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Help wanted. Disabled Students Program seeks a note taker for English 122NW $25/unit 2120 SRB for application. Lecture today. Damage & regeneration Class Ernst Friedrich & war photography. Damage & Regeneration.

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help wanted
Help wanted
  • Disabled Students Program seeks a note taker for English 122NW
  • $25/unit
  • 2120 SRB for application
lecture today
Lecture today
  • Damage & regeneration
  • Class
  • Ernst Friedrich & war photography
damage regeneration
Damage & Regeneration
  • Barker working with a particular moment in the history of psychology when nerves and sensory receptors were being studied. Early 20C clinical research on neurological responses to stimuli.
  • Madness vs. “normal” (Michel Foucault)
  • Shell shock, neuresthenia, war neurosis: expands the zone of the treatable. No longer just sane/insane.
  • Shell shock: Charles Myers (friend of Rivers)
damage regeneration ii
Damage & Regeneration, II
  • 80,000 cases of shell shock treated (recorded as treated) during the war vs. 102,000 officially reported casualties in monthof September 1917 (p. 187)
  • Insistence on the temporary quality of damage. Need to make the soldiers’ bodies useful again.
    • Callan as fighting unit being repaired (p. 238)
    • “War material” (Friedrich)
damage regeneration iii
Damage & regeneration, III
  • Protopathic: generalized, non-locatable (primitive)
  • Epicritic: specific (cerebral)
  • War neurosis: single event or gradual erosion?
      • “You’re thinking of breakdown as a reaction to a single traumatic event, but it’s not like that. It’s more a matter of…erosion. Weeks and months of stress in a situation where you can’t get away from it.” (105)
      • “This reinforced Rivers’s view that it was prolonged strain, immobility and helplessness that did the damage, and not the sudden shocks or bizarre horrors that the patients themselves were inclined to point to as the explanation for their condition.” (222)
traumatic haunting
Traumatic haunting
  • Specters: SS sees ghosts in the streets of London and dead men (Orme) visit his room
  • Tapping at the window (142-3)
  • “Prior moved among them like a ghost” (127)
  • SS, “Survivors”: “They’ll soon forget their haunted nights”
traumatic haunting8
Traumatic haunting
  • Specters: SS sees ghosts in the streets of London and dead men (Orme) visit his room
  • Tapping at the window (142-3)
  • “Prior moved among them like a ghost” (127)
  • SS, “Survivors”: “They’ll soon forget their haunted nights”
  • Traumatic event as haunting
  • Traumatic past that cannot be contained by memory but leaks into the present
  • Freud on war and the uncanny
damage regeneration iv
Damage & regeneration, IV
  • Note Rivers’ (historical and fictional) resistance to hypnosis
  • Trauma for Rivers not about the singular and accessible event
  • Instead he analyses patients’ suppression of their memories of war experience (173).
  • Recovery does not mean “cure.”
  • Metaphor of regeneration: recovery as deterioration & decay, a butterfly’s shedding of the chrysalis (184).
class decorum i
Class & decorum, I
  • Class distinctions at the front (67)
  • Institutional prestige: Cambridge (135)
  • Masculinity, “bad form,” and “gentlemanly behaviour” (199)
      • Protocols of military dress (98)
      • “emotional repression as the essence of manliness” (48)
      • Male hysteria (paralysis, aphasia, nightmares)
class decorum ii
Class & decorum, II

- Codes of conduct (gentlemanly behavior) at odds with brute realities of trench warfare and total war

      • Social rituals: tea service
  • Patriotism & heroic action: Tennyson, “Charge of the Light Brigade” (1855), “Stormed at with shot and shell,/ Boldly they rode and well” (66)
      • “Pride of the British army” (52).
  • Fantasy of “one big cavalry charge” (66)
  • Relation of fox-hunting and horsemanship to war fought with poison gas and tanks?
class decorum iii
Class & decorum, III
  • Rivers on the class-based response to trauma & “elaborate” quality of officers’ dreams
    • Notion that the ordinary soldier regresses to lower level in the evolutionary hierarchy whereby selfish survival instincts dominate
    • Officers function at a higher point on the evolutionary scale; still battling fear but duty demands sacrifice for the collective.
  • Fictional character Prior as foil to historically and culturally entrenched notions of social hierarchies (e.g. 96-97)
looking at the result
Looking at the result…

- Casualty lists: “it doesn’t even put them off their sausages!” (69); statistical abstraction

  • Sarah: “If the country demanded that price, then it should bloody well be prepared to look at the result” (160).
* Communicability or incommunicability of experience & events of war
  • “there were no words, a place of desolation so complete no imagination could have invented it” (44)
  • “Language ran out on you, in the end, the names were left to say it all. Mons, Loos, Ypres, the Somme, Arras.” (90)
walter benjamin the storyteller 1936
Walter Benjamin, “The Storyteller” (1936)

“Was it not noticeable at the end of the war that men returned from the battlefield grown silent – not richer, but poorer in communicable experience?”

