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A War Culture in Action

A Study of the Literature of the Crimean War Period

Cynthia Dereli

Through an examination of the newspaper reporting of the Crimean War this book recreates a contemporary reader’s perspective on the war as a context for a consideration of literature which was written or published during the central year of the war. In so doing, the study provides a refreshing new look at the works of some major nineteenth-century literary figures which appeared at this time. The impact of the war context on the production or reception of their work is explored. Material covered includes works by Dickens, Trollope, Gaskell, Tennyson and Kingsley. Poetry by women writers on the subject of war also receives attention. Finally, the book assesses the wealth of minor poetry which appeared in the newspapers and journals of the time and its role in the creation of a war culture. The study thus opens up issues which connect the operation of a war culture in the period of the Crimean War with the rhetoric of war in the early twenty-first century.
Contents: England as a Context of War: War as Context of Literature – Charles Dickens and Elizabeth Gaskell: War versus Domestic Issues – Tennyson’s ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’: The Poetry of Heroes and Patriots – Poetry of the War: A Shared Discourse? – Tennyson’s ‘Maud’: Ambiguity and the War – Westward Ho!: A Historical Setting for the War – The Warden and Little Dorrit: Novels, Readers and War Issues – Gender Issues and the Crimean War: Creating Roles for Women?