The Edinburgh Companion to Twentieth-Century Literatures in English

By Brian McHale; Randall Stevenson | Go to book overview

Chapter 3
1916, Flanders, London, Dublin:
‘Everything Has Gone Well’

Randall Stevenson

Human character may have changed, as Virginia Woolf claimed, ‘on or about December 1910’ (Woolf 1986–94: 3: 421). But it changed more radically at 7.30am on Saturday, 1 July 1916, with the beginning of the offensive on the Somme – a battle which eventually wiped out more than a million human characters, around half of them British. Fundamental changes in human communication, too, were in evidence over that weekend. The language and even the page-layout of The Times on Monday 3 July – when the battle was first reported in the London daily press – indicate areas involved. Other events and publications in 1916 further highlight new influences on the age and its writing: 1916 offers both a half-way stage and a defining moment in the emergence of modernist literature between 1900 and 1930.

Pages in The Times, first of all, confront readers with some odd contrasts between columns, and between war and non-military life. Headed ‘Roll of Honour’, page 12 is devoted almost entirely to an immense list of military casualties – more than 1,500 names – yet contains in the middle a brief ‘Oxford Honours List’, naming recent graduates alongside the recently dead or wounded. In this brief column, the name ‘A. L. Huxley’ appears in ‘Class I’ of English Language and Literature graduates – the novelist Aldous Huxley, whose first book, a collection of poems, was published two months later. A still stranger contrast appears on page 10 (Fig. 3.1). In a column on the left, fighting on the Somme is described as ‘of the most desperate character … fierce beyond description … a sight of pure horror’. Four inches to the right, a Kodak advertisement invites readers to turn ‘this year’s holiday’ into a ‘picture-story of every sunny hour’. Though seldom so bizarre, juxtapositions of this kind were becoming almost familiar in the modern age. Less than 2 per cent of the population read newspapers in 1850, but the introduction of faster, cheaper rotary presses helped raise this figure to 20 per cent even by the end of the century. Wider circulation was further encouraged by replacement of old-fashioned, print-saturated pages with more reader-friendly, headlinebased layouts – often including graphic advertising, capitalising on expanding readerships.

Reshaped encounters with newsprint had resonances in modernist fiction, figuring in both the subject and style of its outstanding achievement, James Joyce’s Ulysses (1922). When work as an advertising man takes Bloom to the newspaper office in the ‘Aeolus’ chapter (7), the text itself reproduces the kind of headlines beginning to dominate contemporary journalism. It also describes Bloom watching the printing presses and worrying that ‘machines. Smash a man to atoms’ and may ‘Rule the world one day’ (Joyce 1992: 150). Similar fears of ‘flesh turned to atoms’ (1973: 150), in a new machine age, figure in Virginia Woolf ‘s references to the war in To the Lighthouse (1927). But Ulysses principally reflects another atomisation: the print media’s new powers in fragmenting the

-35-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Edinburgh Companion to Twentieth-Century Literatures in English
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 296

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.