This volume, though it can only sample from the vast body of war-related literature and film, provides both an introduction and an intriguing cross-section of the field. Great starting point for students seeking an introduction to the theme and the critical discussions surrounding it.
In the words of the volumes' editor, "For most war writers, it is the person who hasn't witnessed war with whom they most desperately want to speak."
Edited by Alex Vernon, Associate Professor of English at Hendrix College and author and editor of several volumes of war-related nonfiction and literary criticism, this volume in the Critical Insights series presents a variety of new essays on the perennial theme.
For readers who are studying it for the first time, four essays survey the critical conversation regarding the theme, explore its cultural and historical contexts, and offer close and comparative readings of key texts in the genre.
Readers seeking a deeper understanding of the theme can then move on to other essays that explore it in depth through a variety of critical approaches. Works discussed include:
- Henry V
- captivity narratives from Colonial America to Vietnam to modern-day Afghanistan
- poetry from the Civil War and World War I
- Holocaust literature
- war journalism
- women's writings on war
- veterans' memoirs
- soldiers' letters home.
With sources ranging from the usual suspects (Hemingway, Vonnegut and O'Brien) to writers not as commonly associated with war literature such as Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Virginia Woolf, Flannery O'Connor, and a host of modern science fiction writers, the volume provides a unique viewpoint on just how deeply the specter of war has imbedded itself in the consciousness and artistic expressions of human beings.
Each essay is 2,500 to 5,000 words in length, and all essays conclude with a list of "Works Cited," along with endnotes.
- Additional Works on War
- About the Editor