This book revisits the end of the First World War to ask how that moment of silence was to echo into the following decades. It looks at the history from a different angle, asking how British and German creative artists addressed, questioned and remembered the Armistice and its silence. The book offers a genuinely interdisciplinary study, bringing together contributions from scholars in art history, music, literature and military history. It is unique in its comparison of the creative arts of both sides; assessing responses to the war in Britain, Germany and Austria. Together, the different chapters offer a rich diversity of methodological approaches, including archival research, historical analysis, literary and art criticism, musical analysis and memory studies. The chapters reconsider some well-known writers and artists to offer fresh readings of their works. These sit alongside a wealth of lesser-known material, such as the popular fiction of Philip Gibbs and Warwick Deeping and the music of classical composer Arthur Bliss. The wide-ranging discussions encompass such diverse subjects as infant care, sculpture, returned nurses, war cemeteries, Jewish identity, literary journals, soldiers' diaries and many other topics. Together they provide a new depth to our understanding of the cultural effects of the war and the Armistice. Finally, the book has a recuperative impulse, bringing to light rare and neglected materials, such as the letters of ordinary German and British soldiers, and Alfred Doblin's Armistice novel.
British popular fiction and post-war uncertainties
‘A strange mood’: Britishpopularfiction and
The response of British writers of popular fiction to the Armistice was
mixed. John Buchan would later write of ‘that curious summer of 1919
when everyone was feverishly trying to forget the war’,1 and many did
indeed turn away with relief from stern patriotism and uplift, towards
South Seas escapism or light comedy; others directed their gaze towards
the actual post-Armistice world, and they were often disturbed by what
they saw. Rarely did writers of the time suggest
: Religious Hysteria and Anti-Catholicism
in BritishPopularFiction, 1780–1880 (Cardiff:
University of Wales Press, 2014 ), came out as
this book was going to press.
Quoted in Hoeveler, ‘Demonizing the
Catholic Other’, p. 93