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WWI Literature and Culture. The Lost Generation. Artistic Tone and Content. Disillusionment Fragmentation Shell s hock/psychological distortion War life vs. proper society Coming out of Victorian values (“Great Expectations” vs. harsh realities) Cost of war, criticisms of policy

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wwi literature and culture

WWI Literature and Culture

The Lost Generation

artistic tone and content
Artistic Tone and Content
  • Disillusionment
  • Fragmentation
  • Shell shock/psychological distortion
  • War life vs. proper society
    • Coming out of Victorian values (“Great Expectations” vs. harsh realities)
  • Cost of war, criticisms of policy
  • Apocalyptic
  • Horrific and graphic
reasons for disillusionment
Reasons for Disillusionment
  • Trench warfare: Does not follow ‘gentleman’s rules’=soldiers felt like animals or “beasts”
  • Great numbers (of youth) killed—entire generation affected (as many as 1 in 4 European men killed)
  • Governments on all sides not completely honest; perceived as too ready to go to war
  • Longer life span b/c of nutrition, medication, etc. led to greater fear of death and anxieties (Mid Life Crisis)
  • Less close-combat (bombs, etc.) meant more walking wounded and maimed, less confirmed dead
    • First surgical option (b/c of infection) was amputation
  • New weaponry and tech made for extreme violence
    • Saw bayonets (Germans), grenades, flame throwers, mortars
  • Novels
    • The Good Soldier (1915)—disillusionment and questionable reality
    • All Quiet on the Western Front (1929)
    • A Farewell to Arms (1929)—cynicism, futility of war, personal prob
    • Johnny Got his Gun (1939)—The disabled, communication problems
  • Poems
    • “Waste Land” (1922)—cynicism and death
    • "Dulce et Decorum Est”—questioning honor, duty
    • "MCMXIV”—critical, cynical
    • "Anthem for a Doomed Youth”—critical, costs of war, disillusionment
    • “How to Die”—realistic portrayal of horror
  • Plays/Movies
    • Journey’s End (1928)
    • The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921)
other movements and effects life is short
Other Movements and Effects:“Life is short”
  • The Lost Generation: Parisian Expats
    • Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Picasso, Dos Passos, Erich Maria Remarque, etc.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
    • Problems with career, marriage, socializing, etc.
    • Drops in marriage rate, more divorce
    • Increased alcoholism
  • Dadaism: antiwar, anti-bourgeois, subversive
  • Nihilism (“God is dead”—Nietzsche)
all quiet on the western front
All Quiet on the Western Front

-Germany, 1929

-Enrich Maria


-Wounded in war

-Emigrated to US

-banned in Nazi


-Horrors of war,

Lost innocence,

Futility of war, Life is