Manhood and War Making: The Literary Response to the Radicalization of Masculinity for the Purposes of WWI Propaganda

TitleManhood and War Making: The Literary Response to the Radicalization of Masculinity for the Purposes of WWI Propaganda
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsHersh, Samuel Joseph
PublisherKent State University Honors College and OhioLINK
CityKent, OH, USA
Abstract

With the outbreak of World War One, a newly developed definition of manhood focusing on heartiness of character and virility (in contrast to the Victorian ideal of delicacy and sophistication) was cemented by its appropriation into war propaganda. Britain, German, and American propaganda all used their countries' new robust forms of manhood, radicalizing it in order to lure young men into enlisting. But the realities of the war broke this illusion of masculinity, leaving a generation of men destroyed; subsequently, a distinct sect of anti-war literature developed in in all three countries that sought to expose the destruction caused by this hypermasculine war lie. Through the use of historicism, critical theory, and literary analysis, Hersh argues that America's Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo, Germany's All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Remarque, and the war poetry of Britain's Wilfred Own are all literary pieces of social dissent. Each author writes about the war, or war experience, that destabilizes the hegemonic form of masculinity used before and during the war, producing works of counter-propaganda aimed at the state and society as a whole. In doing so, they help dismantle larger systems of oppression and disseminate counter-cultural sentiments. [Author]

URLhttp://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=ksuhonors1493915080610264
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1057283830