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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Summer 2009

E f379S • Senior Seminar: The Great War and Modern British Literature

Unique Days Time Location Instructor


Course Description

Please refer to the course schedule for course days, time, room location, prerequisites and possible cross-listings:

In England the Great War—1914-1918—is far more important in British consciousness than World War II. On one day alone, July 1, 1916, England suffered 60,000 casualties in attacks along the Somme, and the psychological damage—to British confidence, to the idea of Empire—was incalculable. Certainly the impact on novelists and poets was profound as well. To this end we will study some of the major texts arising from the war and its aftermath. We will read the poetry of Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, and other war poets, several of whom perished on the Western Front. We will also read a little-known novel, A.D. Gristwood's The Somme, published in 1927 and notable for its pessimism and grim analysis of the "Big Push" and "The War To End All Wars." Then we will turn to the recent past, when there has been a renewed late twentieth-century response to the Great War by novelists such as Pat Barker and Sebastian Faulks. To this end we will read Barker's Regeneration and Faulks’s Birdsong.

Grading Policy

Students will write two papers totaling sixteen pages of critical and historical analysis based primarily on the history and literature of the Somme.


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