Volume One Number Two

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War & Culture Studies
Journal of
ISSN 1752-6272


Journal of War and Culture Studies
Volume 1 Number 2, 2008
The Body at War: Wounds, Wounding and the Wounded
The Journal of War and Culture Studies (JWCS) is the academic journal of the international scholarly association, the Group for War and Culture Studies (GWACS). The journal’s principal theme is the relationship between war and culture in the twentieth century and onwards, primarily in Europe but extending to other geographical areas involved in conflicts. Interdisciplinary and international in scope, JWCS focuses on cultural history and on cultural production as shaping the experience, representation and memory of war.

Journal Editors
Professor Debra Kelly
Univ. of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2UW, UK. Tel. (+44)(0)20-7911-5000 ext 2321. e-mail: kellyd@westminster.ac.uk

Dr. Martin Hurcombe

Editorial Board
Prof. Margaret Atack, Univ. of Leeds; Prof. Annette Becker, Université de Paris X; Emerita Prof. Catharine Savage Brosman, Tulane Univ., New Orleans; Prof. Martyn Cornick, Univ. of Birmingham; Dr. Philip Dine, National Univ. of Ireland, Galway; Dr. David Drake, Université de Paris VIII; Prof. Martin Evans, Univ. of Portsmouth; Dr. Alison Fell, Univ. of Leeds; Emeritus Prof. John Flower, Univ. of Kent at Canterbury; Prof. Hilary Footitt, Univ. of Reading; Prof. Aaron Gerow, Yale Univ.; Prof. Robert Gildea, Univ. of Oxford; Prof. Paul Gough, Univ. of West of England; Prof. Margaret R. Higonnet, Univ. of Connecticut; Dr. Valerie Holman, GWACS Associate Research Fellow; Prof. Michael Kelly, Southampton Univ.; Dr. Simon Kitson, Univ. of Birmingham; Prof. Roy MacLeod, Univ. of Sydney; Dr. Nicholas Martin, Univ. of Birmingham; Prof. Catherine Merridale, QMUL; Prof. Bill Niven, Nottingham Trent Univ.; Dr. Guillaume Piketty, Centre d’Histoire de Sciences Po, Paris; Prof. Luc Rasson, Univ. of Antwerp; Dr. Pnina Rosenberg, Ghetto Fighter’s House, Israel; Prof. Penny Summerfield, Univ. of Manchester; Prof. François Vallotton, Univ. of Lausanne; Prof. Olivier Wieviorka, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan, France; Prof. Roger Woods, Univ. of Nottingham; Dr. Mikkel Zangenberg, Univ. of Southern Denmark.

School of Modern Languages, Univ. of Bristol, 17 Woodland Road, Bristol BS8 1TE, UK. e-mail: M.J.Hurcombe@bristol.ac.uk

Professor Nicola Cooper

School of Arts, Univ. of Wales Swansea, Singleton Park, Swansea SA2 8PP, UK. email: n.cooper@swansea.ac.uk

Items for the Noticeboard (news and information exchange) should be sent to the Editorial Assistants Board. Contact: Dr. Stacy Gillis, School of English, Newcastle Univ., Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU, UK. e-mail: stacy.gillis@ncl.ac.uk Tel.: (+44) (0)191 222 7360; Fax: (+44) (0)191 222 8708.

Editorial Assistants Board
Shaun Bertram, The London Consortium; Dr. Stacy Gillis, Univ. of Newcastle; Dr. Ruth Glynn, Univ. of Bristol; Dr. Katharine Hodgson, Univ. of Exeter; Dr. Kathryn Jones, Univ. of Wales Swansea; Dr. Nils Langer, Univ. of Bristol; Dr. Katharine Murphy, Univ. of Exeter; Dr. Clément Puget, Université de Paris VII; Dr. Pierre Purseigle, Univ. of Oxford; Dr. Andrew Shail, Univ. of Oxford.

The Journal of War and Culture Studies is published three times a year by Intellect, The Mill, Parnall Road, Bristol, BS16 3JG, UK. The current subscription rates are £33 (personal) and £210 (institutional). Postage within the UK is free whereas it is £9 within the EU and £12 elsewhere. Advertising enquiries should be addressed to: marketing@intellectbooks.com © 2008 Intellect Ltd. Authorisation to photocopy items for internal or personal use or the internal or personal use of specific clients is granted by Intellect Ltd to libraries and other users registered with the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) in the UK or the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) Transactional Reporting Service in the USA, provided that the base fee is paid directly to the relevant organisation.

ISSN 1752-6272

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Journal of War and Culture Studies Volume 1 Number 2 © 2008 Intellect Ltd Introduction. English language. doi: 10.1386/jwcs.1.2.119/7

The body at war: wounds, wounding and the wounded
Professor Nicola Cooper University of Wales Swansea Dr Martin Hurcombe University of Bristol
This issue looks back, on the one hand, to some of the founding work undertaken by the research group GWACS1 (Group for War and Culture Studies, the research impetus from which the Journal of War and Culture Studies sprang), and looks forward, on the other, to themes and approaches that will be developed in the future in the pages of this journal. The subject of the body at war is indeed a vast one, and one which has received increasing attention over the past few decades. Elaine Scarry’s extraordinarily wide-ranging meditation on the vulnerability of the human body (1985) has provided a blueprint for many researchers in the field. Her focus on ‘the difficulty of expressing physical pain; […] the political and perceptual complications that arise as a result of that difficulty; and […] the nature of both material and verbal expressibility, or more simply, the nature of human creation’ (Scarry 1985: 3), provides a compelling portrait of the imbrication of the political with the cultural, of the ways in which the ‘making and unmaking of the world’ are enacted through the body in pain. Joanna Bourke’s hugely influential work on the impact of the First World War on the male body and masculinities, Dismembering the Male (1996), refocused attention towards the social constructions of wartime masculinities, thereby eschewing easy assumptions about the links between virility and war. She shows, through thematic studies of mutilation, malingering, bonding, inspection and re-memberment, that the experience of war ‘fundamentally affected not only the shape and texture of the male body, but also the values ascribed to the body and the disciplines applied to masculinity’ (Bourke 1996: 30). The articles in this issue build upon this work, each demonstrating, in different ways, how ‘culture’ (in its myriad forms) has reacted to the impact of war on the human body. They discuss a number of themes relating to the body at war: the act of wounding, the repair of wounds, the representation of the wounded, the wounded body as metaphor, legacies of war and wounding. In turn these themes open up further areas of enquiry: the purposes and ethics of military training, war and the subversion of gender roles, the political and social functions of the veteran, national narratives of war, and the transmission of memories and legacies of war. In her article, ‘Painful bodies and brutal women’, Carden-Coyne demonstrates how the wounded body forces a renegotiation of archetypal gender roles. As Susan Sontag has noted, there is shame as well as shock
1. GWACS eighth annual conference ‘The Body at War: Somatic Cartographies of Western Warfare in the 19th and 20th Centuries’ was held in 2004. See http://www. wmin.ac.uk/sshl/ page-1322.

JWCS 1 (2) pp. 119–121 © Intellect Ltd 2008


in looking at the close-up of a real horror (Sontag 2003: 37). Who has the right to look at images of suffering, she asks; only, perhaps, those who can do something to alleviate the suffering. The expectation of sympathy on the part of those charged with the care of the wounded is, however, proved misplaced in Carden-Coyne’s article. Whilst we might imagine that the wounded body inspires pity, in the arena of war, the wounded male body elicits atypical responses and disturbs established power relations: the wounded body becomes a battleground of the genders. Moreover, as Hodges’s article suggests (‘“They don’t like it up ’em!”: Bayonet fetishization in the British Army during the First World War’), images and descriptions of gruesome wounds were used quite conversely to inspire blood-lust rather than empathy. This piece focuses on soldiers’ identities and masculinities, and shows how the infliction of wounds, and the encouragement of the desire to wound and mutilate, was related to battlefield confidence and a soldier’s sense of self. Wounding, it is shown, becomes an assertion of masculinity, and the bayonet functions as potent fetish which overwhelms and silences the enemy, thereby asserting the supremacy of the British soldier. In Hurcombe’s article (‘Raising the dead’) the wounded body and the decaying corpse of the dead of the First World War also assert a form of supremacy. Examining a selection of visual representations, he argues that the grotesque treatment of the war dead and the wounded in film and monuments serves to establish, and to maintain, the moral supremacy of French war veterans as these attempt to gain, and then to consolidate, greater political influence in interwar France. The wounded body as a form of moral currency also underlies Duffy’s article, ‘The veteran’s wounded body before the mirror’. This piece considers the novels of the Russian writer Andreï Makine, in which, Duffy argues, the wounded body serves as a metaphor of national loss and the dismemberment of the Soviet Union, symbolized in the striking image of the samovar, whose shape with its stumpy handles and feet recalls the amputated body of the combatant who has lost all his limbs. Using Lacanian theory, Duffy goes on to argue, however, that the memory of the wounded, dismembered Russian body is subsequently mobilized and reassembled in a process of re-membering in order to assert continued Russian hegemony. The unmaking of the Soviet world, to return to Scarry’s terms, through the dismemberment of the Russian body, leads ultimately to a remaking of the Russian world. The memory of the wounded body is further explored in Vassallo’s article, ‘Embodied memory’. Examining the autobiographical writings of Nina Bouraoui and Leïla Sebbar, two French writers of French-and-Algerian descent, Vassallo discusses the legacies of war and wounding in generations who, whilst they did not participate directly in war, experience its transmitted memories and legacies as psychological trauma. The body of each writer therefore becomes an uncomfortable reminder for the French nation of a war that France would rather forget: the Algerian War of Independence. The body of the descendents of Franco-Algerian relationships of the 1950s and 1960s become an inconvenient presence in contemporary France, Vassallo argues, literally embodying the memory of a silenced war.
Professor Nicola Cooper and Dr Martin Hurcombe

Forgotten wounds, silenced stories of suffering, but also the spectacle of the wound and the wound as currency in a contest between genders, generations and even nations, these articles depict a variety of opposing uses of the wounded body. For, as Scarry argues, whilst the act of wounding constitutes an attempt to silence the enemy Other, to override the latter’s ideological or nationalistic assertions about itself and its enemies, concomitant with the deconstruction of the world through the infliction of wounds is the desire for world-building. The injuring of the Other reflects the desire of each belligerent party to give material form to previously ‘derealized and disembodied beliefs’ (Scarry 1985: 128) and ideologies. Material and human destruction therefore becomes a way of giving material form to discourse, and the body in pain is a vital component in the battle to assert meaning and authority. As these articles demonstrate, the wounded body mediated by culture exists as a form of currency mobilized by different social factions at different times in the twentieth century in a range of struggles (gender, ideological, political, generational). The centrality of the wounded body to war itself demands that we continue to make it the focus of scholarly enquiry. We hope therefore, in future issues of the journal, to build upon the work on the body at war commenced here by pursuing themes such as disfigurement and disability, the medicalization of war, war and rape, MIAs, war dead, rehabilitation, military training, amongst others. As Scarry has noted, ‘visible or invisible, omitted, included, altered in its inclusion, described or redescribed, injury is war’s product and its core, it is the goal toward which all activity is directed and the road to the goal’ (Scarry 1985: 81–82). References
Bourke, J. (1996), Dismembering the Male: Men’s Bodies, Britain and the Great War, London: Reaktion. Scarry, E. (1985), The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Sontag, S. (2003), Regarding the Pain of Others, London: Penguin Books.

The body at war: wounds, wounding and the wounded


Journal of War and Culture Studies Volume 1 Number 2 © 2008 Intellect Ltd Article. English language. doi: 10.1386/jwcs.1.2.123/1

‘They don’t like it up ’em!’: Bayonet fetishization in the British Army during the First World War
Paul Hodges Birkbeck, University of London Abstract
The bayonet was widely fetishized in the British Army in the First World War era, both ‘from above’ and ‘from below’. A vibrant, rich and quickly transmitted culture grew around this, which had real effects on the battlefields of the war. Supreme confidence was placed in British masculinity, a masculinity that depended on the effective and brutal use of this weapon. Training frequently focused on it. Both this confidence and training focus were misplaced, as in fact the bayonet was not a particularly useful or effective weapon. The combination of this strong fetishization of the weapon and its ineffectiveness had a tendency to encourage atrocity and prisoner killing, in which some soldiers indulged keenly, as the main opponents on whom the bayonet could be used successfully were those who were unarmed or wounded.

First World War British infantry training bayonets atrocity prisoner killing

It is not often that comedy catchphrase pearls have grown from a piece of grit of historic military culture, let alone one based on wounds and wounding. However, Corporal Jones’s stock epithet, ‘They don’t like it up ’em!’ from the popular sitcom Dad’s Army seems to have done so. The character and his catchphrase had origins in the co-writer’s Jimmy Perry’s experiences of the Second World War and roots even further back. Jones was based on an elderly, experienced lance-corporal under whom Perry served when aged 15 in the 19th Hertfordshire Battalion, Local Defence Volunteers (the Home Guard’s precursor), and his catchphrase came from an instructor in the Royal Artillery, to which Perry was later called up (Webber et al. 2001: 7–8; Perry and Croft 2003: 15). But certainly the catchphrase would not have sounded out of place in the British trenches of the First World War and would not have been laughed at. Confidence in the British infantry’s prowess with the bayonet was high and, indeed, compared with many contemporary soldiers’ texts, Corporal Jones’s love of ‘cold steel’ is positively anaemic. Such texts are highly revealing, displaying a self-supporting military culture, one that was uncompromising in its attitude to opponents. British military training at the time of the First World War laid strong emphasis on the usage of the bayonet. This standard piece of infantry equipment was difficult to use in open combat other than against prone opponents. Almost by definition, these prone opponents could have been considered potential prisoners. Despite this and other practical inadequacies, the bayonet retained its elements as a standard-bearer, a shibboleth and,

JWCS 1 (2) pp. 123–138 © Intellect Ltd 2008


indeed, rather a fetish for the British Army. A fetish – defined as ‘something regarded with irrational reverence’ (Chambers 1988: 526) – is an apt description of the bayonet, for it was held in great esteem within the British Army despite its battlefield inadequacies. Other definitions of a fetish – ‘an object believed to procure for its owner the services of a spirit lodged within it’ and even ‘an inanimate object to which a pathological sexual attachment is formed’ (Chambers 1988: 526) – are not that far off the mark in some statements about bayonets made by troops. The latter can be discerned in a letter dated 25 April 1915 written by Lance Corporal W. Francis that described him and his comrades swarming up a hill and
the lust to kill is on us, we see red. Into one trench, out of it, and into another. Oh! The bloody gorgeousness of feeling your bayonet go into soft yielding flesh – they run, we after them, no thrust one and parry, in goes the bayonet the handiest way.
(Gammage 1974: 96–97)

Similarly, the reported sergeant-major’s training ground cliché which went along the lines of ‘Fix bayonets! Don’t look down! You’d soon find the hole if there was a fucking tart on it’ (Vansittart 1981: 33), also carries a similar sexual charge. Unlike other weapons, the bayonet was a universal part of all infantrymen’s equipment and concomitant with this status there had been a longestablished emphasis on bayonets in the training of the infantry soldier of the British Army. The standard training manual frequently described its importance alongside that of the rifle. These assertions confidently began by stating that, ‘The rifle and bayonet, being the most efficient offensive weapons of the soldier, are for assault, for repelling attack or for obtaining superiority of fire. Every NCO and man in the platoon must be proficient in their use’ (War Office 1917: 91). Individual and team bayonet fighting were two of the five events making up the annual divisional competition known as the Grand Assault at Arms, fiercely competed for by the regular soldiers over the years. The bayonet, however, represented much more to the British Army of the First World War era than a ‘simple’ weapon of assault. One of its major functions was (and continues to be) to inculcate the correct attitude in troops. In training, the bayonet’s ability within the Army’s teaching and practice regime to demonstrate the correct, aggressive approach towards the enemy seems to have been the key reason for its frequent and pivotal role in courses of instruction. It could also be argued that even by the First World War, troop motivation had become the primary purpose of the bayonet, as the stances and moves taught were applicable only to earlier situations where the infantry formed tightly gathered close ranks. Technically, the bayonets issued were not well designed and often were simply not strong enough to carry out the actions that soldiers had been trained to perform with them. A report by the British Small Arms School that investigated their efficiency in 1924 made this clear. Its expert authors testified that during the First World War
the utility of the bayonet as a cutlass or dagger proved to be negligible, hence the demand for trench knives, clubs, etc. As a means of clearing brushwood,


Paul Hodges

etc. it is one of the most futile instruments imaginable. Even for cutting up duckboards and ammunition boxes for firewood it was ineffective, and it generally suffered severely in the contest […]. As a killing shape it makes a very nasty wound, but is of a bad section for penetration and worse for withdrawal. Owing to its great length and the leverage exerted it frequently breaks or bends, even against straw-filled sacks and in spite of being kept properly sharpened.
(Anon. 1924)

Other criticism in the report makes it clear that British lives were lost due to bayonets’ unwieldiness in a fight, their propensity to glint or reflect at night and their deleterious effect on shooting accuracy and ability, particularly snap and sharp shooting. Moreover, the seventeen inches or so of bayonet affixed to a four-foot ⁄ Lee-Enfield rifle, with an overall combined length of 5 feet 312 inches, was singularly unsuited to the narrow confines of most trenches. In such circumstances it was exceedingly awkward to handle and often downright dangerous, as the medical officer Captain J.C. Dunn described in his wellknown amalgamated journal of the Royal Welch Fusilier’s war. As well as the mud that debilitated rifles, he reported in an entry for 27 October 1914 that ‘some of our bayonets too were broken owing to the various uses to which they were put. In those hastily dug trenches the fixed bayonet was an encumbrance’ (Dunn 1938: 85). Moreover, the technical deficiencies of the bayonet as a combat weapon forced soldiers to use it in a brutal manner, as mentioned by this anonymous commanding officer recounting the planning of an attack on a troublesome enemy position with some colleagues. Three of his companies
advancing in two waves were to deliver a rapid assault, capture the enemy’s machine-gun emplacements at the point of the bayonet, and drive any remaining Germans out of the wood. To those present it appeared to be a clear case of neck or nothing, and so it was to prove.
(Officer 1918: 182)

The classic image of the First World War infantryman eviscerating enemies with a bayonet to the chest or stomach (see Figure 1 for a typical example) is therefore somewhat fictional. These images, even before their romanticization of a brutal form of combat is considered, should be considered as largely false as they do not depict the manner in which the bayonet was recommended to be used in the field. When attacking the chest with a bayonet it risked bouncing off the ribcage without inflicting the necessary debilitating injury, or else the bayonet’s tip was broken or shattered completely on a rib. Sticking the enemy’s belly risked getting the bayonet stuck fast there, even with the quarter-twist to remove that was practised in training, as the strong stomach muscles sealed and gripped tight around the faces of the weapon. John Lucy’s platoon commander, interestingly depicting the ‘blooding of bayonets’ as almost a passive act, warned against this risk in his pep talk before the Battle of Mons on 22 August 1914. He told his platoon they were ‘bound to be successful but do not forget that when blooding your bayonets, yes
‘They don’t like it up ’em!’: Bayonet fetishization in the British Army during …


Figure 1: Medallion art beloved by soldiers. rather, blooding your bayonets, do not on any account bury them too deeply. Damn nuisance you know, endeavouring to withdraw an unnecessarily deep bayonet’ (Lucy 1938: 99). Alarmingly soldiers could discover how wise this advice was in the field, although it did not necessarily reduce their verve and excitement at using the bayonet successfully. One second lieutenant reported in a letter home dated 11 June 1915 that his
regiment did damned well, and our men fought magnificently, especially when they could get in with the bayonet: I myself had the extreme satisfaction of bayoneting three […] only in the excitement of the moment I left it sticking in the third, and ran on with only a revolver: anyhow it must have hurt him, when he pulled it out, if he was still alive, and I hope it did.
(Savory 1915)

The neck, while presenting a much smaller and more difficult target to strike, posed no blade retrieval problems for the infantryman and very little risk of any weapon breakage. That it was a more instantly deadly and gushingly bloody method played a part in the popularity of this method. The advice to be found in training manuals to slash at the groin is interesting and similarly telling; it seemed to have been an allusion to the role of bayonet fighting in emasculating the enemy in the most basic castrating manner. It was couched in rather coy terms though – a ‘Rio blow’ to the ‘lower part’ for McLaglen (1916: 11) and a ‘lower stomach’ blow or ‘low left or right parry’ for the Officer (1915). By 1931 official advice was not so coy, with the groin and neck the only ‘pointing’ targets mentioned in standard drill (War Office 1931: 157). Having faded in usage somewhat during the Boer War, British observations of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05 renewed interest in the bayonet. Interest in the force of the mass, spirited but attritional Japanese bayonet charges was reflected in the culture and language of British First World War soldiers, with the phrase ‘And if Turkey makes a stand / She’ll get Ghurka’d and Japann’d’ cropping up in the chorus of the song ‘When Belgium put the Kibosh on the Kaiser’ (Ellerton 1914: 50–52). Did British interest in the Japanese method of massed bayonet charges result in atrocity when contact with the enemy was made during the First
Paul Hodges

World War? Euphemistic hints in this direction were contained in contemporary bayonet training manuals, such as when Captain McLaglen details advice on ‘delivering “point” to the downed opponent’ (McLaglen 1916: 12–13). ‘Downed’ indicates that the opponent was probably disarmed or wounded but certainly little threat and thus protected under proper application of military law. The British Manual of Military Law was clear-cut on this (War Office 1914: 248). Denis Winter goes as far as to assert that ‘no man in the Great War was ever killed by a bayonet unless he had his hands up first’ (Winter 1978: 110). John Keegan opines, with particular reference to the first day of the Somme, that ‘edged-weapon wounds would have almost disappeared, for though the marks of bayonets were found on a number of bodies, it was presumed that they had been inflicted after the victim was dead; the best statistic available is that edged-weapon were a fraction of one per cent of all wounds inflicted in the First World War’ (Keegan 1976: 264). Although this is a widely quoted piece of a hugely influential work, Keegan’s source, or possibly sources, are obscure and both the rather vague statistic and the notion of all bayonet wounds seen being post-mortem injuries can be doubted. Reports of the full-scale desecration of bodies in this manner, while not unheard of, were rare, although the checking of the status of bodies using bayonets to prod might well be rather more commonly expected (an atrocity in itself since this amounts to the killing of wounded soldiers). Both Winter and Keegan do then overstep the mark; neither paints an accurate picture of bayonet usage during the war. The disappearance of edged-weapon wounds was not the contemporary impression. Indeed, the major medical manual of the war thought that wounds caused by bayonets, knives and so on were on the increase. The manual’s author stated that ‘cold steel’ was the cause of 5 per cent of soldiers’ wounds; compared to well under 1 per cent in the 1870 FrancoPrussian war, but less than the 10 per cent rate sometimes reached during the 1912–13 Balkan wars (Delorme 1915: 1–2). There were certainly occasions when bayonet wounds among the opposition could be very common, as reported by Dunn after his battalion conducted a large raid on The Warren, south of Festubert, on 5 July 1916. It is possibly significant that the raid was in retaliation for the deaths suffered by the regiment when a large German mine created Red Dragon crater on 22 June. Dunn, a medical officer, states clearly that ‘most of the wounds were from shell and bomb splinters, and occurred in A-Company, whereas bayonet-wounds were commonest among the German-prisoner wounded’ (Dunn 1938: 221). There were certainly many further actions that were widely and authoritatively reported to have been carried out by use of the bayonet. It is perfectly correct to suspect that the vast loss of life during the course of the war due to bullet, shell and disease did massively outnumber these small-scale, isolated bayonet-wound incidents. So Keegan’s overall fraction of well under 1 per cent of deaths caused by bayonets might be correct. However, it is worth recognizing that the pattern of warfare was by no means even. At different times, in different units, and in different places bayonet wounds could even have been common.
‘They don’t like it up ’em!’: Bayonet fetishization in the British Army during …


The foundations of the fetishization of the bayonet were built upon its role in supporting troops’ self-confidence. In part, this comfort was derived from the fact that the bayonet could indeed sometimes be effectively used. In some circumstances, its real power as a psychological weapon could melt enemy resistance with little real fighting required. Thus the bayonet’s relatively rare but hugely psychologically impressive role in a rout was central to its fetishization. Similarly, an effective, successful bayonet charge could sometimes be far more enticing a method of victory than other means of achieving it, such as outflanking or prolonging trench warfare. On other occasions there was little real offensive alternative to a bayonet charge (Griffith 1981: 70). More comforting still was the bayonet’s utility as a last line of defence or offence, as in this incident proudly recorded in an official brigade war diary on 26 December 1914: ‘In the wake of a British attack on December 18–19, the Germans reported that most of their wounds were caused by bayonets, because their opponents’ rifles were jammed’ (20th Infantry Brigade 1914: 102). There was some truth in the conceit that whatever the situation, whether it was wet, muddy weather, or the non-appearance of ammunition and so on, you could rely on your trusty bayonet. Such beliefs could haunt British soldiers, as described here by an officer who was advancing with his troops to a vicious ongoing skirmish when he encountered a few retreating, ragged survivors of the battle described as
shattered, nerveless men whose human nature had been tried past endurance – now came surging back in twos and threes. Especially memory recalls the drawn haggard face of an officer who was making rather pathetic attempts to reform these twos and threes. He chattered wildly, disconnectedly, yet with a method of sense like a drunken man; ‘The bay’net!’ he kept repeating, ‘that’s the thing for them. Show them the bay’net, get at them with the bay’net, and they’ll run…’
(Officer 1918: 178)

The major contribution that their presumed prowess with the bayonet made to supporting British soldiers’ self-confidence was the thought that Germans greatly feared bayonets. ‘They don’t like it up ’em!’, indeed! This comforted the troops, reassuring them of their supremacy as soldiers and men. If popular, patriotic adventure stories had helped form a myth of empire that was ‘the story England told itself as it went to sleep at night’ (Green 1980: 3), then the stories of easy slaughter and terrified Germans, told in the press and between soldiers themselves, formed a myth of the bayonet that helped soldiers as they went to sleep at night. Immediately on the outbreak of war, The Times was keen to reassure its readers that German infantrymen were jittery and eminently defeatable via the bayonet. The third headline after ‘First French Battle’ on its main news page for Monday 10 August 1914 was ‘Germans routed with the bayonet’, a report on French troops occupying Altkirch ‘after a sharp action in which they drove the defending German force before them with the bayonet’ (The Times 1914a: 6). Similarly, four days later, the fourth main news headline after ‘French Frontier Success’ was ‘Village taken by bayonet charges’, reporting that Lagarde ‘was carried by the French infantry in bayonet
Paul Hodges

charges with great dash’ (The Times 1914b: 6). When the war dispatches carried by the newspapers grew in depth and length, a focus on the Germans’ inadequacies as men is noticeable. The report of the thoughts of a Lieutenant Deppe, in charge of a small group of Belgian troops who had landed in Folkestone having escaped from Namur, before his enthusiastic return to the front, is typical. He described the opponents as
very well organized but German soldiers were great cowards. ‘They are very much afraid of the bayonet, especially the French bayonet,’ he said. ‘When they see a bayonet they turn and run. The Turcos say, “When we hit one German with a bayonet five fall down” and that is perfectly true.’
(The Times 1914c: 7)

1. General Jack was promoted in rank twice during the war. Throughout this article his rank as given in the text is correct for the date of the diary entry quoted.

Undermining German masculinity seemed key to supporting Allied masculinity. It was when the British forces got into action that the press really went to town with their bayonet fetish. A report on ‘Tournai and after’ on 29 August 1914 produced this remarkable paragraph entitled ‘BAYONET WORK’:
The German infantry fire here, as elsewhere, appears to have been very bad though the artillery work was deadly. At times the fighting was hand to hand and repeatedly our troops made excellent use of the bayonet. ‘Man,’ said a stalwart Highlander, almost with glee, ‘ye should hae seen them rin miles frae the wee bit of steel.’
(The Times 1914d: 8)

Again, the reports attempted whenever possible to undermine German masculinity and even in this article entitled ‘In the fighting line’, their humanity. Germans were described as more like common swine than men when facing bayonets. The author is apparently directly quoting a private in the Black Watch, who reported that ‘the Germans don’t like the bayonet. If you go near them with a bayonet they squeal like pigs. When you are taking them prisoners they go down on their knees, evidently afraid of what is going to happen’ (The Times 1914e: 6). Animalistic, de-humanizing descriptions frequently extended to the bayonet itself, most often in the form of ‘pig-sticker’, but in this case as a harpoon. Sapper Edward Hughes, watching the 4th Australian Division attack on the Oosttaverne Line on 7 June 1916, thought
it was a magnificent, though dreadful sight to witness […] To watch the Huns run out of their trenches towards us – and to see the way the ‘Ossies’ harpooned them one after another, it was a sight that I shall always recall.
(Passingham 1998: 131)

Concomitant with its prominent position in popular military psychology and imagination, rituals developed around the bayonet, particularly prior to battle. Captain J.L. Jack1 described a typical ritualistic scene in his diary on 12 September 1915. His divisional reserve troops had been made aware of their participation in a forthcoming attack:
There is an immediate tuning up for action, the sharpening of ‘swords’ – as bayonets are called by rifle regiments – the practising of assaults, inspection
‘They don’t like it up ’em!’: Bayonet fetishization in the British Army during …


of gas masks and special equipment, and all the other horrid ritual for battle, from which all ranks may draw their own conclusions…
(Jack 1964: 110–11)

Such rituals can be observed in the official British films of the war, as well as more mundane but tellingly prominent shots of troops just fiddling about with bayonets. Shots of cheering Tommies waving their bayonets with buoyant enthusiasm were frequent throughout British films and newsreels of the war. The sheer presence of the bayonet seems to have inspired excitement and confidence; and it is particularly striking in many primary texts that overwhelming belief was invested in the bayonet and the power of ‘cold steel’. Lieutenant M.L. Walkinton provided a typical example. His 24th Machine Gun Company was in close support to the 2nd Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment in their advance towards Bellewaarde Lake on 31 July 1917. All the men were ‘very excited and elated. Bursting shells gave light to see by and it was thrilling to see the Northampton bayonets flashing as the troops advanced. Surely nothing could stop us’ (Walkinton 1980: 131). Such belief and over-confidence could prove foolhardy and deadly, as a Scottish territorial, Harold Stainton, reported from near Kemmel in December 1914. One of his men witnessed a charge of the Gordons and
told me that a fine young subaltern of theirs who led his men through the hedge carried a sword (already a most unusual thing). Waving this ridiculous toy he rushed ahead shouting ‘Scotland for ever!’ only to be killed within twenty yards of our hedge. It was an attack far more in common with the battles of the eighteenth-century than the battles of eighteen months later on the Somme. Here was no slow steady advance behind a creeping barrage of shell fire, but the wild rush so dear to Highland tradition, with effective use of cold steel. Never, at any stage of the war, did I see so many bayoneted corpses as I did when, a few days later, we occupied that German trench.
(Stainton 1914: 23)

Trust in ‘cold steel’ as the ultimate effective intimidation, hated by the enemy, continued right up to the highest levels, as can be seen in Haig’s diary, as he described the recovery of some trenches lost to the enemy in Ypres area on 23 October 1914: ‘The Germans resisted until the very end and gave way only when machine guns were enfilading their trenches at very close range, and when they were threatened by cold steel’ (Cooper 1935: 195–96). With such high-level support it is unsurprising that bayonet training had a high profile within the base camp training that troops received and in the further training exercise undertaken behind the front lines, awaiting or between actions. Notes taken by an officer preparing to provide infantry training in 1915 indicate that bayonet training in the British bases was undertaken daily and was rigorous. The notes envisaged much of the training being done on a course, the highlight of which would be a specially constructed lengthy zig-zagging trench, with at least nine dummies waiting to be bayoneted, mainly on the corners (Seys-Philips 1915).


