Blood Runs Green: The Murder That Transfixed Gilded Age Chicago gVery enjoyable very thought provoking but not necessarily very convincing Fussell s suieneris book is an extended literary criticism masuerading as social history or perhaps the other way round There are various arguments Berlioz and the Romantic Century going on in here but the main thrust is that much of how we think about the modern world indeed our whole contemporary mindset has its origin in ideas that came about as an attempt to respond to the unprecedented scale and irony of the 1914 18 conflict Irony is the crucial term And a famously vague one let me first like a teenageriving a Building Ideas: An Architectural Guide to the University of Chicago graduatio When war broke out the undergraduate Robert Graves pictured what service he might render asarrison duty literally holding down the fort while the professional Regular Army charged to lory on the continent The 100000 strong force of British Regulars ferried across the channel in August 1914 to protect Belgium and assist the French was all used up by early November It is said the high command and the staff officers survived the old army was beyond recall This isn t war cried an appalled Lord Kitchener when he learned of the casualties consumed Read for a history course at Southwest Texas State in the 1980s It was a before and after book Before the Great War was retronymed World War One in my database after it was not That by itself was a huge reorientation of my thinkingA friend called this read to mind today and I ot to thinking about historiography and its pleasures the mental laziness of accepting the nonce words bandied about instead of seeking out the contemporaneous views and languageArmistice Day instead of Veterans Day for examplePaul Fussell s work was always linguistically exact and intellectually exacting It was all the formative for me because of that I don t Building the Cold War: Hilton International Hotels and Modern Architecture guess too many people will thunder out torab copies of this sizable and dense tome I call it a pity The exercise for the brain would make it well worth the spondulix A One Touch of Scandal great book Using the tools of literary criticism to reflect on WW1 Fussell digs into how the war changed consciousness It was the war Fussell argues that makes the modern age an age of irony Traditional notions of the war virtues like honour valour and bravery disappeared into the shit and mud of the Western Front The cynicism towards authority and the official view portrayed in newspapers etc started in the war The troops could read The Times or The Daily Mail in the trenches two days after it was published They would read nothing of thereat disasters of British arms such as The Battle of the SommeThere is so much to this book Page after page there are fascinating observations about how the imagination of this Bulletproof Feathers generation of Englishmen possibly THE most literate ie imbued with literary tastes shaped their reactions to the war A small point but one of many is that while the red poppy was indeed all over the battlefields so too was the blue cornflower But it was a peculiar English literary convention that settled upon the poppy as the symbolic flower of the war This flower of spring while it symbolised life was also short lived The red suggested the blood of life and the blood of violent young death There are other overtones to the poppy that perhaps the official remembrance committees would like to overlook Fussell analysisoes to places that are no doubt uncomfortable for the Colonel Blimp s of this world such as a certain homo eroticism evident in much of the poetry and prose that came out of the war Words and the shape they Carson Pirie Scott: Louis Sullivan and the Chicago Department Store give to our memories and imaginations individually and collectively affect even the most visceral of experiences like modern warfare I did not understand this so fully until I read this book Extraordinary One of the best books I ve read on WWI By employing literary critiue Fussell manages to capture virtually every aspect of the war from its mammoth obscenity to its myriad tiny obscenities to the beauties of light and birdsong as experienced in the trenches to the social fabric of the poor doomed trench bound souls to the wit and wonder of The Wipers Times I cannot recommend this book highly enough for conveying the vast and complex reality of WWI Perhaps Fussell s idiosyncratic approach was one of the only ways to really convey the true nature of this monumental cesspit of humanity s failureOf dozens of books I ve read on WWI both memoirs and firsteneration and second Charting an Empire: Geography at the English Universities 1580-1620 generation histories I consider The Great War and Modern Memory absolutely one of the essential works on the topic My short list also includes Tardi s C etait la Guerre de Tranche s Graves Goodbye to All That Sassoon s Memoirs of an Infantry Officer Blunden s Undertones of War Penguin s compilation of First War verse Modris Eksteins Rites of Spring and Keegan s traditional history The First World WarI consider WWI the birthplace of our currentlobal condition the point at which European hegemony began to crumble via its own immolation and the beginnings of the Chameleon Hours global movement towards liberation self determination and universal human rights When Bill aka uo recommended this to me a couple of weeks ago I really didn t think I wouldet to it anytime soon I also decided that it would be a military book or sorts dealing perhaps with how what is remembered of a war isn t necessarily what actually happened If that had been what it was about it would have been an interesting enough book but this proved much better than I could have anticipatedThis book
