The Great War in Post-Memory Literature, Drama and Film

3 June 2013


Call for papers

Marzena Sokolowska-Paryz, University of Warsaw, Poland [email protected]
Martin Loeschnigg, University of Graz, Austria [email protected]

The Great War has never ceased to haunt the imagination. Across time and nations, the subject of the first major conflict of the twentieth century has returned over and over again in prose fiction, drama, and film. The oncoming centenary is a very good time for a reconsideration of the place and meaning of this conflict in our contemporary post-memory culture. We plan to edit a volume of essays that will bring together scholars from all over the world in order to chart the predominant tendencies in the textual and visual representations of the Great War since the 1970s up till the present day. Though defining the beginning of post-memory texts of culture is inevitably arbitrary, it is from the 1970s onward that we witness the appearance of a number of important films and literary works about the Great War by authors from the generation for which this past conflict is history and not memory: William Leonard Marshall’s The Age of Death, Susan Hill’s Strange Meeting, Derek Robinson’s Goshawk Squadron, Jennifer Johnston‘s How Many Miles to Babylon, Timothy Findley’s The Wars, Roger McDonald’s 1915, Uomini Contro (dir. Francesco Rosi), Aces High (dir. Jack Gold), the TV remake of All Quiet on the Western Front (dir. Delbert Mann) or the BBC series Wings. Since then, other notable writers have addressed this subject, including Sebastian Faulks, Pat Barker, David Malouf, Robert Edric, Reginald Hill, Mark Helprin, Marc Dugain, Jane Urquhart, Antonia Arslan, Ben Elton, Jeff Shaara, Sebastien Japrisot, Sebastian Barry, Jack Hodgins, Frances Itani, Jody Shields, Robert Goddard, Tom Phelan, Geert Spillebeen, Joseph Boyden, Kevin Major, Alan Cumyn, Nigel Farndale, Jacqueline Winspear, Charles and Caroline Todd, Michael Morpurgo, Michael Foreman, Iain Lawrence, Theresa Breslin, as well as the playwrights Stephen MacDonald, David Haig, Peter Whelan, David French, R.H. Thomson. Among the most important films, there are Galilipoli, Life and Nothing But, Les fragments d’Antonin, Joyeux Noel, The Lost Battalion, All the King’s Men, My Boy Jack, Deathwatch, The Red Baron, Flyboys, Anzacs (TV series). Le Pantalon, War Horse, The Trench, Passchendaele , Beneath Hill 60, to mention but a few. The volume will be international in scope, highlighting transnational themes as well as identifying discrepancies stemming from particular national histories.
The suggested range of topics includes (but is not limited to the following):
1. Parallel Times: Constructing Contemporary Meanings of the Great War
2. Concealed Histories: The Search for Other Wars in the Great War
3. Genre and History: The Impact of Convention on Representations of the Great War (detective fiction, political thriller, horror, romance, comedy, grand-historical narratives etc.)
4. Experimental Fictions: New Approaches to Writing/Showing the Great War
5. The Great War on the Contemporary Stage: The Historical Vision of Playwrights
6. From Text to Film: Contemporary Adaptations of Prose Fiction about the Great War
7. Commemorative Narratives: Writing the Great War through Family History, Battlefield Pilgrimages, and War Memorials
8. The Trauma of the Great War: Ravished Minds and Disabled Bodies
9. Over and Beyond the Trenches: The Great War at Sea and in the Air
10. The Great War from a Post-Colonial Perspective
11. National Versions of the Great War (English, Irish, Welsh, Canadian, Australian, American, German, Austrian, French, Polish, Latvian, Romanian, Hungarian, Czech, Russian, etc.)
12. Writing the Great War for Children and Teenagers
13. Legends, Myths, Mysteries of the Great War
14. The Literary and Cinematic Portrayals of the War Poets
15. The Heroes of the Great War: From Grand-Historical Figures to Sacrificial Victims
16. The Anti-Heroes of the Great War: Cowards, Deserters, Murderers, Criminals
17. Gendering the Great War: The Female Protagonist
18. Relocating Historical Significance: Textual and Cinematic Narratives of the Aftermath of the Great War

Please submit an abstract (up to 200 words) and a short biographical note to Marzena Sokolowska-Paryz ([email protected]) and Martin Loeschnigg ([email protected]) by January 31, 2013.
The deadline for accepted articles is September 1, 2013. The articles should use MLA citation style and should be no longer than 6000 words.

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