Paul Hodges

Such courses were not the limit of the bayonet in training though; the field exercises of more advanced training would always end in a bayonet charge also (Hall 1916: 28). An identical focus was maintained at the main training base in France, the daunting Étaples. Private Frank Bass described a typical day there in a diary entry dated 17 September 1916, expressing some surprise that there was no let-up at all for a Sunday. It was
apparently [the] same as any other day. Reveille 5.30. Breakfast 6. Parade 8.00 for ‘Bullring’ or No. 2 Training Camp. Bayonet fighting with the Royal Scots. 8 of us, including Adams, Coulson and myself, went over final assault and went over all right, I think. After this, rapid loading and firing and then bayonet fighting again.
(Bass 1916)

By 1916, bayonet training actually became more dominant in a trainee soldier’s preparation for the trench war at home and abroad. Second Lieutenant Harold Mellersh was puzzled to discover this, and contrasted it with the training he had undergone just over a year earlier. He returned to his base camp in Plymouth in October 1916 upon recovery from an injury and found that there was surprisingly little for him to do, as the
training of recruits was now even not much in the hands of the ordinary sergeants, let alone the officers: the accent had shifted to bayonet drill, with rows of stuffed dummies strung up on wires and experts, specially trained in simulating and stimulating ferocity, in charge. ‘In! Out! Jab!’ I don’t think we won the war at all by ferocity, or that the attempted inculcation of it suited the British temperament.
(Mellersh 1971: 105)

Mellersh’s doubts over the pertinence and suitability to British troops of such prolonged and inflamed bayonet training were rare among officers or NCOs of the time. In his analysis of fears of brutalization, Jon Lawrence (2003: 577–89) makes it clear that, aside from isolated radicals and pacifists, such as Norman Angell, fears concerning troops’ brutalization did not form a major issue during the war but only exploded post-war. Officers at the front responsible for arranging training for the troops under them during periods away from the front line often relied on bayonet training, again mainly for its attitudinal benefits. The typical attitude of those in authority is expressed here by an officer in charge of a company, fresh from the heat of hard battle on the Somme in July 1915, who approved of the fact that activity was maintained whilst troops were nominally ‘resting’ near the Bois de Dames. He was glad to ‘use the time here to renew clothing equipment etc. and to repeat musketry, close order drill bayonet fighting etc.’ (Gore-Browne 1915: 6–7). But it was not only officers who were keen on bayonet training. Private John Jackson, returning to training after an injury in 1916, recalled that there
was much practice in bombing, and bayonet fighting and we put in some hard and tiring work. But if it was hard training it was also interesting and we
‘They don’t like it up ’em!’: Bayonet fetishization in the British Army during …


had great fun among the dummy figures, representing ‘Jerries’ in trenches, on our training ground. As a result of constant practice we became very proficient in the use of the rifle and fixed bayonet, but as a degree of proficiency in the art of using a bayonet might one day mean the difference between life and death for each of us, it was to our advantage to know all the tricks.
(Jackson 2005: 85–86)

The support ‘from below’ that could exist for their officers’ views of bayonet training is therefore clear in this private’s words. It was not only in prior training and periods of spare time on the front that bayonet training was utilized as a handy filler. Significantly it was also used more extensively during the important periods leading up to large battles as the most adroit preparation. Major Jack on 15 July 1917 described his men getting strident advice during their battle training prior to the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele):
The day before yesterday a bloodthirsty fellow, Colonel Campbell, the Army bayonet-fighting expert, gave a lurid lecture to a large, thrilled audience on the most economical use of the bayonet, and to arouse the pugnacity of the men. He pointed out that to plunge the blade right through an opponent is a waste of trouble, and that three inches in the heart are quite sufficient. The cold-blooded science of the business seems to me rather horrid, even if necessary.
(Jack 1964: 227)

The ubiquitous Colonel Campbell could well have been one of the most influential British soldiers of the war (Gray 1978: 26). His memorable lectures were very well attended throughout the war. Lectures of the type that Campbell delivered so forcefully could have a direct effect on the battlefield. An exact mirror of the three-inch advice is contained in one private’s uncompromising letter home dated 14 September 1918. He promised:
I shan’t take many prisoners when it comes to going in the thick of it, a rifle and bayonet with three inches at each Bosh I come in contact with at close quarters. The more we send to Heaven, the sooner the war will be ended.
(Spelman 1918)

Campbell’s advice to use short stabs was also memorably reported by Siegfried Sassoon: ‘“The bullet and the bayonet are brother and sister.” “If you don’t kill him, he’ll kill you.” “Stick him between the eyes, in the throat, in the chest.” “Don’t waste good steel. Six inches are enough”’ (Sassoon 1930: 6). The effectiveness of such training at home and abroad for actual warfare is debatable, as truly practical training for using a bayonet is far harder than for other weapons of war. Throwing a grenade into a dummy trench or aiming a rifle at a target are not so different activities from the real tasks at hand in actual battle. Bags of straw – the usual target for bayonet practice – are very different from animate humans. It is interesting to note that bayonet training seems to have only relatively rarely taken the form of fighting one another with wooden replicas affixed or such like, as had previously been


Paul Hodges

the case with sword fighting. Training for using the bayonet instead seemed to be singularly unrealistic. The artificial and unhelpful pike-influenced drill stances that had been practised and drilled during training were swiftly abandoned on the battlefield, as suggested by Lance Corporal Francis’s description quoted above, of bayonet action as being with ‘no thrust one and parry, in goes the bayonet the handiest way’ (Gammage 1974: 96–97). However, bayonet training remained popular both at home and at the front and one of the major reasons for its popularity, both with the men and officers, was its aggressive content. The aggressive nature and content of bayonet training was often emphasized. This even comes across in the official training textbooks; one later edition stated plainly and tellingly that ‘bayonet fighting produces lust for blood’ (War Office 1917: 97). The simple act of wielding a bayonet was popularly imagined to have an immediate and powerful brutalizing effect on men. It was no accident that the limited time allowed to complete the bayonet assault course was popularly known in soldiers’ slang as the ‘mad minute’. The extreme nature of the training, based as it was on such texts and the enthusiasm of trainers, is often vividly described in anecdotes. Sassoon again turned to an anonymous trainer clearly based on Colonel Campbell:
The star turn in the schoolroom was a massive sandy-haired Highland Major whose subject was ‘The Spirit of the Bayonet’. […] He spoke with homicidal eloquence, keeping the game alive with genial and well-judged jokes. He had a Sergeant to assist him. The Sergeant, a tall sinewy machine, had been trained to such a pitch of frightfulness that at a moment’s warning he could divest himself of all semblance of humanity. With rifle and bayonet he illustrated the Major’s ferocious aphorisms, including facial expression. When told to ‘put on the killing face’, he did so, combining it with an ultra-vindictive attitude. ‘To instil fear into the opponent’ was one of the Major’s main maxims. Man, it seemed, had been created to jab the life out of Germans.
(Sassoon 1930: 14–15)

The titling of such lectures with the phrase ‘The Spirit of the Bayonet’, and the frequent references to this, are interesting. Although the phrase was no doubt often used unthinkingly as a mere stock epithet, the logic behind it, conscious or unconscious, was to imbue the physical object with an emotional life of its own. The bayonet itself was thought of as aggressive, vicious, bloodthirsty and murderous, rather than the man wielding it. Indeed, once the bayonet was in use, soldiers’ descriptions and recollections display a tendency to erase the agency of the combatant: it is as if the bayonet’s owner appeared to have no choice but to go along with its spirit. This has the effect of placing a comfortable distance between the man and the act of killing. For example, when Private John Jackson of the Cameron Highlanders recalled his first major battle experience at the Battle of Loos he admitted that the Germans
fought hard, but could not stand against our determination, and our terrible bayonets […] Machine-gunners slaying us from their hidden posts, threw up their hands crying ‘Kamerad’, when we got within striking
‘They don’t like it up ’em!’: Bayonet fetishization in the British Army during …


distance, but these deserved and received no quarter. Cold steel and bombs did their duty then, and the village was strewn with dead and running with blood.
(Jackson 2005: 54)

Here the step away from causing death, provided by the bayonets being described as ‘terrible’ rather than the soldiers wielding them, and both cold steel and bombs as doing ‘their duty’ rather than the men themselves, is clear. The psychology, often running along such lines, that underpinned the strenuous training in the bayonet was understood by men in the field of combat. In a section of memoir covering the summer of 1917, an infantry captain, Stormont Gibbs, mused on the hatred and conquering of fear needed to turn a man into an effective killer. Gibbs noted that
In any sort of hand fighting there are the savage emotions that motivate the shot or thrust. The great horror of war is this prostitution of civilized man. He has to fight for his country and to do so has in actual practice to be brutalized for his country; he has to learn to hate with the primitive blood lust of the savage if he is to push a bayonet into another human being (who probably no more wants to fight than he does). Need he hate? In the case of the average man he must as the counter-balance to fear.
(Gibbs 1986: 132)

Care must be taken not to react too strongly to ghoulish sentiments about the bloody physicality of the bayonet. As the above quotation indicates, this was a concern for some troops contemporarily also, but one that was subsumed by the necessity not to be frightened. Frightened soldiers could not have fought with a bayonet effectively. Confidence was a vital requirement; the bayonet was useless as an effective psychological weapon without it. Only a confident bayonet charge could effect a rout. Bayonet training was thus by no means unnecessary – or at least it would not have been had the level of bayonet fighting that was expected been achieved and if the standard-issue British bayonet had been more capable of achieving the tasks expected of it. It is also worth remembering in this context that bayonet fighting fell into the category of combat exchanges that soldiers generally found psychologically untroubling. It was not ‘senseless’, unlike shell deaths which soldiers frequently found very disturbing. Many soldiers summed up the sense of bayonet fighting neatly as ‘him or me’ and such an equation disturbed them little. Despite these contexts, the effect of the aggression and hatred included and inculcated during training on the men who underwent it could however remain startling, approaching a ‘primitive blood lust’. William Johnson, a private in the 22nd London (‘Queen’s’) Regiment, described the immediate preparations for an attack on 7 November 1917: ‘“Fix bayonets!” yells the colonel. And the shining things leap from the scabbards and flash in the light as they click on the standards. They seem alive and joyous; they turn us into fiends, thirsty for slaughter’ (Johnson 1930: 323).


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This conception of men undergoing a transformation by wielding bayonets was frequently referred to in soldiers’ texts. Patrick MacGill described the transformation wrought on his comrades by heavy hand-to-hand action on the first day of the Battle of Loos, 25 September 1915. He found it
interesting to see how the events of the morning had changed the nature of the boys. Mild-mannered youths who had spent their working hours of civil life in scratching with inky pens on white paper, and their hours of relaxation in cutting capers on roller skates and helping dainty maidens to teas and ices, became possessed of mad Berserker rage and ungovernable fury. Now that their work was war the bloodstained bayonet gave them play in which they seemed to glory. ‘Here’s one that I’ve just done in,’ I heard M’Crone shout, looking approvingly at a dead German. ‘That’s five of the bloody swine now.’
(MacGill 1916: 84)

M’Crone is portrayed as the most transformed. MacGill had ‘never heard him swear before, but at Loos his language would make a navvy in a Saturday taproom green with envy’. Previously of religious turn of mind ‘now, inflicting pain on others, he was a fiend personified […]’ (MacGill 1916: 84–85). But the aggressive training in the bayonet appears to have had even more grave consequences; that of facilitating atrocity and war crimes. Primary sources suggest that closing in on the enemy with bayonets encouraged the murderous killing of prisoners or potential prisoners. Wielding a bayonet seemed to reduce soldiers’ faculty to grant mercy. H.E. May, a sergeant in the Highlanders, portrayed a bayonet assault in a way that was typical of these sorts of depictions. He described a generic attack, although it seems to have been in the context of experience he had on the Ypres salient in late 1917:
You see a line of stumpy tree-trunks that, dimly, you realize is the objective. You creep up. A wild melee; stabbing with a bayonet. A gushing of blood from many wounds (oh! the nauseating smell of freshly spilled human blood in quantity), and then a cry of ‘Kamerad!’ and a whine for mercy. Unheeded, for all the enemy died.
(May 1930: 200)

At times, the fetishization of the bayonet directly affected the mood and conduct of soldiers on the battlefield. T.H. Gore-Browne was stationed in trenches in front of Rue de Tillelay, Laventie, and wrote of the expectations of some troops newly arrived at the front in August 1915. He had command of ‘a squadron of North Irish Horse […]. They are awfully sick at the class of warfare we are waging at present. I haven’t a notion of what they expected – a sort of orgy of shooting and stabbing I suppose […]’ (GoreBrowne 1915). What do such expectations of an ‘orgy of stabbing’ in fresh troops reveal? They reveal strong tendencies for bayonet fetishization within the British infantry in the First World War, as has been suggested throughout this article. Moreover, such tendencies appear to have been transmitted to new troops potently and quickly, and possibly in an increased manner. A spiral of violence is not hard to conceive from this source.
‘They don’t like it up ’em!’: Bayonet fetishization in the British Army during …


To conclude, the fetishization of the bayonet often appeared to have been the direct result of the excesses involved in infantry training at the time. The strong fetishization that had built up in the Army around this complicated and revealing weapon had the potential for deleterious effects on the battlefield, tending to veer towards and facilitate atrocity. Acknowledgements
This article is based on a paper given at the GWACS Body at War Conference in June 2004. I am grateful for useful comments from attendees and other readers, particularly Joanna Bourke, Gary Sheffield, Adrian Gregory and Jessica Meyer.

20th Infantry Brigade (1914), War diary, The National Archive, War Office 95/1650. Anon. (1924), British Small Arms School Report, quoted by A. Carter (1969), Allied Bayonets of World War II, London: Arms & Armour Press, pp. 9–10. Bass, F. (1916), Manuscript diary, Imperial War Museum, Dept of Documents, 77/94/1. Carter, A. (1969), Allied Bayonets of World War II, London: Arms & Armour Press. Chambers (1988), Chambers English Dictionary (ed. C. Schwarz, G. Davidson, A. Seaton and V. Tebbit), Cambridge: Chambers. Cooper, D. (1935), Haig: Volume 1, London: Faber & Faber. Delorme, E. (1915), War Surgery (trans. H. de Méric), London: H.K. Lewis. Dunn, J.C. (1938), The War the Infantry Knew 1914 –1919, London: P.S. King. (Reprinted in 1987, London: Jane’s). Ellerton A. (1914), ‘When Belgium put the Kibosh on the Kaiser’, sheet music, London: Francis Day & Hunter. Reprinted in C. Bolton (ed.) (1978), Oh! It’s a Lovely War: Songs, Ballads and Parodies of the Great War, London: EMI Music Publishing. Gammage, B. (1974), The Broken Years: Australian Soldiers in the Great War, Canberra: Australian National University Press. Gibbs, S. (1986), From the Somme to the Armistice: The Memoirs of Captain Stormont Gibbs, MC (ed. R. Donald-Lewis), London: William Kimber. Gore-Browne, E. (1915), Transcript/manuscript letters, Imperial War Museum, Dept of Documents, 85/55/1. Gray, J.G. (1978), Prophet in Plimsoles: An Account of the Life of Colonel Ronald B. Campbell, Edinburgh: Edina Press. Green, M. (1980), Dreams of Adventure, Deeds of Empire, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Griffith, P. (1981), Forward into Battle: Fighting Tactics from Waterloo to Vietnam, Chichester: Antony Bird. Hall, J. (1916), ‘Kitchener’s Mob’: The Adventures of an American in the British Army, Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin. Jack, J.L. (1964), General Jack’s Diary 1914–1918: The Trench Diary of BrigadierGeneral J. L. Jack (ed. J. Terraine), London: Eyre & Spottiswode. Jackson, J. (2005), Private 12768: Memoir of a Tommy, Stroud: Tempus. Johnson, W.G. (1930), ‘Tell-El-Sheria’, in C. B. Purdom (ed.), Everyman at War, London: J.M. Dent & Sons, pp. 319–32. Keegan, J. (1976), The Face of Battle: A Study of Agincourt, Waterloo and the Somme, London: Jonathan Cape.


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Lawrence, J. (2003), ‘Forging a Peaceable Kingdom: War, Violence and Fear of Brutalization in Post First World War Britain’, Journal of Modern History, 76: 3, pp. 577–89. Lucy, J.F. (1938), There’s a Devil in the Drum, London: Faber & Faber. MacGill, P. (1916), The Great Push: An Episode of the Great War, London: Herbert Jenkins. McLaglen, L. (1916), Bayonet Fighting for War, London: Harrison & Sons. May H.E. (1930), ‘In a Highland Regiment, 1917–1918’, memoir, in C.B. Purdom (ed.), Everyman at War, London: J.M. Dent & Sons, pp. 199–206. Mellersh, H.E.L. (1971), Schoolboy into War, London: William Kimber. Officer (pseud.) (1915), Practical Bayonet-Fighting with Service Rifle and Bayonet, London: Exchange & Mart. —— (1918), ‘ Memory of Bourlon Wood’, The National Review, 422, pp. 178–82. A Passingham, I. (1998), Pillars of Fire: The Battle of Messines Ridge, June 1917, Stroud: Sutton Publishing. Perry, J. and Croft, D. (2003), Dad’s Army: The Complete Scripts, London: Orion. Sassoon, S. (1930), Memoirs of an Infantry Officer, London: Faber & Faber. Savory, R. (1915), Manuscript letters, Liddle Collection, Brotherton Library, University of Leeds, General Series 1429. Seys-Philips, H. (1915), ‘Infantry training tactics’, Manuscript pocket book used as an instruction manual, Imperial War Museum, Dept of Documents, Misc. 81 Item 1238. Spelman, H.H. (1918), Manuscript letter in the papers of R. Spelman, Liddle Collection, Brotherton Library, University of Leeds, General Series 1512. Stainton, H. (1914), Transcript memoir, Imperial War Museum, Dept of Documents, 78/11/1. The Times (1914a), ‘Germans routed with the bayonet’, 10 August, p. 6. —— (1914b), ‘Village taken by bayonet charges’, 14 August, p. 6. —— (1914c), Report of personal thoughts of Lieutenant Deppe, 28 August, p. 7. —— (1914d), ‘Tournai and after’, 29 August, p. 8. —— (1914e), ‘In the fighting line’, 11 September, p. 6. Vansittart, P. (1981), Voices from the Great War, London: Jonathan Cape. Walkinton, M.L. (1980), Twice in a Lifetime, London: Samson Books. War Office (1914), Manual of Military Law, London: War Office/HMSO. —— (1917), Instructions for the Training of Platoons for Offensive Action (S.S. 143), London: War Office/HMSO. (Reprinted in 2000, Milton Keynes: Military Press.) —— (1931), Small Arms Training: Vol. 1: General, Rifle, Bayonet and Revolver, London: War Office/HMSO. Webber, R. with Perry, J. and Croft, D. (2001), The Complete A to Z of Dad’s Army, London: Orion. Winter, D. (1978), Death’s Men: Soldiers of the Great War, London: Allen Lane.

Suggested citation
Hodges, P. (2008), ‘‘They don’t like it up ’em!’: Bayonet fetishization in the British Army during the First World War’, Journal of War and Culture Studies 1: 2, pp. 123–138, doi: 10.1386/jwcs.1.2.123/1

‘They don’t like it up ’em!’: Bayonet fetishization in the British Army during …


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Paul Hodges completed a Ph.D. titled ‘The British Infantry and Atrocities on the Western Front, 1914–1918’ in 2007 and plans to publish it shortly under the title: Cold and Hard. He is also associated with Birkbeck, University of London. Contact: Dr Paul Hodges, Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists, 27 Sussex Place, London NW1 4RG. E-mail: phodges@rcog.org.uk


Paul Hodges

Journal of War and Culture Studies Volume 1 Number 2 © 2008 Intellect Ltd Article. English language. doi: 10.1386/jwcs.1.2.139/1

Painful bodies and brutal women: remedial massage, gender relations and cultural agency in military hospitals, 1914–18
Ana Carden-Coyne University of Manchester Abstract
Military culture in the First World War was predicated upon the Victorian dichotomy of active male and passive female in social roles and physiological status. A soldier’s ability to fight and wield armaments framed his embodied citizenship. Once wounded, however, military medicine took a different view of the soldier’s body, mapping onto his broken flesh notions of passivity that implied femininity and infantilization. The presence of female therapists in military hospitals reversed the gendered and class dimensions of nineteenth-century allied medicine. Women now had power over the wounded body. They inflicted pain upon patients to a degree that was, at times, scandalous, and ignited institutional struggles amongst medical authorities. Whilst the process of physical rehabilitation was treated as a re-gendering process, and pain endurance built, controversially, into the practice of remedial massage, new social relations were created between men and women. This generated a significant body of cultural work that reveals the complexity of class and gender dynamics in military medicine and hospital life during wartime.

First World War gender pain the body military medicine cultural history

The First World War brought a major reversal in the class and gender relations of remedial massage used to treat wounded soldiers. As this femaledominated workforce entered the military sphere – giving them new modes of power over the male body – men encountered female expertise and authority. In the nineteenth century, private patients of masseuses were often female and middle class, diagnosed with neurasthenia and treated with rest cures (Palmer 1907: 6; Creighton Hale 1904: 5; Ellison 1904: 4; Despard 1911: 1; Kellogg 1909: 53). War meant that patients were now men and often working class. Although this required changes to the social relations of practitioner codes, therapeutic attitudes to the wounded body demonstrated a tension between the science of massage and the condition of male fragility. Victorian gender constructions were built into the therapeutic model. Wounded male bodies were considered weak, reduced to women’s natural state. Men’s minds too were thought to be as irritable as the neurasthenic middle-class woman. Male patients undergoing rehabilitation and those confined to beds were characterized by medical authorities as passive bodies. Physiotherapists ‘administered’

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1. In 1920, it became the Chartered Society of Massage and Medical Gymnastics, and in 1944, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP), indicating the shift in terminology.

various forms of ‘passive’ movement and manipulation on the stumps of amputees, reinforcing the gender inversion of wounding. Gendered perceptions about male and female bodies in the military hospital are the subject of this article. Drawing upon both British and American experiences, the article considers the gendered and class dynamics that socialized conduct around massage. With the supply of trained masseuses to the military during the First World War, the masseuse’s working environment moved from the domestic arena to the military hospital. This essay examines continuities and shifts in treatments and the social relations that occurred within this masculinized and disciplinary space. Built into the techniques of massage was a therapeutic discourse about the passivity of the wounded male body and the strength of the physical therapist. Inverting Victorian gender relations, both patients and practitioners characterized their own bodies in this way. This essay probes how remedial massage (as part of physiotherapy) generated new social interactions around class and gender. Women’s newly professionalized and yet physical role enabled ‘medical touching’ of men by women to become acceptable. Moreover, with their new ability to inflict pain on men’s bodies, women and men came to negotiate the gendered inversion of bodily contact. Analysing the social impact of military medicine upon perceptions about women’s physicality and men’s weakness, this essay uncovers the silent voice of the male patient, his observations of bodies and behaviour (Porter 1985: 167). Male patients responded to these new intimate bodily relations with creative agency. With cartoons and poems, men countered the disciplinary regimes of the female therapist with sexualized visions of female tormentors. Masseuses, too, participated in hospital magazine production. This article argues that the body politics of remedial massage contributed greatly to the culture of the wards, and that this cultural work reveals a much more complex picture of military hospital life than has previously been seen.

Dominating the industry: female entrepreneurs, teachers and writers
Mechanotherapy, reconstruction or physical therapy, remedial exercise and medical gymnastics were terms used for various forms of rehabilitation practice employed in the First World War to heal the bodies of wounded soldiers. Whilst rehabilitation was arranged in military hospitals, convalescent homes and workshops directed by male orthopaedic ‘specialists’, physical therapy and remedial massage was the preserve of women. Physicians agreed that men should only train as masseurs if they played the violin or piano, and had equally ‘sensitive hands’ as women (Swietochowski 1914: 2). Between 1900 and 1914, nearly all of the 2,657 students who qualified at the Incorporated Society of Trained Masseuses were women.1 The Society almost had a monopoly on teaching, issuing certificates of qualification and supplying remedial masseuses to hospitals. During the First World War, 90 per cent of military medical masseuses had received their qualifications from the Society in London (Lambert 1916a: 789). The war brought a need for many more trained masseuses and physical therapists, increasing the number of training schools and raising the profile
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of the profession. At Chatham Hospital, treatments rose from a total of 3,178 in October–December 1914 to 9,333 in 1915 (Director General of the Medical Department 1916a). Industry leaders published more, with manuals adjusting to include the treatment of wounds ‘most necessary at the present time’ (Palmer 1918: v). Numerous private schools were officially supported. Women entrepreneurs with medical qualifications included Dr Mary Coghill-Hawkes and Dr Mary Magill (Swedish Institute of Massage and Remedial Exercise and School of Medical Electricity); Dr Florence Barrie Lambert and Dr Elizabeth Patterson (Training College for Massage and Remedial Gymnastics); Dr Justina Wilson (School for Swedish Remedial Exercises). Female directors without the status of physician included Miss E.M. Field (the School of Swedish Medical Gymnastics and Massage); Mrs Jenkyn-Brown (Birmingham Massage School); and Mrs Marriott Fox (Manchester Massage Training), whose certificates were officially recognized by the War Office (Nursing Times and Journal of Midwifery 1916: 1). Alongside private training schools, female benefactors led the way in supplying massage therapists to the Navy (Lady Salisbury) – welcomed by the Director General of the Medical Department of the Navy, the Admiralty and the Treasury (Director General of the Medical Department 1916b); and Mr and Mrs Almeric Paget (Almeric Paget Massage Corps) supplied 1,300 masseuses to the War Office Committee (R.T. Mackenzie 1916: 217). Trained masseuse Eleanor Essex French, daughter of Field Marshall Lord French, was honorary secretary of the Corps, responsible for the supply to hospitals. With the rising toll of orthopaedic injuries, massage departments not only became important in military hospitals, but general hospitals also had to transform their infrastructure to include the facilities, such as the Fourth London General Hospital, Ruskin Park, which had sixteen staff and hydrotherapy and electrotherapy equipment. Whilst in Britain mechanotherapy had long been well regarded amongst medical professionals, its female leaders had to ward off increasing competition from within the medical profession, precisely because it was quickly adopted into military practices through the War Office. By contrast, in the United States, the equally female-dominated Physiotherapists Association was allied with the American Medical Association (AMA) in order to substantiate itself as a scientifically based and highly educated profession. Over 90 per cent of reconstruction aides had higher degrees in physical education before taking the War Emergency Course set up by the Army Medical Department (Linker 2005a: 325). The professionalization of physiotherapy offered women a more gender-neutral opportunity and official recognition of their allied medical expertise (Linker 2005b: 118). Colonel Emma E. Vogel was appointed reconstruction aide at Army General Hospital No. 24 (Pittsburgh). In 1919 she organized the first training course at Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital (Washington DC), which attained professional recognition from the AMA. Vogel later joined the Surgeon General of the Army’s Office and was instrumental in setting up the American Physical Therapy Association (WRAMH Colonel Emma E. Vogel, n.d.). There was a steady increase in the publication of textbooks by industry leaders such as Ida Shires and Dorothy Wood, continuing after the war (Shires and Wood 1927). Shires was a massage teacher and the
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masseuse-in-charge of the Massage Department, Charing Cross Hospital, and Wood was a Society examiner and lecturer at the Chelsea College of Physical Education. In the United States, Louisa Lippitt, former chief aide in physiotherapy, Medical Department, United States Army, and later corrective exercise teacher at the University of Wisconsin, adapted her methods to treat soldiers for ‘normal therapeutic classes’ (Lippitt 1923). By 1920, the Reconstruction Department of the United States Army Medical Corps had treated 86,000 disabled men in the Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy and Curative Workshop Divisions (McMillan 1921: 9). Thus the war transformed physical therapy into an international industry, enabling women such as Mary McMillan to move from Robert Jones’s clinic in Liverpool, to become chief aide at Walter Reed Hospital and eventually director of Reed College Training Clinic and supervisor of aides for the US Army Medical Corps. Previously, decorum had not permitted women to treat male bodies. However, the extensive orthopaedic needs of military medicine in the First World War radically altered this.

Passive bodies and painful therapies
Working in orthopaedic centres or as part of the rehabilitation team, physical therapists or reconstruction aides conducted manual remedial massage, hydrotherapy (or hydrology – hot and cold water treatments) and electrotherapy (increasing and decreasing electrical currents for rhythmic resistance – faradism, galvanism and medical electricity). As well as heat and light treatments (radiology and thermotherapy), electric cabinet baths (balneotherapeutics – the ‘science of bathing’) and medical climatology were used. Therapists gave instruction in remedial and corrective exercises (medical gymnastics), such as in the ‘Physio Therapy Department’ at Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital, helping to set up the gymnasium and pool facilities. At Heaton Park, Manchester, a special hydrotherapy and physiotherapy installation was made at the Command Depot, servicing 5,000 troops, especially those ‘suffering from shock and disordered actions of the heart’. Men who had been subjected to ‘strain and stress of an exceptional nature’ were helped by the ‘sedative effect’ of thermal baths (Radcliffe 1916: 554). Treatments aimed to relax muscles and minds before massage was conducted upon painful limbs and scars. Hydrology could involve baths with temperatures between 40 and 50 degrees C, ‘or as hot as can be conveniently borne’ (Fortescue Fox n.d.: 462). Although patients were not meant to suffer excessive force or pain, the reality was that in many remedial treatments, the male body endured degrees of pain at the hands of female physical therapists. Medical photographs from Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital reveal men’s bodies in a vulnerable state: whilst female therapists manipulated joints, tested flexibility and stretched muscles, they also worked on very sensitive amputation stumps (Figure 1). As men lay on their backs, women used their bodily strength to massage backs, buttocks, upper thighs and groin areas. They often inflicted pain by pulling and pushing limbs. In many such images, the therapist massages the stump, which would have been painful and perhaps humiliating. It is difficult to assess the expression on the patient’s face as he looks to the ceiling; however, it does seem a sensitive moment of physical contact. Women acting upon men’s arms could be just as sensitive and potentially emasculating (Figure 2). After amputation,
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Figure 1: Reconstruction Aide Massaging Patient’s Leg Stump, Walter Reed Army Hospital Archives, Washington DC. Courtesy of the National Museum of Health and Medicine, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, D.C. Hitchcock and Angier Collection.

