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100D #4 | The Recruitment Ads of Sir Hedley Le Bas

3 Jun

The fourth installment of my ongoing series, The First World War in 100 Documents, is now available at Oxford’s WW1C blog.  In it — inspired by the contents of yet another gift book — I take a look at some of the recruitment ads devised by the prolific Sir Hedley Le Bas (1868 – 1926).  One such ad appears below:

five questions better

The full piece refers to others as well, and looks back as well to a recruitment ad from 1802 calling upon the men of Manchester to join the army and travel at once to Gibraltar.  Be sure to click through to check it out.

Canadian Literature of World War One

12 Mar

wwi lit logoThe tentative schedule for the upcoming international conference on Canadian WWI literature has now been posted; you can check it out here.

The conference will take place in Ottawa and is co-sponsored by the Canadian War Museum, the University of British Columbia and the University of Ottawa.  There will be four days of concurrent sessions and a trio of plenary addresses from Tim Cook, Margaret MacMillan and Frances Itani.  I’ll be presenting a paper there myself (on the Canadian humourist Stephen Leacock’s wartime writings in aid of Belgian Relief), and several of my colleagues from uOttawa’s English department will be giving talks on (among other subjects) Charles Yale Harrison’s Generals Die in Bed (1930) and Timothy Findley’s The Wars (1977) — two texts that would be all but impossible to exclude from any discussion of the Canadian literary response to the war.  Other colleagues from UO will present papers on the wartime experiences of Canon F.G. Scott, the contemporary Canadian dramatic response to the war, and the child-like rhetoric involved in describing the German enemy.

All in all, a promising affair.  If you happen to be in the area this summer, please consider coming out.

Oxford’s WWI Centenary Blog

27 Jul

I’m happy to announce that I’ve been given a position writing for Oxford University’s WWI Centenary Blog!  My first post, rather tragically, is not about the war itself, but rather about something that sprang up in its aftermath — still, the war had a considerable impact on the periodical culture of the time, and what you’ll read here is very much an outgrowth of that.  Unfortunately, if you’ve been reading this blog already, you’ll already have seen me talk about this subject.  No matter!  The next post will be wholly original, and actually about the war into the bargain.  It may also be somewhat controversial.

I’ll be sure to announce any new posts here once they go up.  This will be a great deal of fun, I think.

Another lamentable gap

17 May

My apologies to all for the lack of posting over the last fortnight.  I had hoped to keep everything up, and even prepared some posts in advance to go up at regular intervals, but not nearly as many got done as I’d hoped and the ones that did ended up being mis-scheduled.  This is what happens when you do things like this at 3AM -___-

Anyway, getting back on track at last.  Look for a full round of posting in the week to come!  I’ll get a pair up over the weekend as well in atonement for my folly.


27 Apr

I had intended to keep this going all week as usual — especially after my recent post on the BBC’s upcoming series, The Great War, got so much attention on Twitter — but the last of my students’ exams was on Wednesday night, and first thing Thursday morning I left town for a much-needed vacation with my girlfriend.  I’ve only just returned

Regular posting will resume next week.  Be on the lookout for the usual smaller posts, but also for full-length reviews of both a book and a film.

The Intended Schedule

28 Mar

It has long been maintained by influence theorists that getting someone to commit to a thing in writing, even if it’s not binding in any way, is one of the best non-violent means there is of ensuring that the thing in question actually happens.

And so…

It is my intention that the blog should operate along the following schedule:

  • A new picture post at least every weekday.
  • One review of a WWI-related film or play per week, typically on Friday.
  • One review of/note on/engagement with a WWI-related book per week, typically on Tuesday.
  • One post about a WWI primary source (be it a treaty, a government report, a poem, a short story, a journal, an advertisement, or something else entirely) per week, typically on Thursday.
  • Other material whenever it becomes available or worthwhile.

The sidebar will be expanded over the next couple of weeks as well, and I’m open to tinkering with the blog’s design and layout if need be.  We’ll see.

In the meantime, if you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to supply them in a comment below.


25 Mar

Sort of a lame and unexplosive manner in which to begin, but here we are.

This blog — named after the site of the War Propaganda Bureau’s offices in London from the earliest days of the Great War onward — will serve as a collection of the various interesting/astonishing/appalling/inspiring things I have discovered and will continue to discover throughout the course of my research into the war, its culture, and its meaning.

A great deal of what will appear here will likely have a literary focus; I am an English teacher, after all, and such is the nature of my current project.  Nevertheless, those expecting the familiar recourse to the Sassoons and Remarques and Hemingways and Owenses may be disappointed; while such material may feature here from time to time (for there is much in there to be praised and enjoyed), I am far more interested in the art and ideas that throw a wrench into the tidy narrative that the works by the authors above are taken to create.  If you’ve read Douglas Jerrold’s 1930 pamphlet The Lie About the War or Cyril Falls’ introduction to his annotated bibliography of the War Books from the same year, you’ll have some inkling of where my sympathies lie.

In any event, posts will mostly be in the line of interesting miscellanea, passages from books, arresting images and the like; I hope also to post book and film reviews as time permits, and will certainly be highlighting the best of the rest of the Great War blogosophere (which exists and is surprisingly good).  The odd post about the broader artistic or literary culture of the time might sneak in — non-war works, I mean — but that will probably be a rare occurrence.  Still, fans of 1900-1930, take note!  Things might be up your alley, from time to time.

Thanks for your attention.  I hope to subsequently and continually reward it.