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This is the first book to relate to the literature and art of the First World War to the literature and art produced by the Second World War and by earlier wars. A Muse of Fire is also the first serious attempt to examine the whole range of war poetry and war fiction in English in its relation to the work of German, French, Italian and - to a lesser extent - Russian, Danis This is the first book to relate to the literature and art of the First World War to the literature and art produced by the Second World War and by earlier wars. A Muse of Fire is also the first serious attempt to examine the whole range of war poetry and war fiction in English in its relation to the work of German, French, Italian and - to a lesser extent - Russian, Danish, and Hungarian authors. Before 1914 few authors wrote about or experienced war. War, especially its reality, was not the proper subject of literature; while writers seldom served in the armed forces and were almost never in battle. More than half this book deals with the First World War. In successive chapters A.D. Harvey discusses what sort of people, in what sort of physical and psychological conditions, wrote about the war; or painted it; how they handled the challenge of describing their experiences with complete honesty; what literary and artistic techniques they employed; how other forms of creative talent were fostered by the war; and how far memoirs of the war prepared the way for the next one. The account given of the Second World War in the final section, like the chapters on pre-1914 war literature, provides far more than simply an introduction and conclusion to the central part of the book. It is an important contribution to an understanding of how literature and art relate to the psychological and social structures of the communities within which they are produced.


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This is the first book to relate to the literature and art of the First World War to the literature and art produced by the Second World War and by earlier wars. A Muse of Fire is also the first serious attempt to examine the whole range of war poetry and war fiction in English in its relation to the work of German, French, Italian and - to a lesser extent - Russian, Danis This is the first book to relate to the literature and art of the First World War to the literature and art produced by the Second World War and by earlier wars. A Muse of Fire is also the first serious attempt to examine the whole range of war poetry and war fiction in English in its relation to the work of German, French, Italian and - to a lesser extent - Russian, Danish, and Hungarian authors. Before 1914 few authors wrote about or experienced war. War, especially its reality, was not the proper subject of literature; while writers seldom served in the armed forces and were almost never in battle. More than half this book deals with the First World War. In successive chapters A.D. Harvey discusses what sort of people, in what sort of physical and psychological conditions, wrote about the war; or painted it; how they handled the challenge of describing their experiences with complete honesty; what literary and artistic techniques they employed; how other forms of creative talent were fostered by the war; and how far memoirs of the war prepared the way for the next one. The account given of the Second World War in the final section, like the chapters on pre-1914 war literature, provides far more than simply an introduction and conclusion to the central part of the book. It is an important contribution to an understanding of how literature and art relate to the psychological and social structures of the communities within which they are produced.

14 review for Muse of Fire: Literature, Art and War

  1. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    This is a wide ranging and inclusive but, by no means comprehensive study. It's central point being that The Great War radically changed the nature and perception of war literature, of all kinds, for ever. The focus of writing shifted from the journalistic or objective to the inherently subjective and personal, contextualised largely by the collective horror and disillusionment, but also by the occasionally ecstatic or transcendentary nature, of some men's front line experience and just as impor This is a wide ranging and inclusive but, by no means comprehensive study. It's central point being that The Great War radically changed the nature and perception of war literature, of all kinds, for ever. The focus of writing shifted from the journalistic or objective to the inherently subjective and personal, contextualised largely by the collective horror and disillusionment, but also by the occasionally ecstatic or transcendentary nature, of some men's front line experience and just as importantly, other people's desire to read such. The newly developed media technologies enabled almost instant reporting of the war which created a new market for personal memoirs, diaries and poetry. It is at times fascinating book and then, at others, a little ponderous; half of the chapter entitled 'Heroes', for instance, has nothing to do with literature and wonders off into the American Wild West! I was also disappointed that some texts are merely mentioned in passing, whilst other exemplary books are missed out all together most notably "With the Old Breed" by E.B.Sledge or several E. M. Remarque novels. I cite these as examples because they starkly contradict the authors opinions and conclusions in the 2 meagre chapters on World War II, bemoaning the poorer quality of writing inspired by the Second World war. I would have liked to have read more about the lesser known points of view, mentioned commendably, in references to some more obscure German titles (obscure to the English reader that is) as well as a handful of Italian, Hungarian, Austrian and Portuguese authors. However, despite my criticism this is well worth a read if you are interested in it's subject. As I have already said, it is well conceived in it's inclusivity (which opens up new avenues of future reading) and more centrally it doesn't hang purely on the anti war cynicism and disillusionment that everybody knows about but also makes much of some men's pro war sentiments, their rites of passage or the exhilaration and irreplaceable camaraderie that some men found. There is an interesting thread of analysis that revolves around these contrasting texts, Ernst Jungers' 'Storm of Steel' being central to these, that accurately traces the roots of fascism, the rise of Hitler and therefore the origins of the Second World War to the Germanic concept of 'Kultuur' and the every-man experience of the First. The chapter on art also, on cubist and modernist painting in particular, is very interesting and introduced me to artists and works that I had not heard of before.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Umberto Rossi

  3. 5 out of 5

    Aleksandr Popov

  4. 4 out of 5

    Angela

  5. 4 out of 5

    Meg

  6. 5 out of 5

    Joel

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kontrast Izdavaštvo

  8. 4 out of 5

    Frank

  9. 5 out of 5

    Steven

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kylie

  11. 5 out of 5

    Yuliya Yurchuk

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jim

  13. 5 out of 5

    Dean Echenberg

  14. 4 out of 5

    Annabel

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