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Women and War: the battlefront and the Home front . “What men suffer through war is written in histories…but what women suffer is never written.” PP by: Karina Huerta. Djuna Barnes (1892-1982).

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women and war the battlefront and the home front

Women and War: the battlefront and the Home front

“What men suffer through war is written in histories…but what women suffer is never written.”

PP by: Karina Huerta

djuna barnes 1892 1982
Djuna Barnes (1892-1982)
  • American writer, she reaches out to both directions (the experience of fighting suffragettes being forcibly fed and the experience of the soldiers in the trenches).
  • Submitted herself to the procedure in solidarity with women who had undergone force feeding.
  • One of her “stunt” stories was published as “How It Feels To Be Forcibly Fed” on September 6, 1914.
  • She didn’t know firsthand about the trenches she was speaking about in her stories but yet she drew and published writings and drawings, supporting the way women were being treated.
colette 1873 1954
Colette (1873-1954)
  • French writer and journalist.
  • Documented life at the front when she visited her husband on the battlefield of Verdun in 1915.
  • Her impressions of experiencing an aerial battle at Verdun are laced with the descriptions of the battle.
mary rinehart 1876 1958
Mary Rinehart (1876-1958)
  • American writer who was sent to Belgium to report on the war.
  • In February 1915 she was allowed to tour the trenches and No Man’s Land at the Belgian front which was flooded in order to slow down the German army.
  • “any lingering belief I may have had in the grandeur and glory of war died that night beside that silver lake—died of an odor, and will never live again.”
rebecca west 1892 1983
Rebecca West (1892-1983)
  • British writer, she chose to explore the home front by visiting the Scottish Dornock Munitions Factory in 1916.
  • Her article, “Hands That War: The Cordite Makers”, provides a fairytale association in a description of women working in extremely dangerous and explosive conditions to produce cordite.
  • Cordite- smokeless propellant developed in the U.K. in 1889 to replace gunpowder.
katherine mansfield 1888 1923
Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923)
  • British author, her brother was killed in action in France. She visited the war zone in 1915.
  • Her story “The Fly”, written in 1922, mocks the lack of importance of human life as it describes a man who is grieving the loss of his son in the war and whom decides to torture a fly which has fallen in the inkpot.
  • Her story serves as an image for humanity’s helplessness in the magnitude of war.
gertrude stein 1874 1946
Gertrude Stein (1874-1946)
  • American expatriate writer.
  • Her spoof, “The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas”, constructs her longtime lover and partner as the speaker/ author of an autobiography whose central figure is herself, Gertrude.
  • She decided to help in the war effort by ordering a Ford truck from the U.S. to deliver medical supplies to French hospitals for the American Fund for French Wounded.
frida schanz 1859 1944
FridaSchanz (1859-1944)
  • German poet
  • In Germany, August 1914 the nation exploded with enthusiasm for its successes at the front. The German newspaper gloated about the “victories”.
  • The same newspaper published the poem, “Silence” which is by Frida, on August 17, 1914.
  • The poem proposed a feeling of “calm before the storm”
edith sitwell 1887 1964
Edith Sitwell (1887-1964)
  • English writer, her poem “The Dancers” uses the imagery of the dance as a counterpoint to war in a powerful parallel to Shanz’s imagery of silence.
  • The first stanza, which was published in 1918, was inspired by the Battle of the Somme (1916).
  • This poem communal “we” has an ironic recognition that a good God makes it possible for those at home to keep on dancing.
  • She published seven of Wilfred Owen’s poems in her journal, Wheels, she mentions that his poems hit “home so hard that one finds oneself crying”.
  • Wheels appeared between 1916 and 1921, mocking the standards of taste current at the time.
vera brittain 1893 1970
Vera Brittain (1893-1970)
  • British writer suffered personal loss when her fiancé, Roland Leighton, was killed in action in 1915.
  • She joined the Voluntary Aid Detachment (V.A.D.) as a nurse.
  • Her experiences affected her volume “Verses of a V.A.D.” published in 1918.
  • During spring of 1918, she was at home tending her parents, when she found out her brother was also killed in action at the Italian front. She wrote memoirs of her war experience.
  • Poem “Sic Transit-” is dedicated to Victor Richardson who was blinded at the Battle of Vimy Ridge in 1917.
the influence of filippo marinetti and futurism
The Influence of filippomarinetti and futurism
  • “Futurist Manifesto” by F.T. Marinetti (1876-1944) highlights an imagery which would not only inspire Futurist paintings but also would capture the central theme of the new movement Marinetti meant to initiate, uncontrollable power of modern machinery.
  • The Futurist Manifesto seemed to herald with delight the advent of war and violence, and Marinetti was determined to promote himself anfd this new conception of art as explosively as he could.
  • Writer and philosopher T.E.Hulme may have been the most influential thinker to inspire the development of modernism as practiced by others.
  • Hulme claimed it as the “instantaneous receipt of information through the senses…”
  • Hulme met with a group at Café Tour d’Eiffel in London which is where Ezra Pound first came under Hulme’s influence.
  • Pound published “imagiste” poems and one of them was problematic due to the fact that he didn’t see any kind of war action, but Hulme did and died at the front. It’s logical that Pound got the gist of the poem from Hulme.
  • The development of Cubist art is designed to advance the readership for the work of avant-garde writers.
the development of cubism
The development of cubism
  • Productive artistic friendship and collaboration between Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso resulted in the development of Cubism.
  • The name derived from a critic’s comment at Braque’s first exhibition in Paris in 1908, his paintings were constructed of little “cubes.”
  • Henri Matisse suggested the name “Cubism.”
  • Picasso and Braque, with the later addition of Juan Gris and others, shaped the movement until it ended as WWI began.
the influence of post impressionist art
The influence of post-impressionist art
  • Roger Fry opened an exhibition he entitled “Manet and the Post-Impressionists” the response by viewers and critics was overwhelmingly hostile.
  • The “damage” had been done and England was exposed to new development in paintings.
  • Virginia Woolf could look back from the other side of the war and see that the world had been in the struggle of monumental change years before the war.