Figure 2: Reconstruction Aide Massaging Patient’s Arm, Walter Reed Army Hospital Archives, Washington DC. Courtesy of the National Museum of Health and Medicine, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, D.C. Hitchcock and Angier Collection.
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the arm often became weak and spindly, having suffered muscle wastage or atrophy, exhibiting softness (hypotonus), lack of flexion, ‘diminution in volume’ and what was called ‘functional impotence’ (Fortescue Fox 1917: 81). One soldier recalled a nurse ‘falling down laughing’ at his limb for being ‘the size of a child’s’ (Brewster 1917). Just as women expected men’s bodies to be robust, so too did men expect women to be more sympathetic. In the military hospital, embodied gender relations were often fraught. This was a period in which the connection between muscles, masculinity and sexual prowess was reiterated in both rehabilitation literature and popular bodybuilding (Carden-Coyne 2004). Reinforcing this were the concepts of active and passive bodily movements that underpinned remedial massage. Men and women felt these associations precisely because the therapy was physically intimate and the male body appeared frail in its pained state. Therapists, using either their hands with massage and manipulation or resistance machines, acted upon the male body in what were called ‘passive movements’. In stretching the shortened ligaments or breaking down scar adhesions, the masseuse aimed to ‘restore the normal movement in joints’ (Fortescue Fox and Campbell McClure 1916: 311). They also used specially designed technologies – Zander machines, for example – or those developed by private clinicians such as Dr Gustav Hamel in London, or at the Edgar Allen Institute in Sheffield. Women too designed machines. Olive Guthrie-Smith devised gymnastic equipment for wrist joints, the treatment of flat feet, stiff ankles and elbow joints, as well as an apparatus for passive arm stretches and shoulder abduction for injuries (GoodallCopestake 1920: 249). At Heaton Park, tailored systems of weights and pulleys were installed for the flexion and extension of muscles and joints. In the process of rehabilitation, a patient aimed to move from passive treatments to active ones. Passing through transitional phases, the male body was initially regarded as susceptible and acutely sensitized to pain. The wounded man began as a passive body to be acted upon by physicians and therapists. From manual treatment and manipulation, he came to perform machine movements and then free ‘active movements’, with the intention that the patient ‘must be thrown still more on his own resources by free gymnastics in which there is no guidance from the machine or operator’ (R.T. Mackenzie 1916: 218). Increasing the degree of difficulty with tasks, passive manipulation, weights and machines often hurt. Indeed, pain was a recognized part of the process of recovery through endurance (Royal Society of Medicine 1916: 232). As a patient graduated to gymnastic movement his fortitude and stamina was assessed, which, as rehabilitation therapist R. Fortescue Fox stated, was ‘the final test for active service in the field’ (Fortescue Fox 1917: 121). Physical therapy was underpinned by a re-gendering process, by which the male body was slowly reactivated and masculine self-control restored. Force was to be moderated if ‘any trembling arises’ (Waddington 1917: xi). According to the head of the Massage Department at Shepherd’s Bush Military Orthopaedic Hospital, Dr James Mennell, ‘skilled gradation to active movement’ was the key. Degenerate and dormant muscles had to be ‘enabled’ through a ‘recuperative course’ to a ‘revived power of spontaneous action’ (Mennell 1917: vii). Such actions indicated the restored condition of masculinity.
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Massage involved several forceful techniques. Effleurage (stroking) was used in all painful conditions, sprains, fractures and adhesions. Performed by the palm of the hand, the thumb and fingertips, it aimed to increase circulation with increasing pressure and vigorous friction as ‘toleration is established’. Petrissage involved kneading, pinching and grasping of the deeper tissues. Muscles were pressed against the underlying bone by a ‘slow and deep’ pressure – firm ‘but not too painful’. Tapotement or striking meant ‘beating’ the patient’s body with the open hand, as well as ‘hacking’ by the masseuse’s ulnar bone. Fingertips were used as a ‘flail’ and the flat of the clenched knuckles. Masseuses were instructed that ‘blows should be sharp and quick, but not heavy enough to bruise. They should be short and snappy, and done from a loose wrist’ (R.T. Mackenzie 1917: 89–91). In wounded bodies, physical manipulation of joints and muscles or massage of tender tissues and scar adhesions was painful. Although baths were used to soften the body for flexion, there was danger here too. Wasted muscles and damaged nerves often had severely diminished sensitivity, so that ‘scalding of these areas may take place, without the patient having complained of any discomfort in the normal portions of the limb’ (Fortescue Fox 1917: 26). Conversely, some found heat extremely painful and massage was ‘rendered impossible’. Phantom pains in ‘the missing hand or foot, so frequently felt after amputation’ further sensitized the body (Fortescue Fox 1917: 28). The complexity of wounds meant that swollen joints or inflamed tissues could be ‘either relieved or aggravated by manipulation’ (Fortescue Fox and Campbell McClure 1916: 311). Patients endured painful treatments before the limb improved and the pain subsided. Experiencing, inflicting and bearing pain was understood as intrinsic to the process of physical rehabilitation. Although instructions alerted women to the issue of force and persistent pain, masseuses were also instructed to be suspicious of the patient’s pain response and to test whether it was genuine. Some pain was regarded as imagined and psychological, rather than physiological. As surgeon Major Robert Tait Mackenzie warned: ‘Some patients wince on the slightest touch, and this false pain must be distinguished from real’ (R.T. Mackenzie 1917: 94; my emphasis). Diagnostic power gave women a further boost in their professional identity. However, it was underpinned by distinctly gendered assumptions about how men should respond to pain and how women should police their behaviour. Therapists had to make judgements about the patient and then determine the degree of physical force and moral pressure to apply. These rules were often contradictory for, on the one hand, she had to be careful with the male body, avoiding ‘quick and jerky motions’ that made him ‘apprehensive’. On the other hand, she was given free rein over his mental faculties: ‘suggestion, encouragement, scolding or even bullying, all have their uses’. Although social intimacy with the patient was to be avoided, masseuses were asked to ‘distract his attention’ from the movement being administered (R.T. Mackenzie 1917: 94). Given these contradictions, it is not surprising that women’s management of painful treatments became a fraught physical and emotional issue, and one with professional consequences for women in military medicine.
Painful bodies and brutal women: remedial massage, gender relations …


Brutal women and the gender politics of pain
Remedial masseuses had to adjust to male bodies with new rules socialized around decorum, class and gender. Whereas in the nineteenth century a female patient was necessarily ‘neurotic’, requiring the ‘delicate and sympathetic touch’ that a ‘strong person’ lacked, now with the onset of war it was commonly believed that the male patient required a firmer hand (Ellison 1904: 3). With a female patient it was held that massage ‘should never be painful to her’ [my emphasis]; with a male it was believed that the pain endurance of the patient should be continually tested in order to rehabilitate his wasted muscles and amputated limbs (Ellison 1904: 90). Masseuse Margaret Palmer argued that, ‘as pain and tenderness grow less, the strength of the treatment can be increased’ (Palmer 1918: 258). These attitudes generated enormous controversy amongst both patients and the medical profession. Masseuses were accused of being under the misconception that without pain, massage was merely ‘treatment by suggestion’ and that they should ‘give to the patient all he can stand’ (Mennell 1915: 755). Dr James Mennell pinpointed the problem as a matter of incorrect training in massage school, where it was assumed that ‘pain and discomfort are inseparable from successful treatment’. Mennell was a respected medical officer in the Physico-Therapeutic Department, St Thomas’s Hospital, and a civilian medical officer in the Massage Department of Shepherd’s Bush Military Orthopaedic Hospital, where he supervised 23 trained masseuses and 2 masseurs. Between 1916 and 1917 they treated 863 patients, and each week 1,680 treatments were given (W.C. Mackenzie 1917: 677). Commenting on letters he received from patients and families, Mennell declared ‘all is not as well as it might be’ with massage. According to one correspondent, ‘operators are unnecessarily violent’ and patients were evading treatment as a result (Mennell 1915: 755). Another physician noted that military patients ‘dread the visit’ of the therapist with her ‘too rough methods’ (St Aubyn-Farrer 1915: 888). As we shall see, patients’ representations of the massage therapist supported this view. Concerned that some masseuses were applying too much force, resulting in physical and psychological damage, such as temporary hysterical physiologies, James Mennell warned that ‘the dose of movement given daily should be the maximum that does not cause more than a transitory twinge’. Mennell appealed to masseuses that soldiers had ‘passed through a time of superhuman fatigue and strain’, undergone operations and suffered septic absorption. Treatment should be ‘devoid of pain’, even if it meant recovery was slow (Mennell 1915: 755–56). Rarely witnessed in military medicine, this remarkable sympathy was mobilized to expose the industry’s failings. Despite the professionalism of physical therapy, serious mistakes were being made. Mass casualties necessitated that some untrained nurses, VADs (Voluntary Aid Detachment workers) and orderlies were asked to give patients massage. Indeed, Lena Hitchcock, an American occupational therapist, recalled often having to massage men’s fragile limbs. Although untrained, she had to apply Dakin solution to an ‘open ugly leg wound, I felt the boy’s leg twitch horribly’ (Hitchcock n.d.: 47). In one scandalous case at the British Red Cross Auxiliary Hospital for Officers, Brighton, a
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soldier’s un-united shoulder fracture broke in the masseuse’s hands, which led to an enquiry and several dismissals (Barclay 1994: 68). Reports suggested some people were employed in hospitals after only twelve lessons, and that ‘strange things were being done in the name of massage’ (Mennell 1915: 755). Leading orthopaedic surgeon Robert Jones was compelled to lecture on empathy, reminding of the patient’s plight through the ‘shock of injury’, long periods of suppuration, and his ‘wearisome convalescence’ by massage, electricity and ‘monotonous machines’, which ‘too often leaves him discontented with hospital life’ (Jones 1917: 514). Patients were depressed and, according to Mennell, surgeons’ ‘good work’ was being ‘undone by injudicious’ treatment. Misdiagnosis of the origin of pain, he thought, indicated lack of expertise. Thus he warned that orthopaedics itself was in ‘jeopardy’ if ‘unnecessary suffering’ was inflicted (Mennell 1915: 755). Nevertheless there was inconsistency within the medical profession. Massage in relation to the treatment of wounds was a trial-and-error procedure with uncertain results. Indeed, some physicians were ambiguous about the degree of force to be applied. Whilst Mennell felt no pain should be endured, Fortescue Fox stated that pain should not last more than twenty minutes. Hasty and excessive treatments, however, could lead to the nervous collapse of the patient (Fortescue Fox 1917: 126). Surgeon Frank Romer stated that massage should be light in character if there was pain, but firmer otherwise. Yet he also stated that whilst ‘joints blocked by dense inflammatory products do not respond well to forcible manipulation’, there were occasions when ‘in suitable cases of joint stiffness, restoration of function is materially hastened’ by the use of force. He acknowledged that a certain amount of controversy existed as to ‘whether massage should be a painful process or not’. In his cases, massage ‘must cause discomfort and occasionally pain from the nature of the disabilities they have to overcome’. Concluding, he argued that the ‘gentle stroke’ and effleurage ‘are merely a waste of time’. However, in the case of fractures, sprains or synovitis, ‘anything in the nature of roughness must be avoided’ (Romer 1918: 435). Controversy over remedial massage fed into political furore over the Royal Army Medical Corps and its allied medical services (Whitehead 1999). Writing to The Lancet, one physician placed the massage scandal within the realm of the ‘shared doubt whether our country is doing the very best that our wounded soldiers deserve’ (Greenwood 1915: 888). It also fuelled antagonism between female professionalism and male medical authority. For some physicians, massage was a platform upon which to call for the General Medical Council to displace the private schools run by women and take over the examination process. Mennell recommended that physicians should supervise: ‘no masseur or masseuse should be allowed to work on his or her own’ (Mennell 1915: 757). Dr Greenwood, a physician working in a military hospital, reiterated this point: ‘the idea that massage is useless until it hurts is so general (even amongst medical men, I fancy) that it is difficult to eradicate’. Pain endurance was so critical to the re-stabilizing of masculinity that patients too were convinced of the merit of what Dr Greenwood called ‘brutal methods’ (Greenwood 1915: 888). Together, medical uncertainty and training inconsistencies
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contributed to debate over massage, upon which some medical men capitalized. In the United States, women eventually gave up their therapeutic authority over the disabled male body by only working under physicians. In exercising what Surgeon General William Gorgas tellingly referred to as women’s ‘powers of personal subordination’, therapists gained a privileged professional network, which they reshaped as a congenial relationship of ‘team play’ (Linker 2005a: 326). The American Physiotherapy Association’s code of ethics is revealing, for in pledging an oath to the state and to the medical professional, the patient was bypassed (Linker 2005a: 328). By contrast, in Britain there appears a reversal of this trend. Women in British physical therapy had traditionally been subordinates. However, they were increasingly vocal in defending against the critical encroachment of the male medical profession. Whilst in the United States male physicians dominated electrotherapy, in Britain women surpassed the earlier model of marginal physicians working in hospitals or clinics or nurses trained at the Institute for Medical Electricity, London (Linker 2005a: 335; Morus 2006: 243; Uyeama 1997: 150). The Incorporated Society of Trained Masseuses held the first examinations on medical electricity in 1915, and remained the main institution where this qualification could be acquired (Barclay 1994: 10). In 1917, physician and neurologist at London Red Cross Hospital Edward Ash warned his fellow ‘medical men’ to keep ‘in touch’ with various electrotherapeutic measures. For it would be ‘most unfortunate if these drift into the hands of unqualified “medical electricians”’ (Ash 1917: 165). Although he was not explicitly challenging the credentials of female masseuses, there was increasing competition to the monopoly of the female-dominated Incorporated Society, such as by the new British Institute of Massage and Remedial Gymnastics in Manchester, a subsidiary of the Manchester Royal Infirmary, Ancoats Hospital and Salford Royal Hospital (Fox 1915). The General Medical Council and the General Council of Medical Education and Registration eventually supported the rival Institute, objecting to the Incorporated Society’s ‘somewhat arrogant attempt to claim a monopoly to which it has no title, either in fact or in equity’ on training nurses and masseuses (GCMER Acting Registrar 1916). The medical establishment persuaded the Board of Trade to reject the Incorporated Society’s request for a hearing (Board of Trade Minutes 1916). Roger Cooter has concluded that ‘physiotherapists and allied professionals were in competition with orthopaedists for control over patients’ (Cooter 1993: 135). Although medical electricity had a history of ‘disciplining’ the body and nervous system, there were disputes about measurements and orthodoxy, and it was not regarded as a speciality (Morus 2006: 244). Now with women steering the industry, the notion of expertise had a different currency of power sharing. Significantly, female disciplining had gendered consequences as fragile soldiers’ bodies offered a unique moment in history for women entering the masculinist sphere of the military hospital. Competition from large rival organizations also saw the advocacy of precise therapeutic machines over unreliable manual skills. Medical modernity and its fashion for prosthetic appliances saw influences from European rehabilitation centres spread to Britain (The Lancet 1916: 880;
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1917a: 425). Electric vibration and mechanical apparatuses with cords, weights and pulleys were being favoured. Mounting a defence of massage and women’s expertise, Dr Florence Barrie Lambert, inspecting officer of massage and electrical departments attached to the command depots and convalescent camps of the armed forces, wrote to The Lancet in 1916. Lambert reminded readers of the important work being done in British camps, such as Epsom Village (4,000 men), Dartford (1,200 men), Blackpool (2,113 men), Alnwick (2,080 men) and Eastbourne (3,000 men). Massage was part of a ‘thoroughgoing system’; masseuses were ‘skilled electricians’. Still, Lambert concluded, ‘passive mechanical exercise can never give the same results as good manual work’ (Lambert 1916a: 790). Lambert’s article received a condescending response from a fellow physician, regarding ‘her own special views’, and patronizing reactions from Campbell McClure (MD, honorary secretary with Dr R. Fortescue Fox, Balneology and Climatology Committee, Royal Society for Medicine) and Septimus Sunderland (chairman of the Royal Society for Medicine), who felt a ‘duty to correct’ her assumption that machines were favoured over manual work. Lambert countered in a subsequent issue of The Lancet, arguing that manual manipulation was the only way to avoid injury. In retorting, Lambert claimed her experiential authority over the male medical correspondents. Not only was she a physician and a physical therapist, she had actually attended Gustav Zander’s mechanical therapy clinic in Stockholm, unlike any of her critics (Lambert 1916b: 879). Despite medical controversy over women’s expertise and patient treatment, a shift was occurring. Whilst in the nineteenth century, the British massage therapist was ordered to follow the ‘strict directions’ of a doctor, and to have ‘absolute loyalty and obedience’ to him, now she was claiming her own expert knowledge (Despard 1911: 1). Women practitioners and teachers continued to publish textbooks and manuals, such as Beatrice Goodall-Copestake, an examiner for the Society, massage teacher and nurse at London Hospital. Society therapists also created their own Journal of the Incorporated Society of Trained Masseuses, and published the findings of both male and female practitioners within military and civil medicine (Shires and Wood 1927; Lippitt 1923: vi). Nevertheless, military medicine preferred the view that the passive treatment of massage could never replace the active patient: ‘massage must always be looked upon as second best’ (The Lancet 1917b: 158).

Representation, intimacy and agency: peppy professionals or female tormentors?
At the same time as British women defended their control of the industry, warding off attacks on their professionalism, practitioners defined themselves by their strong and active bodies. Female masseuses asserted their professional identity based, as Beth Linker states, on ‘strength and science’ (Linker 2005b: 105). Physiotherapists characterized themselves as women of force and energy. One aide wrote a poem, ‘Fizzy’s Song’ (as in Fizzy’O, slang for physiotherapist), in which she described her fellow therapists as exhibiting strength and energy: ‘Oh we are full of pep, pep, pep/With our muscles just as strong as steel/[...] Just think how good we feel’ (WRAMH 1918). Muscular therapists claimed their own personal benefit in possessing physical power
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Figure 3: Hospital Games with Reconstruction Aides. Walter Reed Army Hospital Archives, Washington DC. Courtesy of the National Museum of Health and Medicine, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, D.C. Hitchcock and Angier Collection. over men. They also felt their strength helped them transform men through the pain process. As one aide poet told her patients: ‘You’ll be strong when we get through and that’s about all one aide can do. FEEL MY BICEPS!’ (WRAMH ‘The Masseuse’). Massage was recognized as uniquely binding the patient and practitioner through this bodily inter-dynamic. Whilst ‘reconstruction aides’ claimed professionalism as therapeutic experts, they also engaged in hospital sports and competitions. Walter Reed Army Hospital archives contain photographs of aides straining in ‘tug of war’, a spectacle for patients and staff (Figure 3). Such demonstrations reinforced perceptions of women’s physical strength – a counterpoint to the feminized image of the wounded soldier. So empowered was the therapist, she was able to joke about the pain she could inflict. In the poem ‘The Masseuse’, she is described as having hot hands ‘she can’t control’, and that her sharp nails pinched the skin of the patient. The aide poet admits: ‘The patients all begin to cringe/When they see her coming in/Like April rain, she makes the pain/Just seem to grow and everything’ (WRAMH ‘The Masseuse’). Male patients reinforced this view of physiotherapists’ physical power, depicting women as perpetrators of pain upon their frail bodies. Patient poems and cartoons published in hospital magazines often target massage and the female masseuse. Comic relief and dark humour highlight the experience of pain for the male patient recovering from amputation. Affirming
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medical and social perceptions about the wounded body, patients internalized this view of passivity and pictured themselves as weak, child-like or at the mercy of strong women. Field ambulance journal The Lead Swinger contained a fake advertisement section, which professed, ‘Come and Have Your Leg Pulled. And Don’t Forget TRENCH FEET [...] Nice Young Masseurs’ (The Lead Swinger 1915: 21). In another poem, a patient refers to men hating the gymnasium where they undertook rehabilitation exercises. Patients might believe that therapy was good for them, and yet this rhyme focuses on pain and avoidance, a reality that physicians were concerned about, as mentioned earlier in James Mennell’s comments. For Lance Corporal H. Ridgewell at Summerdown Camp, the pain was certainly not worth the gain:
G’s for the Gyms which we love (I don’t think). Tho’ sometimes they’re useful to straighten a kink [...] M’s for the Massage that cures the lame, But we’d rather not try the treatment again.
(Ridgewell 1917: 2)

Military physicians observed that some patients embraced the pain in the belief that they were hastening their recovery or that by enduring a physical ordeal their masculinity would be reconstituted. To be sure, discipline in the military was normalized. As Beth Linker points out, ‘physiotherapists resembled drill sergeants more than bedside nurturers’ (Linker 2005a: 330). Depictions reveal men’s fear of the masseuse. In one cartoon by a patient, who appears to have no arms, an over-zealous nurse lurches towards him. The patient is terrified with his hair standing on end. The caption reads: ‘I don’t want to be massaged!!!’ In another by the same patient artist (C. Coven), a nurse yanks an armless soldier out of bed by the leg, and he appears to be yelling in pain, terrified at the prospect of ‘More Massage’ (Figure 4). Confronted with new forms of medical authority in the form of women inflicting humiliation and pain, wounded soldiers tried to reclaim their dignity. Cartoons and poems were an important cultural device by which patients could assert their agency, even whilst accepting pain as a fact of life. Significantly, the mediation of pain was a point of humour repeated in the industry’s official journal of the Incorporated Society. One popular anecdote depicted ‘an occasional shout from a patient who remonstrated at a strong current’ of electricity, and a sergeant exclaiming: ‘If the Kaiser saw this he might say – “The English Army is being tortured to make it to the front”’ (cited in Barclay 1994: 62; my emphasis). Pain and gender role reversal was accepted in the social and medical space of the military hospital. Humorous representations were part of a social dialogue between patients and staff. Cultural exchanges were a coping strategy for bodily suffering, underscored by the mediation of class and gender relations in the military hospital. Bodily pain required sensitive arrangements and procedures. Massage on sensitive stumps, buttocks and groin areas could be embarrassing. On a healing stump, patient and therapist had to negotiate the boundaries of pain. In one camp journal, it was written, ‘D is for Drill only Swedish [massage] it’s true. But cripples don’t find it easy to do [...] N is for Nurse gently rubbing the place. With it’s got to be done look on her face.’ (Blue Boys’ Alphabet
Painful bodies and brutal women: remedial massage, gender relations …


Figure 4: C. Coven, ‘I don’t want to be massaged’ and ‘More Massage’, First Eastern General Hospital Gazette, vol. 1, no. 19, December 21, 1915, p. 399. Courtesy of RAMC Collection, Wellcome Trust, London. 1917: 3) In contrast to the male culture of the military hospital, masseuses had been familiar with female bodies. Male bodies posed problems of social propriety, and hence the Society worked hard to protect its medical reputation. The role of respectable women and qualified nurses in conjunction with
Ana Carden-Coyne

mainstream medicine helped to situate the profession as an allied medical service, and dissociate it from sexuality and prostitution. The need to disconnect immoral allusions was built into the Society’s code of ethics with the proviso that: ‘General massage for men who are not really ill is not allowed to members of the Society.’ Such was the awareness of the potential of sexual misadventure, that women were told the ‘reasons for these rules are obvious and only by adherence to them can certain dangers be avoided’ (Goodall-Copestake 1920: 4; my emphasis). However, one aide’s poem reveals not only the likelihood of sexual attraction between men and women in the wards, but also that professional codes could be taken rather lightly:
I’ll promise that I’ll not flirt at all Or even wink an eye My relationships will be business-like The office I’ll not see And I’ll look so modest like When a Sergeant looks at me
(WRAMH ‘The Masseuse’)

Significantly, whilst women asserted their scientific and ‘business-like’ approach in their professional rhetoric, as Beth Linker has argued, when we examine the cultural work produced by masseuses a more complex picture arises of the gender and sexuality dynamics being played out within military hospitals. Certainly, the sexualization of masseuses posed challenges for the propriety of remedial massage. Given that most young women had had few physical experiences with male bodies, the First World War had brought new interactions with men and with male body parts as never before. Massage highlighted these potentially awkward and complex physical and social interactions, and the negotiation of ‘topsy-turvy’ class and gender relations (Doan 2006). Patients were not alone in this awareness. Practitioners too realized that massage could be both painful and sensuous. As Fizzy’s Song declared: ‘Massage with a slip, slip, slip/When your hands move just as smooth as mine/Tapotement with a flip, flip, flip/Oh we’re surely doing fine’. Indeed, Dr Greenwood’s preference for the London School of Massage, which rejected ‘brutal methods’ in favour of ‘the loving lingering stroke’, suggests official approval of ‘medical touching’ as a sensual treatment (Greenwood 1915: 888). As women exerted degrees of gender and physical power, men responded creatively. Within the gendered social space of the military hospital, frailty and pain enabled counteractive cultures in the wards. Bodily intimacy and vulnerability were managed by the men through humour, which represented the masseuse as a sexual object or as sexually knowledgeable. Reviewing a well-regarded massage manual, the editor of one hospital gazette wrote cheekily: ‘Methuens – the publishers – are advertising a new book entitled: What Every Masseuse Should Know. Comfortable Grasps for Joint Movements. It is our idea that in some establishments patronized by our gallant wounded these “comfortable grasps” are well understood’ (‘Camp Fires’ 1918: 1). The pun suggests that patients noted – even read – massage manuals of the day, and perhaps tried to gain
Painful bodies and brutal women: remedial massage, gender relations …


professional knowledge about their treatments. Sexual allusion, however, was never far from the imagination. Patient poems could be quite explicit, indicating that firm manipulations were arousing and even sado-masochistic. In ‘ Painful Parody’, the patient A poet dreams of the pleasurable pain of brutal punching and pummelling. Resembling the sexual pull (‘rapture’) of bondage games, he now dreams of torture instruments, imagining another patient’s delighted ‘squirming’:
Pale Hands which rubbed Inside the Massage Hut Where are you now? Who squirms beneath your touch? Do you recall my face with rapture fled Those limping days before I shed my crutch? Pale hands I loved Beneath the massage roof Whom do you punch and pummel ‘stead of me? I have had dreams of thumbscrews and the rack Since that first day you kneaded on my knee And yet pale ministering hands – on looking back How much I needed thee!
(‘A Painful Parody’ 1918: 2)

Sexualizing both the masseuse and the treatment was one way of dealing with the embarrassment of physical closeness and the crossing of gender boundaries around the perceived passive male body. Writing his ‘Reminiscences’ of massage at Brookshill Convalescent Home, Captain C.B. Phillips depicted a sexual fantasy: ‘The Queen of Hearts has given me/Five grains of her Quinine/With camphorated olive oil/Rubbed ‘well’ my chest has been’. In this ode to his masseuse, he implies that her ‘rare beauty’ and the force upon his body elicited ‘unworthy thoughts’ of pain and pleasure:
She rubs you gently just at first And then you say: ‘How nice!’ But by the time the flips begin You’ve started thinking twice In spite of this unworthy thought Which passes through one’s brain It does ‘the place’ a world of good And cures it of all pain.

Experiencing both pleasure and pain clearly affected gender and sexual relations, but also positioned the therapist as having medical authority over the male body. As Captain Phillips continued: ‘And when the smacks like rain descend/You wish you’d never never/Allowed yourself within the power/Of a lady quite so clever’ (Blackwell 1918; my emphasis). Men attempted to subvert these anxious encounters with sexual mythology. Narratives might project a desire that the masseuse be sexually alluring: ‘“Do have a look at my ankle, and tell me what you think of it?” said the
Ana Carden-Coyne

Massage lady to the RAMC officer, who blushed! [...] But alas she was referring to the ankle of a patient in her charge!’ Elsewhere, a patient writes a poem from the voice of the masseuse whose modesty is feigned: ‘If I should tell you that my legs/Are really worth attention/You must not think that I refer/To things I should not mention.’ The final interjection reinforces the titillation of potential sexual arousal in the Massage Department: ‘We have no intention of submitting it to the censor!’ (‘Camp Fires’ 1917: 1). Sexualization of the therapist was a reaction to the patient’s pain response, his internalized passivity and medical subordination. Whilst in some narratives, men refer to masseuses as ‘ladies’, at other times they use professional titles, stating comically that ‘masseuses [...] is shorter than assistant tormentors’ (‘Camp Fires’ 1917: 1). Medical gymnastics were referred to as ‘Physical Jerks’, implying adverse pulling of joints and muscles, and revealing animosity towards rough masseurs and orderlies. One trainee aide confirmed this in her poem: ‘From room to room did she sadly roam/She watched ’em rub and she watched ’em yank/But when she had to do it, Lord, how her heart sank’ (WRAMH ‘Songs of the Summer Aides’). Pain forced upon patients featured as a warning for newcomers to Summerdown Convalescent Camp from patient Franklin Thompson of the 8th East Lancashire Regiment:
Woe unto him that be on Massage, for an awful fate awaits him. He shall be commanded to lay in a bed under much heat, there to be roasted, after which a strong sister shall approach him and grasp him by the leg, and after much twisting, pulling and bending, she will start to pummel with her fist.
(Thompson 1917: 3)

Admitting physical vulnerability, experiencing intimate and awkward treatments and attempting to contain pain was dealt with by humour. This was a typical response of young men under pressure from the exacting physical and emotional cost of mechanized warfare. Comic representation of the passive male body was a direct result of the gender politics of the military hospital and the close contact that men had with female practitioners, who were at once burgeoning professionals but also women without the status of physician or nursing sister. Contact between female and male bodies was an anxious encounter that generated cultural forms of agency in the self-representations of patients and practitioners, but also in their representations of each other. This dynamic reflected the gendered negotiation of intimacy around the wounded male body but also the gendered structure of pain response. The value of this cultural work is in revealing the complexity of institutional life and the dynamic interrelation of male and female experiences in the ‘culture of the wards’. Finally, whilst military medicine identified the wounded male body as passive – and whilst the presence of women acting on men’s bodies reinforced the image of the active female body – there were advantages to this inversion of norms. Military medicine propagated the view of the hospital as a safe haven, despite men’s considerable experiences of pain during treatment. Yet being cured also meant a return to the dangers of the front line. Patients’ self-representation as passive bodies may have been a mode of empowerment more than frailty. Thus bodily intimacy around pain and recovery generated
Painful bodies and brutal women: remedial massage, gender relations …


cultural responses where patients found cultural agency through sexual fantasy and rewriting the body in pain as a story of passive pleasures. References
‘A Painful Parody’ (Anon.) (1918), Summerdown Camp Journal, 13 February, p. 2. Ash, E. (1917), Letter to the Editor, The Lancet, 27 January, p. 165. Barclay, J. (1994), In Good Hands: The History of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, 1894–1994, Oxford: Butterworth, Heinemann. Blackwell, G. (1918), ‘Mrs Gwen Blackwell’s Scrapbook’, Brookshill Convalescent Hospital for Officers, Harrow Weald. Royal Army Medical Corps, RAMC 556, Wellcome Trust Collection. ‘Blue Boys’ Alphabet’ (Anon.) (1917), Summerdown Camp Journal, 23 May, p. 3. Board of Trade Minutes (1916), ‘Institute of Massage and Remedial Gymnastics’, 11 July, in National Archives, BT 58/51/COS/5852. Brewster, J. (1917), ‘ Glimpse of War Thru a Private’s Eyes: A Retrospective Account A of Experiences in WW1, Nov 1915–July 1917, written in Dec 1917’, Australian war diary, ML MSS 1294, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales. ‘Camp Fires’ (1917), Summerdown Camp Journal, 28 February, p. 1. —— (1918), Summerdown Camp Journal, 16 January, p. 1. Carden-Coyne, A. (2004), ‘The Sexualization of Muscles in Postwar Bodybuilding’, in Christopher E. Forth and Ivan Crozier (eds), Body Parts: Critical Explorations in Corporeality, Lanham, MD: Lexington, pp. 207–228. Cooter, R. (1993), Surgery and Society in Peace and War: Orthopaedics and the Organization of Modern Medicine, 1880–1948, London: Macmillan. Creighton Hale, A. (1904), The Art of Massage, London: Scientific Press. Despard, L. (1911), Text Book of Massage, London: Henry Frowde. Director General of the Medical Department (1916a), Minutes, 11 December, in National Archives, ADM 1/8483/55. —— (1916b), ‘Proposals to Obtain a Higher Standard of Treatment by Massage and Electro-Therapeutic Methods in H.M. Navy’, 18 December, in National Archives, ADM 1/8483/55. Doan, L. (2006), ‘Topsy-Turvydom: Gender Inversion, Sapphism and the Great War’, Journal of the History of Sexuality, 12: 4, pp. 517–42. Ellison, M.A. (1904), A Manual for Students of Massage, second edition, London: Bailliere, Tindall and Cox. Fortescue Fox, R. (n.d.), ‘The Eau Courant Hyper Thermal Bath Used for Gunshot and Other Injuries of the Limb at the Hôpital Complémentaire at the Grand Palais, Paris’, Clinical and Other Notes, p. 462, in The War Disabled Soldiers and Sailors, Royal Army Medical Corps collection, Wellcome Trust. —— (1917), Physical Remedies for Disabled Soldiers, London: Bailliere, Tindall and Cox. Fortescue Fox, R. and Campbell McClure, J. (1916), ‘A New Combined Physical Treatment for Wounded and Disabled Soldiers: Heat Massage, Electricity, Movements’, The Lancet, 5 February, p. 311. Fox, A.G.W. (1915), Solicitor, to the Controller, Companies Department, Whitehall, 23 September, in National Archives, BT 58/51/COS/5852. GCMER Acting Registrar (1916), General Council of Medical Education and Registration, to the Controller of the Companies Department, Board of Trade, 21 July, in National Archives, BT 58/51/COS/5852.