at how various mostly British writers wrote about the Great War what their writing about the war meant for modern literature and therefore how we then came to understand that war and all wars subseuent This masterful book published in 1975 provides a rewarding set of explorations in the way our experience of the war has been captured by literature and thereby filtered into our collective memory and understanding of it Fussell focuses almost exclusively on the British experience at the Western Front which includes out of the 500 miles of the continuous line from the Belgian coast to Switzerland the trenches of the Somme region of Picardy and of the Yrpes salient in Flanders His thesis is that the uniue ualities of the war in its senseless slaughter severely challenged the ability of any narrative to capture its horrors but that the work of fiction memoir and poetry by certain notable participants forged some lasting truths that conform to an ironic turn in the literary enterprise This in turn paved the way for the reactions after the war in the Modernist masterpieces of irony by non participants with better writing talent eg Joyce Woolf Pound Eliot and later for a unfettered vision of its absurdity and obscenity in postmodernist works like Heller s Catch 22 and Pynchon s Gravity s Rainbow despite their ostensible settings of World War 2 The long stalemate in trench warfare and its unprecedented levels of casualties due to automatic weapons and intensive artillery barrages contribute to the unusual ualities of this war so difficult to convey in its reality There was such a yawning Chicago Architecture (Architecture Urbanism) gap between what was expected of the ill prepared men and what they could achieve between the platitudes and euphemisms of the officers and the press and the reality in the field So many deaths with no territoryained did not jive with any propaganda Chicago Neighborhoods and Suburbs: A Historical Guide gloss of honorable sacrifice Life in the trenches with its mud lice rats and stench of excrement and decaying bodies long periods of bombardment and hopeless raids against machineuns and as attacks was a hell beyond reach of metaphors one might use to boost objective description All but the most peasant level of soldiers were surprisingly steeped in classical literature and Victorian romantic and pastoral traditions Most tropes for expressing meaning in existence worked only by way of contrast with life before the war or even the relatively short distances from the front As in all wars your mate was your one core pathway to expressing a capacity to be human and
looks at how various mostly British writers wrote about the Great War
such bonds acuired an spiritual uality in the collective records and writings of this time with bonds acuired an spiritual uality in the collective records and writings of this time with homoerotic elements submerged or sublimated As for God either he was on a strike or out to lunch Many in letters home reach for references to Bunyan S Passage Through A Dangerous Wasteland In Pilgrim S Progress passage through a dangerous wasteland in Pilgrim s Progress the biblical Valley of the Shadow of Death The troglodyte life below round and constant watch on the blasted landscape of no man s land before them engendered a special relationship with the sky above as about their only connection to the natural world The daily cycles of work between daytime post in the forward firing trenches sleep and feeding time in support and reserve trenches a couple hundred yards behind and intense work on refortification and body removals under cover of darkness rendered a ritual purpose to a Sisyphean existence The stand to Building the South Side: Urban Space and Civic Culture in Chicago, 1890-1919 group sessions at dawn and dusk was an especially significant turning point for anointing the isolated individuals with a sense of shared fate and enlightenment over calls for active attacks or defense For many the unreality of their role in the war felt just like the pretense behind acting in a play the three acts naturally fell to training in the first act time at the front for the second and return home the hoped for third actTheeography of the situation forever changed English language usage Almost daily one can feels echoes of the war in the common usage of no man s land over the top and entrenched When TS Eliot in the 20s used The Waste Land in his poem you can presume the con. The year 2000 marks the 25th anniversary of one of the most original and Cite Right: A Quick Guide to Citation Styles--MLA, APA, Chicago, the Sciences, Professions, and More gripping volumes ever written about the First World War Fussell illuminates a war that changed aeneration and revolutionised the way we see the world He explores the British experience on the western