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First published in 1975,The Great War and Modern Memoryis a monumental study of World War I and the disillusioned modernist sensibility it helped to create. Winner of the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and named by the Modern Library as one of the twentieth century's 100 Best Non-Fiction Books, this landmark work explores the trauma and tragedy of modern warfare in revelatory ways. Considering the work of Siegfried Sassoon, Robert Graves, Edmund Blunden, David Jones, Isaac Rosenberg, and Wilfred Owen, Fussell supplies contexts, both actual and literary, for those writers who most effectively memorialized WWI as an historical experience with conspicuous imaginative and artistic meaning. Fussell grounds literary texts not in free-floating theory but in the mud of World War I, and shows how these poems, diaries, novels, and letters reflected the massive change-- in every respect, including language itself-- brought about by the cataclysm of the Great War. For generations of readers, this work has represented and embodied a model of accessible scholarship, huge ambition, hard-minded research, and haunting detail. Restored and updated, this new edition includes an Introduction by historian Jay Winter that takes into account the legacy and literary career of Fussell, who died in May 2012.
Paul Fussell was an American cultural and literary historian and critic. He is the author of over 20 works and winner of the National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award.