The role of nationalism in Australian war literature of the 1930s

Holbrook, Carolyn 2014, The role of nationalism in Australian war literature of the 1930s, First World War studies, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 213-231, doi: 10.1080/19475020.2014.913988.

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Title The role of nationalism in Australian war literature of the 1930s
Author(s) Holbrook, CarolynORCID iD for Holbrook, Carolyn
Journal name First World War studies
Volume number 5
Issue number 2
Start page 213
End page 231
Total pages 19
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Place of publication Abingdon, Eng.
Publication date 2014
ISSN 1947-5020
Keyword(s) war books boom
soldier literature
Australia in the Great War
middlebrow and modernist literature
nationalism and the Great War
literary modernism
Summary Australian readers consumed with great interest the fruits of the war books boom that began in Europe in the late 1920s. But it was not until the early 1930s that returned soldiers in Australia began to consider the war in memoir and fiction. This article examines the nature of Australian writing about the Great War during the 1930s and seeks to explain why the conflict produced little work of enduring interest or literary merit. It argues that literary representations of the war, which gave emphasis to its tragic and traumatic elements, were overwhelmed by those remembering a war that challenged but did not defeat its Australian participants. The article traces the reason for the triumph of what can be called 'middlebrow' representations of the Great War to the nationalist boon delivered by the experience of war to a colonial settler society of uncertain status. In prosecuting this argument, the article challenges the transnational emphasis of contemporary scholarship about literary modernism and seeks to reassert the significance of the nation-state as a category of analysis.
Language eng
DOI 10.1080/19475020.2014.913988
Field of Research 2103 Historical Studies
Socio Economic Objective 0 Not Applicable
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2014, Taylor & Francis
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