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
Page of

PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 25 September 2021

Civilians Writing the War: Metaphor, Proximity, Action

Civilians Writing the War: Metaphor, Proximity, Action

(p.99) 5 Civilians Writing the War: Metaphor, Proximity, Action
The First World War

Sarah Cole

British Academy

This essay investigates what happens if we listen to the civilian, rather than solely to the combatant, in thinking about war writing, and take seriously the complexities and dilemmas that the position of civilian entails for the writer. It is the essay’s working premise that the status of the civilian is an immensely important one for the moral and imaginative life of the twentieth century. The essay reads in detail three short passages, taken from three majestic civilian texts of the war: one each from H. G. Wells’s 1916 Mr. Britling Sees It Through; Virginia Woolf’s 1922 Jacob’s Room; and Mary Borden’s 1929 The Forbidden Zone (a dazzling collection of short pieces from her time as a nurse during the war). Ultimately, what these readings show is that the particular qualities of the civilian situation in relation to the war, in which a dialectic of distance and proximity is the key feature, produce exceptionally complex, dynamic, moving forms of figuration, in which the problem of figuration itself becomes critical.

Keywords:   civilian, First World War, form, war writing, H. G. Wells, Virginia Woolf, Mary Borden

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.