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Goodall-Copestake, B. (1920), The Theory and Practice of Massage, third edition, London: H.K. Lewis. Greenwood, A. (1915), Letter to the Editor, The Lancet, 16 October, p. 888. Hitchcock, L. (n.d.), ‘The Great Adventure’, unpublished manuscript, in Hitchcock and Angier collection, Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital archives, Washington DC. Jones, R. (1917), ‘Notes on Military Orthopaedics’, British Medical Journal, 21 April, p. 514. Kellogg, J.H. (1909), The Art of Massage: A Practical Manual for the Student, the Nurse and the Practitioner, Battle Creek, MI: Good Health Publishing. Lambert, F.B. (1916a), ‘Massage and Medical Electricity in the After-Treatment of Convalescent Soldiers’, The Lancet, 4 November, pp. 789–90. —— (1916b), Letter to the Editor, The Lancet, 18 November, p. 879. Linker, B. (2005a), ‘The Business of Ethics: Gender, Medicine and the Professional Codification of the American Physiotherapy Association, 1918–1935’, Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 60 (July), pp. 320–54. —— (2005b), ‘Strength and Science: Gender, Physiotherapy and Medicine in the United States, 1918–1935’, Journal of Women’s History, 17: 3, pp. 105–32. Lippitt, L. (1923), A Manual of Corrective Gymnastics, New York: Macmillan. Mackenzie, W.C. (1917), ‘Military Orthopaedic Hospitals’, British Medical Journal, 26 May, pp. 677–78. Mackenzie, R.T. (1916), ‘The Treatment of Convalescent Soldiers’, British Medical Journal, 12 August, pp. 217–18. —— (1917), ‘Massage, Passive Movement, Mechanical Treatment and Exercise’, in R. Fortescue Fox, Physical Remedies for Disabled Soldiers, London: Bailliere, Tindall and Cox, pp. 89–97. McMillan, M. (1921), Massage and Therapeutic Exercise, London and Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders. Mennell, J. (1915), ‘Massage in the After Treatment of the Wounded’, The Lancet, 2 October, pp. 755–56. —— (1917), Massage, Its Principles and Practice, London: J. & A. Churchill. Morus, I. (2006), ‘Bodily Disciplines and Disciplined Bodies: Instruments, Skills and Victorian Electrotherapeutics’, Social History of Medicine, 19: 2, pp. 241–59. Nursing Times and Journal of Midwifery (1916), 12: 557 (1 January). Palmer, M. (1907), Lessons on Massage, London: Bailliere, Tindall and Cox. —— (1918), Lessons on Massage, fifth edition, London: Bailliere, Tindall and Cox. Porter, R. (1985), ‘The Patient’s View. Doing Medical History from Below’, Theory and Society, 14, pp. 167–74. Radcliffe, F. (1916), ‘Hydrotherapy as an Agent in the Treatment of Convalescents’, British Medical Journal, 21 October, p. 554. Ridgewell, H. (1917), ‘The Camp Alphabet’, Summerdown Camp Journal, 21 November, p. 2. Romer, F. (1918), ‘After-Effects of Gunshot Wounds on Joints’, The Lancet, 23 March, p. 435. Royal Society of Medicine (1916), ‘Treatment of Convalescent Soldiers by Physical Means’, The Lancet, 5 August.

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Shires, I. and Wood, D. (1927), Advanced Methods of Massage and Medical Gymnastics, London: Scientific Press. St Aubyn-Farrer, C. (1915), Letter to the Editor, The Lancet, 16 October. Swietochowski, D. de (1914), Mechanotherapeutics in General Practice, London: H.K. Lewis. The Lancet (1916), ‘Ingenious Apparatus for Maimed Arms’, 22 April, p. 880. —— (1917a), ‘Artificial Limbs and Muscular Re-education’, 17 March, p. 425. —— (1917b), ‘The Practice of Massage’, 27 January, p. 158. The Lead Swinger (1915), ‘Come and Have your Leg Pulled’, 5 (27 November), p. 21. Thompson, F. (1917), ‘Advice to Lead-Swingers’, Summerdown Camp Journal, 28 March, p. 3. Uyeama, T. (1997), ‘Capital, Profession and Medical Technology: The ElectroTherapeutic Institutes and the Royal College of Physicians, 1888–1922’, Medical History, 41, pp. 150–81. Waddington, V. (1917), What Every Masseuse Should Know: Comfortable Grasps for Joint Movements, London: Methuen. Whitehead, I. (1999), Doctors in the Great War, London: Lee Cooper. WRAMH (1918), ‘Fizzy’s Song’, October, Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital Archives, Washington DC. WRAMH Colonel Emma E. Vogel papers (n.d.), Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital Archives. WRAMH ‘The Masseuse’ (n.d.), Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital Archives, Washington DC. WRAMH ‘Songs of the Summer Aides’ (n.d.), Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital Archives, Washington DC.

Suggested citation
Carden-Coyne, A. (2008), ‘Painful bodies and brutal women: remedial massage, gender relations and cultural agency in military hospitals, 1914–18’, Journal of War and Culture Studies 1: 2, pp. 139–158, doi: 10.1386/jwcs.1.2.139/1

Contributor details
Ana Carden-Coyne is Lecturer in War and Conflict Studies, Centre for the Cultural History of War, University of Manchester, and co-founder of the Disability History Group, UK. She has published on the cultural history of the body, war and sexuality, gender and commemoration. She co-edited Cultures of the Abdomen: A History of Diet, Digestion and Fat in the Modern World (with Christopher E. Forth, Palgrave, 2005), and a special edition of European Review of History entitled ‘Enabling the Past: New Perspectives in the History of Disability’ with Julie Anderson (2007), and has a forthcoming monograph Reconstructing the Body: Classicism, Modernism and the First World War to be published by Oxford University Press. Her current project is ‘Men in Pain: Injury, Disability, Masculine Subjectivities in War’. Contact: Dr Ana CardenCoyne, Centre for the Cultural History of War, School of Arts, Histories and Cultures, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL. E-mail: a.cc@manchester.ac.uk


Ana Carden-Coyne

Journal of War and Culture Studies Volume 1 Number 2 © 2008 Intellect Ltd Article. English language. doi: 10.1386/jwcs.1.2.159/1

Raising the dead: visual representations of the combatant’s body in interwar France
Martin Hurcombe University of Bristol Abstract
During the interwar years, images of dead infantrymen rising from the grave were designed as a reminder to the French nation of the suffering and sacrifice of the armed forces and of the Army in particular during the war and of the debt that the civilian population owed to its dead. Examining three French films of the interwar years and the battlefield memorials of Verdun, this article studies the passage from a carnivalesque and subversive use of the grotesque to images that suggest the redemptive value of sacrifice through the equation of the infantryman’s suffering with that of Christ. In both cases, the wounded or decaying body of the soldier is central to articulating, asserting and consolidating war veterans’ claims for both moral and political authority in the post-war era.

J’Accuse Abel Gance Les Croix de bois Verdun First World War war veterans

French losses during the First World War are estimated to total nearly 1.4 million, the majority of these being young men between the ages of 18 and 30. It is therefore assumed that most, if not all, French families lost at least one male member of their direct family (Fortescue 2000: 136–38). As Jay Winter (1995) has shown, Europeans in general needed to find ways of mediating the immensity of their grief. In some cases, Winter notes, commemoration took the form of an attempt to communicate with the dead by calling them forth from beyond the grave.1 The aim of this article is to examine one particular phenomenon in post-war French culture: the raising of the dead combatant in French war films and those battlefield war memorials erected in the interwar years to commemorate the French Army’s bloodiest battle, Verdun. These images either represent the return of the dead in unambiguous visual terms or suggest the return of the dead by oblique reference. As we shall, see, in many cases, the wounded, decaying or decayed body, reflecting the physical effect of war directly upon the body itself, is central to the effect such images have upon the viewing public. The return of the dead is, in the Freudian sense of the term, an uncanny event; it is the return of those at once familiar to us, but now made unfamiliar by their transformation in death (Freud 1955: 220). Some of these images, however, are more fundamentally disturbing; in their depiction of the decaying corpse that has returned to life, exposing its wound to the public gaze, they become grotesque. Moreover, in many cases, these dead have not returned to reassure the living, but to unsettle and to challenge them. The original example of this, and therefore our

1. In the United Kingdom, for example, this expressed itself through the popularity of post-war séances. See Winter (1995: chapter 3).

JWCS 1 (2) pp. 159–174 © Intellect Ltd 2008


2. Roland Dorgelès also uses this device in his 1923 novel Le Réveil des morts, Paris: Albin Michel. 3. Prost (1977b: 144) argues that war, whilst rejected as an essential human experience by French veterans’ organizations, is considered by these to have bestowed a certain moral authority upon veterans that allows them to see beyond the interests and intrigues of individual parties.

starting point, is Abel Gance’s acclaimed silent film J’Accuse/I Accuse (1919) where, at the film’s end, the war dead rise up from their graves and march on a French village to see if their sacrifice has been worthwhile. Gance’s striking depiction of the return of the war dead becomes a visual motif repeated in a number of battlefield war memorials in the Verdun area and in Raymond Bernard’s film Les Croix de bois/Wooden Crosses (1932).2 In these subsequent echoes of Gance’s film, however, the accusation of the original return, bound up in the grotesque, becomes increasingly a secondary feature as the dead are used to suggest an intimate relationship between surviving war veterans and the dead alongside whom they fought. Here the horror of suffering is increasingly part of a metaphor of redemptive sacrifice that suggests the debt owed to the war dead and, by association, to French veterans. I will examine this passage from the accusatory grotesque to the metaphor of redemptive sacrifice in the second part of this study before returning to Gance’s second version of J’Accuse released in 1938. Whilst differing substantially from the original, this version also concludes with the war dead rising from the grave, this time to prevent the outbreak of a second world war by revealing the physical horrors they endured during the First World War. It is my contention that such images can be understood as expressions of French war veterans’ claims of moral authority born of the combatant experience. Moreover, the shifting relationship between the accusatory grotesque and the theme of redemptive sacrifice in these images needs to be understood not only in relation to claims of moral authority, but also to veterans’ growing political ambitions during the interwar years since, as Antoine Prost demonstrates, veterans’ dissatisfaction with the politics of the Third Republic in France is often coupled with moral criticism of the regime.3 The accusatory grotesque, this article will argue, predicated upon the revelation of the wounded, rotting body, suggests a desire to subvert the status quo and to overturn dominant social forces in civil society in order to accord the combatant just reward and influence for the suffering he has endured. The theme of redemptive sacrifice, whilst also emphasizing the physical suffering of the combatant, suggests the continued debt owed to the war generation as a whole. Yet it also constitutes an attempt to consolidate the status and influence attained by that generation in the late 1920s and early 1930s through the assertion of this moral authority. Both use the figure of the dead combatant as a means to their different ends. The return of the accusatory grotesque in Gance’s 1938 version of J’Accuse, I will argue, reveals that this influence has waned, that the war generation feels once again marginalized and ignored by a nation heading towards another war. These images, unlike many of those produced during the war itself that suggested, as Huss (2004: 54) argues, the intergenerational ties that bound the combatant to society and the nation, suggest an intergenerational conflict experienced by French war veterans as they try to exact the debt owed to them by non-combatant society.

First awakenings: J’Accuse (1919)
J’Accuse ought not to be a film that subverts. Gance himself was no war veteran, but spent much of the war working in the Ministry of Defence’s film unit. Filmed in 1918, it was partly supported by the Army, which
Martin Hurcombe

intended to use it as propaganda, and many of its extras were serving soldiers. Moreover, the film begins as a melodrama, focusing on the love triangle between the poet Jean Diaz (played by Romuald Joubé), his lover Edith and François, her brutish husband whose mobilization in August 1914 allows Edith and Jean’s illicit affair to blossom. One month later Jean too is mobilized and appointed lieutenant in François’s regiment. The war becomes a duel between the two men until they are reconciled through combat and the news that Edith, who had been sent to stay with François’s family in the Ardennes, is trapped in occupied territory where she has been raped by a German soldier whose child she now carries. The film’s depiction of war plays on French patriotic stereotypes that sometimes borrow from French atrocity propaganda of the period; Edith’s rapist is shown in flashback as an oversized, helmeted shadow looming over his cowering victim. Battle sequences make visual references to the French Revolution and at one point we see the ghostly figure of Vercingétorix, ancient king of the Gauls, urging French troops forward into battle. In the course of the film, Jean periodically levels the accusation of the film’s title. However, the recipient of this accusation and consequently the nature of the accusation itself shift throughout the film. Jean’s first two accusations seem levelled at the Germans who are held responsible for the war and for the capture and rape of Edith. Subsequently, however, he accuses the war itself for the destruction it has brought about and ultimately the sun for looking down on such suffering with indifference. Towards the end of the film, as Jean calls the villagers together, he accuses individual villagers of infidelity towards the dead, of profiteering and of other betrayals – accusations often levelled at civilians by French soldiers at the front. The film’s intent correspondingly slips from one of propagandist support for the war to a questioning of the war’s value and a highlighting of the chasm that exists between combatants and civilian society. It increasingly reveals an unstable ideological meaning through what Comolli and Narboni (1994: 45) identify elsewhere as ‘a noticeable gap, a dislocation, between the starting point and the finished product, [throwing] up obstacles in the way of ideology, causing it to swerve and get off course’.4 The raising of the dead is pivotal in this process. Jean’s accusations levelled at the villagers are part of a mission he takes upon himself after François’s death in a battle where both men set out to avenge Edith. Both are seriously injured in the course of battle and are placed side by side in hospital. As François dies the camera closes in on his dying gesture, which is to clench Jean’s limp hand in his own, a gesture which emphasizes not only the fraternity that now exists between the two soldiers, but also the indissoluble bond between Jean and the war dead, indissoluble to the extent that the doctor is unable to separate their hands. Shortly after, Jean returns home half delirious and summons the villagers to Edith’s house. That night the French war dead rise up. The crosses of a front-line graveyard gradually transform before the viewer into the decaying corpses of the dead raised from the ground by the injunction ‘Let’s see if these deaths have served some purpose’. The dead then limp towards their homes, arms outstretched. Back at Edith’s house,
Raising the dead: visual representations of the combatant’s body in interwar France

4. For James Welsh and Stephen Kramer (1978: 67), the film is politically ambiguous, combining ‘pacifism, Wilsonian idealism, and a certain amount of French nationalism’.


5. As Robert Smith (quoted by Royle) suggests of silent cinema more generally: ‘Early viewers of film were amazed and moved by this miraculous gift dispensed by film, that of reanimating what had gone […] Like Christ calling Lazarus, film seemed to bring back to life what had been irrevocably lost; it blurred uncannily the distinction between life and death’ (Royle 2003: 76).

Jean levels his accusations of civilian treachery while decaying corpses besiege the assembled villagers. Only once the villagers repent of their crimes do the dead limp back to their graves. The dead of J’Accuse are part of a grotesque treatment of war that coalesces with, and overshadows, those patriotic and propagandist elements already mentioned. This is reflected in the motif of the danse macabre; the jubilation that some of the villagers feel at the declaration of war and the singing of the Marseillaise thus fade into a shot of skeletons dancing in a circle. The same shot recurs at various other points in the film: as old men plant flags in a military map, transposed onto a close-up of a stained glass window in a church near the front, and as Jean reads his poem Les Pacifiques (The Peaceful) to his dying mother. This grotesque treatment culminates, of course, in the return of the war dead. Gance’s dead are not shy in displaying their wounds; some are missing limbs, their bandages are blood-spattered and trail in the dirt. Through this display of the wound, Gance is employing the grotesque in order to subvert since, as Frances Connelly (2003: 2) argues, the grotesque draws its strength from its opposition to convention and the ideal. Like the skeletons of the danse macabre, the dead combatant serves to question uncomplicated patriotic discourses concerning the war and to unsettle the viewer as much as they unsettle the villagers of the film. This return of the dead is unsettling in that, like the fantastic for Tzvetan Todorov (1970: 29) or the uncanny for Nicolas Royle (2003: 1), it causes a moment of hesitation between a rational or natural explanation of a phenomenon and a supernatural one. In this moment of uncertainty, the witness to the return of the dead wavers and an unsettling space is created. We see this in the film’s characters, but a similar effect can also be imagined in the film’s original, still grieving audiences.5 Like the grotesque of Bakhtin’s carnival, Gance’s grotesque depiction of the combatant’s body, his revelation of the body’s capacity to be wounded, to fail and to rot as a result of combat, constitutes a rejection of loftier discourses that seek to sublimate human activity, to elevate it to realms beyond the earthly and the here-and-now (Bakhtin 1968: 19). However, like the grotesque body of Bakhtinian carnival, Gance’s grotesque dead return not just to remind the viewer of the physical reality of the body, but to suggest the potential for change. The grotesque body in Bakhtinian carnival is political; its vast protuberances suggest an absence of boundaries and infinite possibilities; it acts ‘on the confines of the body and the outer world, or on the confines of the old and the new body’ (Bakhtin 1968: 317). The grotesque therefore constitutes part of the carnivalesque process. For Bakhtin, the carnival was a time when the existing hierarchy was not so much suspended, but overthrown; it was a world turned on its head, where fools were crowned kings and Church and State ridiculed. The raising of the dead in J’Accuse achieves a similar carnivalesque effect. As the dead rise up from their graves, the screen splits into two. On the bottom half of the screen, we watch the official victory parade held on the Champs Elysées. On the top half of the screen we witness the dead, played by serving soldiers, rising out of their graves. The patriotic discourse of victory-day celebrations is relegated to the bottom of the screen
Martin Hurcombe

to make way for the dead and their more pressing need to know if their sacrifice was worthwhile, a demand levelled as much at the audience as at the film’s civilian characters. It is this section of the film, Winter (1995: 133) argues, that betrays the influence of the combatant, French veterans and, in particular, of Gance’s collaborator, the wounded veteran and poet Blaise Cendrars. Yet, as Connelly argues, the use of the grotesque betrays a position of marginality. For a long time, the grotesque was an art form that existed literally in the margins, illustrating loftier, more authoritative texts. Grotesque art therefore continues to reveal a struggle on the ‘boundaries, transgressing, merging, overflowing, destabilising them’ (Connelly 2003: 4). This marginality reflects that felt by many returning veterans in the course of 1919, often unable to find work and thereby to reintegrate immediately into civilian life, but equally unable, as Prost (1977a: 94) notes, to form a single, unified veterans’ movement capable of exerting due influence on the political and economic life of the nation. Gance’s use of the grotesque therefore serves as an incursion across the borders of the status quo. Yet the Bakhtinian carnival’s power to usurp lies in the laughter it causes. Gance’s use of the grotesque and of the carnivalesque is more limited; the only laughter of J’Accuse is the deranged laughter of Jean Diaz after he returns from war, more akin to the infernal laughter that Bakhtin perceives in the Romantics’ use of the grotesque than to the healthy, regenerative laughter of carnival to be found predominantly in the work of Rabelais (Bakhtin 1968: 38). Moreover, while Gance’s use of the dead has a potentially subversive effect, his constant confusion of modes, genres and symbols prevents us from reading the film purely as subversive. While the non-combatant viewer in 1919 is charged, like the film’s villagers, with justifying his or her activities during the war, the dead return to the grave and their threat recedes. Gance’s dead turn around, carrying their own crosses into the distance, and return to their graves, but the image constitutes a warning to the viewer: appeased for now, the dead may once again return. The scene closes with the shot of a single cross silhouetted against the skyline. As Winter (1995: 136) argues, the tone here is predominantly one of redemption; it is still possible for the viewing public to justify the cost of the conflict in their future conduct. This expression of redemption, of a sacrifice worth its great cost, is bound up in the symbol of the crucifix; a parallel is therefore established between the sacrifice and suffering of the war dead and the combatant generation more generally, and that of Christ. J’Accuse establishes the visual lexicon upon which subsequent representations of the returning war dead will draw, creating an indissoluble tie between the dead, their sacrifice and veterans who, like Jean Diaz, become vessels for the dead charged with their moral authority. Furthermore, through a dualistic representation of the dead combatant, which is grotesque yet hints at redemption through the theme of selfless sacrifice symbolized by the cross and an equation of the dead combatant with Christ’s suffering, it combines the subversive pacifism of the former with the patriotic concept of redemptive sacrifice, the notion that they died that we, the nation, might live.
Raising the dead: visual representations of the combatant’s body in interwar France


6. The monument dedicated to the fallen defenders of Côte 304, for example, clearly indicates in an inscription that it was erected by survivors of the various divisions who fought there, funded by public subscription and conceived and managed by a committee of veterans representing each division chaired by Maréchal Philippe Pétain.

Intermission (1922–35)
This period, as Prost (1977a) notes, sees the gradual ascendancy of the war veterans to positions of power and influence in both local and national political life. However, despite attempts to unite the many and diverse veterans’ movements into a national body in the early 1920s, it was not until 1927 and, ultimately, until the creation of a national umbrella organization, the Confédération générale, that such a body existed. The unity and national profile afforded by the Confédération générale enabled veterans’ movements to lobby for and attain improved war pensions at the end of the 1920s, an issue about which veterans were increasingly consulted by the governments of the early 1930s. In 1930 André Tardieu, a war veteran, was appointed prime minister. Such influence encouraged some movements to consider issues beyond the immediate material concerns of their members. Many therefore began to develop a conception of the veteran’s civic duty in the field of social and political reform whilst also extending the remit of their internal and public debates to include foreign affairs. It is this desire to influence the course of political life that informs veterans’ participation in the anti-parliamentary riots of 6 February 1934, according to Prost (1977a: 157). As there is no immediate threat of war throughout this period, the subversive pacifism denoted by Gance’s grotesque gradually recedes in representations of the dead combatant, and these come to emphasize the moral authority born of the latter’s redemptive sacrifice. The spectre of the dead combatant remains a device that is periodically raised before the eyes of the French public to remind it of the combatant generation’s moral authority, simultaneously serving to consolidate veterans’ influence and to make further claims for it. This is the case with Raymond Bertrand’s film Les Croix de bois, but also with a number of battlefield monuments, particularly in the Verdun area, which will serve as a case study here. Whilst village and town war memorials have become the subject of much research, battlefield memorials have escaped much individual academic attention or have been considered alongside the former. A distinction does need to be made between the two, however, since, as Prost’s detailed study of the memorialization process in towns and villages reveals, these monuments often reflected ideological tensions between different local groups of which veterans were only one (Prost 1977b: 39–40). Battlefield memorials were constructed to remember the dead of specific divisions with the support of surviving veterans. These veterans, in addition to managing the public subscriptions often used to raise funds for its construction, also established committees that decided on the monument’s design.6 Battlefield memorials therefore allow us to perceive a vision of the dead informed by the veterans’ own understanding of the sacrifice their generation made. These monuments are diverse in appearance. The monument dedicated to the fallen of Côte 304 is a simple, but lofty pyramidal stele surmounted by a sculpted cross. The monument du squelette, as it is known locally, near Argonne (Figure 1) is more complex, depicting a rotting corpse rising up from the broken soil at its feet. The monument at Vauquois (Figure 2) takes the form of a tower (it is only at the rear of the tower that we see two sculpted infantrymen). Maxime Réal del Sarte’s monument to the dead of
Martin Hurcombe

Figure 1: Le monument du squelette. Sculptor: J. Froment-Meurice. Inaugurated 10 September 1922. Photograph by the author. the 106th regiment at Les Éparges (Figure 3) is perhaps the most complex with its dreaming head and skeletal hands. All these monuments are located in a similar setting, however: the still scarred and shell-marked landscape of the former front line on an isolated hilltop. All of them appear to erupt from the soil of the battlefield, insisting on verticality whether it be through the twisting flag that acts as a shroud wrapped around the rising corpse of the monument du squelette, through the sheer scale of the stele at Côte 304 or the clawing motion of Réal del Sarte’s ghostly arms. While the monument du squelette dedicated to the 69th Division continues to employ the grotesque, it simultaneously asserts the moral authority of the war generation. Inaugurated in 1922, the statue celebrates a French victory, albeit a defensive one in which little ground was gained from the enemy. The inscription celebrates this defence, rearticulating Pétain’s slogan of 1916 (‘They will not pass’) in the affirmation ‘They did not pass’. The figure is not actually a skeleton, but a rotting corpse; the musculature on the arms, the presence of flesh on the face and some remnants on the chest attest to this. A surging, rising motion is suggested by the eruption of soil at the figure’s feet, but also by the twisting, spiralling folds of the divisional flag which has been wrapped around the corpse as a shroud. The figure suggests triumphalism and irrepressible strength, but it
Raising the dead: visual representations of the combatant’s body in interwar France


Figure 2: Le Monument de Vauquois. Sculptor: Marius Roussell. Architect: E. Monestes. Photograph by the author. also evokes the physical effects of war. Like Gance’s war dead, this figure has come back to show us its wounds, to point to the reality of the body and the earthly. Yet it also suggests the moral supremacy of the war generation over those who stand dwarfed by the figure. It does this through its evocation of the pride of victory and the insistence upon the physical suffering undergone by the war generation. It therefore reflects the hesitation that Annette Becker discerns in many French war memorials between conventional images of heroism and sacrifice and a more realistic acknowledgement of the horror of war (Becker 1987: 22). Although it does not depict the indissoluble tie that Gance established between the dead and war veterans, the monument du squelette is a monument erected by veterans to the memory of their own hardship and sacrifice as well as to their fallen comrades. The link between the dead and war veterans is established visually in two other major battlefield monuments in the Verdun area. At Vauquois, a tower commemorates not the dead of the sector, but ‘All those brave men who held the enemy at bay in this sector’. To the rear of the tower a larger-than-life carving represents two soldiers in their trench. The figure standing to the right holds a grenade in his right hand while his rifle rests at his side, suggesting that he is repelling an attack. The figure is in keeping
Martin Hurcombe

Figure 3: Monument du 106e régiment, Les Éparges. Sculptor: Maxime Réal del Sarte. Inaugurated 1935. Photograph by the author. with the inscription’s insistence on defence, but appears not only to be defending the nation but also the dead soldier whose head we see emerging from the parapet wall. Réal del Sarte’s 1935 monument to the dead of the 106th regiment at Les Éparges also suggests a connection between the living and the dead. Réal del Sarte’s statue depicts a dreaming head mounted above the principal inscription ‘I believe’. Beneath it, clawing their way towards the head, there are five skeletal arms (two on each side of the monument and one to the rear). Six skulls can also be seen to emerge from the base of a sculpture that creates an ambivalent relationship between the surviving veteran and the dead combatant. The dreamlike expression of the head might suggest a calling up of the dead, the dreaming head cast here in the role of conductor, drawing the dead up from their grave. Alternatively, we might consider that the clawing hands of the dead are reclaiming the survivor, that the latter belongs to the dead. A second inscription suggests further still the relationship between the living veteran and the dead: ‘Les revenants du 106 R.I. à leurs camarades de la 24ième brigade’ (‘From the survivors of the 106 Infantry Regiment to their comrades of the 24th Brigade’). Here again there is ambiguity: the term revenant meaning ‘he who returns’, but also ‘ghost’ in French. Just who is dedicating this memorial to whom? Is it the
Raising the dead: visual representations of the combatant’s body in interwar France


survivors dedicating it to their fallen comrades or the ghosts of the fallen to their comrades in arms? The monument and its inscription cause those who view it to hesitate, but its very ambiguity also suggests a symbiotic relationship between the living veteran and the war dead. The dead continue to rise up in Bernard’s film Les Croix de bois, which follows the military apprenticeship of Gilbert Demachy, a law student who volunteers for active service as a simple infantryman. Although Les Croix de bois is firmly rooted in realism, Bernard nevertheless reveals a debt to J’Accuse. Gance’s influence is discernible primarily in the spectral quality of the film’s characters. At the film’s opening we see row upon row of infantrymen standing smartly to attention. These then fade into crosses in an oblique reference to, and reversal of, the raising of the dead in J’Accuse. The dead of the opening sequence are then resurrected as the characters of the film, only to die again by the film’s end. The dead rise again at various other points in the film. In one scene, Bernard employs the same split-screen technique as Gance to similar ideological ends when the image of a single line of dead soldiers, all carrying their crosses, is superimposed on to the sky above Demachy’s regiment parading proudly after a victory in front of its commander; the dead of battle are resurrected by Bernard as a riposte to the enthusiasm for warfare. As Demachy dies at the film’s end, the dead are again seen to be on the march, carrying their crosses across the screen, superimposed on to the shot of the dying Demachy. Earlier, Demachy’s platoon finds itself pinned down by the enemy in a cemetery. In another oblique reference to J’Accuse, soldiers emerge from the graves in which they have been sheltering to come to the aid of their dying sergeant, Bréval, killed selflessly collecting water from a well for his men. However, Bernard’s film builds primarily on Gance’s metaphor of redemptive sacrifice in its frequent references to the cross and its Christology more generally; his dead do not march on the civilian population but always seem to be ascending into the sky. The long-drawn-out treatment of Bréval’s death highlights this and constitutes a moral challenge to non-combatant viewers of the film in 1932. Demachy transports the fatally wounded Bréval to the ruins of a chapel in which he is laid. His soldiers rush to his side, framing the dying man who lies in Demachy’s arms. In between his groans, Bréval reveals that his wife has been unfaithful and curses her. As his death approaches, however, he forgives her and instructs Demachy to tell her to be ‘sensible for the sake of the little one’. Bernard’s directing frames Bréval’s dying moments within a structure that is both visually and structurally reminiscent of the crucifixion; the scene is framed in such a way as to evoke memories of the Thirteenth Station of the Cross, but it is also structured, through Bréval’s uncomprehending cursing of his wife (‘Why did she do that to me?’) and his plea for forgiveness (‘It’s not her fault’), in such a way as to recall Christ’s sense of desertion on the cross and his plea that his persecutors be forgiven. However, the film’s Christology, like Gance’s grotesque, serves to interrogate the viewer as to his or her behaviour during wartime whilst also offering the possibility of appeasement; Bréval’s death accuses the non-combatant of betrayal only to forgive, thereby doubling the moral authority of the generation whose sacrifice is portrayed on the screen. The use of Christology is not restricted to Les Croix de bois; Réal del Sarte’s monument carries a bronze plaque at its base that depicts a pietà (Figure 4).
Martin Hurcombe

Figure 4: Bronze plaque from the Monument du 106e régiment, Les Éparges. Photograph by the author. Here, as in other pietàs that feature on war memorials, the body of a dead French infantryman has been substituted for that of Christ, while Mary has become Joan of Arc, a reflection of Réal del Sarte’s nationalism, but also of his Catholic faith. While for Winter (1995: 93) the adaptation of the pietà exists as a form of consolation, supplying ‘the rudiments of hope, of aesthetic redemption, of transcendence’, its substitution of the dead combatant’s body for that of Christ also exists in order to reinforce the moral authority of a generation of veterans forever associated with the sacrifice of the war dead. Moreover, the gradual preference for images of redemptive sacrifice over the grotesque serves to reinforce those claims made by veterans for a greater role in civil society and French political life already outlined and then to consolidate this once achieved. Increasingly, such images serve as a reminder and a justification for the influence achieved by some of the larger veterans’ movements as well as a continued demand to be consulted.

