Introduction: trauma, modernity, and the First World War
In Handley Cross, an early Victorian sporting novel, Mr.
Rachel Duffett has written a fine social history of British rank and file soldiers, or rankers, and their experiences of food during the Great War. She states, ‘The ranker’s relationship with food was a constant thread, woven throughout his army experience … every day, wherever he was, a man needed to eat’ (p. 229).
‘World War I is one of the most studied topics of modern scholarship.
Donald Hankey was – and has remained – one of the most enigmatic personalities to feature in the narrative of the Great War.
August 2014 marked the First World War Centenary and around the globe commemorations are in place or in progress.
I cannot help a passing allusion to the lack of pictorial records of this war – records made by artists of experience, who actually witness the scenes they portray.
The literature of the British home front differs distinctly in both quantity and nature between the two wars themselves.
In between small model spitfires and Sherman tank key rings, visitors browsing the shelves of the Imperial War Museum’s gift shop will find their gaze met by the reassuringly familiar smile of a round-faced rag doll, beaming from the side of a tote bag.
The general outline for this project, when the call for papers first appeared in June 2013, requested contributions for essays on the entertainments and popular culture of the First World War, offering a lot of promise for the study of humour in an historical context, which has, it would seem, only recently become of interest to cultural historians.(1) As a self-procla