The international fight for the values embodied by

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Unformatted text preview: war as a continuation of the general power struggle between men. War is immemorial, and hence dull and flat. C.P. Snow in his 12-volume Strangers and Brothers describes a group of people involved in the development of the A-bomb. It does not refer to war as action, but rather considers the responsibility of the workers of the war industry and the scientists developing new weapons for the technologically advanced slaughter. It presents the troubled conscience of all the people involved in the war process. The question of responsibility posed in such a way invalidates the historical division between war and peace. Olivia Manning in two trilogies: The Balkan Trilogy and The Levant Trilogy describes the experience of a civilian living in the shadow of war. Evelyn Waugh returns to the topic of war in the 1950s and 1960s trilogy Sword of Honour. It has not the lightness of the 1942 book, but testifies to a defeat of ideals, the collapse of myths and a nostalgia for past values. Wiśniewski (1987) presents a detailed characteristics of the British war literature in the 20th c. Even a cursory overview of his work presented above allows us to identify the persistent motifs of this writing. The beginning of the Great War stimulated the creation of heroicromantic poetry encouraging its readers to join the army and to perform their duty for the Glory of the King and Country. Soon, however, the fu- 98 Chapter III tility of the war effort and the dismal carnage of the war of attrition were reflected in the poetry of protest. The novels of the time represent war as a catastrophe or a machine beyond the comprehension of men. The 1920s and early 1930s were dominated by the pacifist attitudes. The Spanish War, however, made it clear that to be anti-Fascist and remain anti-war was impossible. The international fight for the values embodied by the Spanish Republic sparked new enthusiasm. Quickly, though, it turned out that even the noblest values have no bearing on war atrocities, its suffering and bloodshed. The Second World War brought about another change in the representation of war. As poetry, unlike in the Spanish War, freed itself from the requirements of propaganda, taken over by the war correspondents, it became more private, focused on an individual experience of war and allowed the lyrical I to consider the moral issues, such as the struggle of good and evil, life and death, and the apprehension of suffering and dying. The novels no longer depicted war as an incomprehensible force of nature beyond human control, but rather as a natural social and political process recurring regularly in human history. 6. War correspondents In his history of war correspondents, Knightly (1975) covers a period between the Crimean War (1854-56) and the Vietnam War (1954-75). He not only portrays a long line of reporters, but also identifies certain general issues involved in the trade. Knightly considers William Howard Russell of The Times the first civilian war correspondent. Earlier press reports were often written by army officers, who were involved in the milita...
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This essay was uploaded on 02/24/2014 for the course LING 1100 taught by Professor Friedman during the Fall '09 term at Cornell University (Engineering School).

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