J.M. Winter, in The Great War and British People (1985), claimed that no study of the First World War would be complete that failed to take into account the literary legacy of the war. This legacy, particularly the works of the soldier poets, has shaped the memory of the war over the past nine decades. In recent years, academic discussion of the literary culture of the First World War has expanded to include not only such poets and novelists writing during the war, but also other more popular cultural forms created both during the war and in the years since. From trench journals to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, from Dorothy L. Sayers to Blackadder, from Sebastian Faulks to Aces High, Anglophone culture has responded to the war in a variety of ways which have become sources for both historians and cultural critics interested in the study of the war and its aftermath.
This conference will bring together scholars working on all aspects of the popular culture of the First World War to investigate both the ways in which the war shaped popular culture and the ways in which the memory of war was shaped in turn. We are particularly interested in providing an interdisciplinary forum for cultural historians and literary and film scholars. These disciplines have created substantial bodies of knowledge on the subject of popular culture and the war, often approaching the subject from very different perspectives. Bringing these and other disciplines together will allow for a transdisciplinary debate on the role and meaning of popular culture in our understandings of the First World War and its afterlife in our cultural imagination.
Margaret Higonnet (Connecticut) ~ Angela Smith (Plymouth)
~ Trudi Tate (Cambridge) ~ Jay Winter (Yale)
If you wish to attend the conference, please complete the online booking form.