Angie Blumberg
Search for other papers by Angie Blumberg in
Current site
Google Scholar
Our real life in tombs
Great War archaeology
in British literature and archaeology, 1880– 1930
Abstract only
Log-in for full text

This chapter positions Great War artist Paul Nash alongside the modernist writer Mary Butts, and traces these artists’ prolonged engagement with archaeological discourse, exploring how across several genres (life-writing, essays, visual art, and the novel) they turn to the prehistoric landscapes of Great Britain to mediate the catastrophic incursions of modernity on the natural world and the human psyche. Nash’s prose and images during wartime also conjure scenes of uncanny archaeological ruin reminiscent of images of Pompeii—an association which is corroborated by other first-hand witnesses of No Man’s Land. The middle section of this chapter delves into this comparison, demonstrating how writers including Louise Mack (an Australian journalist), H.D. [Hilda Doolittle], and various soldiers reshape Victorian narratives of the volcanic destruction and archaeological discovery of Pompeii and Herculaneum (by writers like Edward Bulwer Lytton) to historicise the war’s destruction. The chapter concludes with a look at contemporary excavations of First World War battlefields in France, revealing how contemporary writers and archaeologists are borrowing these same tropes as we uncover the First World warscape. Ultimately, these discussions reveal how archaeological imagery and narratives of ruin and rebirth helped writers and artists craft unofficial and dissonant historiographies of the First World War.

  • Collapse
  • Expand


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 70 52 1
Full Text Views 0 0 0
PDF Downloads 0 0 0