The Great War in the 21st Century
In The Legacy of the Great War: Ninety Years On (2009), Jay Winter identifies four generations of critics, historians, novelists, and other cultural producers that engage with the representation of the First World War: “the Great War generation,” who had first-hand experience of the First World War; “the generation ‘fifty years on’,” writing in the 1950s and ‘60s; the “Vietnam generation,” working primarily in the 1970s; and the “transnational generation,” which broadly encompasses the more contemporary representations of the Great War. Winter adds that “everyone writing today draws upon or reflects upon earlier publications in this field,” speaking to the importance of intertextual and cross-generational analyses of the war.
This panel invites papers that address the First World War in contemporary literature, film, television, memorial art, and other media, taking into consideration this crucial point: that, given the death of all the war’s survivors, contemporary representations of the War constitute memories of memories or responses to prior representations even as they resituate the war’s meaning in relation to current events and emergent conceptual paradigms. Given the recent centenary of the First World War, this panel invites papers that consider the conflict as it figures in our contemporary collective consciousness, and that address some aspects unique to the “transnational generation”: the recognition that the Great War’s effects were “trans-European, trans-Atlantic, and beyond.”