War Worlds: Violence, Sociality, and the Forms of Twentieth-Century Transatlantic Literature


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




“War Worlds” investigates deep correlations between the social practices of marginalized groups living during the world wars—various “enemies within” England and its colonies—and the sui generis literary forms that British and Anglophone writers have used to depict such ostensibly inimical life. As wartime governments restructured communities in England and abroad, persecuting illicit forms of social and political relations from pacifism and queer sex to anticolonial resistance, many writers turned the attention of their texts away from grand politics and toward the experiences of small groups on the fringes of British society. Reading works by writers as different as T.E. Lawrence, H.D., George Lamming, and Michael Ondaatje, “War Worlds” shows that the practices of such groups have served as a crucial incitement for dissident social and political thought, as well as aesthetic invention, in twentieth-century portrayals of total war.