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Title: British children's books and the First World War, 1914-2007
Author: Budgen, David
ISNI:       0000 0001 1698 6802
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis traces the developments in understanding of the First World War through the medium of children's books. Utilising novels, school textbooks, comics and story papers, it examines the changing attitudes towards the conflict, assesses the reasons behind such varying viewpoints, and examines the role children's writers play in establishing such perspectives. Chapter one focuses on the war years, 1914 to 1918. This period saw a plethora of material being produced for the young. Children's books were propagandistic, and often presented a view of the Great War that was far removed from reality. Often, it is argued, writers fell back on interpreting the war using more traditional understandings of warfare that both they and their audiences were familiar with. Chapter two looks at similar sources for the period 1919-1945. It examines the material in the context of other debates that were occurring in society at that time regarding the legacy of the war. Moreover, it assesses the extent to which the war could be presented in the same way to children as it had been during the conflict, given the greater knowledge in society about the experience of the war. Chapter three traces these ideas through the period after the Second World War up to the beginning of the twenty-first century. It argues that modern writers have used the war to comment on their own society; negative aspects of the war came to represent the extent to which modem society had changed for the better. Because of this the understanding of the war has been reduced to a few key, yet unrepresentative events. Furthermore, writers have been actively engaged in defending their interpretation of the conflict from modem historians who have attempted to present a more nuanced view of the Great War. These debates are still continuing.
Supervisor: Connelly, Mark L. ; Welch, David Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: D501 World War I (1914-1918) ; PN Literature (General)