The return of the dead: J’Accuse (1938)
While in the early 1930s French war veterans saw themselves on the point of achieving the influence their generation’s sacrifice merited, by 1934 there were increasing causes for concern that undermined veterans’ optimism. Demands for increased war pensions fell on deaf ears while parliamentary politics and the economy stagnated under a series of short-lived,
Raising the dead: visual representations of the combatant’s body in interwar France


ineffectual governments. Increasingly, veterans began to feel that their moment had passed and that, once again, they were being pushed to the margins of society. In 1936, national unity seemed threatened by the election of a leftist Popular Front government, while war in Spain threatened to plunge Europe into a second world war. It was this last threat that was to mobilize many veterans, the vast majority of whom were opposed to all future war, and prompted Gance to raise the dead once more in his 1938 version of J’Accuse. Gance’s second version of J’Accuse opens with a shot of the monument du squelette in Argonne, with the opening titles projected upon the statue’s plinth, dedicating the film to ‘the preservation of universal peace’ in the name of ‘the four million war wounded’ and the gueules cassées (the term for those with facial disfigurements), among others. While it retains the principal characters of the original (Jean, François and Edith), it begins in 1918 when Jean (played by Victor Francen) and François declare a truce in their battle for Edith. The two comrades then form part of a platoon sent out on a final and futile reconnaissance mission on 10 November. While François returns severely injured, all the others are believed to have died. As those whose bodies have been recovered are prepared for burial, ghostly groaning begins to emanate from the shroud under which Jean’s body lies. Jean, still alive, is then laid next to the dying François. Here, Gance repeats the scene of the original whereby François grasps Jean’s hand in his last flicker of life. The majority of the remainder of the film takes place in the 1930s. Jean informs Edith that they can never again be lovers as François is watching over them both. He withdraws subsequently to the Verdun area where he develops a formula for ‘steel glass’, a material so strong that it will render all weaponry, and therefore warfare, useless, in a workshop that communicates via an underground passage with the unmarked graves of those combatants whose bodies were never recovered. In the course of his excavations, Jean discovers a terrible secret: the dead are still living. Increasingly convinced that he has been charged by the dead with a mission to prevent war, Jean appears to be plunged into madness. As world war looms, however, and when he learns that Edith’s new husband, the fascistic leader Henry Chimay, has stolen his formula and put it into production in his armament factories, Jean summons up the dead. Gance’s second version of J’Accuse continues to draw on the moral authority of the war generation much as images of the 1920s and early 1930s had. Like Les Croix de bois, therefore, it makes use of images of the cross to suggest redemptive sacrifice. The film opens with the shot of Christ on the crucifix just as Gance’s earlier version closed on a crucifixion image. Here, however, the Christ has been damaged by shell fire and now hangs upside down in a well of poisoned water, suggesting the redemptive promise of the original has been overturned. During one combat sequence, a soldier is seen to fall, his arms splayed in the form of a cross. When Jean retires to Verdun, he arranges the individual photographs of his platoon members in a cross above his single bed. Finally, Jean’s death as the dead march on the cities of Europe at the film’s end takes the form of Christ-like martyrdom: he is tied to a war memorial and burned to death by an angry mob. The cross here, as in Les Croix de bois, serves not so much as an
Martin Hurcombe

injunction to mourn and to remember, but to insist upon the sacrifice of the war generation. In addition to intensifying the redemptive sacrifice motifs of the original, this version also restates the role of the veteran as a conduit for the will of the sacrificed generation with greater intensity. Indeed, the Jean Diaz of this version is an other-worldly character with a propensity for the prophetic where the Jean of the original was merely a dreamy poet. This other-worldliness is communicated in Francen’s near constant middistance stare as well as through the reiteration of the relationship between the veteran and the dead in François’s death-bed scene. Moreover, even before the death of the platoon, Jean swears that the survivors will safeguard his promise of a future without war. This vow is repeated at the graveside of the platoon where Jean dedicates himself to maintaining peace, whilst admitting:
I am only a poor, little man. […] But I have all your strength in me; all the strength of all the dead. I will be your word and your gesture in order to stop tomorrow’s war. I swear this to you, I who knew you, who loved you, who love you still.7

7. All translations of the script are my own.

Jean becomes the conduit through which the will of the dead can be communicated. When war breaks out he interposes himself between the living and the dead, offering himself up to the latter as ‘your spirit, your will on this earth’. In the midst of a storm, he then summons the dead of all nations. Using some of the sequence from the original version of J’Accuse, Gance raises the dead again. In a longer and more elaborate version of the original, however, we see skeletal airmen flying over Europe; French, German and American soldiers marching on its cities and towns and the face of disfigured war veterans floating across the sky; while the monument du squelette in Argonne comes to life and climbs down from its pedestal. Again, the emphasis is on the physical reality of war as the wounds of the dead become central to conveying the film’s pacifist message. Indeed, viewers are instructed to ‘fill [their] eyes with these horrors’ as the camera focuses on the disfigured face of one veteran in particular. In Gance’s second version, dead combatants do not descend on their homes to demand personal justice of the living. Rather, they march on railway stations and ports in order to prevent the departure of the next generation of combatants; their action is primarily political rather than individual and is aimed at paralysing the mechanisms of state authority. Following their initial panic, in which Jean is martyred, and following a radical reversal of previously entrenched positions, the Universal States General is convened, chaired by Chimay. As in the original, Gance closes his film with the possibility of redemption, having invoked the subversive power of the grotesque to overthrow the powers that be. War is declared illegal, Chimay declaring to universal acclaim: ‘War is dead, the world is renewed.’ The dead return to their graves once more, but only after having imposed their politics upon those of the living and having imposed reason upon a world poised on the brink of the insanity of war. Again, Gance depicts a world turned on its head in order to suggest an alternative to received wisdom in 1938 that war was inevitable. As in the
Raising the dead: visual representations of the combatant’s body in interwar France


original, this is achieved through the raising of the war dead and Gance’s use of the grotesque in the revelation of the wounded and decaying body as a force for dethroning commonly held perceptions. Here Gance is attempting to use what Philip Thomson considers to be the shock-effect of the grotesque; ‘its ability to bewilder and disorient, to bring the reader [sic] up short, jolt him [sic] out of accustomed ways of perceiving the world and confront him with a radically different, disturbing perspective’ (Thomson 1972: 58). In the second version of J’Accuse, Gance is espousing and, through the return of the dead, advocating the pacifism that characterized virtually every veteran movement in France immediately prior to the Second World War.

The grotesque, and images of redemptive sacrifice, coalesce in visual representations of dead combatants returning from the grave. As we have seen, the grotesque nature of some of these images is tied to a reminder of the physical reality of war. The eruption of the decaying corpse exhibiting its wounds, like that of the skeleton, subverts nationalistic discourse concerning the war in the case of Gance without necessarily being unpatriotic. In its uncanniness and its defamiliarization of the world, it causes doubt and hesitation, making the spectator less resistant to alternative perspectives. In the space that it creates it asks the question of the spectator: was it worth this? Yet, the use of the grotesque also denotes French war veterans’ sense of marginality, their fear of failing to play the role that should be theirs. Its recurrence suggests a struggle on the part of veterans to accede to such a role, confirming Prost’s assertion that, during the interwar years, war veterans remain witnesses to history rather than its agents (Prost 1977a: 202). Images of redemptive sacrifice also use representations of wounding and bodily pain, but tie these specifically to issues of moral authority through the affinity that is created between Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and that of the combatant generation. Here there is less of a question and more of a challenge: a challenge to make the suffering worthwhile generated by what Michael Rowlands (2001: 143) terms ‘the internal economy of sacrifice’ contained within war memorials in the questions: ‘Who is giving, what are they giving up and to whom?’ Both sets of images therefore serve an intensely moral purpose. Yet, they are also political; the Christology of images of redemptive sacrifice is not only a means of commemorating the dead, as Winter has argued, but also, in the images examined here, of asserting the veterans’ right to lead the nation, a motivation Prost (1977b: 146) discerns behind much of the veterans’ political and civic activity in the interwar years. Both sets of images therefore serve to emphasize French veterans’ sense of the debt owed to them. As Paul Ricoeur has suggested in respect of the work of Martin Heidegger, the notion of intergenerational debt depends upon one generation recognizing the bodily reality of earlier generations in the acknowledgement that: ‘Today’s dead are the living and suffering agents of yesterday’ (my translation). The re-presentation of death (drawing the dead back into the present) not only enforces this debt, but also allows for older generations to influence the conduct of younger generations (Ricoeur


Martin Hurcombe

2000: 495). These two sets of images are therefore held within individual works in a dialogic tension that corresponds to the veterans’ position and aims in French society at each work’s moment of production. According to the needs of the day, whether these were to convince the French public of the physical horror of war or of the need for a greater say on the part of veterans in the political life of France, the relationship between the subversive grotesque and redemptive sacrifice would shift to allow one or other to dominate. Acknowledgement
I would like to express my gratitude to the British Academy for their support of this project. I was able to carry out the necessary research and fieldwork thanks to a British Academy Small Research Grant and to deliver some of my preliminary findings at ‘Space, Haunting, Discourse’, a conference held at Karlstad University, Sweden thanks to a British Academy Overseas Conference Grant.

Bakhtin, M. (1968), Rabelais and His World (trans. H. Iswolsky), Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. First published in Russian in 1965. Becker, A. (1987), Les Monuments aux morts: mémoire de la grande guerre, Paris: Éditions Errance. Comolli, J.-L. and Narboni, J. (1994), ‘Cinema/Ideology/Criticism’ (trans. S. Bennett), in Antony Easthope (ed.), Contemporary Film Theory, London: Longman, pp. 43–52. Connelly, F. (ed.) (2003), Modern Art and the Grotesque, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Fortescue, W. (2000), The Third Republic in France, 1870 –1940: Conflicts and Continuities, London: Routledge. Freud, S. (1955), ‘The Uncanny’, in J. Strachey (ed. and trans.), The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, vol. 17, London: The Hogarth Press, pp. 217–56. First published in German in 1919. Huss, M.-M. (2004), ‘Belonging to a “Grandiose” Family: Vision Memory and Representation of the Chain of Solidarity Between the Generations in French First World War Culture’, in W. Kidd and B. Murdoch (eds), Memory and Memorials: The Commemorative Century, Aldershot: Ashgate. Prost, A. (1977a), Les Anciens Combattants et la société française 1914 –39, vol. 1, Paris: Presses de la fondation nationale des sciences politiques. —— (1977b), Les Anciens Combattants et la société française 1914 –39, vol. 3, Paris: Presses de la fondation nationale des sciences politiques. Ricoeur, P. (2000), La Mémoire, l’histoire, l’oubli, Paris: Seuil. Rowlands, M. (2001), ‘Remembering to Forget: Sublimation as Sacrifice in War Memorials’, in A. Forty and S. Küchler (eds) The Art of Forgetting, Oxford: Berg, pp. 129– 45. Royle, N. (2003), The Uncanny, Manchester: Manchester University Press. Thomson, P. (1972), The Grotesque, London: Methuen. Todorov, T. (1970), Introduction à la littérature fantastique, Paris: Seuil. Welsh, J. and Kramer, S. (1978), Abel Gance, New York: Twayne. Winter, J. (1995), Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Raising the dead: visual representations of the combatant’s body in interwar France


Bernard, Raymond (1932), Les Croix de bois, distributed by Pathé-Nathan (no longer available on video). Gance, Abel (1919), J’Accuse, distributed by Pathé Frères (never available on video/DVD). —— (1938), J’Accuse, produced and distributed by Forrester-Parant Productions (no longer available on video).

Suggested citation
Hurcombe, M. (2008), ‘Raising the dead: visual representations of the combatant’s body in interwar France’, Journal of War and Culture Studies 1: 2, pp. 159–174, doi: 10.1386/jwcs.1.2.159/1

Contributor details
Martin Hurcombe is Senior Lecturer in French at the University of Bristol and Joint Editor of the Journal for War and Culture Studies. He is the author of Novelists in Conflict: Ideology and the Absurd in the French Combat Novel of the Great War and has also published articles on committed literature of the 1930s with particular reference to the Spanish Civil War. Contact: Dr Martin Hurcombe, School of Modern Languages, University of Bristol, 17 Woodland Road, Bristol BS8 1TE. E-mail: M.J.Hurcombe@bristol.ac.uk


Martin Hurcombe

Journal of War and Culture Studies Volume 1 Number 2 © 2008 Intellect Ltd Article. English language. doi: 10.1386/jwcs.1.2.175/1

The veteran’s wounded body before the mirror: the dialectic of wholeness and disintegration in Andreï Makine’s prose
Helena Duffy University of New England Abstract
A central point of historical reference in the writing of contemporary Russianborn French author, Andreï Makine, namely the Second World War, which redrew the map of Europe and redressed the balance of power in world politics, both to the advantage of the Soviet Union, allows this highly successful novelist to remind his western readers of Russia’s former military might and to re-posit the Soviet regime – generally seen as a perpetrator of crimes against both other nations and the Russian people – as victim. The soldier’s wounded body emerges as concrete proof of the Soviet Union’s sacrifice in the struggle against fascism and as metaphor for the empire’s disintegration as a consequence of Russia’s opening to western capital and values. Read first from a Foucauldian and then from a Lacanian perspective, the samovar (a soldier who has lost all his limbs) and other, less drastic, forms of wounding will be interpreted as surfaces painfully inscribed and even ruined by language, culture and history, and as an expression of the narrator’s longing for the morselized body’s fusion with the mother that precedes the mirror stage in the infant’s development. Reflected in Makine’s neo-realistic prose, the dismembered body becomes, paradoxically – like the samovar in the original sense of the word – a figure of wholeness with the potential to counter post-Soviet despondency.

Makine war body amputation dismemberment maiming mutilation wounding

Introduction: the samovar and other mutilations
A symbol of communal tea-drinking and an object associated with Russian exotica and nostalgia, in Andreï Makine’s novels the samovar acquires a sinister meaning, transmogrified from a figure of totality and continuity into a euphemism for a war veteran who has lost his limbs and whose stumps resemble the handles and feet of the tea-making device. Other, less drastic forms of wounding sustained by soldiers during various Soviet-era military conflicts featuring in Makine’s prose are scars, amputated legs or arms, fingers lost through frostbite or a defective submachine gun, or pieces of shrapnel embedded in the flesh: ‘embittered one-armed men, drunken legless cripples, heroic debris of victory’ (Makine 2004: 86).1 The proliferation of maimed bodies in the work of the Russian-born author, who publishes exclusively in French, can be explained, on one level, biographically. Born in 1957, Makine was brought up at a time when Russians were still reeling from some 26 million casualties and other terrible consequences of the Second World War, including thousands
1. This and all the following translations from the French are my own.

JWCS 1 (2) pp. 175–188 © Intellect Ltd 2008


2. The term is used in Russia to describe the war of 1941–45 between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union whilst the Second World War refers to the worldwide conflict of 1939–45.

of permanent disabilities, massive disruption to family life, a great number of orphans, not to mention damage suffered by the economy and infrastructure. Also, by the time Makine was growing up, community commemorations of the war were finally being encouraged; the formation of veteran groups was permitted and regimental parades on 9 May were once again being held, whilst in official discourse the Great Patriotic War2 became, as Geoffrey Hosking (2006: 230) puts it, ‘“the sacred past” of a new form of messianic, Russian-led internationalism’. Moreover, before coming to France in 1987 Makine lived in a society routinely exposed to injuries resulting from other conflicts and especially from the Red Army’s prolonged presence in Afghanistan, which produced particularly high numbers of permanent disabilities. Whilst mutilations are undoubtedly inseparable from the socio-historical landscape of Makine’s novels, the writer’s quasi-obsessive interest in amputations, wounds and scars may be also interpreted as metaphorizing his narrators’ sense of loss issuing from the disintegration and eclipse of an empire, be it Tsarist or Soviet. If the body, as Michel Foucault has it, is a space inscribed and effectively ruined by history (Foucault 1994b: 143), Makine, as I argue in the first part of this article, uses the body, castrated by necessarily negative historico-cultural significations, to rewrite Russia’s past for the sake of his western readers. Rather than as perpetrator of crimes against its own people and other nationalities, the author re-presents his homeland as innocent victim and heroic saviour. The plethora of wounded bodies also fulfils another function, as I demonstrate later in my discussion, now approaching the writer’s preoccupation with dismemberment from a Lacanian perspective. Whilst the endless descriptions of mutilations can potentially restore in Makine’s narrators a sense of wholeness and integrity, and the French language used to articulate their loss can propel them back across the crevice between the semiotic and the symbolic, with its traditional aesthetics Makine’s oeuvre provides a space within which the past can be resurrected (and retouched) and fragmented geopolitical entities re-established.

Writing on the body
According to Foucault (1976: 180), wars, once waged to protect the sovereign and these days declared in the name of the common good, are a manifestation of the state’s power over the citizen’s life and death within a congenitally asymmetrical relationship. Although the twentieth century produced unprecedentedly bloody wars and previously unimaginable holocausts, the state’s power presents itself as one that ‘exerts itself positively on life, […] undertakes to cure it, to enhance it, to multiply it, to impose on it precise controls and comprehensive rules’ (Foucault 1976: 180), an idea that originates in the nineteenth century where the social body was first seen as in need of quasi-medical care (Foucault 1994a: 754). Consequently, for Foucault the neo-Nietzschean genealogist, the exercise of power is inherently material, physical and in particular corporeal (Foucault 1994a: 756). For Foucault, the body is
a surface inscribed by events (traced by language and dissolved by ideas), the locus of a dissociated Self […], a volume in perpetual disintegration.


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Genealogy, as a study of descent, […] must expose a body totally imprinted by history and history ruining the body.
(Foucault 1994b: 143)

Foucault’s claim that the body is caught up in power regimes and shaped by ideology – ‘the demagogue is led to effect the degeneration of the body in order to establish the sovereignty of a timeless idea’ (Foucault 1994b: 149–51) – provides an appropriate point of departure for a reading of Makine’s novels where wounded war veterans – a literal illustration of history’s power to imprint itself on the body – feature prominently, and where the Russian language, appropriated by propaganda, connotes paternal authority and is a means of violence. Foucault’s belief that ‘it is indeed in discourse that power and knowledge find their articulation’ (Foucault 1976: 133) is best illustrated by Requiem pour l’Est (2000) which speaks of the rise, apex and collapse of the Soviet empire through the lives of three men who fight in the Civil War, the Great Patriotic War and various African conflicts respectively. Language, a patriarchal state and violence to the body converge in the story of a soldier, named after the initials of Marx, Lenin, Engels and Stalin. Having failed to cry Stalin’s name when going into battle, Malerst is sent to a penal battalion and indeed his verbal impunity is chastized when a bullet takes off his jaw. Foucault’s belief that human beings may not exist outside history, a signifying practice that requires the subjugation of the body and the inscription of its surface, is also reflected in the life of the protagonist’s father. Having witnessed quasi-infernal scenes on the battlefield, Pavel refuses to propagate the regime’s official version of the war and is accused of tarnishing the glossy image of Victory just as in Le Testament français (1997) the samovars, whose bodies speak an inconvenient narrative, are removed from public view. To escape the regime’s language and jurisdiction Pavel settles in the Caucasus, yet his peace is literally shattered when the rock that has sheltered his house is dynamited as part of some grandiose project meant to signify Soviet military-technological supremacy. By calling this event ‘the accidental play of symbols’ Makine construes the state–individual relationship as one structured by language and indeed the term pierre that designates the boulder thrust into the house by the explosion becomes the first word acquired by Pavel’s son (Makine 2000: 13). In Kristeva’s terms this moment marks the ‘thetic break’ that signifies the child’s traumatic passage from the semiotic chora – a non-expressive totality formed by drives – to the symbolic (Kristeva 1974: 22–30). Indeed, the detonation demolishes the infant’s unity with the mother within the space of sounds, images and scents – ‘even the day before, everything was melding into a luminous panoply of sounds, skies and familiar faces’ (Makine 2000: 17) – and forces him as the subject to separate from and through his image, and from and through his objects: ‘the subject leaves his fusion with the mother, confines his jouissance to the genital and transfers his semiotic motility to the symbolic order’ (Kristeva 1974: 45). Just as pierre (rock), which, in Kristevan terms, marks the protagonist’s passage from the rhythmic, maternal and nourishing space of the chora to the world of sign and syntax, is phonologically linked to père (father) and evocative of St Peter, the father of the Church, the subsequent words that the child
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3. See Otto Rank’s The Myth of the Birth of the Hero and Other Writings (1964). 4. See the chapter ‘Born in the Bania’ in Daniel RancourLaferriere’s The Slave Soul of Russia where the author discusses the maternal overtones of the Russian bathhouse and mentions the fact that, as in English, in Russian the plural vody (waters) refers to the amniotic fluid of the womb, or that in many parts of Russia peasants address water as ‘mother’ (Rancour-Laferriere 1995: 189–93). 5. It may be more appropriate to use the Russian term as, unlike ‘fate’ or ‘destiny’, it bears, as Anna Wierzbicka states, the imprint of the tradition of blind submission to authority and the correlated ‘humble, uncomplaining acceptance of hardship and suffering epitomised in the Russian Orthodox ideal of smirenie’ (Wierzbicka 1992: 96–97). 6. In his controversial and at times naïve study of Russian masochism, RancourLaferriere (1995: 6–15), for example, claims that the Russians suffer more than any other nation and that this fact proceeds from their congenital selfdestructiveness or simply a need to suffer. 7. See, for example, Civilisation and its Discontents (1930) where Freud locates the origins of the

learns painfully fix him in the symbolic patriarch’s universe: ‘The world grows larger, swarms, destroys the singularity of those who surrounded him before […]. He no longer wants anything to do with this world where everything is undermined by words. He does not want to understand’ (Makine 2000: 18–19). Whilst ‘people’ become the assassins of the child’s father, ‘house’ signifies his parents’ now empty abode. Named, objects ‘are sore on the eye, create a painful need to respond’ and this negative investment of language and its association with absence will persist until another orphan tells the adolescent protagonist that his father was gunned down ‘like a dog’ (Makine 2000: 18–19). The violence inherent in language is countered by the child’s brief reintegration into the maternal realm when Sacha, Pavel’s French acquaintance, carries him to safety, holding his shirt between her teeth like an animal. The episode alludes to the myths of Oedipus or Romulus and Remus, as well as to the legend of Moses, where a newborn future hero is condemned to death or exposure, usually on the orders of his father, but is rescued by animals or humble people.3 Sacha’s passage across a stream has a double maternal connotation: whilst the ropes of the bridge evoke the umbilical cord, the water flowing underneath is associated with the mother and with birth, this link being particularly pronounced in Russian lore.4 The reverse journey to the semiotic is lubricated by the sounds of an incomprehensible language whose charm and salutary potential lie precisely in its resistance to signification: ‘the words have a strange, meaning-free beauty’ (Makine 2000: 20). However, despite the melodious quality of his adopted tongue – ‘its undulating rhythm, […] the velvety softness of its sounds’ (Makine 2000: 20) – it is in French that the dismemberment of the Soviet Union will be announced to the protagonist who, importantly, immediately expresses his loss as amputation: ‘I was thinking that it was thus for our native country, our fatherland, lost or reduced to the status of a shadow, and which arouses in us both love and a sense of being torn apart, in the most intimate pulsations of severed veins’ (Makine 2000: 205). A more literal illustration of Foucault’s view that the body is perpetually destroyed by history may be sought in the injuries suffered in the Great Patriotic War or the Soviet Union’s interventions in Africa that provide the historical backdrop for Requiem pour l’Est and L’Amour humain (2006). However, Foucault’s reading of wars as symptomatic of the state’s brutality towards its own people is challenged by Makine’s novels where, alongside purges, deportations, famines, cramped living conditions or food shortages, armed conflicts are the irrevocable ingredients of the Russians’ fate – or rather sud' 5 – and a manifestation of evil, which, following ba Dostoevsky, Makine sees as an abstract and anonymous force originating and residing outside man. When in an uncharacteristic moment of rebellion the protagonist of Le Testament français seeks the source of the calamities raining upon the Russians, he confusedly points an accusatory finger first at Stalin and then at God before accepting suffering as part of his national identity and thus endorsing the stereotypical view of Russians as masochists (Makine 1997: 260).6 Supporting the well-established link between fate and the paternal figure,7 and still partially absolving the repressive state, the conflict between the prohibitive father and the rebellious son being seen, at least by psychoanalysis,
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as primordial, universal and inevitable, on other occasions Makine recasts the Russians’ sufferings into the Oedipal framework. A Freudian reading of his work is further encouraged by psychoanalytical interpretations of the novelist’s homeland attempted by scholars including Rancour-Laferriere, who states that in Russia the paternal metaphor has traditionally structured both the political and the religious realm.8 Gary Cox goes yet further when defining Russian culture as Oedipal par excellence. This means a combination of ‘authoritarian rampage’ with Russians’ submissiveness to over-energetic authority, which, by shifting the emphasis from patricide to the state’s perpetual violence towards helpless people, somewhat destabilizes the classic Oedipal paradigm (Cox 1989: 453). Echoing Freud’s much-contested treatise on the origins of the Oedipus complex in the primal horde, Makine depicts Russians as a nation marked by ‘the resignation of a human herd violated by a despot’ (Makine 1997: 211) and governed by a tyrant whose existence he describes as ‘mythical’ and who, like the primal father, arouses ambivalence in his people and hence lives in fear of being killed: ‘[r]evered or hated, he was in the heart of all. Praised by day, he was cursed by night’ (Makine 2000: 13). Similarly, in Le Testament français Aliocha experiences a mixture of admiration and abhorrence for the perverse and insatiable sexual appetite of Lavrenty Beria: ‘I could not help myself admiring this stalker of women. Yes, there was someone inside me who – in fright, in revulsion, in shame – was enraptured by the power of the man wearing the pince-nez’ (Makine 1997: 210). Like the primal father who ‘prevented his sons from satisfying their directly sexual impulsions; he forced them into abstinence and consequently into emotional ties with him and with one another’ (Freud 1955b: 156), Stalin’s notorious NKVD chief kidnaps, rapes and murders a new victim every night, whilst ordinary Russians live in a sexual abstinence fostered by official asceticism, sub-zero temperatures and layers of unflattering clothing. Crucially, in Makine’s work the primal horde-like society is epitomized by the Army; unified by their clothes, gestures and imposed chastity, these young men will provide cannon fodder in future wars declared in the name of Russia’s special role in the struggle of good against evil, decolonization or the crusade against America’s greed-inspired imperialism (Makine 1997: 221). That amputations resulting from wars may be read as metaphorizing the castration with which the patriarchal ruler threatens and punishes the people is confirmed by the fate of Sacha Semionov in La Fille d’un héros de l’Union soviétique (1996). Meeting his former comrade some forty years after the Great Fatherland War, as the Russian term may also be translated, Ivan Demidov is surprised to see that Sacha, discharged due to a minor injury to his toe, is missing an entire leg. Performed in makeshift conditions, the amputation equalled emasculation: ‘we were butchered in haste. In my case […] I had all the nerves in my groin cut as if I had been castrated. What woman would have wanted me after this?’ (Makine 1996a: 148). Ironically, whilst other soldiers have envied Sacha his return to his wife, the amputee is condemned to sexual deprivation and financial hardship (he lives in a komunalka9 and his pension barely suffices to buy a bottle of vodka), not to mention the discomfort he suffers through an illfitted prosthesis (Makine 1996a: 148).
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notions of Moira, Destiny, Providence or Divine Will in the childhood need to feel loved and protected by the (paternal) parent. 8. Whilst some tsars were affectionately referred to as batiushka (little father), Peter was known as Otets Otchestva (Father of the Fatherland) and Stalin was called ‘Father’, ‘Father of the Peoples’, ‘Wise Father’, ‘Beloved Father’ and so forth (Rancour-Laferriere 1995: 136–37). 9. Komunalka is a communal apartment where several families live, usually one family per room, sharing the bathroom and the kitchen. Allowing no privacy, this distinctive housing system was one of the ways in which the Soviet state controlled the people.


10. This is illustrated by the story of Ivan and Tatiana Demidov in La Fille d’un héros de l’Union soviétique who internalize and promulgate the sanitized version of the war concocted by propaganda.

By recasting the Communist regime’s relationship with the people into the context of the ancient myth as interpreted by Réné Girard (1972) who, absolving Oedipus of his responsibility for the double crime, reinvents him as a scapegoat in a sacrificial crisis, Makine victimizes not only the Russians but also the Soviet state, dismemberment serving as a trope for both the violence suffered by individuals at their rulers’ hands and the fragmentation of the Soviet Union. Despite Makine’s criticism of the distortion of reality for political ends and of those who, although possessing first-hand experience, are quick to embrace official discourse,10 he himself rewrites history in a way that suits his political agenda, in tune with a selfeulogizing and self-pitying discourse very much de rigueur in post-Soviet Russia.

