Writing War, Wronging the Person: Representation of Human Insecurity in War Literature
Keywords:war literature, trauma, rape, masculinity, heroism
This paper presents a survey of literature written in response to wars throughout the world. The paper argues that plays, poems, memoirs and novels have been written to celebrate combatants as heroes; war literature has also been written to overcome the trauma of war while other literature has been written to underscore the effects of war and to speak out against wars. The paper also discusses the rationale for studying war literature and argues that as creative expression, literature allows us, through the imagined world of the author, to identify social trends and structures that shape the world, in particular, the factors that lead to and sustain conflict, as well as experiences of war and its long term individual and general effects. Also, literature's aesthetic quality and its capacity to engage its audience makes it easier to transmit war time experience, and hopefully the wisdom gained from that experience, from one generation to another.
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