 'Private Grief and Public Remembrance: British First World War Memorials' in M. Evans & K. Lunn (eds.), War and Memory in the Twentieth Century (1997), pp. 125-42; K. Inglis, ‘The Homecoming: The War Memorial Movement in Cambridge, England’, Journal of Contemporary History, 27 (1992), pp. 583-605; J. Bartlett & K.M. Ellis, ‘Remembering the Dead in Northrop: First World War Memorials in a Welsh Parish’, Journal of Contemporary History, 34 (1999), pp. 231-42.
• On the persistence of the Great War in national memory: Geoff Dyer, The Missing of the Somme; Dan Todman, The Great War, Myth and Memory (2005); Jay Winter (ed.), War and Remembrance in the Twentieth Century (1999); Gary Sheffield, Forgotten Victory: The First World War: Myths and Realities (2001).