Front from 1914 to 1918 focusing on the various literary means by which it has been remembered conventionalized and mythologized It is also about the literary dimensions of the experience itself Fussell supp. Riters were and as impressive specimens of men regular they are notFussell indulges in Classic Rough News gross sensationalism as a matter of course in a bid to support his book s overarching thesis which is that warenerally and the Great War even so is a fundamentally ironic enterprise He conveys facts about the war in a manner calculated to bring out their apparent irony and stupidity but it is very easy to Class and Conformity: A Study in Values - With a Reassessment (Midway Reprint) go too far with this as he does when he blandly asserts in the book s early pages that the war saw eight million men killed because an archduke and his wife had been shot paraphrased but not by much I canet the actual citation if you like This is the kind of thing as are various claims about Sir Douglas Haig that s of a nature so trivializing reductive and vicious that it would likely see a student who attempted it drummed out of his program The unelouent Sir Douglas attempt to offer some words of inspiration to the BEF during the German Spring Offensive of 1918 which resulted in the catastrophic rout of the British army along a considerable front earns him a comparison to Hitler for exampleThere s also a certain strange ignorance on display in what he chooses to address someone so fixated on the war s irony and the literary dimensions of it can not easily be forgiven for having nothing whatever to say about the death of HH Saki Munro in 1916 Saki was one of the most famous English literary ironists of his time and the supremely ironic manner of his death cut down by a sniper in the act of scolding an enlisted man for lighting a too noticeable cigarette at night would seem to make him an ideal inclusion in a book of this sort But no not even mentioned once At another point Fussell says something factually incorrect about Kipling s The Irish Guards in the Great War 1923 and then uses this error as a platform from which to breezily attack Kipling s character This was actually the first deficiency I noticed in the work when I read it for the first time and it put me on my Class Warfare: Class, Race, and College Admissions in Top-Tier Secondary Schools guard at onceThere are other things he fails to mention and with considerably important conseuences He views the war as always an ironic and chaotic enterprise and so studiously neglects to include anything about those elements of the war that were neither ironic nor especially chaotic You will look in vain for anything useful in this book about the war in the air or at sea or on the many non Western fronts that saw realains being made in measurable and conseuential ways The war s purposelessness and futility are again and again hammered home but without Common People: The History of An English Family giving any recognition to the experience of the many countries and peoples such as those within the former Austro Hungarian Empire for whom the war was the complete opposite of those thingsIf you want a book that confirms practically every bias exhibited by what everyone knows about the First World War The Great War and Modern Memory is the way too in part in fact it is responsible for crafting what everyone knows so thoroughly influential has it been I would rather a newcomer read practically anything else though at least at firstIn addition to all the above there have been further and uite merited criticisms from feminist scholars who have noted that Fussell s characterization of modern memory is often exclusively masculine Even his Citizens and Paupers: Relief, Rights, and Race, from the Freedmen's Bureau to Workfare gestures towards sexuality and romantic love are primarily homosexual and homosocial Claire Tylee s The Great War and Women s Consciousness 1990 is probably the best book length engagement with Fussell s ideas in this regard if you can find a copy If you don t feel like reading an entire book on this the same author s The Great War and Modern Memory What is Being Repressed in Women s Studies uarterly 233 4 1995 offers an article lengthed precisIt remains an essential work though one with a reputation that is slowly and I may say thankfully eroding There are several that could be said to have supplanted it or at least supplemented itSamuel Hynes A War Imagined The First World War and English Culture 1990 has become a standard text on this subject though also a controversial one from an historical point of view Hynes characterizes the war as aap in history and to the point insists that those who experienced it viewed it in the same way While Hynes is far comprehensive in the types and amount of literature he surveys than Fussell was he still tends to highlight only those works that confirm what he proposes about the war s historical impact Plenty is excluded More to the point Hynes writes of what he calls The Myth of the war a conquest and community:the afterlife of warrior saint ghazi miyan generation of innocent young men their heads full of high abstractions like Honour Glory and England went off to war to make the world safe for democracy They were slaughtered in stupid battles planned by stupidenerals Those who survived were shocked disillusioned and embittered by their war experiences and saw that their real enemies were not the Germans but the old men at home who had lied to them They rejected the values of the society that had sent them to war and in doing so separated their own eneration from the past and from their cultural inheritanceWhile Hynes acknowledges as he should that this is an absurd oversimplification of everything involved in it it is
