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Chapitre d'ouvrage

« ‘Strange Outlandish Star’: Spaces of Horror in the Memoirs and Poems of the War Poets »

Abstract : Space, not time, was man’s greatest enemy in the First World War. Our mind’s eye has remained fixed on Nash’s nightmarish wastelands, Otto Dix’s grotesque organic landscapes or the horrific ‘battlefield gothic’ of war literature. It is as if innumerable literary and artistic hells had suddenly taken shape in the mud of the trenches, forming the modern archetype of the demonic space, the ‘world of nightmare and the scapegoat, of bondage, pain and confusion’ described by Northrop Frye. For it is in space itself, rather than in traditional human or inhuman figures, that evil seems to originate in the works of the First World War artists, and in particular in those of the war poets. Basing my chapter on the British memoirs and poems of the First World War, I will examine how the writers reacted to the extraordinary living conditions in the trenches and the ‘perceptual crisis’3 it engendered, by ‘monstering’ the landscape of their poems. By turning it into an alien, unnatural, and obscenely living space opposed to man’s own stillness in the war of attrition, the war writers signalled the breakdown of the relationship between man and his environment, and ultimately the redefinition of man’s place in the modern world.
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Contributeur : Emeline Juillard Connectez-vous pour contacter le contributeur
Soumis le : lundi 23 août 2021 - 16:43:59
Dernière modification le : mercredi 27 octobre 2021 - 16:14:56




Sarah Montin. « ‘Strange Outlandish Star’: Spaces of Horror in the Memoirs and Poems of the War Poets ». ed. Sarah Montin and Evelyn Tsitas. Monstrous Geographies: Places and Spaces of the Monstrous, p. 165-183, 2013, ⟨10.1163/9789004399433_009⟩. ⟨hal-03324537⟩



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