Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The First World WarLiterature, Culture, Modernity$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Santanu Das and Kate McLoughlin

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266267

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266267.001.0001

Show Summary Details

Maternal Cosmopoetics

Maternal Cosmopoetics

Käthe Kollwitz and European Women Poets of the First World War1

Chapter:
(p.197) 10 Maternal Cosmopoetics
Source:
The First World War
Author(s):

Margaret R. Higonnet

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197266267.003.0010

Käthe Kollwitz’s 1922–3 cycle War addresses themes of maternal sacrifice and nationalist mobilization that also figure in women’s poetry. Her anti-war protest in Sacrifice depicts a mother who raises her infant, echoing Jacques Louis David’s defiant mother in his Sabine Women. Likewise Anna Akhmatova’s blasphemous ‘Prayer’ offers to sacrifice her child and poetry to halt the war, and poems by Berta Lask and Claire Studer Goll condemn women’s own silence for the mobilization of their dead sons. Kollwitz’s cosmopoetic theme of maternal solidarity in The Mothers binds figures visually, just as dialogue in Lask weaves a sisterhood of protest. The woodcut Volunteers places her son Peter with his blinded, suicidal friends led by Death; similarly, Ricarda Huch’s poems of 1917 expose hollow wartime exhortations to heroic combat that blind and destroy young men. Kollwitz’s post-war poster Never Again War complements Gertrud Kolmar’s protest against war commemorations as the tawdry dazzle of nationalist remobilization.

Keywords:   Käthe Kollwitz, Jacques Louis David, Anna Akhmatova, Berta Lask, Claire Studer Goll, Ricarda Huch, Gertrud Kolmar, maternal sacrifice, mobilization, anti-war protest

British Academy Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.