nevertheless the mythic lens through which many modern people observe the war The myth he says has value the mythic lens through which many modern people observe the war The myth he says has value though it is historically suspect I don t entirely agree myself Hynes cites the myth to mean in his words not a falsification of reality but an imaginative version of it The historian would say that it is indeed a falsification of reality to claim the things in the uoted paragraph above or at least an overt rhetoricization of realityAnyway Hynes is not the only one worth considering though the text remains a big one Janet Watson s Fighting Different Wars Experience Memory and the First World War in Britain 2004 is a fantastic volume that attempts to offer a rigorously historicized corrective to the work produced by the likes of Fussell or Hynes She is particularly interested in the period s book culture but also in how those who experienced the war men women children everyone conceived of that experience alternately as work or service The two conceptions produce very different reactions and inform very different types of cultural memory and Watson does a marvelous job unpacking the implications Well worth checking out if you can et itI should close by admitting that even in spite of all the above the book does have merits Fussell is nothing if not an engaging writer and the analyses he provides of Graves Blunden et al is uite ood indeed The book was also very important in opening up new lines of inuiry into the war and its culture that have since borne much promising fruit For the book itself though the day has rather passed For the student already well versed in the backdrop of the war itself there s much here to be enjoyed I just wouldn t put it into the hands of a neophyte I rarely read non fiction but this just took my breath away It s both a wonderful and achingly sad introduction to the poets and writers who emerged or didn t from World War I as well as an eye opening description of how that conflict shaped modern life THE GREAT WAR AND MODERN MEMORY is the kind of war book that is especially cherished by people who feel morally obligated to hate war or perhaps accurately to hate the soldiers mostly but not always men who fight it back in the days who fight it Back in the days Operation Desert Storm when Barnard educated NY Times columnist Anna uindlen was sneering at American combat troops as blue collar rabble not smart not rich not directed enough for college she also found time to make a ritualistic little salute to that raceful writer Paul FussellBut you can t always judge a man by the friends he chooses or who choose himOn one level this certainly is an anti war classic
Fussell effectively dramatizes the horror and futility of life in the trenches using eyewitness accounts historical records and the best literature and poetry written after the war by the survivors But the irony that may not be apparent to privileged noncombatants like Anna uindlen is that the war and its legacy had a brutalizing effect on everyone soldier and civilian alike Perhaps the most brilliant passage in the book describes how the war in the trenches by its very nature forced the combatants to see the men on the other side not as men at all but as a sub human menace as the Other Fussell describes how this way of thinking continued well after the war and how it infected men from all walks of life The faceless enemy of the trenches soon became Tolkien s Orcs Hitler s Jews William Faulkner s Snopes Clan Anthony Burgess Alex and Droogs This is revelatory writing full of fresh insight and Fussell deserves full credit for the brilliance of his intellect and the scope of his vision The irony however and Paul Fussell appreciated irony far than some of his later followers is that the privileged elite who comprise today s anti war left are themselves a product of the trenches When she dismissed over one million men and women as not smart not rich not directed enough for college Anna uindlen was herself upholding a long and dishonorable tradition None of us were human to her then or now To her and to the privileged who share her prejudices to this day in America the men and women of the Armed Forces are themselves the Huns the Pigs The Babykillers the Famine Irish or simply The OtherPaul Fussell understood his followers a lot better than his followers understood him. Ch influence our understanding and memory of war Fussell also shares the stirring experience of his research at the Imperial War Museum's Department of Documents Fussell includes a new Suggested Further Reading ListFussell's landmark study of World War I remains as original and ripping today as ever before a literate literary and illuminating account of the Great War the one that changed a eneration ushered in the modern era and revolutionized how we see the world 14 halftone. .
