“It’s come too late for me”: War, Peace, and Commemoration, 1914-Present
In Testament of Youth, Vera Brittain reflects that the Armistice has “come too late”: “[the people] did not cry jubilantly: ‘We’ve won the War!’ They only said: ‘The War is over’” (421-2). This panel addresses practices of memory and commemoration, particularly relating to the fraught relationship(s) between war and peace, and the ways in which, as Madelyn Detloff reminds us, we exist in a “‘patched’ present troubled by modernist constellations of personal trauma, militarized violence, and ‘imperial loss’” (Modernism 10).
How, then, do literature, film, and the visual arts—both Modernist and contemporary—enact these commemorative processes? How are war and peace represented, both with respect to the Great War itself, and to its relationship with subsequent conflicts (e.g. Spanish Civil War; Second World War; Cold War; Iraq; etc.)? How does the commemoration of past conflicts shape our understanding of present and future wars?
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