Book Launch - Commemorative Modernisms: Women Writers, Death and the First World War (2020)

Commemorative Modernisms

Join us for a roundtable discussion of Alice Kelly's new book, Commemorative Modernisms: Women Writers, Death and the First World War (2020).

One of the key questions of modern literature was the problem of what to do with the war dead. Through a series of case studies focusing on nurse narratives, Edith Wharton, Katherine Mansfield, H.D., and Virginia Woolf, as well as visual and material culture, Commemorative Modernisms: Women Writers, Death and the First World War provides the first sustained study of women’s literary representations of death and the culture of war commemoration that underlie British and American literary modernism. Considering previously neglected writing by women in the war zones and at home, as well as the marginalised writings of well-known modernist authors, and drawing on international archival research, this book demonstrates the intertwining of modernist, war, and memorial culture, and broadens the canon of war writing.

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Elleke Boehmer is Professor of World Literature in English in the English Faculty, University of Oxford, and Director of the Oxford Centre for Life Writing, based at Wolfson College. She is a Fellow of the Royal Literary Society and Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. She is a founding figure in the field of colonial and postcolonial studies, and internationally known for her research in anglophone literatures of empire and anti-empire. Her most recent academic books are Indian Arrivals (2015), winner of the 2015-16 biennial ESSE Prize, and Postcolonial Poetics (2018), and in fiction, her most recent publications are The Shouting in the Dark (2015) and To the Volcano (2019).

Alice Kelly is a Lecturer in American Literature at the University of Sussex, and the Communications and Events Officer here at the Rothermere American Institute. After her PhD at Cambridge and a Fox Fellowship at Yale University, she returned to Oxford in 2015 as a Women in the Humanities Writing Fellow at TORCH, and the Harmsworth Junior Research Fellow at the Rothermere American Institute from 2016-19. Her research focuses on twentieth-century literary and cultural history in Britain and America. As well as Commemorative Modernisms, Alice has published a critical edition of Edith Wharton’s First World War reportage, Fighting France: From Dunkerque to Belfort (2015), and essays on modernist and First World War literature. She has held a Remarque Fellowship at New York University and a British Academy Rising Stars Award for her interdisciplinary seminar series Cultures and Commemorations of War.

Jane Potter is Reader in Arts at the Oxford International Centre for Publishing, Oxford Brookes University. Her publications include Boys in Khaki, Girls in Print: Women’s Literary Responses to the Great War, 1914-1918 (Oxford University Press, 2005), Three Poets of the First World War: Ivor Gurney, Isaac Rosenberg and Wilfred Owen (Penguin Classics, 2011) edited with Jon Stallworthy, Wilfred Owen: An Illustrated Life (Bodleian Library Publishing, 2014), and, with Carol Acton, Working in a World of Hurt: Trauma and Resilience in the Narratives of Medical Personnel in War Zones (Manchester University Press, 2015). She is also the editor of The Selected Letters of Wilfred Owen: New Edition (Oxford University Press) and A Cambridge History of World War One Poetry (Cambridge University Press), both forthcoming.

John Horne is an historian. He is emeritus Fellow and former Professor of Modern European History at Trinity College Dublin. A Member of the Royal Irish Academy, he is also Vice-President of the Research Centre at the Historial de la Grande Guerre, Péronne (France). In 2016-17 he was Leverhulme Visiting Professor at Oxford University. He is the author and editor of a number of books and over a hundred chapters and articles, many relating to the Great War. Among his latest publications are (ed.) A Companion to World War One (Oxford, Blackwell-Wiley, 2010); (ed.) Vers la guerre totale: le tournant de 1914-1915 (Paris, Tallandier, 2010); with Robert Gerwarth, War in Peace: Paramilitary Violence in Europe after the Great War (Oxford University Press, 2012); and ‘End of a Paradigm? The Cultural History of the Great War,’ Past and Present, 242/1, 2019, pp. 155-92.