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World War One - Writing

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To read articles purely dealing with the topic of trench warfare, click here.

Read our article about the treason of Ezra Pound.

'Men in War by Andreas Latzko (Current Opinion, 1918)

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."


The War-Poetry of the Soldier-Poets (The English Review, 1921)

"Soldier poets are the true historians of the war. Unlike the host of professional versifiers who sat up day and night on Parnassus, pouring out their patriotic zeal in allegorical rhymes of battles and batteries with more than Aesopian facility, the soldier poets have given to life and literature a genuine interpretation of warfare stripped bare of artificialty"


Patriotic Verse by Gertrude Stein (Vanity Fair, 1918)

When you stop to think of patriotic poetry, Gertrude Stein (1874-1946) is not one of the word-smiths whose name comes to mind. Yet she, too, applied her talents to the genre after having labored many moons as an ambulance driver in France on behalf of the American Fund for the French Wounded. She had joined this group in 1916 and in 1922 was awarded the Medaille de la Reconnaissance Française for all her good work. This poem, in praise of the U.S. Army, appeared in a 1918 VANITY FAIR.


H.L. Mencken Reviewed Two Novels Dealing the War and Disillusionment (The Smart Set, 1922)

"In Three Soldiers, John Dos Passos exhibited the disillusionment of the soldiers in the field; The Last Mile by Frank Macallister exposes the disillusionment of the soldier come home". The reviewer remarked that both men had been "bamboozled by Woodrow and company".


Israel Zangwill and the Great War (The North American Review, 1916)

Israel Zangwill (1864 - 1926) was a member of the Jewish literary society in Britain; he was an prominent lecturer, journalist, novelist and playwright. Today, however, he is mostly remembered for his efforts on behalf of the Zionist movement to establish a Jewish homeland. The following is a luke-warm book review from 1916 covering his collection of essays about World War I, The War for the World.


Good and Bad Writing About World War I (Vanity Fair, 1915)

A small column from a 1915 issue of Vanity Fair in which the correspondent praised the virtues of Howard Copeland (an American psychologist and ambulance volunteer working in Frabce), Gertrude Aldrich (author of an Atlantic Magazine essay titled, "Little House on the Marne"), Cardinal Mercier (author of the Great Belgian Pastoral) and W.F. Bailey (authored a paper concerning the war in Northeastern Europe). These writers are preferred to the usually celebrated ink-slingers like Hellaire Belloc, Rudyard Kipling, Anatole France, and Arnold Bennett who are all compared to amateur recruiting sergeants in support of the War.

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