* World War I so massive & decentralized as to resist coherent & comprehensive representation
wilfred owen letter to his mother 1917

Wilfred Owen, letter to his mother (1917)

“a very strange look….an incomprehensible look, which a man will never see in England….It was not despair or terror, for it was a blindfold look, without expression, like a dead rabbit’s. It will never be painted, and no actor will ever seize it. And to describe it, I think I must go back and be with them.”

- Censorship: ban on war photography
  • Firing squad penalty for taking pictures at the front
  • Some illicit photographs: Wilfred Owen carried photos of war dead in his pockets
  • Artists allowed at front in 1916 but not allowed to include dead men in their works
  • Recreations; issues of authenticity
  • Importance of WWI poetry as representational medium
US correspondents not allowed to visit British & French front lines
  • No Allied reporters in Germany when stations, U-boat bases, and factories were bombed
  • No German journalists covering the Allied side of the trenches
  • “no more discreditable period in the history of journalism than four years of the Great War” (British historian)
  • ‘CNN effect’: war now a media event fought on camera
Nonetheless, we have controlled access
  • Legacy of Vietnam: public opinion linked to circulation of images
  • Reactions to massacres and napalm bombings prompt questions:
      • Did images shift public opinion or reflect that shift? (Vietnam, Somalia)
      • What is the cultural function of war photography (photojournalism)?
      • Can a photograph of war be anti-war?
photography representational authenticity
Photography & representational authenticity
  • Post WWI: Photography privileged medium for documentary representation
  • Presupposition: photos are scientific
  • Presupposition: photos are reflection of prior truth, not creation of that truth
  • Are photographs transparent or ideological reflection of the real? (Friedrich, “the inexorable, incorruptible photographic lens”)
ernst friedrich war against war
Ernst Friedrich, War Against War
  • 1924: ten-year anniversary
ernst friedrich war against war24
Ernst Friedrich, War Against War
  • 1924: ten-year anniversary
  • Photographs censored during the war by the German government
  • Personal collection & exhibition of pictures; then publication
  • Instant sensation and “bestseller”
  • Censorship & raiding of his shop
  • Nationalist opposition to antimilitarist use of war imagery; Feb 1925, refounding of Nazi party; Friedrich declared as non-citizen
war against war ii
War Against War, II
  • Audience: written in English, French, German; fourth language varies among Dutch, Norwegian, Russian.
  • Translated into forty languages
  • Exclamation points & boldface
  • Direct address to the reader
  • Captions
  • Response to war propaganda, “a picture of War, objectively true and faithful to nature”
war against war iii
War Against War, III
  • Thematic streams:
      • Enthusiastic volunteers
      • Violent death
      • Destruction of the landscape
      • Soldiers’ graves
  • Language of war reports (“no particular occurrences at the front”)
  • “Human beings in all lands” (corpses all nationalities)
  • Intent: shock the public out of moral complacency
war against war iv
War Against War, IV
  • Mode: bitter irony
  • Images of atrocity juxtaposed with propaganda, official rhetoric (“field of honor”; “to die like a hero”)
  • Owen: “the old Lie”
  • Abstractions like “honor,”“heroism,” and “how magnificent is the soldier’s life” undercut by materiality of corpses
  • Reality of death: “heroic horses”
war against war v
War Against War, V
  • Monarchy as particular object of scorn
  • Aristocracy but also class hierarchies
  • Generals vs. soldiers
    • Single, ceremonial funeral parade vs. mass graves of the proletariat
    • Officers discussing strategy over coffee with soldiers’ bodies as game pieces
    • “At the front: the Crown Prince is not present.”
    • Call for full responsibility; the king who declares war must fight the war
war against war vi
War Against War, VI
  • Treatise against the idea and actual fact of War
    • “mass murder”
    • “butchery”; “mass butchery”
    • War as “common monstrous enemy”
    • “this most diabolical, this meanest and lowest of all crimes of the State”
    • Plato: “all wars arise for the possession of wealth”
    • Wars fought for interests of International Capital
    • The “eternal war,” the exploited against the exploiters
    • Militarism reduced to economic motives
war against war vii
War Against War, VII
  • Question: Why did Europe stand for WWI and what will it do to prevent future wars?
  • After Friedrich: war propaganda becomes increasingly visual
why look at the visual record
Why look at the visual record?

“Let the atrocious images haunt us. Even if they are only tokens and cannot possibly encompass all the reality of a people’s agony, they still perform an immensely positive function. The image says: keep these events in your memory.”

- Susan Sontag

“a people’s agony” (Sontag)


a people’s triumph (national glory; the “pride of the British army”)

  • first as prelude to second
  • vengeance narratives, e.g. Serbs (Joe Sacco)