Displaying the wounded body
Although Makine has lived in France for 20 years, writes directly in French and produces predominantly for the consumption of French readers, nearly all his narratives are set in his homeland, which may be surprising unless seen as part of a political project consisting in representing Russia to the West as liberator of Europe and victim of unfavourable circumstances and, as I posit finally, in symbolically consolidating a disseminated geopolitical realm. That in Makine’s prose the body, stigmatized by history, acts as concrete and incontestable proof of Russia’s sacrifice in combating Hitler, is spelt out by Requiem pour l’Est whose ex-KGB narrator haunts Parisian drawing-rooms searching for his former collaborator and lover who, unlike himself, has remained in the secret service after the collapse of the Soviet Union. During these gatherings, populated by pseudo-artists and pseudo-intellectuals, the former spy encounters flippant remarks, witticisms and platitudes about his homeland that the French compare to ‘a black hole which swallows up anything thrown into it’ whilst describing Russians themselves as ‘allergic to democracy’ (Makine 2000: 204). On another occasion he becomes exacerbated by the direct translation of the slowness of the Red Army’s offensive into the number of victims in the Nazi concentration camps, which could have been much lower had the Russians, as it is alleged, not been dragging their feet. To his outrage the French question the actual number of casualties, insinuating that the figure of 20 million is propaganda and must include deaths from natural causes. They then list shameful episodes in Russian history such as the RibbentropMolotov pact or the massacre of Polish officers in Katyn or state that if it ´, had not been for the Americans Stalin would have taken over the whole of Europe. To counter these arguments, which the protagonist finds insignificant in the face of the Russians’ pivotal role in the struggle against fascism and offensive to the memory of those who died in liberating Europe, he narrates the stories of three generations of men: his grandfather, his father and himself. These abound in descriptions of bloody battles and consequently in images of horrific injuries: bodies split in half or gutted, burns and torn-off limbs. Even when seen through the eyes of Nikolaï’s horse, the war is described in terms of its destructive impact on the body.
Helena Duffy

On the many paths he had followed through the war, Renard had seen horses drowning and horses ripped apart by shells, and this stallion with his front legs torn off and trying to get up in a monstrous jolt, and this team of horses abandoned in the deep peat of a swamp: the horses kept sinking deeper and deeper, prisoners of a useless cannon.
(Makine 2000: 113)

Likewise, the memories haunting the protagonist who used to spy under the cover of a surgeon are those of wounded bodies: an arm sticking out from the wreckage of a tank, a soldier who commits suicide having had both arms surgically removed, or an armed vehicle hit by a rocket and compared to a torn-apart body: ‘[T]he electric cables were akin to blood vessels, the smashed-in and blood-spattered dashboard akin to the brain of a fantastic creature, a futuristic beast of war’ (Makine 2000: 24). The most horrifying mutilations are, however, those witnessed by the protagonist’s father on the Eastern Front. At the beginning of his story Pavel states ‘that he had seen all that anyone could see of death, so that no bullet-riddled, maimed or dismembered body could now surprise him with its freakish mutilations’, yet the reader may not be spared a litany of polymorphous injuries (Makine 2000: 150). As suggested earlier, in his first novel Makine demonstrates a certain distance towards the legacy of the war embodied by Ivan Demidov, an embittered and whimpering veteran who loses his first child to famine and his wife to collective violence and, who, having succumbed to drink, falls from glory. On discovering that his daughter Olia is a prostitute servicing western businessmen, Ivan takes his anger out on a Beriozka, a store selling foreign and high-quality Russian goods for hard currency. Failing to realize that it is the KGB and not the West or westernizers who have triggered Olia’s downfall, he vandalizes the shop and accuses the staff and the customers of having turned his daughter into a whore to the West. Despite the narrator’s implicit condemnation of Ivan’s internalization of the Soviet regime’s official discourse which, whilst glorifying the Russians’ superhuman effort in combating Hitler, vilified the West as an heir to the fascist legacy, the hero’s desperate cry: ‘I’m the one who shed vats of blood for you, bastards! I’m the one who saved you from the brown plague!’ resonates through Makine’s entire oeuvre (Makine 1996a: 171). Repeatedly offering the same uncritical depiction of the war, Makine’s novels may not only give his loyal readers a sense of déjà vu, but also remind them of Communist propaganda, according to which ‘the Soviet people saved the peoples of Europe and Asia from fascist tyranny’, this great service to humanity ‘inspir[ing] in the hearts of Soviet people a legitimate feeling of national pride’ (Hosking 2006: 232). There are no real villains amongst Russian soldiers or civilians portrayed by Makine. Moreover, the crimes of the Soviet state against other nations, such as the deliberately organized Ukrainian famine, are conveniently glossed over. Apart from occasional rape scenes, which in any case fit into Makine’s conception of sex as intrinsically aggressive and animalistic, featuring in all his novels be they set in times of war or peace, in the Soviet Union or elsewhere, there is little evidence of Russians’ brutality towards each other or towards members of other nationalities. Although it
The veteran’s wounded body before the mirror: the dialectic of wholeness …


11. See, for example, ‘Dostoevskii and Russian Messianism’ in Hosking (2006: 24–26). 12. Matrioshkas are wooden, nesting, kerchiefed and rosy-cheeked dolls that come in sets. Each of the dolls, apart from the smallest one, can be pulled apart to reveal another figure of the same sort inside.

is a well-known fact that the war coincided with a rise in anti-Semitism amongst ordinary Russians, in Requiem pour l’Est Pavel easily overcomes the ‘mixture of disappointment and defiance’ he first feels towards a Jewish soldier (Makine 2000: 167–68). Likewise, by having Ivan Demidov reminisce about girls throwing themselves at their ‘liberators’ and about the two timepieces that he ‘found’ in a bombed-out shop in Berlin, Makine goes against common knowledge concerning the Soviet soldiers’ sexual violence and their habit of relieving the local population of valuables, including watches. Despite the programmatic godlessness of his novelistic universe, by repositing Russia as both saviour and martyr Makine inscribes his work into the long-standing tradition of messianism, the wounded body becoming a reference to Christ’s sacrifice, which Makine evokes by styling the renewal of his characters’ identity on the Resurrection. Reinterpreted in turn by Slavophiles, Communists and, most recently, Eurasianists, the messianic idea was most famously developed by Dostoyevsky who championed the apparent contradiction between the ‘Russian Christ’ and Moscow as the third Rome.11 Secularized by Communism, messianism meant that the Russians were the principal protagonists in the struggle against fascism (and later American expansionism), and that they should be ‘encouraging, inspiring and helping the other Soviet peoples and other nations of the socialist bloc to play their part in it’ (Hosking 2006: 235). In the postSoviet era Russia’s leadership has been played down to the advantage of Russophobia and the conviction about Russia’s centuries-old mission of challenging the West. ‘Very often’, notes George Gibian, ‘one hears the phrase: “We fed them and we liberated them. […] And now other nationalities have all turned against us. We, the Russians, are poor because we helped the others […]; we sacrificed everything for the others”’ (Gibian 1991: 17). Whilst carrying resonances of Dostoevsky’s Christian outlook, Makine’s writing reflects the simultaneously self-lamenting, self-glorifying and anti-western discourse of the post-Communist era which has seen the myth of the Second World War enlisted in political campaigns with the aim of reminding the Russians of their former greatness and thus consolidating a sense of national solidarity. Not only does the novelist mythologize the victory over Hitler, but he also depicts the war as a fatal consequence of Russia’s precarious geopolitical position between two hostile entities – Europe and Asia – from which, as it is also generally believed in today’s Russia (Duncan 2006: 147), it must protect its own territory as well as the whole of humanity. In Au Temps du fleuve Amour (1996), for example, Russia is portrayed as doomed to endless warfare and cultural backwardness, the latter being conveyed with the image of the third class in the Trans-Siberian Express. Positioned at the rear of the train, these carriages are overcrowded, smell of rancid food and resonate with the ageless Chinaman’s telescopic or, to use Russian imagery, matrioshka-like narrative composed of tales of gratuitous cruelty, stupidity, drunkenness and misery.12 Whilst Russia is a place ‘where everything was fortuitous and fatal at the same time, where death and pain were accepted with the resignation and indifference of the grass of the steppe’ (Makine 1996b: 89), the West, ‘which had once set itself disdainfully apart from barbarian Muscovy’,
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is symbolized by the comfortable and elegant first class of the Express (Makine 1996b: 22). The train’s vacillating movement, whose inner split mirrors the traditional opposition between westernizers and Slavophiles, replicates that of Russia’s history, which Makine retells as a series of military conflicts:
Since the beginning of the century, history, like a deadly pendulum, began to sweep the Empire in a massive to-and-fro movement. Men would leave, women would dress in black. The pendulum would measure time: the war against Japan, the war against Germany, the Revolution, the Civil War… And once again, but in reverse order: the war against the Germans, the war against the Japanese. And the men would leave, here covering twelve thousand kilometres to fill the trenches in the west, there to lose themselves in the misty void of the eastern ocean.
(Makine 1996b: 22)

In La Musique d’une vie (2001), which opens with the image of a human mass congealed in an endless wait for a train, Makine again posits wars as defining moments in Russia’s history, this time additionally using war imagery to describe his compatriots’ life in times of peace. Whilst comparing the waiting hall to ‘a battlefield covered with corpses’ (Makine 2001: 13) and the snowstorm raging outside to artillery fire (Makine 2001: 17), the narrator applauds the Russians’ instant readiness for war:
[I]f suddenly the steely voice coming through the loudspeaker announced the outbreak of war, this whole human mass would shudder into action, ready to live this war as a matter of course, ready to suffer, to sacrifice itself, with a totally natural acceptance of hunger, of death or of life in the muck of this station, in the cold plains which stretch beyond the railway tracks.
(Makine 2001: 21)

He once again blames the Russians’ servile obedience of authority and the resignation with which they accept their fate on their country’s geography, climate, history and, implicitly, western malevolence.
[L]ife in these little towns located a thousand miles from civilization is made up of waiting, resignation and damp warmth inside one’s boots. And this station besieged by the storm is nothing other than a summary of the country’s history. That is its fundamental nature. These spaces that render absurd any attempt at action.
(Makine 2001: 19)

Indeed, the journeys available to Russians on the axis of time are not only entirely predetermined but also brief. This is illustrated by the Madonnalike young woman, destined to lose her husband to war and, consequently, move from innocence to illicit sexuality. Her future self is the prostitute who, although her mobility is severely curtailed, haunts the station’s platforms, studying departure and arrival times. Likewise, the fate of the virile soldier is foretold in the figure of the impoverished war veteran ‘who must have been through the empire’s two great wars, survived repressions and
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13. Like his narrators, Makine was allegedly brought up in an orphanage. 14. I discuss the theme of melancholia in Makine’s work in ‘L’Écrivain ne se meurt pas ou la Résurrection comme triomphe sur la mélancolie dans l’œuvre d’Andreï Makine’ to be published by the University of Amsterdam Press in 2008 in Écrivains franco-russes edited by Murielle Lucie Clément.

famines, and who does not even believe he has deserved any better than this makeshift bed on a floor covered with spit and cigarette butts’ (Makine 2001: 21). Thus zooming in on the supposedly homogenous community, the narrator vehemently opposes the western view of Russia as ‘Evil Empire’ or ‘barbarity with a human face’, or Alexander Zinovev’s (1982) term homo sovieticus that designates a spiritually bankrupt materialist who participates in the Soviet state power and conquests, who slavishly obeys the nomenklatura and willingly collaborates with the KGB (Makine 2001: 8). Although two of his protagonists are secret agents, Makine denies the Russians’ active involvement with the regime, instead insisting on their helplessness engendered by a conflation of adverse historically and geographically contingent circumstances. He thus reiterates his compatriots’ victim status but also, by repeatedly invoking the myth of the Second World War, strives to rebuild – at least on a symbolic level – an entity eclipsed by political and consequently sociocultural changes.

Reconstructing the body
Endorsing Roland Barthes’s view of literary production as driven by a quest for one’s origins – ‘Is not story-telling always a search for one’s origins, a narrative of one’s dealings with the Law, one’s entry into the dialectic of tender love and hate?’ (Barthes 1973: 75–76) – Makine’s novels are usually narrated by orphans who fruitlessly pursue elusive parental figures. The acute sense of loss permeating Makine’s work may of course be seen in narrowly biographical terms,13 or else can be interpreted as symptomatic of Russia’s ‘historical orphanhood’ with which the author explains his homeland’s cultural specificity: unlike western European cultures that have been nourished by Graeco-Roman heritage, Russia had nothing to draw upon apart from its vast and largely unwelcoming territory. Finally, the protagonists’ loss may be read as proceeding not so much from the death of their parents as from their separation from Mother Russia. It would be a mistake to assume that Makine’s narrators move to France in search of a better quality of life or, as it may be suggested in relation to Le Testament français, as ardent Francophiles eager to live out their youthful passion for the French language and culture. Nor are they dissidents and although Aliocha does work for Radio Free Europe, it is largely because the station’s existence reassures him about Russia’s enduring importance; signifying his homeland’s defeat in the Cold War, its closure, on the contrary, renders him melancholy to the point of making him suicidal.14 Like the narrator of Requiem pour l’Est, forced into exile by the juxtaposition of an old beggar, whose medal-decorated chest testifies to his fearless conduct in the Second World War, and a group of ‘vulgar big spenders and their sluts crammed into designer clothes’ (Makine 2001: 94), Aliocha is revolted by the nouveaux Russes who, like Alex Bond (in reality Alexeï Bondartchenko), claim to express themselves better in English than in Russian. It is therefore to escape the sorry spectacle of the Soviet Union’s collapse, on the one hand and, on the other hand, to rediscover in a France, ‘which had once been resplendent in all four corners of the world’, the imperial Russia that Aliocha emigrates (Makine 1997: 299). The sensation of homecoming is, nevertheless, ephemeral, as the France that
Helena Duffy

on the map scrutinized by Ivan Demidov lent its colour to a large part of the world, as did in fact the Soviet Union, has ceased to exist whilst the process of colonization has been reversed through the influx of immigrants. This is suggested by the demolition site outside Aliocha’s window and the protagonist’s encounter with an African clochard who emerges out of a hieroglyph-covered cardboard box mumbling in an incomprehensible tongue. Aliocha’s imagination then transforms Paris into a metropolis destined for an apocalyptic end. The few cars that haunt the nocturnal capital seem to be fleeing the doomed city whose streets all slope down towards the river and whose buildings resemble ‘the monuments of an abandoned city’ (Makine 1997: 305). The date ‘January 1900’ engraved in commemoration of a deluge on a wall against which the protagonist is leaning becomes prophetic when the city indeed falls to pieces: ‘the wall was giving way under my palm, the windows dripped down the pale façades of buildings’ (Makine 1997: 306). Penniless, homeless and struck by an undiagnosed illness, the protagonist places his martyred body in a grave and, spreading his arms like Jesus on the cross, becomes a Christ who will rise to rescue France from the onslaught of American-imported commercialism and popular culture. The constricted space of the tomb becomes a uterus from which Aliocha will be reborn to two illustrious families on whose remains he has been resting and whose members include highly ranked army officers, a woman of letters and a historical painter who accompanied the French Army on its colonial exploits to Africa, Italy, Syria and Mexico (Makine 1997: 304–05). To resurrect both their world and the Soviet Union of his youth, the protagonist, who in the meantime has adopted Proust as his literary forebear, sets out to narrate a story of the peaceful rayonnement of French culture through a woman born in Neuilly during the belle époque but who spent most of her life in Soviet Russia and whom Aliocha (erroneously) takes for his grandmother. The theme of resurrection has been prominent in Makine’s oeuvre since his very first novel whose main character, gravely injured in battle and then locked for four days in a coma, is reborn as a hero in order to testify with his young, healthy and, foremostly, intact body to Russia’s victory over fascism. Significantly, Ivan is restored to life by a nurse – a maternal figure in Makine’s prose – who places a mirror against soldiers’ lips to see if they are still breathing. The mirror, which also plays an important role in Alexeï Berg’s renewal of identity (Makine 2001), invites a Lacanian reading of this formative rite of passage for several of Makine’s protagonists. Given that for Lacan the specular image (or the image of, for example, the mother with whom the child identifies) has the power to gather the bits and pieces that constitute the infant’s pre-mirror-stage body image into a unified entity, the mirror featured in Alexeï’s and Ivan’s stories suggests not only their (re-)individuation as subjects which paves the way for their alienation from themselves as objects, but also their triumph over the figurative castration that invokes Freud’s reading of Christianity as the dead Son’s victory over the Father (Freud 1955b: part 6). In the light of Lacan’s interpretation of the fantasies or dreams of ‘castration, mutilation, dismemberment, dislocation, evisceration, devouring [and] bursting open of the body’ as well as of practices of tattooing, incision or circumcision as a regression to the pre-mirror stage (Lacan 1977: 11), the omnipresence of morselized bodies in Makine’s
The veteran’s wounded body before the mirror: the dialectic of wholeness …


prose points to the narrators’ longing for the primordial union with the maternal object within the semiotic, as theorized by Kristeva. A Lacanian reading of the two texts is further supported by Makine’s representation of his protagonists as newborn babies. Recovering in a hospital that used to be a school, Ivan contemplates the portrait of Darwin and the map of the world which suggest his progression from the circle of the Innenwelt into the Umwelt (Lacan 1977: 4), and his newly acquired position as a subject in both space and time, for the reference to Darwin implies, to follow Foucault’s elaboration of Nietzsche’s notion of Herkunft (Foucault 1994b: 142), Ivan’s recognition of himself as a historical construct, a body bearing an imprint of its origins. A little later in the text Ivan finds himself once again confronted by his reflection, this time found in a pool of water in a forest clearing. Whilst having maternal connotations and ego-building potential – ‘It is me… – words were slowly taking shape in his head – I, Ivan Demidov…’ (Makine 1996a: 29) – Ivan’s encounter with his image also grants him a narcissistic pleasure, defending him against the very aggressivity which, according to Lacan, produces figures of disintegration. When recuperating from a fracture to his skull the protagonist of La Musique d’une vie also studies his specular image. The scar that runs down his face conveys his split identity (to avoid persecutions Alexeï assumes a dead soldier’s name) whilst the shaven head and the ageless looks signify his symbolic return to infancy. The doctor ‘was speaking to him the way one speaks to a child trying to grasp the hand of the mother who is obliged to go’ and indeed soon after leaving the hospital Andreï finds a maternal figure in a woman who has just lost her baby (Makine 2001: 79). Following the tiny coffin that the woman pulls on a sleigh towards the cemetery, Alexeï imagines himself inside the wooden box before collapsing on top of the child’s grave. His recovery, which precedes his return to the front line where he may once again be wounded or even die, is marked by his alienation from himself, his environment and, finally, his maternal lover: ‘in astonishment, he was feeling more and more separate from the wind, the earth, the cold into which he had nearly melted. […] He was an other’ (Makine 2001: 83).

The same dialectical movement from splitting to wholeness structures Le Crime d’Olga Arbélina (1998), a story of a Russian princess exiled in France who gradually metamorphoses from a castratrix into a phallic mother simultaneously remodelling her surroundings in the image of the recently obliterated Tsarist Russia. Although an analysis of this novel, set outside the context of war, is beyond the scope of this article, its use of emasculation as a trope for Russia’s disintegration supports my present discussion of those of Makine’s narratives that deal with armed conflicts. Like the mirror that reassembles the bodies of Alexeï or Ivan, or the self-generated images that by awarding Olga auto-erotic pleasure tease her body out of the ante-chamber of death, Makine’s texts, whose deliberate realism backtracks on the destabilizing effects of the nouveau roman and which are preoccupied with the Soviet Union in its golden hour, are meant to offer a totalizing picture of a fragmented entity. However, just like the seemingly consoling image that the Lacanian mirror returns to the ‘prematurely
Helena Duffy

born’ infant, promising it a future autonomy and mobility, by using the samovar and other images of wounding and dismemberment to stir up nostalgia for a glorious past, the body of Makine’s oeuvre only lures and deludes both the Russian narrator and the western reader. References
Barthes, R. (1973), Le Plaisir du texte, Paris: Seuil. Cox, G. (1989), ‘Can a Literature be Neurotic? Or Literary Shelf and Authority Structures in Russian Cultural Development’, in D. Rancour-Laferriere (ed.), Russian Literature and Psychoanalysis, Amsterdam: John Benjamin, pp. 451–76. Duncan, P.J.S. (2006), Russian Messianism: Third Rome, Revolution, Communism and After, London: Routledge. Foucault, M. (1976), Histoire de la sexualité: la volonté de savoir, Paris: Gallimard. —— (1994a), ‘Pouvoir et corps’, Dits et écrits 1954–1988, Paris: Gallimard, pp. 754–60. —— (1994b), ‘Nietzsche, la généalogie, l’histoire’, Dits et écrits 1954–1988, Paris: Gallimard, pp. 136–56. Freud, S. (1955a), ‘Civilisation and its Discontents’ (1930), in J. Strachey (ed.), The Standard Edition of the Complete Works of Sigmund Freud, vol. 18, London: Hogarth Press, pp. 69–143. —— (1955b), ‘Totem and Taboo’ (1918), in J. Strachey (ed.), The Standard Edition of the Complete Works of Sigmund Freud, vol. 13, London: Hogarth Press, pp. 1–161. Gibian, G. (1991), ‘Russian National Identity in Soviet Culture Today’, in E. Thompson (ed.), The Search for Self-Definition in Russian Literature, Houston: Rice University Press, pp. 1–20. Girard, R. (1972), La Violence et le sacré, Paris: Grasset. Hosking, G. (2006), Rulers and Victims: The Russians in the Soviet Union, Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press. Kristeva, J. (1974), La Révolution du langage poétique, Paris: Seuil. Lacan, J. (1977), Écrits (trans. Alan Sheridan), New York: W.W. Norton. Makine, A. (1996a), La Fille d’un héros de l’Union soviétique, Paris: Gallimard. Translated as Confessions of a Lapsed Standard-Bearer. —— (1996b), Au Temps du fleuve Amour, Paris: Gallimard. Translated as Once Upon the River Love. —— (1997), Le Testament français, Paris: Gallimard. Translated as Le Testament français. —— (1998), Le Crime d’Olga Arbélina, Paris: Mercure de France. Translated as The Crime of Olga Arbélina. —— (2000), Requiem pour l’Est, Paris: Mercure de France. Translated as Requiem for the East. —— (2001), La Musique d’une vie, Paris: Seuil. Translated as A Life’s Music. —— (2004), La Femme qui attendait, Paris: Seuil. Translated as The Woman Who Waited. —— (2006), L’Amour humain, Paris: Seuil. Translated as Human Love. Rancour-Laferriere, D. (1995), The Slave Soul of Russia: Moral Masochism and the Cult of Suffering, New York: New York University Press.
The veteran’s wounded body before the mirror: the dialectic of wholeness …


Rank, O. (1964), The Myth of the Birth of the Hero and Other Writings, New York: Vintage. Wierzbicka, A. (1992), Semantics, Culture and Cognition: Universal Human Concepts in Culture-Specific Configurations, New York: Oxford University Press. Zinoviev, A. (1982), Homo soviéticus, Lausanne: L’Âge d’Homme.

Suggested citation
Duffy, H. (2008), ‘The veteran’s wounded body before the mirror: the dialectic of wholeness and disintegration in Andreï Makine’s prose’, Journal of War and Culture Studies 1: 2, pp. 175–188, doi: 10.1386/jwcs.1.2.175/1

Contributor details
Helena Duffy lectures in French language, literature and cinema at the University of New England. Prior to that she taught in higher and further education institutions in both the United Kingdom and Australia. Her research interests lie with contemporary French literature, focusing on the prose of non-native French authors. She has published on the work of Milan Kundera, Rodica Iulian, Andreï . Makine and, most recently, the Polish-born film director Andrzej Zuíawski. Contact: Dr Helena Duffy, University of New England, School of Arts, Armidale, NSW 2350, Australia E11 210. E-mail: helena.duffy@une.edu.au


Helena Duffy

Journal of War and Culture Studies Volume 1 Number 2 © 2008 Intellect Ltd Article. English language. doi: 10.1386/jwcs.1.2.189/1

Embodied memory: war and the remembrance of wounds in Nina Bouraoui and Leïla Sebbar
Helen Vassallo University of Exeter Abstract
This article presents an analysis of two autobiographical texts by Franco-Algerian women writers, Nina Bouraoui’s Garçon manqué (Tomboy) and Leïla Sebbar’s Lettres parisiennes: autopsie de l’exil (Paris Letters: Autopsy of an Exile), within a critical framework of perspectives on war and violence. The central premise of the argument is an investigation of the female body as a locus or carrier of trauma caused by memories of war. This is analysed with close reference to the primary texts, to highlight key concepts of embodied memory and the notion of wounds as transmitted psychological trauma rather than the infliction of physical violence. At all junctures, the analysis is underpinned by social theories of war and mourning, violence and atrocity, and the body in pain, in order to argue for these texts as transmitted legacy, rather than direct testimony, of war and wounding.

embodiment memory war wound violence Nina Bouraoui Leïla Sebbar

Embodied memory
This article seeks to identify how conflict and trauma are interconnected in Nina Bouraoui’s Tomboy and Leïla Sebbar’s Paris Letters: Autopsy of an Exile, by examining the extent to which these texts exemplify Bouraoui’s claim regarding embodiment of historical memory that ‘Algeria is not in my language. She is in my body. Algeria is not in my words. She is within me. Algeria is not in what comes out. She is in what devours’ (Bouraoui 2000: 167).1 The analysis will show how the physical internalizing of ‘Algeria’, and of the war of independence symbolized by this, needs a verbal externalization (the life narrative) in order to be overcome. The primary objective, therefore, is to determine the extent to which memories of the Algerian war can be likened to wounds on the body of these secondgeneration North African writers, and the autobiographical narratives to the resultant textual ‘healing’ of this embodied memory. Using contemporary perspectives on war and pain to open up these narratives, I will argue for them as texts that negotiate, and attempt to exorcize, an embodied trauma generated by the memory and legacy of war. To this end, Elaine Scarry’s work on the body in pain and the body as voice (1985) opens up questions about the female body not only as a site of internalized conflict and suffering, but also as a vessel in which trauma is processed, thence to be externalized through literary creation. Judith Butler’s recent text (2004) on mourning and violence is used to show how memories of war are inscribed as ‘wounds’, and Michael Humphrey’s writing on the politics
1. All translations are my own.

JWCS 1 (2) pp. 189–200 © Intellect Ltd 2008


2. I employ the term ‘violence’ more frequently than the term ‘war’, because of my critical position regarding war as ‘embodied memory’ in these texts – an inflicted violence rather than an experienced conflict. I justify my interchanging of the two terms by referring to Elaine Scarry’s contention that ‘[war] is a form of violence; it is a member of a class of occurrences whose activity is “injuring”’ (Scarry 1985: 63). 3. ‘Here I am a foreigner. Here I am nothing. France forgets me. Algeria does not recognize me’ (Bouraoui 2000: 29); ‘Nothing, I know, will take away or abolish that first essential rupture: my father is Arab, my mother is French’ (Sebbar and Huston 1986: 199). 4. This can also be seen as a broader endeavour in the literary production of Sebbar and of Assia Djebar, with Sebbar’s edited collection Une Enfance Algérienne (An Algerian Childhood), 1997 and Djebar’s novel L’Amour, la fantasia (Fantasia: An Algerian Cavalcade), 1995.

of atrocity (2002) situates the personal story within a more collective socio-historical context. Both Bouraoui and Sebbar are half Algerian and half French, and so a significant legacy of war and violence is an essential part of their heritage, as their blood mixes both colonizer and colonized, perpetrator and victim of violence: Sebbar writes of ‘the violence of existing against and elsewhere’ (Sebbar and Huston 1986: 79), Bouraoui explains that ‘this is how I live our Algerian story. In combat’ (Bouraoui 2000: 62), and both not only corroborate, but also incarnate, Benjamin Stora’s claim that ‘FrancoAlgerian relations are rooted in violence’ (Stora 1991: 317).2 This division marks their autobiographical writing, is an inescapable characteristic of it: ‘I am indefinite. […] I become uncategorizable. I am not typical enough. “You’re not an Arab like the others.” I am too typical. “You’re not French”’ (Bouraoui 2000: 33); ‘I stand at the crossroads, in a state of constant unsteadiness, for fear of madness and of repudiation if I cross over to one side or the other’ (Sebbar and Huston 1986: 199). In addition to the ‘fractured identity’ that their dual nationality instils, and their decision to live their adult lives in France and to write in French (along with a poor command of Arabic), Bouraoui and Sebbar also share common points in their writing: broadly speaking, their literary corpus is marked by memories of violence, separation and war. More specifically, they write of a sense of exile, or of not belonging, and of a desire to reclaim their Algerian homeland emotionally (as it had been done politically).3 I will argue that questions of identity, exile and dislocation, and the violence with which these are inscribed on the authorial body – and consequently on the narrative voice – are in turn inseparable from the text. So, these authors suffer a dual difficulty: first, they must find their voice, and second, they must make it heard. As Michael Humphrey explains, ‘[f]or the victim, pain is difficult to communicate – traumatic experience is not easily recovered whole – and they may fear retribution or re-victimization for speaking out’ (Humphrey 2002: 107). Hence, we see that it is important that women be allowed to use their own words to tell their story, or to tell a collective story, or to tell a retrospective story whose repercussions reach into their own life.4 The imbrication of personal and political exemplifies Judith Butler’s claim that
[c]onstituted as a social phenomenon in the public sphere, my body is and is not mine. Given over from the start of the world to others, it bears their imprint, is formed within the crucible of social life; only later, and with some uncertainty, do I lay claim to my body as my own, if, in fact, I ever do.
(Butler 2004: 26)

These women’s bodily experience bears the imprint of that undergone by a previous generation of women who were unable to articulate their suffering and trauma. Because of the silence surrounding the war, the legacy is itself one of silence, through which the atrocities of war live on and haunt following generations. Survivors are thus
haunted by the past with their private memory unable to be assimilated into public memory. Consequently, their experience cannot be commemorated,


Helen Vassallo

preventing them from reconstructing the self through narration. Instead, the mnemonic of violence leaves the mark of repression buried in the individual; through terror and trauma the victim is silenced.
(Humphrey 2002: 94)

Because there is such limited private testimony of those years, and in particular an absence of female testimony, the public memory silences the experience of women, meaning that the legacy handed down is one in which the self remains unreconstructed. I contend, then, that these women are also victims of the atrocities of war, even if this was not directly experienced by them, because they still conform to Humphrey’s definition of the victim of atrocity as ‘the one who embodies the violence of the past in their memory and suffering’ (Humphrey 2002: 144). This sense of unreconstructed self is what the following generation of women inherit, and in a developing world in which narratives of the self abound, and in which women’s voices are beginning to be heard in the literary canon and the public domain, it is this generation of women who write to exorcize the demons of war that are transmitted to them through the embodied memory of the survivors: as Bouraoui explains, ‘I am in the Algerian war. I carry the conflict’ (Bouraoui 2000: 31). Bouraoui’s use of the verb ‘carry’ ( porter) indicates the importance of the embodiment of historical memory, and so it is through the body of the next generation, the ‘daughter[s] of the lovers of 1960’ (Bouraoui 2000: 124), that the trauma and memory are processed.5 Aside from these ideological or intellectual claims, there are also very practical reasons for the primarily retrospective consideration of the war in my analysis: when the war of independence broke out in 1954, only 4.5 per cent of Algerian women could read and write (Amrane 1994: 12). Therefore, the generation of women who actually witnessed the war or participated in it have been unable to bear witness to it other than orally. (Amrane has published interviews with women who were ‘maquisardes’ – members of the Resistance – during the war, which goes some way to giving them a voice, but they will still be unlikely to write more widely distributed works of literature from this.) As Mohammed Hirchi opines, ‘to write is to reveal all that is buried in the depths of what is forgotten or what has not yet been thought’ (Hirchi 2003: 92). One of the significant problems in making these narratives heard is that before the issue of the silenced female subject arises, there is the more general question of the silence that surrounds the Algerian war itself. As Humphrey asserts,
[t]he Algerian war for national independence […] has remained a forgotten war in France. Despite the more than a thousand ‘narratives of personal experience’, there is no collective work of remembrance of the French defeat. In France the Algerian War, the ‘dirty’ colonial war that was lost, was ignored in favour of the good and noble war that was won (the Second World War).
(Humphrey 2002: 54)

5. Bouraoui’s comment evokes the taboo union of her French mother and Algerian father – which is also Sebbar’s family heritage – indicating the significance of the division of war that is embodied in her, as an offspring of the opposing sides.

