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Title: The First World War : history, literature and myth
Author: Trott , Vincent Andrew
ISNI:       0000 0004 5363 7865
Awarding Body: Open University
Current Institution: Open University
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis explores the role literature played in the creation and subsequent development of the mythology of the First World War in Britain. In this thesis, the term 'mythology' is used to denote a set of dominant symbols and narratives which characterise how the past is represented and understood. Many historians consider literature to be the source of the British mythology of the First World War, but it is argued here that previous historical approaches have paid insufficient attention to the processes by which books were published, promoted and received. Drawing on Book History methodologies, this thesis therefore also examines these processes with reference to a range of literary works, whilst employing theoretical models advanced in the field of memory studies to interrogate further the relationship between literature and evolving popular attitudes to the First World War. Through a series of case studies this thesis demonstrates that publishers, hitherto overlooked by scholars in this context, played a crucial role in constructing the mythology of the First World War between 1918 and 2014. Their identification of texts, and promotional strategies, were key processes by which this mythology was developed across the twentieth century and beyond. By examining critical and popular responses to literature this thesis also problematizes the linear narrative by which the mythology of the war is often taken to have evolved. It demonstrates that myths of the war have been constructed and contested by various groups at different times, and that the evolving memories of veterans were not always in alignment with those of the wider public. In doing so it provides a powerful counterargument to the assumption that a mythology of the First World War has become hegemonic in recent decades.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available