John Onions's English Fiction and Drama of the Great War, 1918–39 PDF

By John Onions

ISBN-10: 0312045077

ISBN-13: 9780312045074

ISBN-10: 1349206202

ISBN-13: 9781349206209

ISBN-10: 1349206229

ISBN-13: 9781349206223

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Extra resources for English Fiction and Drama of the Great War, 1918–39

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A battle', as John Keegan remarks, 'must obey the dramatic unities of time, place and action'. 19 Barbusse denies the war this element and recreates it as nightmare; but Under Fire also relates in its own fiction the social heroism of the true soldierwriter. Halfway through the novel, in the short Chapter XIII, the narrator himself becomes the centre of an incident. Barque, a typically near-bestial soldier, asks him ('you writing chap') if he will dare to write 'the big words that we use'. The narrator assents; he will 'put the big words in their place ...

Their perseverance is heroically obscure and yet made possible by some social fidelity. Community is thus of great importance and often appears as the regiment, that which 'claims the lives of all and lives for ever', as he expresses it in the sentimentalised story 'Only A Subaltern'. 22 In 'The Drums of the Fore and Aft', regimental tradition transforms recruits who enlist 'armed with imperfect knowledge, cursed with the rudiments of an imagination, hampered by the intense selfishness of the lower classes, and unsupported by any regimental associations'.

Heroic action, which in its archetypal form comprised selfless courageous conduct against greater odds, was seen to be made possible by good upbringing and decent influence. The nineteenth-century's revival of medievalism assisted the promotion of heroic idealism. This was evident not only in the ethical concerns of Ruskin and Morris, but also in the revival of the ballad form. Scott and Macaulay sanitised the ready violence of the medieval ballad with moral contexts and transformed it into an instrument of national sentiment.

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English Fiction and Drama of the Great War, 1918–39 by John Onions

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