Course module - The Great War: Culture, History, Theory
Code : ENGL30932 Credit rating: 20 Semester : 2
- To explore how the First World War has been represented in diverse ways in British culture.
- To engage in the critical analysis of literary and cultural responses by women and men to the experience of the Great War.
- To examine the relationship of text (literary and cultural representation) and context (British society and culture during the First World War).
- To examine the sense that the impact of the First World War changed social and cultural constructions such as gender, sexuality, race, class, nation, and empire.
- To develop students’ skills of written expression and production of coherent arguments, at a level appropriate to work that will form part of the final assessment.
Objectives (Learning Outcomes)
By the end of the course, the successful student will have demonstrated:
- An awareness of the diverse forms in which the First World War has been represented in British culture.
- A sense that the impact of the First World War changed social and cultural constructions such as gender, sexuality, nation, race and class.
- An ability to read closely and critically literary and cultural texts in the light of the contextual and theoretical knowledge developed.
- An ability to work in a seminar-setting as participants and discussion leaders.
- An ability to construct and defend complex arguments through textual evidence, both in writing and in seminar discussions.
One oral presentation with written handout (20%); one 4,000-word essay (80%)
THIS COURSE IS NOT AVAILABLE AS FREE-CHOICE.
The First World War, it has been claimed, represented an entirely new experience of war, changing individual lives and entire societies. Our concern in this module is to examine how the war came—and continues—to be represented and imagined in British culture. After the first two preliminary sessions in which we consider the theorization of cultural memory, the module divides into three parts: first, texts published (or films screened) during the war (1914 to 1918); second, work “manufactured” in response to renewed interest in the war nearly a decade later during the so-called “postwar boom” (late 1920s and early 1930s); and, finally, films and novels produced later in the 20th and 21st centuries. One key aim of this module, therefore, is to think critically about how the cultural meaning of the war as less “remembered” than actively constructed in particular ways across the generations. “Our” Great War (the mud-and-blood version) may not map onto either how the war was experienced at the time or how the cultural significance of the war was fashioned a decade after the Armistice. In a sense, then, this course will always be as much about the making of cultural memory and the processes of mythmaking as about the war itself.
The module will cover significant work on the cultural history and theory of the First World War as well as literary representation, film, documentaries, memoirs, art, photography, propaganda, newspaper articles, and music. Throughout the course we will be especially attentive to questions and issues related to modernity, history and literature, constructions of gender (femininity and masculinity) and sexuality (including homosexuality, heterosexuality, and bisexuality), national identity (Englishness, Britishness, Irishness), class, region, and race.
Doan, Professor Laura
PROVISIONAL TIMETABLE FOR 2012-2013
Seminar: Tuesday, 9.00-12.00
One 3-hour seminar per week.
Format will vary during the semester with both tutor-led and student-led discussion.
Primary texts are subject to change but may include:
Pat Barker, Regeneration (1991)
Sebastian Barry, A Long Long Way (2005)
Frederic Manning, Her Privates We (1930)
Siegfried Sassoon, Memoirs of an Infantry Officer
May Sinclair, A Journal of Impressions in Belgium (1915)
Helen Zenna Smith, Not So Quiet…Stepdaughters of War
H.G. Wells, Mr. Britling Sees It Through (1916)
“Battle of the Somme” (1916)
“Oh! What a Lovely War” (1969)
Dan Todman, The Great War: Myth and Memory
Secondary texts may include:
Joanna Bourke, Dismembering the Male: Men’s Bodies and the Great War (1996)
Paul Fussell, The Great War and Modern Memory (1975)
Susan Grayzel, Women’s Identities at War: Gender, Motherhood and Politics in Britain and France During the First World War (1999)
Nicoletta Gullace, "The Blood of Our Sons”: Men, Women and the Renegotiation of British Citizenship during the Great War (2002)
Samuel Hynes, The Great War and English Culture (1991)
George Robb, British Culture and the First World War (2002)
Janet Watson, Fighting Different Wars: Experience, Memory and the First World War in Britain (2004) Jay Winter, Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History (1995)
as well as visual culture and other cultural texts.