Sacrifice and Modern War Literature: The Battle of Waterloo to the War on Terror

ISBN : 9780198806516

Alex Houen; Jan-Melissa Schramm
304 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Jun 2018
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Sacrifice and Modern War Literature is the first book to explore how writers from the early nineteenth century to the present have addressed the intimacy of sacrifice and war. It has been common for critics to argue that after the First World War many of the cultural and religious values associated with sacrifice have been increasingly rejected by writers and others. However, this volume shows that literature has continued to address how different conceptions of sacrifice have been invoked in times of war to convert losses into gains or ideals. Each chapter presents fresh insights into the literature of a particular conflict and discussion covers a range of writers and genres including novels, poetry (particularly elegy and lyric), memoirs, and some films. Together, the contributions address a rich array of topics related to wartime sacrifice including scapegoating, martyrdom, religious faith, tragedy, heroism, altruism, 'bare life', atonement, and redemption.


1 Philip Shaw: Wordsworth, Waterloo, and Sacrifice
2 Jan-Melissa Schramm: 'I see the lives for which I lay down my life, peaceful, useful, prosperous and happy': The Crimean War and the 'Inspiration' of (Self-) Sacrifice in mid-Victorian Fiction
3 Christopher Herbert: The Indian Mutiny and the Blood of Sacrifice
4 Randall Fuller: The Poetics of American Civil War Sacrifice
5 Steve Attridge: Character, Sacrifice, and Scapegoats: Boer War Fiction
6 Vincent Sherry: Bare Death: The Failing Sacrifice of the Great War
7 Tim Kendall: 'Freely Proffered'?: The Deaths of Rupert Brooke and Julian Grenfell
8 Matthew Campbell: 'A bit of shrapnel': The Sigerson Shorters, the Hardys, Yeats and the Easter Rising
9 Ian Patterson: The Penny's Mighty Sacrifice: The Spanish Civil War and Left Poetics
10 Mark Rawlinson: The Motif of Sacrifice in the Literature and Culture of the Second World War
11 Helen Goethals: 'It is the poems you have lost': Poetry and Sacrifice during the Second World War
12 Adam Piette: Sacrifice and the Inner Organs of the Cold War Citizen
13 Philip Beidler: The Vietnam War, American Remembering, and the Measure of Sacrifice, Fifty Years Later
14 David Wheatley: 'Atrocities Against His Sacred Poet': The Orpheus Myth and the Poetry of the Northern Irish Troubles
15 Alex Houen: Reckoning Sacrifice in 'War on Terror' Literature

About the author: 

Alex Houen is a University Senior Lecturer in Modern Literature in the Faculty of English, and Pembroke College, University of Cambridge. He is the author of Terrorism and Modern Literature: From Joseph Conrad to Ciaran Carson (Oxford University Press, 2002), editor of States of War since 9/11: Terrorism, Sovereignty, and the War on Terror (Routledge, 2014), and co-editor (with Dominic Janes) of Martyrdom and Terrorism: Pre-Modern to Contemporary Perspectives (Oxford University Press, 2014). He also co-edits (with Adam Piette) the international poetry journal Blackbox Manifold.; Jan-Melissa Schramm is a University Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century Literature in the Faculty of English, and Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge. She is the author of Testimony and Advocacy in Victorian Law, Literature, and Theology (Cambridge University Press, 2000), Atonement and Self-Sacrifice in Nineteenth-Century Narrative (Cambridge University Press, 2012), Censorship, Dramatic Form, and the Representation of the Sacred in Nineteenth-Century England (forthcoming), and co-editor of Fictions of Knowledge: Fact, Evidence, Doubt (Macmillan, 2011).

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