Literature of War - Fall 2019 - Dr. Jeanne McGinn
(Literature of War FA19)

The First World War (1914 – 1918) was touted as “the war to end all wars,” but that promise proved optimistic if not hyperbolic. In this course we will explore the concept of war from the point of view of painters, poets, playwrights, and prose writers.

What have been the motivations for war as described in these texts? What have been the effects of war on soldiers? On those who remain on the home front? We will analyze concepts including patriotism, nationalism, pacifism, terrorism, aggression, justice, duty, honor and courage.

We will begin with texts about the First World War by Ernest Hemingway, Rebecca West, and Virginia Woolf. We’ll read poems by soldiers who saw action during WWI, and then we will shift to work that depicts the Second World War, Vietnam, and perhaps the more recent wars in Europe and the Middle East. Course requirements include lively participation, two in-class presentations, and two essays.