Similarly, Alec Hargreaves and Mark McKinney claim that ‘memories of the Algerian war in France are both repressed and omnipresent’ (Hargreaves and McKinney 1997: 18), and John Talbott’s critical work The War Without a Name
Embodied memory: war and the remembrance of wounds in Nina Bouraoui …


(Talbott 1981) indicates explicitly the silence and silencing surrounding the Algerian war. So we see that the ‘war without a name’ is rarely spoken of even in France, as there is at work a conscious forgetting of this ignominious political debacle, described by Stora as a ‘gangrenous’ deliberate forgetting or ‘amnesia’ (Stora 1991: 318), a whitewashing of truth by using euphemistic terms such as ‘the Algerian drama’ to avoid referring to it as a war, with all the implications of casualty, sacrifice and wounding that this would carry (Stora 1991: 13). This makes it increasingly important to keep memories alive – indeed, Stora claims that ‘it is time to bring into play new books on the Algerian war: from its colonial beginnings to its survival in the memories of the present’ (Stora 1991: 321, my emphasis), but what I want to suggest is that for as long as these stories or memories are transmitted in a negative way – that is to say that legacies of oppression or victimization are transmitted from one generation to the next – this second generation of North African women is affected by events they may not have experienced themselves. Therefore, they must become the vessel for the reclaiming of memory and the positive healing from the wounds of the past, via their embodiment of the ‘memories of the present’. As Sebbar elucidates, there is a need to ‘stitch up, with words, the rent between France and Algeria’ (Sebbar 2005). These narratives, then, fall into an emergent literary or cultural practice of giving voice to silenced historical wounds, evident in the work of female contemporaries of Sebbar and Bouraoui, such as Assia Djebar, who describes one of her projects thus:
My action […] was aimed at allowing women – women who did not have the right to be seen – to see themselves. The mirror effect is practically impossible in an Islamic society which conceals women, and which thus blinds them, to themselves in the first instance, alas!
(Djebar and Salhi 1999: 177)

I contend that Bouraoui and Sebbar make a different – though no less crucial – contribution to this ideology: through their refusal to ‘forget’ or to ‘erase’ memories of war and, via their corporeal embodiment of the traumas that these memories entail, they open up the brutally silenced North African female voice and the veiled female body to be heard and seen, though not as an object of a patriarchal gaze but rather as an agent of her own subjectivity, finding a voice to articulate this imposed violence on her own terms, and fighting against the effects of violence described by Humphrey as ‘reduc[ing] the victim from subject to abject object’ (Humphrey 2002: 12). The autobiographical narrative then becomes a means of negotiating this transition from object to subject. As Sebbar explains, ‘if I had known Arabic, my father’s language, the language of the native, known how to speak it, to read it, to write it… I would not have written’ (Sebbar and Huston 1986: 19, original emphasis). Writing thus becomes a means of asserting identity outside the restricted parameters imposed on the female subject, particularly the subject with dual identity, in whom memories of war are embodied. The texts under examination here are not intended to be testaments or historical documents about the Algerian war. Representations of the war in historical contexts have tended to focus on traditionally masculine domains: warfare, politics, patriotism. Indeed, war in general is seen to be a masculine
Helen Vassallo

endeavour, as Susan Sontag comments sweepingly – though not without irony – in her assertion that ‘[m]en make war. Men (most men) like war, since for men there is “some glory, some necessity, some satisfaction in fighting” that women (most women) do not feel or enjoy’ (Sontag 2003: 3).6 This suggests that women are the passive victims of war, rather than active participants in it. Although it is beyond the scope of the present study to consider the importance of gender politics in war, nonetheless the analysis is inflected with an awareness of, and a sensitivity towards, the interstices between studies of war and/or memory, and contemporary perspectives on gender and trauma. There exists within francophone studies work on women and conflict in a literary and historical context, such as Frédérique Chevillot and Anna Norris’s edited collection Les Femmes écrivent la guerre (Women Write on War) (2006), Djamila Amrane’s Les Femmes algériennes dans la guerre (Algerian Women at War) (1991) and Des Femmes dans la guerre d’Algérie (Women in the Algerian War) (1994), and Claire Gorrara’s Women’s Representations of the Occupation in post-’68 France (1998).7 However, in 1999 Sebbar questioned ‘what do women know of war?’ (Sebbar 1999: 67), and this article seeks to negotiate a response to Sebbar’s question not by documenting the participation of women in war, but by analysing the effect that war has on them when embodied as memory or legacy.

6. Sontag is paraphrasing Virgina Woolf ’s 1938 text Three Guineas. 7. Equally, there is a growing interest, in both francophone and anglophone contexts, in women and the writing of trauma, evidenced in the publication of texts such as Suzette Henke’s Shattered Subjects: Trauma and Testimony in Women’s Life Writing (2000), and Kathryn Robson’s Writing Wounds: the Inscription of Trauma in post-1968 French Women’s Life Writing (2004).

Memory, legacy and war
Although these writers did not directly experience the violence of war, in order to argue for its importance in their life narrative, I turn to Humphrey’s definition of violence: ‘Pain is the bodily feeling produced by violence, political power is the source of violence, and suffering is the legacy of violence remaining as a memory in individual bodies’ (Humphrey 2002: 1, my emphasis). I do not interpret Humphrey’s assertion of pain as bodily feeling being purely restricted to the physical, but understand it in a more open-ended sense of physical or psychological trauma (trauma itself being, of course, a word originally meaning wound, and consequently implying the importance of a physical embodiment of the legacy of war). Humphrey claims that political power is the source of violence, and I would also interpret this more openly as not just governmental power but also social acceptance of repressive regimes or norms. Finally, Humphrey’s assertion, which I have italicized, that ‘suffering is the legacy of violence remaining as a memory in individual bodies’ clarifies my position: these authors write of a transmitted trauma, a violence which is not physical, but psychological and social. Therefore, I propose that the memory of violence is not restricted to the person or people who have directly suffered from the violence, but can also be embodied in later generations: as Bouraoui writes, ‘here we are nothing. French by our mother. Algerian by our father. Only our bodies reunite the opposing lands’ (Bouraoui 2000: 8). The transmitted trauma is also evident in Sebbar’s claim that
I am not an immigrant, I am not a beur, I am simply in exile, a gilded exile admittedly, but an exile from the country which is my father’s land and which I remember, while I live in a country which is my mother’s land, the country of my language, of my work, of my children, but in which I do not find my own land…
(Sebbar and Huston 1986: 133)

Embodied memory: war and the remembrance of wounds in Nina Bouraoui …


Therefore, while these authors do not write explicitly about the war in any historical way, we can see the way in which the legacy of the conflict, and the opposition between French and Algerian, is not only part of their heritage, but also literally inhabiting their body in the mixed blood they carry. Both thus incarnate Bouraoui’s description of the Algerian land as ‘a fragile land, a land beaten down by hate, a land dried up’ (Bouraoui 2000: 135), their bodies taking on the contours of the territories ravaged by war. This reverses Elaine Scarry’s claim that ‘[w]ar is relentless in taking for its own interior content the interior content of the wounded and open human body’ (Scarry 1985: 81) by revealing the interior of the body to be inhabited by the content of war. Their divided nationality is a significant cause of social ‘othering’: the union of French mother and Algerian father bore the stigma of taboo, and the inability to forget what this symbolizes is incarnated in their own body, as Bouraoui elucidates: ‘For a long time I will carry in me my mother’s childhood. Like a heritage. Like a wound to erase with my happy life. […] For a long time I will carry it to soothe my mother. To heal her. […] For a long time I will take on her fears’ (Bouraoui 2000: 114, my emphasis). The repetition of the verb ‘to carry’ ( porter), as well as the use of ‘to take on’ ( prendre), indicates the way in which trauma is carried through generations. Similarly, the vocabulary of pain (‘a wound’, ‘to heal’) highlights the importance of the physical embodiment of this traumatic memory. The separation and conflict in the social and familial heritage of Bouraoui and Sebbar is a transmitted memory stemming from the war and which is embodied by the authors, both of whom exemplify Humphrey’s claim that
[t]he political opportunity of pain arises from the instability of communication that allows the objectification of pain and appropriation of its meaning by others. This may occur at the moment of violence or later, in the legacy of the victim’s suffering.
(Humphrey 2002: 2)

It is precisely this notion of legacy that they embody: a violence or trauma transmitted to, or indeed appropriated by, others. As Bouraoui notes,
For a long time I think I am carrying a fault. I come from the war. I come from a contested marriage. I carry the suffering of my Algerian family. I carry the refusal of my French family. I carry these transmissions. The violence remains within me. It inhabits me. It comes from inside me.
(Bouraoui 2000: 32)

Here, the violence comes from the legacy of war (‘I come from the war’) that is carried in the narrator’s body (‘I carry these transmissions’). We see from this further repetition of the verb ‘carry’ ( porter) how guilt, suffering and rejection are embodied in the author/narrator, and her poignant claim that ‘I come from the war’ indicates the historical dimension of this suffering, inscribed on her body (‘the violence remains within me. It inhabits me’). This is corroborated by Sebbar, who reflects that
Helen Vassallo

The children of immigration will enact violence on France just as she enacted violence on their fathers both here and over there. They have no memory but they do not forget, I think. With France they will have a relationship of love mixed with hate, fearful and often deadly.
(Sebbar and Huston 1986: 62)

8. The French ‘histoire’ can mean both collective history and personal story, an imbrication that is key to my argument.

The war is presented as an inescapable legacy, even though the generation of which Sebbar writes has no conscious memory of the war itself. Indeed, the only way in which it appears to be possible to exorcize this pain is by internalizing the violence and using it as an arm against this memory, to appropriate it and to redefine or reinscribe it. The incorporation or internalization of this memory of conflict is demonstrated by Sebbar’s need to keep remembering: ‘This silence of exile … for me it is necessary, at every moment, if I don’t want to die […] to discover or to invent a story/history’ (Sebbar and Huston 1986: 97).8 Similarly, Bouraoui aligns her personal situation with the history of violence in Algeria, in her lament regarding a French ticket controller that ‘He will never know anything of the women whose throats were slit, of the children who were burned, of the stomachs ripped open, of the eyes gouged out. No, he will never know anything of that. Just as he will never know anything of me’ (Bouraoui 2000: 67). Hence, it is not only a question of silence surrounding the ‘war with no name’, but also of the transmission of this silence, and its consequent internalization by future generations.

Silence and the embodiment of trauma
As Hirchi explains, ‘Once the difficulty has been localized and its origin identified, the writer begins to confront a double silence: his or her own, and that of those who have no voice’ (Hirchi 2003: 94). Hence, we see that individual repression – in this case, the silencing of the female subject (which can be both violent and traumatic) – is irrevocably linked to the collective repression of the marginalized group of subjects with which the author identifies. Sebbar claims of her writing project that
I write on silence, a blank memory, a history in fragments, a community dispersed, shattered, divided forever, I write on the fragment, on the emptiness, a poor land, uncultivated, sterile, where one must dig deep and far to bring to light what would have been forgotten forever.
(Sebbar and Huston 1986: 160 –61)

We can see from this that although she has no direct memory of the war (‘a blank memory’), nonetheless the ‘community dispersed, shattered, divided forever’ inflects her writing because of her need to ‘bring to light’ this memory, which is part of her history. Whereas Sebbar appears to be writing in order to find herself, allying herself to the ‘history in fragments’ in order to situate herself within a history that is deliberately silenced, Bouraoui says of her autobiographical project that ‘I write. And someone will recognize themselves’, thereby suggesting that the mode of collectivity that she seeks is for other silenced subjects to recognize their story in hers. In both cases, the author is reaching out to a wider community in a quest not simply for identity, but for identification. Although these texts are
Embodied memory: war and the remembrance of wounds in Nina Bouraoui …


9. Frank writes specifically of illness narratives resulting from physical pain, but I propose that his hypotheses are equally applicable to the physical embodiment of traumatic memory. See Vassallo (2007) for a more detailed discussion of this argument.

autobiographical – and thus necessarily subjective – there is also an implicit sense of collectivity. Therefore, they reflect Humphrey’s reasoning that this individual memory becomes political: the embodied memory gives way to voice, and the articulation of inflicted violence – whether physical or psychological – becomes a political statement, the personal story intertwined with a collective history. This is apparent in Bouraoui’s claim that
I remain with my mother. I remain with my father. I take from both of them. I lose from both of them. Each part melts into the other and then detaches. They embrace one another and fight one another. It is a war.
(Bouraoui 2000: 20)

and Sebbar’s that I ‘reveal myself to myself in this loss, this mourning for the country of my birth, for an obvious and simple land that I would have inherited and that I would only have to transmit’ (Sebbar and Huston 1986: 129). Bouraoui’s simple assertion that ‘it is a war’, and Sebbar’s reference to the ‘country of my birth […] that I would have inherited’ demonstrate that they are unable to escape from their history, which, as Bouraoui explains, is inseparable from the war and the union of colonizer and colonized that their mixed blood represents: ‘I come from a rare union. I am France and Algeria together’ (Bouraoui 2000: 9); ‘The danger is within us. It lies beneath our skin. […] It is in the lack of a country. It comes from separation’ (Bouraoui 2000: 35). The importance of legacy, or of the inscription of memory ‘beneath the skin’, is also primordial, and these narratives of the self illustrate Butler’s claim that ‘I am not fully known to myself, because part of what I am is the enigmatic traces of others’ (Butler 2004: 46). If it is by understanding our past that we can come to terms with our own experience, then before these writers can look forwards to a future in which they might establish their own identity free from the legacy of the past, they must first look backwards in order to come to terms with the traces of violence and trauma that have been passed on to them, and which they have themselves embodied. Corroborating Arthur Frank’s claim that ‘women’s enemy is silence’ (Frank 1995: 121),9 Bouraoui evokes specifically the notion of silence as an illness or wound: ‘But silence will take hold of everything. Silence about the massacres in Algeria. About the pain. About our new life. A silence which spreads. Which is contagious. A real illness. A plague. An epidemic. Silence on everyone’s lips’ (Bouraoui 2000: 115). By likening her own silencing to the taboo surrounding the complex socio-historical situation in Algeria, Bouraoui not only asserts the importance of the personal as political, but also highlights the transmission of silence in her immediate family – itself intrinsically linked to the precarious political situation – as a significant cause of her trauma. That is to say that silence can be equated with a refusal to remember, or to acknowledge painful truth. As such, we might suggest that it is not memory in itself that is at the root of trauma, but more precisely an inability to face memory, or to acknowledge it, or to own it in the reclaiming of self via the body. Moreover, Bouraoui’s description of the silence as contagious, and as ‘a real illness’, underlines the inscription of social malaise on the body, manifest as physical disease.
Helen Vassallo

Sebbar outlines a similar desire not to lose this memory, acknowledging that, although painful, it is essential to her identity and to her sense of ‘healing’: ‘finally I am no longer losing my memory, as I have been doing over so many years. And so I hoard it up by transporting this memory, so as not to lose it in fiction’ (Sebbar and Huston 1986: 98). The authors reverse the notion of memory as illness or trauma, citing the importance of accepting and processing the transmitted memory, and thus accepting themselves by coming to terms with the legacy that has been transmitted to them. The wound left by this legacy of war can only be healed by recovering a collective memory in order to reclaim a personal voice. This position is elaborated by Susan Sontag’s claims regarding memories of violence, that ‘[a]ll memory is individual, unreproducible – it dies with each person. What is called collective memory is not a remembering but a stipulating: that this is important, and this is the story about how it happened’ (Sontag 2003: 76, original emphasis). While Sontag appears to be postulating that collective memory is something that is dictated to a group by another kind of dominant mentality, I would argue that collective memory is simply a refusal to forget atrocity, and a complicit sense of community being forged where previously it has been denied or destroyed. It is true that memories of atrocity are predominantly localized, in that as a society we forget about historical atrocities that did not affect us, our family, our community, our nation (see Sontag 2003: 32). Although this does not directly conform to Humphrey’s position regarding the politics of atrocity and reconciliation, I propose an opening-up of his assertions that ‘the healing – the expulsion of violence from social relationships – is meant to occur at the same time as we remember and store it as collective memory so we don’t forget it’ (Humphrey 2002: 108), and that this expulsion ‘involves the exorcism of violence as the basis for healing’ (Humphrey 2002: 118). I would suggest that it is by the very fact of re-membering (that is to say, processing memory through the body) what has been silenced, that the violence, or the memories of war, can be expelled. As such, I would align my approach more closely to that of Butler, who claims that ‘[a]lthough I am insisting on referring to a common human vulnerability, one that emerges with life itself, I also insist that we cannot recover the source of this vulnerability: it precedes the formation of “I”’ (Butler 2004: 31). Therefore, in these narratives, the autobiographical ‘I’ is intertwined with a common suffering and response to violence and the memory of war.

Conclusions: remembrance of violence, transmissions of trauma and negotiations of healing
Butler claims that ‘women and minorities, including sexual minorities, are, as a community, subjected to violence, exposed to its possibility, if not its realization. This means that each of us is constituted politically in part by virtue of the social vulnerability of our bodies’ (Butler 2004: 20). So already, the women writers are vulnerable to violence because of their gender and their social situation. The violence of transmitted memory compounds this vulnerability and renders it a reality. I have elaborated the importance of these specifically female testimonies, and their more collective function as well as that of personal catharsis. This is exemplified by
Embodied memory: war and the remembrance of wounds in Nina Bouraoui …


Bouraoui’s recognition that her personal situation is a constant reminder of a difficult historical struggle, in her assertion that her ‘crime’ is ‘[b]eing the daughter of the lovers of 1960. Rendering that moment eternal. Simply by my presence. By my gaze. By my voice. By my identity. Turning the knife in the wound. Insisting on that bad time’ (Bouraoui 2000: 124), and by Sebbar’s acknowledgement of her opposite, but related, looking outwards to find herself in a collective history through her ‘obsessive attention to news items, particularly anything which has to do with violence towards children, women, and Arabs’ (Sebbar and Huston 1986: 30). While Bouraoui claims to incarnate a constant reminder of the troubled history, her embodied ‘wounds’ perpetuating historical ones, Sebbar turns to others in order to identify herself with their history, and to reclaim a collective memory through her own refusal to forget. Bouraoui and Sebbar both expound the importance of reclaiming memory in order to move forward rather than simply looking back, to effect something new for women and for the autobiographical ‘I’, and to refuse silent acceptance of the perpetuation of this violence, whether physical or psychological. Indeed, these women writers do not posit themselves as global spokespeople for previous generations of silenced women. This avoidance of a naïve or self-aggrandizing self-positioning as ‘carrier’ of collective trauma displays a consciousness of, or sensitivity to, Butler’s position that ‘[t]he one with whom I identify is not me, and that “not being me” is the condition of the identification’ (Butler 2004: 145). The importance of embodied trauma in this process of self-identification and acceptance is further highlighted by Frank’s assertion that
society is suppressing a truth about suffering, and that truth must be told. These writers do not want to go back to a former state of health, which is often viewed as a naïve illusion. They want to use suffering to move others forward with them.
(Frank 1995: 121)

The autobiographical narrative then becomes not only a collective endeavour, but also a means to fight back against the inflicted trauma, as writing becomes itself a form of combat: Bouraoui claims that ‘My silence is a combat. I write also for that reason’ (Bouraoui 2000: 33), and Sebbar acknowledges that ‘the act of writing is vital to me, and also constitutes a territory […] Exile is my land of inspiration, of lyricism, of emotion, of writing’ (Sebbar and Huston 1986: 144). Both authors testify to a need to incarnate violence themselves in order to effect a cathartic shift away from the memory of violence as oppression. Sebbar describes this resistance to silent acceptance by explaining that: ‘daily life, that murderess which throws me gently into a crushing assimilation, routine, deadly but nonviolent. So it falls to me to create violence myself, to shake myself out of that comfortable inertia’ (Sebbar and Huston 1986: 78). Similarly, Bouraoui says of her writing that ‘I too will have that strength. That desire. To destroy. To leap at the throat. To denounce. To knock down walls. It will be a keen but suppressed strength. A demon. Which will emerge through my writing’ (Bouraoui 2000: 129). The violence assumed by the female narrative voice suggests an instinctive or corporeal incarnation
Helen Vassallo

of this memory of war that has been silenced on both a historical level and a socio-political one. The female body thus becomes the locus of trauma because of the narrative imposed on it by society and by remembrance, a narrative that leaves a legacy of silence generated by taboo and shame, as well as an inability to escape from the embodied memory of conflict. To return to my initial point of departure, Bouraoui states that ‘Algeria is not in my language. She is in my body. Algeria is not in my words. She is within me. Algeria is not in what comes out. She is in what devours’ (Bouraoui 2000: 167). The incarnation of conflict (‘Algeria […] is in my body […] She is within me’) needs to be reversed, and articulated, precisely so that it can be with language, and with words, that Bouraoui and Sebbar avoid being consumed by memories of war (‘She is in what devours’), instead externalizing their trauma into ‘what comes out’, and thereby overcoming the legacy of embodied trauma that has been passed down to them as a heritage of war. Therefore, Bouraoui and Sebbar must find their own narrative in order to heal – which is not to forget, but rather to reclaim memory and their personal heritage on their own terms. Writing the self thus becomes a means of overcoming, or of healing from this trauma imposed not only by society, but also by memory, as it overturns the socio-political oppression and gendered repression forced on the author by revoking this through the narrative voice. References
Amrane, D. (1991), Les Femmes algériennes dans la guerre, Paris: Plon. —— (1994), Des Femmes dans la guerre d’Algérie, Paris: Karthala. Bouraoui, N. (2000), Garçon manqué, Paris: Stock. Butler, J. (2004), Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence, London and New York: Verso. Chevillot, F. and Norris, A. (eds) (2006), Les Femmes écrivent la guerre, Paris: Éditions Complicités. Djebar, A. (1995), L’Amour, la fantasia, Paris: Albin Michel. Djebar, A. and Salhi, K. (1999), ‘Assia Djebar Speaking: An Interview with Kamal Salhi’, International Journal of Francophone Studies, 2: 3, pp. 168–79. Frank, A.W. (1995), The Wounded Storyteller: Body, Illness, and Ethics, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Gorrara, C. (1998), Women’s Representations of the Occupation in post-’68 France, Basingstoke: Macmillan. Hargreaves, A.G. and McKinney, M. (eds) (1997), Post-colonial Cultures in France, London: Routledge. Henke, S. (2000), Shattered Subjects: Trauma and Testimony in Women’s Life Writing, Basingstoke: Macmillan. Hirchi, M. (2003), ‘Déambulations aux confins de la langue et de la mémoire collective: le cas d’Assia Djebar’, International Journal of Francophone Studies, 6: 2, pp. 87–102. Humphrey, M. (2002), The Politics of Atrocity and Reconciliation: From Terror to Trauma, London and New York: Routledge. Robson, K. (2004), Writing Wounds: The Inscription of Trauma in post-1968 French Women’s Life Writing, Amsterdam: Rodopi.
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Scarry, E. (1985), The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Sebbar, L. (ed.) (1997), Une Enfance algérienne, Paris: Gallimard. —— (1999), Soldats, Paris: Seuil. —— (2005), ‘Mes Algéries en France de Leïla Sebbar: Destins croisés’, El Moudjahid, 10 September. Sebbar, L. and Huston, N. (1986), Lettres parisiennes: autopsie de l’exil, Paris: Bernard Barrault. Sontag, S. (2003), Regarding the Pain of Others, London and New York: Penguin. Stora, B. (1991), La Gangrène et l’oubli: la mémoire de la guerre d’Algérie, Paris: La Découverte. Talbott, J. (1981), The War Without a Name, London: Faber and Faber. Vassallo, H. (2007), ‘Wounded Storyteller: Illness as Life Narrative in Nina Bouraoui’s Garçon manqué’, The Forum for Modern Languages Studies, 43: 1, pp. 46–56.

Suggested citation
Vassallo, H. (2008), ‘Embodied memory: war and the remembrance of wounds in Nina Bouraoui and Leïla Sebbar’, Journal of War and Culture Studies 1: 2, pp. 189–200, doi: 10.1386/jwcs.1.2.189/1

Contributor details
Helen Vassallo is Lecturer in French at the University of Exeter (UK). Her research specialisms are contemporary French and francophone women’s writing, life writing and illness narratives, mythologies of war and illness, and literary representations of conflict and trauma in French and francophone women’s writing. She has published several research articles in these areas, as well as a monograph titled Jeanne Hyvrard, Wounded Witness: The Body Politic and the Illness Narrative, (Oxford: Lang, 2007). Contact: Dr Helen Vassallo, University of Exeter, Department of Modern Languages, Queen’s Building, The Queen’s Drive, Exeter, EX4 4QH. E-mail: H.M.Vassallo@ex.ac.uk


Helen Vassallo

Journal of War and Culture Studies Volume 1 Number 2 © 2008 Intellect Ltd Miscellaneous. English language. doi: 10.1386/jwcs.1.2.201/7

Compiled by Stacy Gillis Newcastle University

Recent books
Achcar, Gilbert (2007), The 33-Day War: Israel’s War on Hezbollah in Lebanon and its Aftermath, London: Saqi. Adams, Clarence (2007), An American Dream: The Life of an African American Solider and POW who Spent Twelve Years in Communist China (ed. Della Adams and Lewis H. Carlson), Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press. Adelman, Jonathan (ed.) (2007), Hitler and his Allies in World War Two, London: Routledge. Allawi, Ali A. (2007), The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace, New Haven: Yale University Press. Allison, William Thomas (2007), Military Justice in Vietnam: The Rule of Law in an American War, Lawrence: University Press of Kansas. Alvah, Donna (2007), Unofficial Ambassadors: American Military Families Overseas and the Cold War, 1946–1965, New York: New York University Press. Ankerson, Christopher and O’Leary, Michael (eds) (2007), Understanding Global Terror, Cambridge: Polity Press. Ashton, Nigel (ed.) (2007), The Cold War in the Middle East: Regional Conflict and the Superpowers, 1967–73, London: Routledge. Baker, Ellen R. (2007), On Strike and On Film: Mexican American Families and Blacklisted Filmmakers in Cold War America, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. Baker, Horace L. (2007), Argonne Days in World War I (ed. Robert H. Ferrell), Columbia: University of Missouri Press. Balabanova, Ekaterina (2007), Media, Wars and Politics: Comparing the Incomparable in Western and Eastern Europe, Aldershot: Ashgate. Battini, Michele (2007), The Missing Italian Nuremberg: Cultural Amnesia and Postwar Politics, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Batvinis, Raymond J. (2007), The Origins of FBI Counterintelligence, Lawrence: University Press of Kansas. Baxter, Ian (2006), Into the Abyss: The Last Years of the Waffen SS, 1943–45: A Photographic History, Solihull: Helion & Co. Bell, David Acrom (2007), The First Total War: Napoleon’s Europe and the Birth of Modern Warfare, London: Bloomsbury. Bellamy, Chris (2007), Absolute War: Soviet Russia in the Second World War, London: Macmillan. Bergström, Christer (2007), Barbarossa: The Air Battle July–December 1941, Hersham: Midland. Bickers, Robert and Tiedmann, R.G. (eds) (2007), The Boxers, China, and the World, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

JWCS 1 (2) pp. 201–214 © Intellect Ltd 2008


Bachner, James (2007), My Darkest Years: Memoirs of a Survivor of Auschwitz, Warsaw and Dachau, Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co. Bishop, Patrick (2007), Bomber Boys: Fighting Back, 1940–1945, London: HarperPress. Bongiorno, Frank, Spence, Iain and Moses, John A. (eds) (2007), Mars and Minerva: Australian Intellectuals and the Great War, special issue of Australian Journal of Politics and History, 53: 3. Brandon, Laura (2007), Art and War, London: I.B. Tauris. Breitman, Richard, McDonald Stewart, Barbara and Hochberg, Severin (eds) (2007), Advocate for the Doomed: The Diaries and Papers of James G, McDonald, Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Brewer, Paul (2007), The Chronicle of War, London: Carlton, Brooks, Tim (2007), British Propaganda to France, 1940 –1944: Machinery, Method and Message, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Bryan, Helen (2007), War Brides, London: Penguin Books. Bunk, Brian D. (2007), Ghosts of Passion: Martyrdom, Gender and the Origins of the Spanish Civil War, Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Burleigh, Michael (2007), Sacred Causes: The Clash of Religion and Politics, from the Great War to the War on Terror, New York: HarperCollins. Butler, Clark (2007), Guantanamo Bay and the Judicial-Moral Treatment of the Other, West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press. Byman, Daniel L., and Pollack, Kenneth M. (2007), Things Fall Apart: Containing the Spillover from an Iraqi Civil War, Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press. Campbell, James (2007), The Ghost Mountain Boys: Their Epic March and the Terrifying Battle for New Guinea, The Forgotten War of the South Pacific, New York: Crown Publishers. Cashman, Greg (2007), An Introduction to the Causes of War: Patterns of Interstate Conflict from World War I to Iraq, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. Chaliand, Gérard, and Blin, Arnaud (eds) (2007), The History of Terrorism: From Antiquity to al Qaeda (trans. Edward Schneider, Kathryn Pulver and Jesse Browner), Berkeley: University of California Press. Charles, Douglas M. (2007), J. Edgar Hoover and the Anti-Interventionists: FBI Political Surveillance and the Rise of the Domestic Security State, 1939–1945, Columbus: Ohio State University Press. Chartrand, René (2007), The Canadian Corps in World War I, Oxford: Osprey. Cheng, Victor Shiu Chiang (2007), Modern Military Technology in Counterinsurgency Warfare: The Experience of the Nationalist Army During the Chinese Civil War, Lund: Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies. Chouliaraki, Lilie (ed.) (2007), The Soft Power of War, Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publisher. Ciment, James (ed.) (2007), Encyclopedia of Conflicts since World War II, 2nd edn., Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe. Ciment, James, and Russell, Thaddeus (eds) (2007), The Home Front Encyclopedia: United States, Britain, and Canada in World Wars I and II, Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. Clarke, Bruce (2007), Expendable Warriors: The Battle of Khe Sanh and the Vietnam War, Westport, CT: Praeger. Cockburn, Patrick (2007), The Occupation: War and Resistance in Iraq, London: Verso.


Stacy Gillis

Cole, David, and Lobel, Jules (2007), Less Safe, Less Free: Why America is Losing the War on Terror, New York: New Press. Crawford, Steve (2007), The U.S. Marine Corps in World War II: The Stories Behind the Photos, Washington, DC: Potomac Books. Crockatt, Richard (2007), After 9/11: Cultural Dimensions of American Global Power, London: Routledge. Crowdy, Terry (2007), French Resistance Fighter: France’s Secret Army, Oxford: Osprey. Culp, Ronald K. (2007), The First Black United States Marines: The Men of Montford Point, 1942–1946, Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co. Davis, Tracy C. (2007), Stages of Emergency: Cold War Nuclear Civil Defense, Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Dempsey, James L. (2007), Blackfoot War Art: Pictographs of the Reservation Period, 1880–2000, Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. Denzin, Norman K. (2007), Flag in the Window: Dispatches from the American War Zone, Oxford: Peter Lang. De Waal, Alex (ed.) (2007), War in Darfur and the Search for Peace, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Diamond, Hanna (2007), Fleeing Hitler: France 1940, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Dildy, Doug (2007), Denmark and Norway, 1940: Hitler’s Boldest Operation, Oxford: Osprey. Doherty, Richard (2007), The British Reconnaissance Corps in World War II, Oxford: Osprey. Dowswell, Paul (2007), The Second World War, new edn., London: Usborne. Drogin, Bob (2007), Curveball: Spies, Lies and the Con Man Who Caused a War, New York: Random House. Dukata, David J. (2007), Flames of War, New York: Nova Science Publishers. Durgan, Andrew (2007), The Spanish Civil War, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Dutton, Donald G. (2007), The Psychology of Genocide, Massacres, and Extreme Violence: Why ‘Normal’ People Come to Commit Atrocities, Westport, CT: Praeger. Eberwein, Robert (2007), Armed Forces: Masculinity and Sexuality in the American War Film, New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. Echevarria, Antulio J. (2007), Clausewitz and Contemporary War, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Edgerton, Robert B. (2007), The Worldwide Practice of Torture: A Preliminary Report, Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press. Ehrenfreud, Norbert (2007), The Nuremberg Legacy: How the Nazi War Crimes Trials Changed the Course of History, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Elliott, David W.P. (2007), The Vietnamese War: Revolution and Social Change in the Mekong Delta, 1930–1975, Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe. Engel, Jeffery (2007), Cold War at 30,000 Feet: The Anglo-American Fight for Aviation Supremacy, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Engelhardt, Tom (2007), The End of Victory Culture: Cold War America and the Disillusioning of a Generation, rev. edn., Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press. Faludi, Susan (2007), The Terror Dream: Fear and Fantasy in post-9/11 America, New York: Metropolitan Books. Farrokh, Kaveh (2007), Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War, Oxford: Osprey.



