Unquiet on the home front: Scottish popular fiction and the truth of war

David Goldie

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Ever since C. E. Montague’s account of wartime disillusionment, Disenchantment (1922), it has been common to believe that the popular press in the First World War played a part in effectively silencing soldiers: representing the actions in which they were involved in vague euphemistic terms; relying heavily either on outright lies or an outdated and inappropriate vocabulary of heroism, glory, and honour to render the experience of wartime unrecognisable to the soldiers themselves; forcing a cognitive chasm between servicemen and credulous civilians across which meaningful communication was no longer possible. These are the arguments that underpin Paul Fussell’s analysis of the corrosive ubiquity of wartime euphemism in The Great War and Modern Memory. They underline, too, Samuel Hynes’s diagnosis of an ‘unbridgeable gap’ between soldier and civilian with its consequent debauching of the currency of language, and contribute to Randall Stevenson’s characterisation of the First World War as an ‘unspeakable war’.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationScottish Literature and World War One
EditorsDavid Rennie
Place of PublicationEdinburgh
PublisherEdinburgh University Press
Chapter3
Pages62-80
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9781474454599
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2020

Keywords

  • Scottish literature 20th century
  • world war one
  • popular fiction

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