First, we would like to thank the British Academy for its generous support over the last several years, from making possible the conference ‘First World War: Literature, Culture, Modernity’ in 2014 to its sustained interest in the afterlife of the event which has resulted in the present volume. We are grateful to all the speakers and interlocutors for making those two days over 11–12 November 2014 so memorable; four years on, as we approach the centenary of the Armistice later this year, the conversations have become even more intense. A special vote of thanks goes to Mary Jacobus and Angela Leighton. Brigid Hamilton-Jones of the British Academy has helped to ensure the publication process has run smoothly. The team at Keystroke provided an excellent copy-editing service; Ian Finlay was a most diligent and eagle-eyed proof-reader and Jeremy Complin compiled the index.
A selection of the papers presented at the conference appear in this volume, in altered and expanded form; they are supplemented by commissioned essays by several scholars who have since joined in our conversation. We are immensely grateful to our three readers – Rebecca Beasley, Guy Cuthbertson and Stefano Evangelista – as well as the anonymous reader from the British Academy for their detailed engagement: they brought to the reports a combination of sympathy and rigour which was instructive. The volume would not have been possible without the patience, forbearance and hard work of our contributors as we took them through countless drafts, changes, requests and revisions. Time and again, we have been reminded of just how very fortunate we are to have colleagues – both contributors and readers – who are at once so generous and engaged. This volume is dedicated to the memory of a dear colleague and friend who had those qualities in abundance.
As this volume went into production, we heard the wonderful news that one of our contributors, Hope Wolf, had given birth to a baby boy. We extend our warmest welcome to Wolf Collins, born on 16 July 2017.
(Note: Every effort has been made to contact copyright holders of illustrations reprinted in this work. This has not been possible in every case, however, and we would welcome correspondence from those copyright holders whom we have been unable to trace.) (p.xiv)