Virginia Woolf and the Armistice of 1918
What did Virginia Woolf think about the Armistice of 1918? After the terrible sufferings of the war, how did people respond to the disillusionments of the peace?
These questions are explored among many others in The Silent Morning: Culture and Memory after the Armistice, edited by Trudi Tate and Kate Kennedy. Woolf is an important figure in our thinking about the effects of the First World War and its long reach into the 1920s and 30s. Trudi Tate's essay, 'King Baby', uses Woolf's writings about the Armistice in her diary and letters to think about how adults felt infantilised during the war, and how they were thinking about the next generation – the babies born into the peace. The chapter reads Bowen and Mansfield alongside Woolf, setting their writings about children alongside the new, inflexible theories of baby care promoted by Truby King.
Other chapters explore British, German and Viennese writings, art and music and their responses to the Armistice. Contributors include Jane Potter, Alison Hennegan, Max Haberich, Andrew Frayn, Alexander Watson, Klaus Hofmann, Adrian Barlow and other leading FWW scholars.
The chapters include:
Trudi Tate and Kate Kennedy, Introduction: ‘This Grave Day’
1. John Pegum, The parting of the ways: The Armistice, the Silence and Ford Madox Ford’s Parade’s End
2. Klaus Hofmann, Alfred Döblin’s November 1918: The Alsatian prelude
3. George Simmers, ‘A strange mood’: British popular fiction and post-war uncertainties
4. Alison Hennegan, Fighting the peace: Two women’s accounts of the post-war years
5. Trudi Tate, King Baby: Infant care into the peace
6. Andrew Frayn, ‘What a victory it might have been’: C. E. Montague and the First World War
7. Jane Potter, The Bookman, the Times Literary Supplement, and the Armistice
8. Max Haberich, ‘Misunderstood … mainly because of my Jewishness’: Arthur Schnitzler after the First World War
9. Peter Tregear, Leaping over shadows: Ernst Krenek and post-war Vienna
10. Kate Kennedy, Silence recalled in sound: British classical music and the Armistice
11. Claudia Siebrecht, Sacrifice defeated: The Armistice and depictions of victimhood in German women’s art 1918–1924
12. Michael Walsh, ‘Remembering, we forget’: British art at the Armistice
13. Alexander Watson, Indecisive victory? : German and British soldiers at the Armistice
14. Adrian Barlow, Mixing memory and desire: British and German war memorials after 1918
The Silent Morning was published in paperback by Manchester University Press in 2015. It has been discussed on the University of Cambridge Research Features and on George Simmers' War Fiction blog, and reviewed in journals War in History, Women: A Cultural Review, The Use of English, English Literature in Transition, and elsewhere.