A War Novel

Topics: World War II, Novel, Evelyn Waugh Pages: 7 (2641 words) Published: December 9, 2012
A war novel is a novel in which the primary action takes place in a field of armed combat, or in a domestic setting (or home front) where the characters are preoccupied with the preparations for, or recovery from, war. It is sometimes referred to as military fiction. The war novel's main roots lie in the epic poetry of the classical and medieval periods, especially Homer's The Iliad, Virgil's The Aeneid, the Old English saga Beowulf, and different versions of the legends of King Arthur. All of these epics were concerned with preserving the history or mythology of conflicts between different societies, while providing an accessible narrative that could reinforce the collective memory of a people. Other important influences on the war novel included the tragedies of such dramatists as Euripides, Seneca the Younger, Christopher Marlowe, and Shakespeare. Shakespeare's Henry V provided a model for how the history, tactics, and ethics of war could be combined in an essentially fictional framework. Romances and satires in Early Modern Europe--Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene and Miguel de Cervantes's Don Quixote, to name two of many—also contained elements of military heroism and folly that influenced the later development of war novels. In terms of imagery and symbolism, many modern war novels (especially those espousing an anti-war viewpoint) take their cue from Dante's depiction of Hell in The Inferno, John Milton's account of the war in Heaven in Paradise Lost, and the Apocalypse as depicted in the Book of Revelation. Notable non-western example of war novel include Luo Guanzhong's Romance of the Three Kingdoms. As the prose fiction novel rose to prominence in the seventeenth century, the war novel began to develop its modern form, although most novels featuring war were picaresque satires in which the soldier was rakish rather than realistic figure. An example of one such work is Hans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen's Simplicissimus, a semi-autobiographical account of the Thirty Years' War. World War II had an even more profound impact than World War I on people's ideas about themselves and their place in the universe. The terrible fact of the atom bomb's existence shook their sense of stability. The postwar threat of the spread of Communism brought to attention the dangers to individual freedoms in a totalitarian state. The post – war period in Britain was initially a time of hopes, which however, for the most part, did not come true. In general, the period since World War II has been characterized by post-modern thinking. Much of literature, written at a time when traditional religious and moral values have all been vanished, expresses base human behaviour and passions- all kinds of sexual extremes, perversions, violence and horror. At the same time, writers have conveyed feelings of senselessness in life, hopelessness, and despair. Many pre-World War II writers continued writing after the war and some into the present. These include prose writers Orwell, Waugh, Priestley, Christie, Eliot, Casey, and others. Along with them a number of young writers have also come to the fore and developed new styles. William Golding. War theme in “The Lord of the Flies”.

Sir William Gerald Golding (19 September 1911 – 19 June 1993) was a British novelist, poet, playwright and Nobel Prize for Literature laureate, best known for his novel Lord of the Flies. He was also awarded the Booker Prize for literature in 1980 for his novel Rites of Passage, the first book of the trilogy To the Ends of the Earth. In 2008, The Times ranked Golding third on their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945". Published in 1954, Lord of the Flies was Golding’s first novel. Although it was not a great success at the time — selling fewer than 3,000 copies in the United States during 1955 before going out of print — it soon went on to become a best-seller, and by the early 1960s was required reading in many schools and colleges;...
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