Arms and the Woman: War, Gender, and Literary Representation

By Helen M. Cooper; Adrienne Auslander Munich et al. | Go to book overview

The Women and Men of 1914

James Longenbach

In an essay on Wyndham Lewis published on June 15, 1914, Ezra Pound named his fellow Vorticist "a man at war." 1 The remark was prescient, for exactly one week after Lewis's public declaration of war on Edwardian taste appeared in the June 20 issue of Blast, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand was shot at Sarajevo. Soon Lewis donned a helmet, and along with Ford Madox Ford, he became one of the few self-proclaimed "men of 1914" who participated in both the battle of modernism and the battle of the Somme.

There were other wars taking place in Edwardian society before the Great War began on August 4, 1914, when the time limit on Britain's ultimatum to Germany ran out. During the first half of 1914, Emmeline Pankhurst (organizer of the Women's Social and Political Union) was imprisoned four times, responding each time with a hunger strike and raising her total number of strikes to twelve. At the same time, her army of suffragettes had set an arsonist's record, burning 107 buildings, including two ancient churches at Wargrave and Breadsall. The windows at 10 Downing Street had already been broken. Velázquez's Venus was slashed and a mummy case in the British Museum was damaged. 2 In the first issue of Blast Lewis offered these words of advice addressed "TO SUFFRAGETTES":

IN DESTRUCTION, AS IN OTHER THINGS,
stick to what you understand.

WE MAKE YOU A PRESENT OF OUR VOTES.
ONLY LEAVE WORKS OF ART ALONE.
YOU MIGHT SOME DAY DESTROY A
GOOD PICTURE BY ACCIDENT.

THEN!--
MAIS SOYEZ BONNES FILLES!
NOUS VOUS AIMONS!

WE ADMIRE YOUR ENERGY. YOU AND ARTISTS
ARE THE ONLY THINGS (YOU DON'T MIND
BEING CALLED THINGS?) LEFT IN ENGLAND
WITH A LITTLE LIFE IN THEM.

-97-

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Arms and the Woman: War, Gender, and Literary Representation
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Notes xix
  • War and Memory 1
  • Arms and the Woman: The Con[tra]ception of the War Text 9
  • Notes 23
  • Works Cited 23
  • "Still Wars and Lechery": Shakespeare and the Last Trojan Woman 25
  • Notes 39
  • Works Cited 40
  • Rewriting History: Madame de Villedieu and the Wars of Religion 43
  • Notes 55
  • Works Cited 57
  • Southern Women's Diaries of Sherman's March to the Sea, 1864-1865 59
  • Notes 75
  • Works Cited 77
  • Civil Wars and Sexual Territories 80
  • Notes 95
  • Works Cited 96
  • The Women and Men of 1914 97
  • Notes 118
  • Corpus/Corps/Corpse: Writing the Body in/at War 124
  • Notes 159
  • Works Cited 164
  • May Sinclair's The Tree of Heaven: The Vortex of Feminism, the Community of War 168
  • Notes 179
  • Works Cited 182
  • Combat Envy and Survivor Guilt: Willa Cather's "Manly Battle Yarn" 184
  • Notes 201
  • Works Cited 203
  • "Seeds for the Sowing": The Diary of Käthe Kollwitz 205
  • Notes 221
  • Works Cited 223
  • A Needle with Mama's Voice: Mitsuye Yamada's Camp Notes and the American Canon of War Poetry 225
  • Notes 241
  • Feminism, the Great War, and Modern Vegetarianism 244
  • Images of Love and War in Contemporary Israeli Fiction: A Feminist Re-vision 268
  • Notes 277
  • Works Cited 280
  • Nuclear Domesticity: Sequence and Survival 283
  • Notes 299
  • "Epitaphs and Epigraphs: 'The End(s) of Man'" 303
  • Notes 319
  • Works Cited 321
  • A Bibliography of Secondary Sources 323
  • The Contributors 331
  • Index 335
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