Writing against War

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ISBN 978-0-8101-3500-0

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ISBN 978-0-8101-3498-0
Publication Date
May 2017
Page Count
248 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

Writing against War

Literature, Activism, and the British Peace Movement
Charles Andrews

In Writing against War, Charles Andrews integrates literary analysis and peace studies to create innovative new ways to view experimental British fiction in the interwar period.
The cataclysm of the First World War gave rise to the British Peace Movement, a spectrum of pacifist, internationalist, and antiwar organizations and individuals. Antiwar sentiments found expression not only in editorials, criticism, and journalism but also in novels and other works of literature. Writing against War examines the work of Aldous Huxley, Storm Jameson, Siegfried Sassoon, Rose Macaulay, and Virginia Woolf to analyze the effects of their attempts to employ fiction in the service of peace activism. It further traces how Huxley, Woolf, and others sought to reconcile their antiwar beliefs with implacable military violence.
The British Peace Movement's failure to halt the rise of fascism and the Second World War continues to cast a shadow over contemporary pacifist movements. Writing about War will fascinate scholars of peace studies and literature and offers valuable insights for current-day peace activists and artists who seek to integrate creativity with activism.
About the Author

CHARLES ANDREWS is an associate professor of English at Whitworth University.

". . . Charles Andrews’s timely and important revisionist work Writing Against War: Literature, Activism, and the British Peace Movement . . . refutes once and for all dismissive claims, such as Valentine Cunningham’s that the Peace Pledge Union was "really such a non-starter among '30s intellectuals'" (as quoted in Andrews, p. 9). It also brings much needed clarity and insight to the complexities of pre-war pacifist writing." —Literature & History

"This work does an excellent job at persuasively carrying pacifist content while also showing the horrors and dangers of war. This is a timely contribution to an understanding of the interwar Peace Movement; a relevant topic today." —Elizabeth Maslen, author of Life in the Writings of Storm Jameson: A Biography

“This is a highly original, densely researched, and beautifully written work of scholarship.” —Kristin Bluemel, author of Intermodernism: Literary Culture in Mid-Twentieth-Century Britain

". . . . Writing against War . . . takes up the resistance to violence through a study of writers who were associated with peace movements in the 1930s. Andrews begins by detailing the rise of the peace movement in the 1930s and tracing the origins of pacifist thought with a focus on activism, explaining that 'this focus refutes the tenacious and erroneous conflation of pacifism with passivity that persists despite scholarly interventions.' Andrews also shows that 'pacifism itself is more capacious and varied than is often supposed.'" —The Year's Work in English Studies

"Literary scholars in British modernism—especially those working on topics related to war, trauma, violence, and activism—will find that Writing Against War abounds with rich textual analysis and a lucid and engaging account of the interwar period. This book will also be of interest to historians and social scientists who wish to consider how social and political upheaval is registered by artists and writers, what non-bodily activism has looked like in the past, and what it could look like in the future. Finally, Andrews’s work might well find an audience among artists who hope to conceive of their practice as a mode of political resistance. The novelist and, by extension, any artist faced with political turmoil is not an impotent onlooker. As Andrews shows us, artists can be effective agitators for social change, working through urgent political concerns by way of the resources most available to them." —Elizabeth Scheer, Journal of Modern Literature Volume