Embattled Home Fronts
Embattled Home Fronts is an inquiry into the highly conflicted US American experience of World War I as it plays itself out in the diverse body of novelistic works to which it has given rise and by which it has been, in turn, shaped and commemorated. As such, this book naturally concerns itself with the formal aspects of artistic war representation. But rather than merely endeavoring to illustrate how American writers from various backgrounds chose to depict World War I, the present work seeks to uncover the particular ideologies and political practices that inform these representational choices.
To this end, Embattled Home Fronts examines both canonized and marginalized US American World War I novels within the context of contemporaneous debates over shifting class, gender, and race relations. The book contends that American literary representations of the Great War are shaped less by universal insights into modern society’s self-destructiveness than by concerted efforts to fashion class-, gender-, and race-specific experiences of warfare in ways that stabilize and heighten political group identities. In moving beyond the customary focus on ironic war representations, Embattled Home Fronts illustrates that the representational and ideological battles fought within American World War I literature not only shed light on the emergence of powerful identity-political concepts such as the New Woman and the New Negro, but also speak to the reappearance of utopian, communitarian, and social protest fictions in the early 1930s.
This study Embattled Home Fronts provides a new understanding of the relationship between war literature and home front politics that should be of interest to students and scholars working from a variety of disciplines and perspectives