-To facilitate the upheaval, “little” magazines appeared.

-A weekly journal edited by A.R. Orage, played a significant role in fostering debates about modernism during the years of its publication between 1907-1922.

-Widely electric in the social and political positions, “The New Age” published essays and original literary works by authors.


-Appeared in only four volumes from 1908-1910, which was published by Ford MadoxHueffer, and featured a mix of older and newer writers.

-The journal was an important force in the transitional period between traditional work and the appearance of the avant-garde.

poetry a magazine of verse
Poetry: a magazine of verse
  • Harriet Monroe’s “Poetry: A Magazine of Verse” begun in 1912 and is one the most substantial, long-lasting, and one of the first American journals dedicated to printing poetry.
  • She was inspired by Walt Whitman’s “To have great poets there must be great audiences too” she dedicated her efforts to publishing the best modern poetry she could find.
  • Monroe also was incredibly prescient in her understanding of how the world’s view of war would change, writing in her editorial “The Poetry of War” for the September 1914 issue of “poetry.”
the little review
The little review
  • Founded by Margaret Anderson in 1914 through 1929.
  • Achieved a reputation as one of the chief periodicals “in the English-speaking world for publishing experimental writing and publicizing international art.”
  • Ezra Pound became the foreign editor in 1917, he influenced its emphasis on international experimentation.
  • Was founded and edited in 1914 by Wyndham Lewis and only ran for two issues one in June 1914 and July 1915.
  • Helped shape “Vorticism” reacting against but influenced by Imagism, Futurism, and Cubism. A new way of articulating the nature of emergent art.
  • It also included a number of Pound’s poems, since Pound was an important collaborator in this venture with Lewis.
the influence of wwi
The influence of WWi
  • With global war beginning, the momentum of avant-garde art and Modernist literature clearly slowed. Then as it began, avant-gardism came increasingly under attack.
  • Modernism was at a standstill.
  • T.S. Elliot wrote to Conrad Aiken, “Nearly everyone has faded away from London, or is there very rarely…The vorticists are non-existent.”
  • Post-war Modernism was born, bringing with it “the most important and wide-ranging cultural change in modern English history.”
  • Despite a pervasive atmosphere of disillusionment, post-war Modernist writers rose to new heights of representations of their world.
hemingway s role in the rise of modernism
Hemingway’s role in the rise of modernism
  • Spent time at the apartment of Gertrude Stein.
  • Stein was a collector of Picasso’s art and a mentor to Hemingway’s writing.
  • Hemingway’s story “Big Two-Hearted River” was indebted for the visuality of its landscapes to Cezanne’s own late landscape paintings.
  • Through Pound, Hemingway was exposed to radical forms experimentations developed through Pound’s pre-way associations with avant-gardism.
  • Hemingway also began to place his work in “little” magazines, which revived in the post-war era.
  • In December 1921, Hemingway had arrived at the right place at the right time.