Sam Dye's Reviews > The Great War and Modern Memory

The Great War and Modern Memory by Paul Fussell
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Aug 12, 12

Read in August, 2012

A friend recommended Paul Fussell's books to me and this one was a masterpiece of analysis of the literature that emanated from WWI. He takes you to literature that is profound.

My favorite poem was "Dulce et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori" which means "It is sweet and glorious to die for one's country". The author, Wilfred Owen, died in battle just a week before the armistice on 11 Nov 1918. He wrote his mother in January 1917 the following:
"I can see no excuse for deceiving you about these 4 days. I have suffered seventh hell.
I have not been at the front.
I have been in front of it."
In "Dulce et..." those are the last words of the poem proceeded by "The old Lie: Dulce et...."
Owen was a young officer that did brave things on the battlefield, but saw through the propaganda such as the "White Feather" movement that swept so many into the military. Millions went to their deaths in France and Belgium and many other countries. (A Tommy going over the parapet was no match for machine gun fire.)

There was much for me to learn in this book and I have already started to read it again. It makes you think with the perspective of a whole new (for me) literature to consider.
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