Felix, Patrikeef (2007), Railways and the Russo-Japanese War: Transporting War, London: Routledge. Ferrell, Robert H. (2007), America’s Deadliest Battle: Meuse-Argonne, 1918, Lawrence: University Press of Kansas. Figes, Orlando (2007), The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin’s Russia, London: Allen Lane. Fisher, Jaimey (2007), Disciplining Germany: Youth, Reeducation, and Reconstruction after the Second World War, Detroit: Wayne State University Press. Foss, Brian (2007), War Paint: Art, War, State and Identity in Britain, 1939–1945, New Haven: Yale University Press. Foulk, Vincent L. (2007), The Battle for Fallujah: Occupation, Resistance and Stalemate in the War in Iraq, Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co. Fouskas, Vassilis (2007), The Politics of Conflict: A Survey, London: Routledge. Frederking, Brian (2007), The United States and the Security Council: Collective Security Since the Cold War, London: Routledge. Frey, Douglas, P. (2007), Beyond War: The Human Potential for Peace, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Friedman, Barbara G. (2007), From the Battlefront to the Bridal Suite: Media Coverage of British War Brides, 1942–1946, Columbia: University of Missouri Press. Friedman, Hal M. (2007), Governing the American Lake: The US Defense and Administration of the Pacific, 1945–1947, East Lansing: Michigan State University Press. Gilbertson, Ashley (2007), Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: A Photographer’s Chronicle of the Iraq War, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Ginor, Isabella and Remez, Gideon (2007), Foxbats over Dimona: The Soviets’ Nuclear Gamble in the Six-Day War, New Haven: Yale University Press. Glantz, David (2007), Red Storm over the Balkans: The Failed Soviet Invasion of Romania, Spring 1944, Lawrence: University Press of Kansas. Goldsmith, Jack (2007), The Terror Presidency: Law and Judgment Inside the Bush Administration, New York: W.W. Norton & Co. Gordon, Philip H. (2007), Winning the Right War: The Path to Security for America and the World, New York: Times Books. Greenwood, Christopher J. (2007), Essays on War in International Law, London: Cameron May. Grob-Fitzgibbon, Benjamin John (2007), Turning Points of the Irish Revolution: The British Government, Intelligence and the Cost of Indifference, 1912–1921, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Gruhl, Werner (2007), Imperial Japan’s World War Two, 1931–1945, New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers. Guinn, Gilbert Sumter (2007), British Naval Aviation in World War II: The US Navy and Anglo-American Relations, London: I.B. Tauris Academic. Halberstam, David (2007), The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, New York: Hyperion. Hammond, Mary, and Towheed, Shafquat (eds) (2007), Publishing in the First World War: Essays in Book History, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Harrison, Nicholas (ed.) (2007), Gillo Pontecorvo’s Battle of Algiers, 40 Years On, Special Issue of International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, 9: 3.


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Hartzell, Caroline A. and Hoddie, Matthew (2007), Crafting Peace: Power-Sharing Institutions and the Negotiated Settlement of Civil Wars, Philadelphia: Pennsylvania State University Press. Hayden, Tom (2007), Ending the War in Iraq, New York: Akashic. Hawes-Bilger, Cordula (2007), War Zone Language: Linguistic Aspects of the Conflict in Northern Ireland, Tübingen: Francke. Heck, Gene W. (2007), When Worlds Collide: Exploring the Ideological and Political Foundations for the Clash of Civilization, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. Henry, Marilène Patten (2007), A Zouave’s Journey: Recollections of a Footsoldier in the 37th African Division, Oxford: Peter Lang. Henry, Patrick (2007), We Only Know Men: The Rescue of Jews in France during the Holocaust, Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press. Hofmeister, Heimo (2007), How War Makes Politics Impossible (trans. David B. Greene), Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press. Holder, R.W. (2007), The Fight for Malaya: The Jungle War of Maurice Cotterill, Singapore: Editions Didier Millet. Holmes, Richard (2007), Riding the Retreat: Mons to La Marne, 1914 Revisited, London: Pimlico. Hoskins, Andrew, and O’Loughlin, Ben (eds) (2007), Television and Terror: Conflicting Times and the Crisis of News Discourse, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Howard, Lise Morjé (2007), UN Peacekeeping in Civil Wars, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Howell, William G., and Pevehouse (2007), Jon C., While Dangers Gather: Congressional Checks on Presidential War Powers, Princeton: Princeton University Press. Hoyos, Dexter (2007), Truceless War: Carthage’s Fight for Survival, 241–237 BC, Leiden: Brill. Ismael, Jacqueline S. and Haddad, William W. (eds) (2007), Barriers to Reconciliation: Case Studies on Iraq and the Palestine-Israel Conflict, Lanham, MD: University Press of America. Isom, Dallas Woodbury (2007), Midway Inquest: Why the Japanese Lost the Battle of Midway, Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Ivie, Robert L. (2007), Dissent from War, Bloomfield, CT: Kumarian Press. Jager, S.M. (2007), Ruptured Histories: War, Memory and the Post-Cold War in Asia, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Jamail, Dahr (2007), Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq, Chicago: Haymarket. James, Jennifer C. (2007), A Freedom Fought With Blood: African American War Literature from the Civil War to World War II, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. James, Wendy (2007), War and Survival in Sudan’s Frontierlands: Voices from the Blue Nile, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Johnston, Mark (2007), The Australian Army in World War II, Oxford: Osprey. Jones, Benjamin, and Olken, Benjamin, Hit or Miss?: The Effect of Assassinations on Institutions and War, London: Centre for Economic Policy Research. Jongerden, Joost (2007), The Settlement Issue in Turkey and the Kurds: An Analysis of Spatial Policies, Modernity and War, Leiden: Brill. Kacowicz, Arie M. and Lutomski, Pawel (eds) (2007), Population Resettlement in International Conflicts: A Comparative Study, Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.



Kadavifci-Orellana, S. Ayse (2007), Standing on an Isthmus: Islamic Narratives on War and Peace in Palestinian Territories, Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. Kakehashi, Kumiko (2007), So Sad to Fall in Battle: An Account of War, New York: Presidio Press. Keller, Christian B. (2007), Chancellorsville and the Germans: Nativism, Ethnicity and Civil War Memory, New York: Fordham University Press. Kelley, Colleen Elizabeth (2007), Post-9/11 American Presidential Rhetoric: A Study of Protofascist Discourse, Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. Kernan, Alvin B. (2007), Crossing the Line: A Bluejacket’s Odyssey in World War II, New Haven: Yale University Press. Kerr, Rachel and Mobekk, Eirin (2007), Peace and Justice: Seeking Accountability After War, Cambridge: Polity Press. Kershaw, Ian (2007), Fateful Choices: Ten Decisions that Changed the World, 1940–1941, London: Allen Lane. Kissane, Bill (2007), The Politics of the Irish Civil War, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Klein, Naomi (2007), The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, New York: Metropolitan Books. Klip, André and Sluiter, Göran (eds) (2007), The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda 2003, Antwerp: Intersentia. Kort, Michael (2007), The Columbia Guide to Hiroshima and the Bomb, New York: Columbia University Press. Kosok, Heinz (2007), The Theatre of War: The First World War in British and Irish Drama, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Kramer, Alan (2007), Dynamic of Destruction: Culture and Mass Killing in the First World War, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Lacey, Jim (2007), Takedown: The 3rd Infantry Division’s Twenty-One Day Assault on Baghdad, Annapolis: Naval Institute Press. Lahr, Angela M. (2007), Millennial Dreams and Apocalyptic Nightmares: The Cold War Origins of Political Evangelicalism, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Le Tissier, Tony (2007), Patton’s Pawns: The 94th US Infantry Division at the Siegfried Line, Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press. Lee, A.D. (2007), War in Late Antiquity: A Social History, Oxford: Blackwell. Lee, Harry and Jones, Edgar (eds) (2007), War and Health: Lessons from the Gulf War, Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley. Lees, Lorraine M. (2007), Yugoslav-Americans and National Security During World War II, Urbana: University of Illinois Press. Leff, Murray (2007), Lens of an Infantryman: A World War II Memoir with Photographs from a Hidden Camera, Jefferson, NC: McFarland. Leffler, Melvyn P. (2007), For the Soul of Mankind: The United States, the Soviet Union, and the Cold War, New York: Hill and Wang. Lemish, Dafna and Götz, Maya (eds) (2007), Children and Media at Times of Conflict and War, Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press. Lilly, Robert J. (2007), Taken by Force: Rape and American GIs in Europe During World War II, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Linke, Gabriele and Rossow, Holger (eds) (2007), Rhetoric and Representation: The British at War, Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter. Litvin, Nikolai (2007), 800 Days on the Eastern Front: A Russian Soldier Remembers World War II (trans. Stuart Britton), Lawrence: University Press of Kansas.


Stacy Gillis

Lorenz-Meyer, Martin (2007), Safehaven: The Allied Pursuit of Nazi Assets Abroad, Columbia: University of Missouri Press. Lowther, Adam B. (2007), Americans and Asymmetric Conflict: Lebanon, Somalia and Afghanistan, Westport, CT: Praeger. Lucas, Peter (2007), The OSS in World War II Albania: Covert Operations and Collaborations with Communist Partisans, Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co. MacKinnon, Mark (2007), The New Cold War: Revolutions, Rigged Elections and Pipeline Politics in the Former Soviet Union, New York: Carroll & Graf. Maloney, Sean (2007), Learning to Love the Bomb: Canada’s Nuclear Weapons during the Cold War, Washington DC: Potomac Books. Marcus, Aliza (2007), Blood and Belief: The PKK and the Kurdish Fight for Independence, New York: New York University Press. Marolda, Edward (ed.) (2007), The U.S. Navy in the Korean War, Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. McLaurin, Melton Alonza (2007), The Marines of Montford Point: America’s First Black Marines, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. Mead, Richard (2007), Churchill’s Lions: A Biographical Guide to the Key Generals of World War II, Staplehurst: Spellmount. Meagher, Ilona (2007), Moving a Nation to Care: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and America’s Returning Troops, New York: Ig. Mearsheimer, John J. and Walt, Stephen M. (2007), The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Mersky, Peter B. (2007), US Navy and Marine Corps A-4 Skyhawk Units of the Vietnam War, Oxford: Osprey. Metres, Philip (2007), Behind the Lines: War Resistance Poetry on the American Homefront Since 1941, Iowa City: University of Iowa Press. Miller, Benjamin (2007), States, Nations and the Great Powers: The Sources of Regional War and Peace, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Miller, Edward G. (2007), Nothing Less than Full Victory: Americans at War in Europe, 1944–1945, Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. Miller, Richard M. (2007), Funding Extended Conflicts: Korea, Vietnam and the War on Terror, Westport, CT: Praeger. Milner, Marc (2007), D-Day to Carpiquet: The North Shore Regiment and the Liberation of Europe, Fredericton, NB: Goose Lane Editions. Minear, Richard H. (ed.) (2007), The Scars of War: Tokyo During World War II: Writings of Takeyama Michio (trans. Richard H. Minear), Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. Misra, Amalendu (2007), Politics of Civil War: Conflict, Intervention and Resolution, London: Routledge. Mitcham, Samuel W. (2007), Rommel’s Desert Commanders: The Men Who Served the Desert Fox, North Africa, 1941–1942, Westport, CT: Praeger. Mockaitis, Thomas R. (2007), The ‘New’ Terrorism: Myths and Reality, Westport, CT: Praeger, 2006. Morgan, Matthew J. (2007), A Democracy is Born: An Insider’s Account of the Battle Against Terrorism in Afghanistan, Westport, CT: Praeger. Moules, Joan (2007), Tin Hats and Gas Masks, London: Robert Hale. Muller, Eric L. (2007), American Inquisition: The Hunt for Japanese American Disloyalty in World War II, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.



Murphy, David (2007), Irish Regiments in the World Wars, Oxford: Osprey. Neitzel, Sönke (ed.) (2007), Tapping Hitler’s Generals: Transcripts of Secret Conversations, 1942–1945 (trans. Geoffrey Brooks), Barnsley: Frontline. Norris, Marjorie Barron (2007), Medicine and Duty: The World War I Memoir of Captain Harold W. McGill, Medical Officer, Calgary: University of Calgary Press. O’Connor, Mike (2007), Nieuports in RNAS, RFC and RAF Service, London: Cross & Cockade International. Oded, Owenheim (2007), Predators and Parasites: Persistent Agents of Transnational Harm and Great Power Authority, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. O’Donnell, Lynne (2007), High Tea in Mosul: The True Story of Two Englishwoman in War-torn Iraq, London: Cyan. O’Hara, Vincent P. (2007), The U.S. Navy against the Axis: Surface Combat, 1941–1945, Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. Oliver, G.J. (2007), War, Food, and Politics in Early Hellenistic Athens, Oxford: Oxford University Press. O’Reilly, Charles T. (2007), The Jews of Italy, 1938–1945: An Analysis of Revisionist Histories, Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co. Owens, Patricia (2007), Between War and Politics: International Relations and the Thought of Hannah Arendt, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Palmer, Alan Warwick (2007), The Salient: Ypres, 1914–1918, London: Constable. Paris, Michael (ed.) (2007), Repicturing the Second World War: Representations in Film and Television, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Park, Carl. D. (2007), Ironclad Down: The USS Merrimack–CSS Virginia from Construction to Destruction, Amherst, MA: Naval Institute Press. Parker, Bernard S. (2007), World War I Sheet Music: 9,670 Patriotic Songs Published in the United States, 1914–1920, With More than 600 Covers Illustrated, Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co. Patterson, David S. (2007), The Search for Negotiated Peace: Women’s Activism and Citizen Diplomacy in World War I, London: Routledge. Pattinson, Juliette (2007), Behind Enemy Lines: Gender, Passing and the Special Operations Executive in the Second World War, Manchester: Manchester University Press. Paulson, Daryl S. and Krippner, Stanley (2007), Haunted by Combat: Understanding PTSD in War Veterans, Westport, CT: Praeger. Pearlstine, Norman (2007), Off the Record: The Press, the Government, and the War over Anonymous Sources, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Percy, Sarah (2007), Mercenaries: The History of a Norm in International Relations, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Perry, Nicholas (ed.) (2006), Major General Oliver Nugent and the Ulster Decision 1915–1918, Stroud: Sutton. Peterson, John (2007), Oman’s Insurgencies: The Sultanate’s Struggle for Supremacy, London: Saqi. Pfaelzer, Jean (2007), Driven Out: The Forgotten War Against Chinese Americans, New York: Random House. Pinheiro, John C. (2007), Manifest Ambition: James K. Polk and Civil–Military Relations During the Mexican War, Westport, CT: Praeger. Podhoretz, Norman (2007), World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism, New York: Doubleday.


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Polk, William (2007), Violent Politics: A History of Insurgency, Terrorism and Guerrilla War, From the American Revolution to Iraq, New York: HarperCollins. Pollard, Tony, and Banks, Iain (eds) (2007), War and Sacrifice: Studies in the Archaeology of Conflict, Leiden: Brill. Posner, Richard A. (2007), Countering Terrorism: Blurred Focus, Halting Steps, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. Presbey, Gail M. (ed.) (2007), Philosophical Perspectives on the ‘War on Terrorism’, Amsterdam: Rodopi. Primoratz, Igor (ed.) (2007), Civilian Immunity in War, Oxford: Clarendon. Purbrick, Louise, Aulich, Jim and Dawson, Graham (eds) (2007), Contested Spaces: Sites, Representations and Histories of Conflict, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Quigley, John (2007), The Ruses for War: American Interventionism since World War II, Amherst, MA: Prometheus Books. Rae, Patricia (ed.) (2007), Modernism and Mourning, Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press. Randolph, Stephen P. (2007), Powerful and Brutal Weapons: Nixon, Kissinger, and the Easter Offensive, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Richards, Peter Judson (2007), Extraordinary Justice: Military Tribunals in Historical and International Context, New York: New York University Press. Rickman, Gregg J. (2007), Conquest and Redemption: A History of Jewish Assets from the Holocaust, New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers. Ridley, Sarah (2007), Children and World War II, London: Franklin Watts. Robbins, Mary Susannah (ed.) (2007), Against the Vietnam War: Writings by Activists, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. Robson, Brian (2007), Crisis on the Frontier: The Third Afghan War and the Campaign in Waziristan, 1919–1920, Stroud: Spellmount. Robson, Stuart (2007), The First World War, 2nd edn., Harlow: Longman. Rockoff, Hugh (2007), Keep on Scrapping: The Salvage Drives of World War II, Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research. Rodin, D.E. (ed.) (2007), War, Torture and Terrorism: Ethics and War in the 21st Century, Oxford: Blackwell. Rottman, Gordon (2007), US Airborne Units in the Pacific Theater, 1942–45, Oxford: Osprey. Ruelland, Jacques G. (2007), Holy War: History of an Idea (trans. Cornelia Fuykschot and Jeanne Poulin), Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press. Russell, John (2007), Chechnya: Russia’s ‘War on Terror’, London: Routledge. Salama-Carr, Myriam (ed.) Amsterdam: Rodopi. (2007), Translating and Interpreting Conflict,

Schmidt, Elizabeth (2007), Cold War and Decolonization in Guinea, 1946–1958, Athens: Ohio University Press. Schmitz, Helmut (ed.) (2007), A Nation of Victims? Representations of Wartime Suffering from 1945 to the Present, Amsterdam: Rodopi. Schneider, Thomas F. and Wagner, Hans (eds) (2007), ‘Huns’ vs. ‘Corned Beef ’: Representations of the Other in American and German literature and Film on World War I, Göttingen: V & R Unipress. Schofield, Julian (2007), Militarization and War, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Schroder, William, and Dawe, Ronald (2007), Soldier’s Heart: Close-Up Today with PTSD in Vietnam Veterans, Westport, CT: Praeger.



Schroer, Timothy L. (2007), Recasting Race After World War II: Germans and African Americans in American-Occupied Germany, Boulder: University Press of Colorado. Scott, Peter Dale (2007), The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America, Berkeley: University of California Press. Secunda, Eugene and Morgan, Terence P. (2007), Selling War to America: From the Spanish American War to the Global War on Terror, Westport, CT: Praeger. Segev, Tom (2007), 1967: Israel, the War, and the Year that Transformed the Middle East (trans. Jessica Cohen), New York: Metropolitan Books. Sémelin, Jacques (2007), Purify and Destroy: The Political Uses of Massacre and Genocide (trans. Cynthia Schoch), New York: Columbia University Press. Shaw, Tony (2007), Hollywood’s Cold War, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Shipman, Pat (2007), Femme Fatale: Love, Lies and the Unknown Life of Mata Hari, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. Short, Brian, Watkins, Charles and Martin, John (eds) (2007), The Front Line of Freedom: British Farming in the Second World War, Exeter: British Agricultural History Society. Silbey, David (2007), A War of Frontier and Empire: The Philippine–American War, 1899–1902, New York: Hill and Wang. Silkenat, James R. and Shulman, Mark R. (eds) (2007), The Imperial Presidency and the Consequences of 9/11: Lawyers React to the Global War on Terrorism, Westport, CT: Praeger. Smelser, Ronald and Davies, Edward J. (2007), The Myth of the Eastern Front: The Nazi– Soviet War in American Popular Culture, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Smith, Jean (ed.) (2007), Came the Day: Memoirs of Kriegsgefangener 7781, The Reminiscences of Grenville John Davies, Studley: Brewin. Smith, Jeffrey R. (2007), A People’s War: Germany’s Political Revolution, 1913–1918, Lanham, MD: University Press of America. Smith, T.O. (2007), Britain and the Origins of the Vietnam War: UK Policy in IndoChina, 1943–50, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Solomon, Lewis D. (2007), Paul D. Wolfowitz: Visionary, Intellectual, Policymaker and Strategist, Westport, CT: Praeger. Spector, Ronald H. (2007), In the Ruins of Empire: The Japanese Surrender and the Battle for Postwar Asia, New York: Random House. Stasse, Nicol and van der Heyden, Ulrich (2007), German Publications on the AngloBoer War, Pretoria: Protea Book House. Statler, Kathryn C. (2007), Replacing France: The Origins of American Intervention in Vietnam, Lexington: University Press of Kentucky. Steege, Paul (2007), Black Market, Cold War: Everyday Life in Berlin, 1946–1949, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Stefanidis, Ioannis D. (2007), Stirring the Greek Nation: Political Culture, Irredentism and Anti-Americanism in Post-War Greece, Aldershot: Ashgate. Steffen, Lloyd, Holy War, Just War: Exploring the Moral Meaning of Religious Violence (2007), Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. Stille, Mark (2007), Imperial Japanese Navy Submarines, 1941–45, Oxford: Osprey. Stonebridge, Lyndsey (2007), The Writing of Anxiety: Imagining Wartime in MidCentury British Culture, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Strachan, Hew (2007), Clausewitz’s On War: A Biography, New York: Atlantic Monthly Press.


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Strachan, Hew and Herberg-Rothe, Andreas (2007), Clausewitz in the Twenty-First Century, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Syse, Henrik and Reichberg, Gregory M. (eds) (2007), Ethics, Nationalism and Just War: Medieval and Contemporary Perspectives, Washington DC: The Catholic University of American Press. Summers, Julie (2007), Remembered: The History of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, London: Merrell. Tan, See Sang (2007), The Role of Knowledge Communities in Constructing Asia–Pacific Security: How Thought and Talk make War and Peace, Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press. Taylor, Richard (2007), Homeward Bound: American Veterans Return from War, Westport, CT: Praeger. Temple-Raston, Dina (2007), The Jihad Next Door: The Lackawanna Six and Rough Justice in an Age of Terror, New York: Public Affairs. Thakur, Ramesh (2007), War in Our Time: Reflections on Iraq, Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction, Tokyo: United Nations University Press. Theoharis, Athan (2007), The Quest for Absolute Security: The Failed Relations among U.S. Intelligence Agencies, Chicago: Ivan R. Dee. Thiel, Hans (2007), The Wolves of World War II: An East Prussian Soldier’s Memoir of Combat and Captivity on the Eastern Front (trans. Ivan Fehrenbach), Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co. Topping, Gary (ed.) (2007), If I Get Out Alive: World War II Letters and Diaries of William McDougall Jr., Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. Tracy, Nicholas (2007), Britannia’s Palette: The Arts of Naval Victory, Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press. Trawick, Margaret (2007), Enemy Lines: Childhood, Warfare and Play in Batticaloa, Berkeley: University of California Press. Tucker, David and Lamb, Christopher J. (2007), United States Special Operations Forces, New York: Columbia University Press. Tucker, Robert W. (2007), Woodrow Wilson and the Great War: Reconsidering America’s Neutrality, 1914–1917, Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press. Tyner, James A. (2007), America’s Strategy in Southeast Asia: From the Cold War to the Terror War, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. Valassopoulos, Anastasia (2007), Contemporary Arab Women Writers: Cultural Expression in Context, New York: Routledge. Vellacott, Jo (2007), Pacifists, Patriots and the Vote: The Erosion of Democratic Suffragism in Britain during the First World War, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Virden, Jenel (2007), Americans and the Wars of the Twentieth Century, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Wagner, R. Harrison (2007), War and the State: The Theory of International Politics, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Wasyl, Veryha (2007), A Case Study of Genocide in the Ukrainian Famine of 1921–1923: Famine as a Weapon, Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press. Wells, Helen (2007), Cherry Ames, Veterans’ Nurse, New York: Springer Publishing. Westemeier, Jens (2007), Joachim Peiper: A Biography of Himmler’s SS Commander (trans. Christine Wisowaty), Atglen, PA: Schiffer Military History. Westheider, James E. (2007), The African American Experience in Vietnam, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. ——(2007), The Vietnam War, Westport, CT: Greenwood.


Whaley, Barton (2007), Stratagem: Deceptions and Reception in War, Boston: Artech House. Wheatcroft, Stephen G. and Welch, Steven R. (eds) (2007), Terror, Total War and Genocide in the Twentieth Century, special issue of The Australian Journal of Politics and History, 53: 1. Wilcox, William A. (2007), The Modern Military and the Environment: The Laws of Peace and War, Lanham, MD: Government Institutes. Williams, G.C. (2007), In the Bag: Memoirs of My Captivity and the Events Leading Up To It, Padstow: Tabb House. Wilson, Isaiah (2007), Thinking Beyond War: Civil–Military Relations and Why America Fails to Win the Peace, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Willson, Rachel Beckles (2007), Ligeti, Kurtág, and Hungarian Music during the Cold War, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Winfield, Richard Dien (2007), Modernity, Religion, and the War on Terror, Aldershot: Ashgate. Winton, Harold R. (2007), Corps Commanders of the Bulge: Six American Generals and Victory in the Ardennes, Lawrence: University Press of Kansas. Wise, Harold Lee (2007), Inside the Danger Zone: The U.S. Military in the Persian Gulf, 1987–1988, Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. Wright, Jonathan (2007), Germany and the Origins of the Second World War, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Woodward, David R. (2007), America and World War I: A Selected Annotated Bibliography of English-Language Sources, London: Routledge. Wurst, Gayle (ed.) (2007), The General and his Daughter: The Wartime Letters of General James M. Gavin to his Daughter Barbara, New York: Fordham University Press. Yin, Tung (ed.) (2007), National Security: Detention, War Powers, and AntiProliferation, New York: William S. Hein. ◊arkov, Dubravka (2007), The Body of War: Media, Ethnicity, and Gender in the BreakUp of Yugoslavia, Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Zehfuss, Maja (2007), Wounds of Memory: The Politics of War in Germany, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Zertal, Idith and Eldar, Akiva (2007), Lords of the Land: The War over Israel’s Settlements in the Occupied Territories, 1967–2007 (trans. Vivian Eden), New York: Nation Books. Zubok, Vladislav M. (2007), A Failed Empire: The Soviet Union in the Cold War from Stalin to Gorbachev, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. Zuccotti, Susan (2007), Holocaust Odysseys: The Jews of Saint-Martin-Vésubie and Their Flight Through France and Italy, New Haven: Yale University Press.

• • • • The Treaty of Paris, US National Archives (until January 2009) Website: www.archives.gov/press/press-releases/2007/nr07-127.html The Children’s War, Imperial War Museum (until January 2010) Website: london.iwm.org.uk/server/show/conEvent.381 Cold War Modern, Victoria and Albert Museum (until January 2009) Website: london.iwm.org.uk/server/show/conEvent.1728 Afghanistan: A Glimpse of War, Museum of Civilizations (until April 2008) Website: www.civilization.ca/expo/ex01e.asp?ExID=324


Stacy Gillis

Conferences • Fifth Raleigh Spy Conference (26–28 March 2008)
Venue: North Caroline Museum of History Contact: jennifer@metromagazine.net Website: www.raleighspyconference.com/home/ • Wars and Conflicts in Africa (28–30 March 2008) Venue: University of Texas at Austin Contact: africaconf2008@gmail.com Website: www.utexas.edu/conferences/africa/2008/callforpapers.html International Graduate Student Conference on the Cold War (4–5 April 2008) Venue: University of Santa Barbara California Contact: coldwar@wilsoncenter.org Website: www.history.ucsb.edu/projects/ccws/conference/ War, Virtual War and Human Security (5–7 May 2008) Venue: Budapest, Hungary Contact: ggoldswor@gmail.com Website: www.inter-disciplinary.net/ptb/wvw/wvw5/cfp.html Le retour à l’intime au sortir de la guerre: De la Première Guerre mondiale à nos jours. (19–20 June 2008) Centre d’histoire, Sciences Politiques, Paris Contact: bruno.cabanes@yale.edu; guillaume.piketty@sciences-po.fr Visual Representations of Iran (13–16 June 2008) Venue: University of St. Andrews Contact: pedram.khosronejad@st-andrews.ac.uk Website: www.iranheritage.org/visual-anthropology/ Justifying War: Propaganda, Politics and War in the Modern Age (22–28 June 2008) Venue: University of Kent Contact: D.A.Welch@kent.ac.uk Seventh European Conference on Information Warfare and Security (30 June–1 July 2008) Venue: University of Plymouth Contact: elaine.hayne@academic-conference.org Website: academic-conferences.org/eciw/eciw2008/eciw08-home.htm jus post bellum: Society for Applied Philosophy Conference (4–6 July 2008) Venue: Manchester University Contact: admin@appliedphil.org Website: www.appliedphil.org/AnnualConference2008.shtml International Peace Research Association (15–19 July 2008) Venue: University of Leuven, Belgium Contact: david.patterson@aya.yale.edu Website: www.ipra2008.org France and New Zealand during the Great War (3–5 November 2008) Venue: Théâtre des Trois Chênes, Le Quesnoy, France Contact: philippe@waikato.ac.nz Historians Against the War (11–13 November 2008) Venue: Atlanta, Georgia Website: www.historiansagainstwar.org

Centres for the study of war • Centre for First World War Studies, University of Birmingham Website: www.firstworldwar.bham.ac.uk/



• • • •

Scottish Centre for War Studies, University of Glasgow Website: www.arts.gla.ac.uk/History/Warstud/ Desmond Tutu Centre for War and Peace Studies, Liverpool Hope University Website: www.hope.ac.uk/research/warandpeace/ Centre for the Study of War, State and Society, University of Exeter Website: www.huss.ex.ac.uk/history/research/wss/ The Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health, University of Melbourne Website: www.acpmh.unimelb.edu.au/ The Center for the Study of the Korean War, Graceland University Website: www.koreanwarcenter.org/index.php Middle East Centre, St Anthony’s College, University of Oxford Website: www.sant.ox.ac.uk/mec/ Cold War Studies Centre, London School of Economics Website: www.lse.ac.uk/collections/CWSC/ Center for Cold War Studies, University of California at Santa Barbara Website: www.history.ucsb.edu/projects/ccws/ Centre for Military and Strategic Studies, University of Calgary Website: www.cmss.ucalgary.ca/ Conflict and Culture Study Group, Bristol University Website: www.bris.ac.uk/arts/birtha/centres/conflict_culture.html Centre for the Cultural History of War, University of Manchester Website: www.arts.manchester.ac.uk/subjectareas/history/research/cchw/ Centre for War, Representation and Society, Sussex University Website: www.sussex.ac.uk/cwrs/1-5.html Department of Peace Studies, Bradford University Website: www.bradford.ac.uk/acad/peace/ The Second World War Experience Centre, Leeds Website: www.war-experience.org/index.html Research Group for War, Society and Culture, University of Newcastle NSW Website: www.newcastle.edu.au/centre/wsc/index.html Centre for the Study of Civil War, International Peace Research Institute, Oslo Website: www.prio.no/cscw/about

• • • • • • • • • • • •

Submit items for the Noticeboard to: Dr Stacy Gillis School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics Percy Building Newcastle University Newcastle, NE1 7RU Telephone: +44 (0)191 222 7360 E-mail: stacy.gillis@ncl.ac.uk


Stacy Gillis

Journal of

War & Culture Studies
Volume 1 Number 2 – 2008


The Body at War: Wounds, Wounding and the Wounded Introduction Nicola Cooper and Martin Hurcombe Articles ‘They don’t like it up ’em!’: Bayonet fetishization in the British Army during the First World War Paul Hodges Painful bodies and brutal women: remedial massage, gender relations and cultural agency in military hospitals, 1914–18 Ana Carden-Coyne Raising the dead: visual representations of the combatant’s body in interwar France Martin Hurcombe The veteran’s wounded body before the mirror: the dialectic of wholeness and disintegration in Andreï Makine’s prose Helena Duffy Embodied memory: war and the remembrance of wounds in Nina Bouraoui and Leïla Sebbar Helen Vassallo Noticeboard Stacy Gillis







ISSN 1752-6272


9 771752 627005


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