The editors for the August 3, 1929 issue of The Saturday Review of Literature removed their collective caps in deep solemnity for the disasters that began that week just fifteen years earlier when the opening shots were fired that began the First World War.
It was a fitting tribute coming from a literary magazine in 1929, for that would be the year that introduced some of the finest World War I books to the reading public: Undertones of War (Blunden), The Path of Glory (Blake) and All Quiet on the Western Front (Remarque), which are all mentioned herein.
Henry Seidel Canby (1878 - 1961) was one of the founding editors of The Saturday of Literature
and in this article he put pen to paper and presented his readers with a concise summation of what he liked to call "the five phases" of war literature. Canby sensed that since 1919 there had been five unique types of war books, all produced by veterans, and that Erich Maria Remarque's (1898 – 1970) All Quiet on the Western Front was typical of the fifth variety that was appearing in 1929:
"The balance hangs true in Remarque. Pacifism is a theory, militarism is a theory, war is a necessity - not in its causes, for who really hates the enemy! - but for this doomed generation it is a fact. War for these men is normal, which does not mean that they like it."
A 1930 article about the movie can be read herecan be read here.
Attached, you will find the 1917 review of Carry On
by Coningsby Dawson (1883 - 1959). The book is a collection of the author's beautifully crafted letters that were written to his family while he served on the Western Front during the First World War. Dawson's ability to convey the urgency of the allied cause was so well received he was assigned to write two additional books by the British Ministry of Information: The Glory of the Trenches and Out to Win, both published in 1918 (neither of the two were any where near as moving as the one that is reviewed here).
Click here to read about W.W. I art.
This is a short, pithy review of E.E. Cummings' (1894 – 1962) novel, The Enormous Room I1922), which was based upon his experience as an American volunteer ambulance driver and his subsequent incarceration in a French jail for having admitted to pacifist sympathies. The reviewer believed that the book provided:
"the last word in realistically detailed horrors."
F. Scott Fitzgerald is said to have remarked:
"Of all the work by young men who have sprung up since 1920 one book survives - The Enormous Room by E.E. Cummings".
A magazine review of the classic American World War One novel, Three Soldiers by John Dos Passos.
"This book is vivid, but not sentimental. It does not contain a description of a single battle. What it does describe is the transformation of minds and bodies under the stress of war."
In the bad-old days of World War I, author Andreas Latzko (1876 - 1943) served as a line officer in the Austro-Hungarian Army. While at the front he was affected by the horrors of combat until he found that he had seen enough and chose to desert. Even before the war had ended he managed to create an anti-war novel and get it to press before the Armistice. Digitized here is the 1918 review of his book, Men In War
"Disillusionment and an almost morbid sympathy with mental and physical suffering are outstanding features of the book."