At Home, At War: Domesticity and World War I in American Literature

TitleAt Home, At War: Domesticity and World War I in American Literature
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsHaytock, Jennifer Anne
Number of Pages147
PublisherOhio State University Press

This study argues that such literary divisions as war novel and domestic novel limit readers’ understanding of the ways these categories rely on and respond to each other. The author argues that gender creates an ideological context through which both domesticity and war are viewed and understood; issues of home and violence are intricately related for U.S. authors who wrote about the First World War. The author explores what war and domestic texts represent in light of the deconstructionist and feminist project of re-reading: seeing what is said in its cultural and historical context and seeing what is not said. In war novels and domestic novels by Temple Bailey, Ellen Glasgow, Edith Wharton, Willa Cather, John Dos Passos, Thomas Boyd, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, and Eudora Welty, the idea of home and domestic rituals contribute to the creation of war propaganda, the soldier’s experience of war, and the home front’s ability to confront the war after the fact. This approach helps literary criticism reject the separation of men’s and women’s writing, particularly but not only their writing about war.

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