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The Labour of Loss

The Labour of Loss
Mourning, Memory and Wartime Bereavement in Australia


Part of Studies in the Social and Cultural History of Modern Warfare

  • Date Published: August 1999
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521669740

£ 30.00

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About the Authors
  • The Labour of Loss, first published in 1999, explores how mothers, fathers, widows, relatives and friends dealt with their experiences of grief and loss during and after the First and Second World Wars. Based on an examination of private loss through letters and diaries, it makes a significant contribution to understanding how people came to terms with the deaths of friends and family. The book considers the ways in which the bereaved dealt with grief psychologically, and analyses the social and cultural context within which they mourned their dead. Damousi shows that grief remained with people as they attempted to re-build an internal and external world without those to whom they had been so fundamentally attached. Unlike other studies in this area, The Labour of Loss considers how mourning affected men and women in different ways, and analyses the gendered dimensions of grief.

    • Uses imaginative and provocative primary source material
    • Powerfully written
    • Original arguments about war and grief
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    Reviews & endorsements

    ' … compelling … The Labour of Loss offers a new perspective on the impact of twentieth-century warfare, because it engages seriously with the dimensions of grief and emotion experienced by soldiers and their families.' Kate Darian-Smith, The Times Literary Supplement

    'This sensitive, though sometimes harrowing, study of the impact of war and the ensuring peace … will surely have wide cross-disciplinary resonance.' The Times Higher Education Supplement

    ' … deserves the highest praise. Without ever sacrificing a formidable theoretical power, [Damousi] never forgets that this is an intensely human story. It is one of the best, perhaps the best, book of its kind.' English Historical Review

    '… scholarly and humane …'. Grief Matters

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 1999
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521669740
    • length: 224 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 12 mm
    • weight: 0.31kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. The First World War:
    1. Theatres of grief, theatres of loss
    2. The sacrificial mother
    3. A father's loss
    4. The war widow and the cost of memory
    5. Returned limbless soldiers: identity through loss
    Part II. The Second World War:
    6. Absence as loss on the homefront and the battlefront
    7. Grieving mothers
    8. A war widow's mourning.

  • Author

    Joy Damousi, University of Melbourne

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