PAUL FUSSELL EFFECTIVELY DRAMATIZES THE HORROR
Paul Fussell ↠ 3 read & download.
Nection despite no explicit reference to the war beyond bodies fertilizing fields Because of constraints on the press the true status of the war was obscured from the public behind euphemisms If a journalist described fighting as sharp or brisk that kind of adjective tended to refer to an outcome of casualties around 50% Everyone reached to make some kind of story out of a life so obviously just a cog in a nihilistic universe Inevitably irony and dark humor was the only mode of expression that could come close to capturing the reality and render a means to put it into place Here a common soldier fights back with such a pose One s revulsion to the Contingent Lives: Fertility, Time, and Aging in West Africa ghastly horrors of war was submerged in the belief that this war was to end all wars and Utopia would arise What an illusion In the hands of serious writers after the reality of this war those who attempted to apply a romantic or pastoral cast to life at the front are trumped by the ones that succeeded with modes of irony and farce Fussell details how it is that David Jones epic poem about his war experience In Parenthesis applied allusions to Arthurian myths and other old narratives but failed to elevate this conflict to the standard heroic scenarios for plucky but reserved Brits at war With Kipling s history of the Irish brigade his son fought and died with Fussell makes us see how inappropriate his crafted rhetoric is with its prose rhythms alliteration and imposed causalities which leaves us to wonder Is there any way of compromising with the reader s expectations that written history ought to be interesting meaningful and the cruel fact that much of what happens all of what happens is inherently without meaning By contrast he finds Sassoon s poetry and autobiographical trilogy Sherston s Progress makes a better frame to capture the paradoxical truths of human experience of the war consistent with him being both an heroic combat leader and eventually a conscientious war objector In setting down so well his transitions from self centered fox hunter to a band of brother warriors and as a conseuence of visits or medical recovery to England to a voice of resistance to the waste and advocate of a negotiated peace Big ironies for him was how his lucid sanity about the warot him treated at a psychiatric hospital and how the old nobility of loyalty to your men was what led him to choose to return to the front Despite the appearance of a memoir with names changed the work leaves out that Sassoon was ay and that he was intensely active in writing and publishing poetry in this period and neglects the personal impact of his friendship with and mentorshiop of fellow poet Willfred Owen at the hospitalSassoon s friend Robert Graves also wins high marks from Fussell for successfully capturing the miserable state of the British soldier and military society in his Good bye to All That Though called a memoir he later admitted that many elements were fictional additions to ive the Creating Chicago's North Shore: A Suburban History general reader what they wanted and to boost sales including assurance that the most painful chapters were the most jokiest Despite all the fictional elements Fussell finds it areat record of truth and noble in its application of farce as an antidote to war Its brilliance and compelling energy reside in its structural invention and in its perpetual resourcefulness in imposing the patterns of farce and comedy onto the blank horrors or meaningless vacancies of experience If it really were a documentary transcription of the actual it would be worth very little and would surely not be as it is infinitely re readable It is valuable just because it is not true in that wayA poet we remember Aristotle saying is one who mastered the art of telling lies successfully that is dramatically interestingly And what is a Graves A Graves is a tongue in cheek neurasthenic farceur whose material is fact Graves is a joker a manic illusionist Being a Graves is a way of being scandalously Celtish It is a way perhaps the only way left of rebelling against the positivistic pretensions of non Celts and satirizing the preposterous scientism of the twentieth century His enemies are always the same solemnity certainty complacency pomposity cruelty And it was the Great War that brought them to his attentionThe third memoir that Fussell delves deeply into is Edmund Blunden s Undertones of War My past readings have made me very aware of Sassoon and Graves but I had not heard of this well revered British poet and essayist He was a shepherd s son who advanced the pastoral traditions of literature so prominent in the 19th century he later wrote the monumental Nature in English Literature What we et in his writing on his battalion at the front are innumerable perversions of the pastoral and a vision of an overall travesty of nature Bullets whiz like insects and skulls underfoot seem like mushrooms But overall the effect is to pit spoiled nature and lost innocence as a counter to war and to hold the unnecessary suffering and cruelty up to shame us all He finds his approach one of admirable literary bravery In a world where literary uality of Blunden s sort is conspicuously an antiue every word of Unde Note I ve read this book twice the first time years ago I set the read date as today so it updates on the Facebook wall properlyIn this landmark text from 1975 Fussell an American scholar and veteran looks at a selection of writings
