Literature of a Crisis: The Great War in Anglo-American Modernism

Shadi Neimneh


This paper looks at the representation of war in fiction as a catastrophic social event. In studying or teaching the Great War as represented in modernist literature, we have to acknowledge that fiction, and despite its overlap with history or historical value, is not mere history. War literature retains a powerful sociological orientation. The novels discussed in this paper push real war action to the background and highlight, instead, the impact of war on the subjective lives of individuals and their social interaction. Modernism is not primarily concerned with accurately reproducing the war, but rather with impressionistic details, i.e. the impact of war on introverted lives. Therefore, the real value of such novels is not documentary or historical but social and psychological.


Modernism; Anglo-American Fiction; the Great War; Representation; Social Reality

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