Jay Winter's powerful study of the 'collective remembrance' of the Great War offers a major reassessment of one of the critical episodes in the cultural history of the twentieth century. Dr Winter looks anew at the culture of commemoration and the ways in which communities endeavoured to find collective solace after 1918. Taking issue with the prevailing 'modernist' interpretation of the European reaction to the appalling events of 1914-18, Dr Winter instead argues that what characterised that reaction was, rather, the attempt to interpret the Great War within traditional frames of reference. Tensions arose inevitably. Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning is a profound and moving book of seminal importance for the attempt to understand the course of European history during the first half of the twentieth century.
Introduction; Part I. Catastrophe and Consolation: 1. Homecomings: the return of the dead; 2. Communities in mourning; 3. Spiritualism and the 'Lost Generation'; 4. War memorials and the mourning process; Part II. Cultural Codes and Languages of Mourning: 5. Mythologies of war: films, popular religion, and the business of the sacred; 6. The apocalyptic imagination in art: from anticipation to allegory; 7. The apocalyptic imagination in war literature; 8. War poetry, romanticism, and the return of the sacred; 9. Conclusion; Notes; Bibliography; Index.