from certain soldier authors on the western frontcertain soldier authors on the Western Front examines the implications of same when it comes to how the war should best be understood It s difficult to express how influential this book has been or how widely it has been hailed since its publication it won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the National Book Award and is on the list of the Modern Library s one hundred best important non fiction books of the twentieth century It has never been out of print and comes in three distinct editions the original 1975 volume from the Oxford University Press the 2000 follow up to same a 25th Anniversary edition that boasted a new afterword from the author and the most recent a lavish new illustrated edition from Sterling released in 2012 on the occasion of the author s death It is reatly expanded with full colour plates throughout and the layout though not the content has been substantially revisedI repeat that it s an extraordinarily influential work and has had a citation history since its publication that could almost be described as Total that is it was very hard for a very long time to find a book on the war that did not include some nod to Fussell and his ideas It also led to a trend in naming books about the war with a similar convention see Stefan Goebel s The Great War and Medieval Memory 2007 or Jason Crouthamel s The Great War and German Memory 2009 for but two examples there are many but I uess I can t really complain about thatIn any event it s a big deal so why am I upsetFussell has faced a steady stream of criticism from historians of the war he is primarily a literary scholar as am I but even than that has characterized himself first as a pissed off infantryman for his over reliance on an archly editorial tone and a tendency to indulge in errors of fact when it makes for a ood narrative There s a now famous critiue of the book by the military historians Robin Prior and Trevor Wilson that first appeared in War in History 11 1994 in which the two compare it to his later similar work on WWII Wartime Understanding and Behavior in the Second World War 1989 The second book is another story but when it comes to the first they are critical of what they see as Fussell s hostility to anything resembling official history and of his reliance upon utterly subjective literary engagements to tell the real truth This anyway is one of the famous critiues there are certainly othersFor his own part Fussell has responded to his critics in the Afterwood to the 2000 edition of his work after a fashion His errors of fact and rossly polemic tone remain in that edition and in the new illustrated edition too and all he offers in response is the suggestion that his critics are heartless apathetes who don t understand suffering and that as he was only writing in the elegaic mood to begin with demanding historical accuracy of
him was a foolish move on their part Yeah how dare theywas a foolish move on their part Yeah how dare they has elsewhere made it clear in an essay included in his Thank God for the Atom Bomb collection though I can t remember its name that he thinks authors who respond to their critics in depth are idiots so I uess it was never meant to be but an ounce of humility might have been niceAnyway with due admission of the importance it holds to many people and the reputation that it has won there is much about that makes it a very poor bookFussell makes a very big deal about how he wants to Desire and Truth: Functions of Plot in Eighteenth-Century English Novels get back to what the real regular men doing the real fighting had to say and think about the war experience and to wrest command of this idea away from the intellectuals theenerals the politicians the official narrative To do this he has written a book that offers as real regular men such luminaries as Siegfried Sassoon Robert Graves Edmund Blunden and Wilfred Owen Men That Is Who Were All Recipients Of Expansive Educations that is who were all recipients of expansive educations a reat deal of leisure in their civilian lives Sassoon was as notorious for his fox hunting as he was for his literary salons for example and had such exuisitely artistic intellectual sensibilities that their first response to combat was to write sonnets about it As fantastic as these Lies contexts both actual and literary for writers who have most effectively memorialized the Great War as an historical experience with conspicuous imaginative and artistic meaning These writers include the classic memoirists Siegfried Sassoon Robert Graves and Edmund Blunden and poets David Jones Isaac Rosenberg and Wilfred Owen In his new introduction Fussell discusses the critical responses to his work the authors and works that inspired his own writing and the elements whi.