Jay Winter's powerful new study of the 'collective remembrance' of the Great War offers a major reassessment of one of the critical episodes in the cultural history of the twentieth century. Using a great variety of literary, artistic and architectural evidence, Dr Winter looks anew at the culture of commemoration, and the ways in which communities endeavoured to find collective solace after 1918. Taking issue with the prevailing 'Modernist' interpretation of the European reaction to the appalling events of 1914-1918, Dr Winter instead argues that what characterised that reaction was, rather, the attempt to interpret the Great War within traditional frames of reference. Tensions arose, inevitably. Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning is a profound and moving book of seminal importance for the attempt to understand the course of European history during the first half of the twentieth century.
• A major book on a central topic in the history of the twentieth century • Well-established author (American, based in Cambridge), with very good media contacts, currently writing the script for a BBC series on the history of World War I • Excellent range of illustrations, from both high art to contemporary photography
Introduction: Sites of Memory; Part I. Catostrophe and consolation: 1. Homecomings: the return of the dead; 2. Communities in mourning; 3. Spiritualism and the 'Lost Generation' 4. War memorials and the mourning process; Part II. Cultural codes and languages of mourning: 5. Mythologies of war: films, popular religion, and the business of the sacred; 6. The apocalytic imagination in art: from anticipation to allegory; 7. The apocalytic imagination in war literature; 8. War poetry, romanticism, and the return of the sacred; 9. Conclusion.
'From now on this book will be indispensable to our understanding of the Great War. The most recent scholarship has been taken into account, but, above all, Jay Winter gives us crucial new insights into the war's meaning from the process of mourning for the fallen to apocalyptic literature.' George L. Mosse, University of Wisconsin, Madison and author of Fallen Soldiers
'Jay Winter has enlarged the frame of cultural history and enriched its texture. He transforms our understanding of World War One as a cataclysmic event in the experience of European peoples.' Kenneth S. Inglis, Emeritus Professor, Australian National University
'This is a profound and moving book, thoroughly to be recommended.' Stephen Croad, Despatches
' … a profoundly moving book … It is strongly recommended for anyone interested in cultural history and, in particular, in the ways in which individuals and communities respond to the experience of universal grief and mourning and try to find meaning and comfort, if not peace'. Otago Daily Times
'No one interested in the broad impact of the First World War, or of the cultural history of the twentieth century, can afford to neglect this book.' The Times Literary Supplement