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Writing disenchantmentBritish First World War prose, 1914-30$
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Andrew Frayn

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780719089220

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719089220.001.0001

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date: 15 December 2018

Popular disenchantment: the War Books Boom, 1928–1930

Popular disenchantment: the War Books Boom, 1928–1930

(p.201) 5 Popular disenchantment: the War Books Boom, 1928–1930
Writing disenchantment

Andrew Frayn

Manchester University Press

This chapter details the rise and fall of the War Books Boom of 1928 - 1930. Erich Maria Remarque's Im Westen Nichts Neues (All Quiet on the Western Front) was first serialised in Germany on the tenth anniversary of the Armistice to widespread controversy. A few months later, R. C. Sherriff's Journey's End became a theatrical success in London's West End. Richard Aldington's Death of a Hero is a focus for the chapter, perhaps the most vitriolic novel of the War Books Boom. The title of Aldington's novel shows clearly that the redemption of previous novels such as Raymond's is now largely gone. The concluding analysis is of women's Western Front nursing narratives, examining in detail War Nurse, an anonymously-published popular romance by Rebecca West. These works are just as shocking as any combatant writing, dealing on a daily basis with bodies and minds broken by mechanical warfare. By 1930 commercial novels seek to capitalise on the language of disenchantment, grown throughout the decade from a marginalised to a dominant position.

Keywords:   War Books Boom, Richard Aldington, Frederic Manning, Rebecca West, Helen Zenna Smith (Evadne Price), Heroism, Gender

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