Pat Barker’s Regeneration – a War Novel?

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Universität Rostock Philosophische Fakultät Institut für Anglistik/Amerikanistik Hauptseminar: The Fiction of Pat Barker Veranstalter: Dr. Beate Rudlof Wintersemester 2010/2011

Pat Barker’s Regeneration – A war novel?

vorgelegt von: Emanuel Hollack 8. Semester LA Gym. Englisch/Geschichte/Religion Th.-Körner-Str. 8a 23992 Neukloster E-Mail-Adresse: emanuel.hollack@uni-rostock.de

Neukloster, den 25.03.2012

Table of Content

I. Introduction...................................................................................................3 II. Regeneration – A war novel? .......................................................................5 1. What is a war novel about – Defining war novel as literary term .............5 2. The characters – Mental instabilities and social status .............................6 III. Classification of Regeneration .....................................................................9 1. Subjectivity in Pat Barker’s Regeneration .................................................9 2. Understanding of war from an officer’s point of view ............................10 IV. Argumentation about fact and fiction in the historical novel ...................11 1. Historiographic metafiction – a definition ..............................................11 2. Style of narration in historiographic metafiction ....................................12 3. Intertextuality in Pat Barker’s Regeneration ...........................................13 Conclusion ......................................................................................................15 Bibliography ...................................................................................................16

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I. Introduction

Pat Barker was born on the 8th of May 1943 in Thornaby-on-Tees, England. She is an English author and published her first novel, Union Street, in 1982. She became famous by her Regeneration Trilogy in which she dealt with the First World War. The single works are Regeneration (1991), The Eye in the Door (1993) and The Ghost Road (1995). The third volume was priced with the ‘Man Booker Prize for Fiction’. In 2001 she received the literary prize by the German newspaper ‘Die Welt’. Today, Pat Barker is married and lives in Durham, England. This term paper will deal with Pat Barker’s Regeneration. 1 It is the first novel of the Regeneration Trilogy. The novel is about the time between July 1917 and November 1917. It is not based on the actual fighting but rather with the emotional and psychological consequences of it. The novel takes place at the British hospital for mentally ill soldiers at Craiglockhart and describes, among other things, the relationship between the army psychologist W.H.R. Rivers and anti-war activist and poet Siegfried Sassoon, who both are historical characters. Their stay in Craiglockhart, at this time, is verifiable through the publicly accessible diaries and letters of Siegfried Sassoon, as well as through the published notes of Rivers.2 The public protest about the conduct of war, which was read out in the House of Commons and which can be traced back accordingly, was the reason for Sassoon to be sent to a hospital for mentally ill officers. There Sassoon met Rivers for the first time, who treated him. The treatment consisted of talking sessions, in which Rivers tried to make his patients face their war experiences so that they could handle their traumata.3 Other historically verifiable characters in Barker’s novel are Wilfred Owen, who suffered from a shaky, tremulous and confused memory, after being blown up on a railway embankment and buried alive. He was therefore taken to the same hospital.4 Owen, however, was treated by Arthur Brock, who has also published a book about his methods of treatment, namely occupational therapy. A description of this treatment can be found in Dominic Hibberd’s biography of Owen. 5 Sassoon and Owen met the first time when Owen, who had admired Sassoon...
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